Friday, June 21, 2013

ADDled Gone Wild!

Welcome to a special vacation post of ADDled.

The family and I are in Florida and spent yesterday at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  It was a less than normal day.

If you’ve been to any of the Disney theme parks – or for that matter, any theme park – you know that the evil overlords who run said parks take photos of you at your most vulnerable moment on the scariest rides in the park.  This is what we found after exiting the ride DINOSAUR: my husband and 6-year-old son staring wide-eyed ahead at the impending asteroid collision; my 9-year-old daughter and me, not in the picture.  Oh, wait, there’s the curve of my blue t-shirt, hunched into a ball below the seat.  Yes, the ride that the obviously lying and incredibly bored college student cast member who told me only went 10-15 miles per hour (“like the trams that took you to the front gate”), actually jerked us left and right and left and right so many times that my daughter and I missed the entire ride with closed eyes, clenched jaws and hunched over.  But my son kinda liked it.  My poor daughter might have liked it if I had not screamed, “I don’t like this!” in her ear for the entire ride.

And this leads me to an observation about myself: I am more of a head person than a body person.

Allow me to elaborate.  I’ve never been a theme park or amusement park kind of person.  I go because my kids enjoy them and I enjoy my kids having a good time.   A good time for me is more like reading a good book or going to a museum or eating good ice cream or looking at a sunset.  Anything that challenges me below the neck is not on my to-do list.  And frankly, I thought Disney’s Animal Kingdom was a safe bet.  Lots of interesting animals in realistic habitats, replications of Asian and African villages with shopping kiosks, live bird shows (actually more entertaining than that sounds), right?  Lots for the head to enjoy.  But my wimpy body was ridiculously challenged at every turn. 

First, the heat was intense.  Okay, it’s June in Florida, I expected this.  I am, however, not a sweat-loving hippie (apologies to all sweat-loving hippies). After about five hours of unrelenting heat and humidity, my Tom’s deodorant surrendered and I was embarrassed to lift my arms to point.  On the way back to the African village, on the Wildlife Express Train, the heat was so intense that I couldn’t get a good gulp of air.  Note here that my family was completely fine while I had to lay my oxygen-challenged head on my husband’s shoulder.  Once off the train, we wandered to Asia to get on the Kali River Rapids ride to cool off.  The line was pretty empty until we got to the shelter.  At this point, clouds blew in and drizzle started.  Fine, I thought, that will cool things off even more.  Then an announcement came over the speaker: lightening was spotted and the ride was suspended until further notice.  My family settled in and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  We sat on the floor with all of the other families and couples.  Then I started gasping for air again until I made my way to an open window.  Again, everyone else was fine – bored and cranky, but physically fine.  After 40 minutes we backtracked and left the ride.  Here’s where the rain got heavier.  And heavier.  We headed to the DinoLand area to see if anything was open and indoors, which lead us to the DINOSAUR ride and we all know how that ended.  We had a respite while the rain trickled out and the clouds started to clear, so we headed back to the raft ride.  On the way, however, the clouds came back and the rain went from drop-drop-drop to deluge before we could take shelter.  Imagine us, dripping wet and stinky sweaty, now shivering and squished into a gift shop with 100 other stinky, wet tourists.  And all of the rides were closed.

Fortunately, the kids weren’t completely disappointed.  They happily collected sticker badges on their Wilderness Explorer books at every station we could find (and most of them were under umbrellas and shelters, so bonus!).  They found a stuffed animal each that surprisingly wasn’t crazy expensive (a cheetah named Libby and a wooly mammoth Webkinz named, you guessed it, Wooly).  And we all discovered a new animal, the Akopi.  The park is beautiful and well-designed and overpriced, like all Disney ventures.  I enjoyed the aesthetics and most of the cast members (DINOSAUR lady, aside) were really sweet and informative.  We left the park wet and exhausted and considerably stinkier and poorer than we arrived, but since the kids were satisfied (I think), I will say I’m glad we went. 

Today, I plan to enjoy a long shower and a quiet day in the air conditioning reading a book.  A day for my head.  Ahhhh.

Do you see the ominous clouds?  We didn't.

From smiling to bored