Anyway! For the first time in 4 years, Toly and I got an entire day to ourselves! Woot!
So, as previously mentioned, we went to Disney. The folks picked up the kids at 7am, complete with packed suitcase (extra clothes, bathing suits, storybooks...) and took off. Toly and I tanked up, hit the ATM (should've done this yesterday) and hit the road. The drive went pretty well - actually took the turnpike for once.
(Boring paragraph about getting to Disney: There are two ways to get there from here. From our house, we get to SR (state road) 192, then head west until you reach Disney. It's a long trip made worse by congestion as you get closer, but there's no tolls and it's kinda hard to miss the turns. The other option is to take 192 to the turnpike, use the turnpike until you get to Osceola Parkway, then take the parkway to Disney. It requires tolls, but it's usually faster & has less traffic.)
So we took the turnpike route, and got there without incident. Used the last of our free passes from Toly's previous job. ^_^ Went on Space Mountain, which was great fun but gave me some motion sickness - nothing serious, but it meant "don't go on another roller coaster for a while." Oh, we also went on the Stitch's Great Escape (kinda gross, but appropriate for the age level, I suppose) and the Indy 500 raceway. That one could've been fun, except the car ahead of me went slowly. C'mon, people! It's an artificial Indy 500! Use both horsepowers!
Used the FastPass system wherever possible, which is great. You insert your ticket (they're now on these credit card size plastic cards) into the machine and it spits out a card with the times you can come back. When you come back during those times, you go to the head of the line. Toly didn't know why more people weren't making use of them, considering the lines get to be 60 minutes in some cases. You can have 2 FastPasses at any given time.
Also did the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, which is due to close in March so they can - get ready - revamp some of the scenes to reflect the movie. So now it will be a ride based on a movie based on a ride. O_o; Still, good fun. "A band of happy and lighthearted pirates sack and pillage a Caribbean town." Not the exact words, but you get the gist of the teaser at the door. ^_^
Rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, outdoor roller coaster, and didn't get motion sick, probably because it was outdoor and therefore I had the visual cues to go with the careening. ^_^ And Haunted Mansion, which still needs work. Some parts are still too dark (they were too dark several years ago) to see what's going on. In other places they've adjusted the darkness so you can actually see the spooky stuff. Dark is one thing, dark with random garbled noises isn't actually that scary.
Tried the Carousel of Progress. I should note that my Mom saw it at the World's Fair in 1965. So that tells you how old this ride is. But Toly had never ridden it! So we tried it. They changed the song!! =:O At the end of each segment - well, for those who haven't done the CoP, the whole audience chamber rotates around a central drum. Different time periods are represented - the turn of the 20th century, the 1920s, the 1940s, etc. For years, what would happen is, as the chamber rotates to a new section of the drum, the animatronic people (who are still pretty good despite their age) talk about how great life is and it can't get any better than it is in the year 19XX. "Our icebox now holds 50 pounds of ice, and you can take a train from New York to Los Angeles in less than a week!" That kind of thing. So at the beginning and end of every segment, the dad (telling the story overall) sings "Now is the time, now is the best time, now is the best time of our lives..." (don't remember the rest of the lyrics)
Well, now they've changed the song. The song is now something about the Dream of Tomorrow. Which... just doesn't quite fit the tone of the rest of the segments. In each case, it's "Life can't get any better!" which doesn't fit with "dream of tomorrow and the things to come." Eh?
ETA: Just wandered over to Wikipedia about it and apparently the "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" song was the original. "Now is the time" got put in in the 1970s. "GBBT" (gibbet! heh) was reinstated in 1994. Which tells you just how long it's been since I saw the CoP... ^^;; I still like "Now is the time" better though.
Oh well - while we were in the 1940s the CoP broke down. The attendant came and said it had broken in the 2000s (IIRC) and it would be about an hour to fix, so everyone had to leave. It's pretty creaky. When I told my folks about this they said that it's been having trouble for years, and a few years ago Disney tried to close it down, but there was such an outcry that they've kept it going.
Let's see, what else. Picked up some gifts for hte kids - a couple of cheap plastic collapsible telescope toys (if they actually work I'll be amazed, but for $2 they're good gifts for this age group) and a couple of those toy cell phones. You know, the ones that play music and stuff. The kids love them. :) They like to pretend to call. "Grammy? Will you come over to my house? Okay, we'll see you in five minutes!" That kind of thing. ^_^
I also got myself a pirate eyepatch and earring, for whenever I next cosplay Guybrush and/or a generic pirate. ;D
Food (since I have the compulsion to record what we ate. This is some female-line thing 'cause Mom and Gram both do it): Frozen dinner before we left (for me), dingdongs and doritos for Toly. Once there, a small popcorn. Lunch was a diet Coke and basket of chicken fingers & fries for each of us. Actually had dessert, which I should've skipped - cheesecake for me (why the heck did I get that?) and a Rocky Road brownie for Toly. For those not in the know, that's a brownie topped with nuts, marshmallows and chocolate syrup. Eegh! go my teeth! ^_^ And some drinks for the way home. All told I think we probably ended up spending close to $40 on food there. Ack! At least the portions were good-sized.
The ride home took 2.5 hours O_o;;; See, I planned to return the way we came, via turnpike... but the turnpike's actual exit appears to be hidden. I'm not kidding, Dad confirmed it for me later - it has NO sign identifying it as the turnpike exit. So I ended up taking 192 all the way back home, and for a long stretch it was so congested that traffic was at a crawl. Whoof.
Oh, and saw a Pittsburgh-area high school marching band do a short parade while we were there. Brought back memories, esp. when I saw an actual alto clarinet being played! I haven't seen one of those since high school. It's an instrument that gets no love, and deservedly so. ;) (I played one, so I can say that.)
On the way home, folks called my cell, saying they were picking up KFC for us all to eat. We were still stuffed! Oh well, at least hte kids ate. The kids apparently had a great day themselves. Went to visit Great Gram, play on her playground, play at the local McDonalds playground, take a bath (Imp apparently worked himself up into "a ball of sweat" according to Mom), eat popcorn under the tent Dad made on the back porch, play in the sprinklers, shoot water pistols at Dad, etc.etc. I don't think they missed us at all! :P They're pretty tired, though. They're still up for the moment 'cause Imp is finally eating some dinner. He can strip the meat off a chicken drumstick like nobody's business, and give the cartilage a run for its money (ew!).
Let's see, what else. My calves hurt, and I probably gained back that pound I lost last week, but at least I've been walking enough that I didn't completely die. ;) Toly, OTOH, hasn't had to walk farther than the length of the house in months, so he really got worn out. I said he needs to exercise like me. ("Bite me!" he said, goodnaturedly.)
Still, I'm tired, didn't get much sleep the past two nights, so we'll see how early I get to bed tonight. ^_^ And I plotted out the next Jason Lizard installment (which should be soon) and some of Aaron/Ronan. Etc. Hey, it was a loooooong drive home. ^_^
Also talked over writing and RPing with Toly on that long ride home. The problem is that there are certain projects I should concentrate on. But by the time the kids are in bed at night, my brain is so fried that it's hard for me to work on them, and I end up playing games instead to let my brain decompress. I'm not sure how to get out of this until both kids are in school this fall (presuming a miracle happens and I don't have to go to work).
RPing, we talked about the best campaign I ever ran, and why it worked, and why other campaigns haven't, and which characters we liked and why, and what we can do to try to get back into RPing. A big thing is that while I'm great at storytelling, I'm not so hot at mechanics. I really don't want to break out a big book of stats and run combat. I'd rather tell the story. Shadowrun is a great setting, but rules-heavy, and besides, Toly's read most of the adventures and sourcebooks. ^^;; D&D would require me re-learning whatever edition they're on now (3.5?). I was just barely literate in 3.0, and most of my adventure "stash" is in AD&D 2nd Ed, and I hate converting. ^^;; Dragonstar is also a great setting (reverse of Shadowrun, kinda), but is poor in published adventures - there's one adventure book and a few freebies on the web.
So we're tentatively looking at Dragonstar, picking up where we left off last, but ignoring the published adventures entirely and just doing a storytelling/diceless thing instead, using the storyline I'd planned out as the overarching thing. We'll see how it goes.
Well, off to get those kids to bed now, and wake Toly up to make him give me a leg massage. ;P