Monday, May 19, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

By Limpy

We went to Florida.

Oh alright, since you asked...

We went to Florida and spent two days at Disney, then went across the state to the west coast and spent a few days with friends. The Disney trip was for the kids and my wife, who has always wanted to take her kids to Disney when they were 9 and 7. Seriously, she told me this when she dragged me to that over-priced shit-ho..., uh, I mean Disney, back in 1996, two years before we even started having kids. Yes, I should have run then, but the thing is, she's really good in bed.

So the kids having advanced chronologically far enough, this year by God and by damn, we were going to Disney.

You know that stupid commercial where the two little kids are running to the window while Cinderella's pumpkin carriage comes up their window, and their parents are downstairs on the computer discovering that they can go to Disney for $1,600 for six days? I'm not sure where that family is staying, but I'm guessing Georgia, because that sure as hell wasn't what we paid, although it was close, which was odd since we were there for 2 days and nights!

We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge, or Fort Wilderness, or Something-With-Wilderness-In-The-Title. We got one room for the four of us. The kids got a bunk bed. We got a queen-size bed. There was a balcony with no lights outside, so it was useless after dark. We went there right after the airport, so we didn't do much other than hit the pool, which was pretty much bathwater, and, we were to discover later, occasionally home to ducks. Dinner was, to put it bluntly, wretched. I'm pretty sure that the "ribs" I had were leftovers from McDonald's latest attempt to revive the "McRib"
sandwich, (when will they learn?), and they'd clearly been microwaved.

On the other hand, the place was eerily clean, the staff was friendly in a brainwashed kind of way, and the breakfasts were damn good. I did remark that if one more person told me to have a magical day, I was going to kill them. I think they bug the rooms, because I never heard it again. So when we checked out I told the clerk to "Have a magical day".

The next day , we went to The Magic Kingdom itself, or as I called it, "The Happiest Fucking Place On Earth", for a day of fun and frivolity. We did get to go there an hour before anyone else, so for a brief period of time we were able to get on rides pretty quickly, and without having to deal with the unwashed masses who weren't staying in the Magic Kingdom itself. Of course, they saved several hundred dollars over me, so who's the dumb-ass on that one? Exactly. Me.

We spent the entire day in the park, during which time we learned that neither of our kids likes roller coasters. Fortunately there's only three in the whole park, and one of them, Space Mountain, broke down three times that day, so even I decided it wasn't worth waiting for. The kids did run all over the Swiss Family Robinson tree fort half-a dozen times, and the guy we got for The Jungle Cruise did a great job,
bashing Disney several times, quoting Willy Wonka and at one point asking if we knew how the ride could be any worse, before starting to sing "It's A Small World". If they allowed tipping that kid would've been rich.

We ended the day having hit every single ride in the park, (of which there really aren't that many), and waiting an ungodly amount of time to meet Princess Ariel
(for my daughter you pervs), only to get to the front of the line and be told that there would be a short break because Princess Ariel needed a "swimming" break. I'm pretty sure that was code for "needed to go out back and smoke half a pack of Marlboros before dealing with more sweaty kids", and I can't say I blamed her.

For me, the highlight of the day had to be when we were standing in line for the Peter Pan ride. As we waited, we saw one of the ubiquitous, (SAT word alert!), white heron-type birds come flying by with a small bird frantically flapping its wings from the heron's beak. The heron landed and, while a woman who clearly never watched Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom ordered the heron to "leave that bird alone", ate the thing in two gulps and then flew off. Happiest Place on Earth indeed.

The next day we splashed around in the pool before breakfast. There we were somewhat surprised to confront four ducks swimming in the pool. Let me say that the animals around Fort Wilderness are pretty damn tame. I suspect that they may actually be on the payroll. I almost stepped on a rabbit that wandered across the walking path at the same time as I was going along. The rabbit hardly seemed fazed, just sort of glanced at me and hopped over to the grass and commenced nibbling. The ducks were swimming in the pool and you could get pretty close to them before they'd sort of turn away and slowly paddle off. A little odd, but I figure before long the heron'll get them.

We checked out after breakfast and drove from Orlando to Fort Meyers. Took about 2.5 hours and has to be one of the dullest rides ever. There are no hills to break up the monotony, and even the slightest curve is cause for celebration. And despite the real estate problems, it seems the entire area is under construction. For christ's sake people, you can't sell the property you already have! Why are you building more!? And you have no water as it is!!!!!!

We spent the next 4 days staying with friends. One of them can cook really, really well. Dinners the next three days were marinated and grilled rib-eye steaks that could have been cut with a fork; ribs that could not be moved from the grill to the plate without falling apart, (she said the secret was that she made them "with love", which led me to a brief and disturbing recollection of the "love" Phollower puts in his cooking. Then I ate them anyway); and pasta with home-made meatballs and two kinds of sausage. The fourth night we took them out to dinner, depsite my suggestion that we stay in and just pay her to cook, since it would've been better.

The only downer for me was that a local restaurant had closed two weeks earlier and they had White-Chocolate Banana Cream pie available. In past years I would go buy an entire pie and then bring it back and slowly devour it over the vacation. I was seriously bummed that I couldn't do it this year. Fuck you chain restaurants with crappy deserts!

Most of our days were spent in the ocean, where a manatee swam within 10 feet of my soon. You can imagine the glee that imparts in a nine-year-old, getting to watch a large dark shape glide by in the ocean. He spent most of the rest of the day comfortably ensconced on land. All I saw was a big dark blob in the water, and I was probably a hundred yards up the beach at the time, looking for gopher turtles. I found three.

After the beach we'd stay by the pool and, as mentioned before, eat too much. I did rent a kayak and go up and down the Estero River. I saw a river otter not six feet away from me eating a fish.
It looked at me twice before deciding to hop back in the creek and swim away. He went in the same direction I was headed, and I swear he was playing with me. I would lose sight of him around a corner, then clear that bend and see his head poking out of the water. He'd see me and then dart off again. Kept up the low speed chase for about 20 minutes when he must have become bored and disappeared into some weeds to the side of the river.

The last day we went to one of our favorite places, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary,
an Audobon run area that has a 2 mile long boardwalk and tons of neat stuff to look at, from Anole lizards to alligators. It's the really dry season in Florida, so the swamp was drained. We still saw a large female gator, (I know it was female because the guide who came up while we were lookin at it told me. It's not like I was going to hop the rail and go check), and a couple of turtles, some glowing spiders, a Lubbers grasshopper which are pretty big, very slow, and very colorful. We also saw a bunch of neat birds, although none of the wading brids since the water hadn't arrived yet, and killed many deer fly. I'm not sure the Audobon people approve of that, but fuck them, those things hurt.

As to my son punching another kid in the face, here's the story. The couple we stay with live next door to their niece and nephew. Who coincidentally are roughly the same age as my son and daughter. Works out pretty well, especially when we can stick 'em in front of video games and then take oursleves outside for a beer or four. But the nephew has been taking karate, and my son took karate for awhile, getting to the blue belt level, (which in his case I think meant "went long enough for a series of Dad's checks to get him a blue belt"), before getting bored. So this kid has a whole set of sparring equipment: gloves, head-gear, face masks and shin and foot pads. And he asks my son if he wants to spar. So my son agrees and they each proceed to put on more gear than your average football player. Half an hour later they're ready to go. The nephew annouces something along the lines of, "This is my tiger/monkey style" and proceeds to start waving his hands in various patterns and making the appropriate noises. My son watches him do this for about 20 seconds and then punches him right in the face(mask). God that was funny.

Other than that I'd have to give the nephew the decision, but they seemed to have fun. I did have to edxplain to my wife that this is how guys interact, and that letting them whale on each other, (albeit while wearing enough padding to absorb a wayward skydiver), would not lead to either of them becoming a serial killer.

All in all, not a bad time. And I never have to go back to Disney again.


Blogger B.E. Earl said...

My sister is a dedicated follower of the cult of Disney. She has been trying to get me and my girlfriend to go with her and her husband one day.

I don't have to go to know that I will hate it. I prefer my vacations to be more organic and less structured.

Plus I hate that fucking mouse!

11:32 AM  
Blogger eclectic said...

We had a legal assistant for a time who takes her husband and daughters to Disney World on vacation at least once every single year, and they've done this since the girls were toddlers. They're now through college, and STILL going to Disney with the 'rents every single fucking year, sometimes more than once. I've offered to find them a therapist, but so far, they've turned me down.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Cedar said...

I am still trying to figure out how come Goofy the dog walked on his hind legs and talked and Pluto the dog, was a dog. Goofy must have had a better agent or something.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Callie said...

I need to take the girls to Disneyland. Kidlet went when she was about 2 or 3, but Munchkin hasn't gone yet. It's a frickin' 8 hour drive just to get there! Plus, I'm cheap, and I hate my in-laws (who we have to visit every time we go to LA).

Oh, and the kid-karate tale - sooooo funny! I could just SEE it. Too perfect.

4:08 PM  
Blogger The Q said...

We went to Disneyland last year with my Niece and Nephew and I wanted to kick no less than 2,497,786 people in the neck by the end of the 2nd day. I cannot fathom how many more people I'd want to kick at a place as big as Disney World.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Disney stuff is cool.

6:49 PM  
Blogger The Recovering Straight Girl said...

I had no idea that birds were eaten up by Heroin. When did animals start doing Smack?

7:44 PM  
Blogger dykewife said...

are you going to get your son an indiana jones type fedora and start calling him indy?

8:07 PM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

Earl, continue to resist. You can find a better, and certainly cheaper, amusement park closer to home. Even if you live in East Bumfuck, Kansas.

Eclectic, I would fire her just for that. Employment at will rules!!

Cedar, great, now I've got that to think about all day.

Callie, my in-laws live near Disneyland and keep trying to get us to come out there. So far we haven't, as I don't like Disney and like them even less.

Q, there was a second day? What the hell's the matter with you?

Nick, I did buy a T-shirt. I'm not proud of that.

RSG, probably when they realized they were in Disney. Lord knows I was tempted. Hey, since you're here, what's the deal with your blog and why do I keep gettting virus warnings when I try to go there?

DW, when I saw that I immediately flashed back to that scene. It was exactly like that, except without swords and no one got shot.

7:06 AM  
Blogger tysgirl said...

The Kayaking and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary sound pretty damn cool.

I saw a river otter in the wild a month or so ago. I was on my way to a favorite hiking place in the Smokys and he was in the road. First time I've seen a wild one here, they are pretty rare so it was a treat. He sat still long enough for me to get my camera out and took off the instant I raised the lens to fire off a shot.

Have a Magical Day!

:::runs and hides:::

8:00 AM  
Blogger Just lil o me... said...

Limpy...of course the otter fucked with you. He wasnt on the Disney property, therefore, he could behave the way he wanted to! Glad you had a (somewhat) good time in FL.


8:29 AM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

Tysgirl, you would have a blast at the swamp, where, among other things, I learned that Carl and Cleveland's -ahem- "dietary choices" are actually necessary because butterflies need certain minerals that they can only get from scat.

Kat, I had thought Disney owned all of Florida, but you do raise a good point. perhaps they don't have all of the water rights.


9:51 AM  
Blogger Lil Bit said...

Yikes, shoulda checked Priceline or something... isn't THAT who the Disney commercial is for (or some such price-cutter site?)

Y'all didn't do Epcot Center?

wtf is a glowy spider? - pic, pls!

12:13 PM  
Blogger tysgirl said...

The swamp definitely sounds right up my alley. You should buy me a Macro lens and I'll go back to get a shot of the glowing spider that lil bit is requesting.

What? It was worth a try. Your vacation post was nice but it lacked pictures. Sheesh, even Eclectic gave us some pictures of her trip.

1:15 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

Okay. This was seriously funny shit.

3:34 PM  
Blogger puerileuwaite said...

(Give me a moment to recover and recompose from this post, and also Recovering Straight Girl's and Just Lil O Me's comments to it ... okay ... I'm better now)

I suspect that Kurt Cobain's brief but little-known foray as a Wildlife Guide may have had something to do with the narcotics addiction and resulting indifference to tourists.

And Limpy, you should have checked with me BEFORE booking this trip. I have a Travel Agent who could have set you up with the "Westworld" package, where you can shoot at park employees (and - to add to the "rush"- vice-versa) with live ammo.

This would have made it a tad more "real". Anything to reduce the artificial aspect, as I can't get past the thought of two spotters with walkie-talkies cueing the ducks and rabbit at the precise moment.

And since you still seem to be yourself, you obviously did not drink from the "specially treated water fountains" in the park. Which explains both Republicanism and repeat annual visits. So that's good.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Party Girl said...

Good to hear family vacations have not really changed at all from when I was a kid.

Ah, memories of warm hairy hotel swimming pools.

4:53 PM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

LB, I'm told that special rate only applies to staying off-site in fleabag hotels, but I'm not sure about it. We weren't staying six days anyway. I'd be insane(er)

Tysgirl, I think you'd need a macrolens to get the glowing spider. Our shots didn't come out very well. It was a small spider with three spots on its abdomen that looked like glowing coals. Wound up seeing a bunch of them.

Liz, glad you liked it and congratulations on your big victory! Even if you did beat me. Bitch.

Pug, actually, I did drink from the water foutains in the park. It is, in all seriousness, the worst water you will ever drink. It makes the bottled water prices seem reasonable, or at least makes the risk of sticking your head intot he rapids of Splash Mountain seem worth it.

PG, where the hell did you vacation!? My bathtub?

7:04 AM  
Blogger Party Girl said... also involved a Motel 6..they left the light on for us, and took a few things off for us as well...

8:04 AM  
Blogger Slyde said...

i am following the same path as you, unfortunately....

the little one turned 5 this year, and the wife is already on my case that "this is the year we should do disney"...

i prefer my vacations to have white sand and girly drinks in a coconut, so im not looking forward to this...

12:01 PM  
Blogger Phronk said...

Am I the only one who loves the McRib? Anyone?

Have a magical day.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Impressive, very impressive.

Your wife's not in Risk Management, is she?

8:41 PM  
Blogger badgerdaddy said...

My stepdaughter has been saying "We really need to go to Disney because if we don't go now, I won't appreciate it when I'm older."

It's a brilliant argument for me to ignore.

2:53 AM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

PG, if only Motel 6 ever took the sheets off. I'm surprised those sheets don't walk themselves out for fresh air.

Slyde, you've got a 5 year old, those white sand vacations are about 12 years off. But I think you can put Disney off for at least another 2-3 years. Most of the 5 year olds we saw were exhausted and crying by 2 pm. You're welcome.

Phronk, yes, you are the only one. Kind of like Will Smith in "I Am Legend", only for a less worthy cause.

Maggie, nope, medical assistant. And yes, that does come in handy.

Badger, Ignorance is bliss. Not sure where you live, but I almost guarantee you can find a better amusement park closer to home. Take her to that one while wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt and you'll have a better and cheaper time.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Persnickety Ticker said...

Sometimes I can't decide which is more entertaining...your blog or the comments...either way, I am addicted to this place like Heron.

::Standing up to address the group::

Hello, My name is Leigh from FL and I am addicted to Disney AND white sandy beaches with fruity-girly-coconut-drinks.

1:57 PM  

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