Twelve Muggles and a Baby
Trip Start Sep 05, 2012
27Trip End May 16, 2013
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Working up the requisite enthusiasm for The Happiest Place on Earth™ was slightly more difficult for Laynni and I, having only just returned to Canada 3 days prior after 4 straight months abroad (and 8 of the last nine). Of course, it would have taken a coked up monkey loose in Sobey’s to match the excitement level of the various Dupres and Poulins that had been counting down the days until this monumental occasion throughout the long, depressingly snowy, months previous. We came around, though, despite the absurdly early flight (although it was nice to be back in a variety of airports again, it having been almost 65 hours since our last and all), basically at about the time we finally found ourselves cruising down the clean, efficient Floridian interstate system surrounded by lush greenery and ensconced in a pleasing cocoon of heat and humidity. Considerable amounts of time spent in either Saskatchewan or Ireland will do that to a person.
Not long after, we found ourselves gazing in wonder at our home for the foreseeable future - a beautiful 6 bedroom house with a huge kitchen, a game room, a backyard pool and an innovatively odd bench seat/garbage receptacle combo. Even the disconcertingly Truman Show feel of the area, with its neatly matching houses, improbably immaculate lawns, carefully screened-in backyards, and dozens of matching sets of rental minivans poised in the standard two-van driveways eagerly awaiting their next foray into the Magic Kingdom couldn't dull our enthusiasm
No rest for the wicked, or even the slightly selfish sports fan, as were up and at 'em first thing the following morning for it was none other than….Magic Kingdom day! A chance to sample all the same rides and attractions we’ve seen in Disneyland, except in a different, and much hotter, place. Thanks to some excellent advance planning on Laynni and Tahnni’s (sister-in-law, industrious Wal-Mart supporter) parts we were easily able to sample all the best Disney corporation had to offer with minimal stress and manageable lineups, and with the help of everyone involved the day went off nearly without a hitch, the one blip occurring when 4 of us "responsible adults", along with Ryland (nephew, teen moustache model) and Taylor (niece, teenage texpert and occasional mermaid) somehow collaborated to send Brennan (nephew, 10 year old rollercoaster fanatic, amateur magician) careening through the dark, thrilling tunnels of Space Mountain completely unsupervised. His wide-eyed look of apprehension and disbelief as the car pulled away from the platform we were still standing on was priceless, exactly what people must be talking about when describing what they love best about parenthood.
The following day it was Typhoon Lagoon time, or as it is now known, the day I almost got into a fistfight with a dumpy American woman over possession of a sun lounger
On day three we were in for another abrupt change of pace, Laynni catering to the video game aficionados and children of the eighties among us by scheduling a day at Disney Quest, a 5 story video game emporium complete with an entire level of classics such as Ms Pacman, Qbert and pinball, combining with the same dim lighting an slightly malodorous carpeting that quickly takes a middle-aged kid back to those heady days at Saints roller rink decked out in his best zippered parachute pants waiting for his middling proficiency at Galaga to catch the eye of one or more of the giggling girls with back-combed hair and glo-rings, like, everywhere
Day off! Sleeping in! Swimming! Showering! Outlet shopping! Writing blogs about Ireland! See Laynni, I told you I could make that day sound exciting.
Riley and I jogged once, for 20 minutes. Bring on soccer season!
Somewhere in there we also took advantage of the little private theatre in the neighbourhood “clubhouse” to watch the first of the Harry Potter movies to refresh our memories before the big visit to the Universal Studios version of Hogwarts. It is easy to forget how long ago the series started - we couldn’t believe how young Hagrid looked. As it turned out, Universal Studios was the last big outing of my week in Florida, fittingly, as, along with Harry Potter, it is also home to rides immortalizing such epic masterpieces of theatre such as The Incredible Hulk, Revenge of the Mummy and Twister. Of course, the Hulk rollercoaster was amazing, probably because the only thing it had in common was the movie was liberal use of the colour green
Then it was an early morning and a long day of flights all by my lonesome, having correctly assumed in advance that one week of Happy Magical Consumerism, “in stunning 3D”, would be enough for me
And so ends Eurotrashed! - 8 months of travel, some of which had little or nothing to do with Europe but I liked the name and didn’t feel like coming up with a new one, so that was that. Besides, it’s not like Morocco is going to complain about being lumped in with the drinkable tap water and standardized trash collection of Europe. It all started In Bruges way back in September, before hitting Croatia and Italy and eventually tackling the Camino de Santiago in Spain, spending a couple relaxing months in Madeira, six less relaxing weeks in Morocco, and ultimately finishing off with a whirlwind of diversity and poor eating habits in Gozo, England, Ireland and Florida, it was certainly one hell of a winter. Wait’ll you see what’s left of my socks.
For more flippant stories about flashpacker travel and enough eighties reminiscences to help you remember who Cyndi Lauper was, check out my book Random Acts of Travel: Featuring Trepidation, Hammocks and Spitting.