Where did the hovercraft go?


How sweet it would be to vacation without any concern for money.  In my life, we rely on grandparents for the really big stuff.  And if they don’t come through, it’s ugly.

Lisa once told me she wasn’t going to spend thousands of dollars going to Disney World and then spend the whole week listening to me moan about every Diet Coke she ordered.
I don’t think I really moaned.  I was just thinking about sending the kids to college.

“So, you gonna order another Diet Coke?” or would you prefer we send DJ to college?

This past trip, we lucked up. My brother-in-law, Matt, has a cousin who works in the park.  She hooked us up!  A MAJOR discount for ahhh, well, extended family.  Very extended.  I mean, didn’t we all come from Adam and Eve?

It was nice because we got the meal plan – so your drink came with it (no worry about the extra Diet Cokes.)  And my kids knew better than to ask for add ons.  Two square meals a day and a snack – that’s what was included, so that’s what we ate.

I’ve always enjoyed the mouse, but I think this year they’re sort of slipping a bit.

As we were driving in, one of the thousands of buses that transports the hoards had wrecked. Thankfully, we weren’t on that bus, but the crash did divert our course. We had to drive through a back lot to get to the main road which led to our hotel.

It was a mess back there:  Tilt-A-Whirl parts, a broken down bus, stacks of wood, chain link fence – looked like the back gate at the NC State Fair.  The place where the Pig Racers camp for the week.

I don’t want to see that.  It’s like your grandma’s underwear.  You know she’s got ‘em but you certainly don’t want to see them.

The Monorail was “Out of Order” three times during our short stay.  Heck, that’s the main reason I go.  It’s the closest I’ll ever get to riding in a hovercraft like in Star Wars.  And by day 3, one of the trains had disappeared.  I could tell because they’re color coded, and a new one was puddling around the circle.  It rides on a huge concrete track!  How did they move it? Where did it go?  Did it break and fall off in the lagoon?

I think some funky stuff happens at that place once the park closes.  Mickey Mouse walking around naked and stuff.

On the bottom side of the monorail track at the Transportation Center in the Magic Kingdom, a permanent sign that read, “DANGER, HIGH VOLTAGE,” had been replaced with a large sign that looked like it had been printed on a bubble jet.

I did that once at the Y and got in trouble. My sign read, “Please don’t spit in the shower.” A member asked me to put it up, and I was trying to be customer friendly.  Apparently some mannerless dude had hocked one right there beneath the Kohler Medallion 5-Sprayer showerhead.

Finally, the afternoon we headed to the airport, we walked outside of our hotel to wait for the airport shuttle and right in front of us was an enormous puddle of vomit. Probably too much Diet Coke followed by the Tilt-A-Whirl.

At any rate, the chunkiness sat there for the entire duration of our wait, like 20 minutes. People were nearly walking through it.

Now don’t get me wrong, customer service in central Florida still outshines the majority of other places I go on a weekly basis, and the grounds and facilities are very nice. Most importantly, we had a fantastic time. I was just surprised to see these few blemishes.

Perhaps I’m just getting cynical. Or, maybe they knew I was sliding in without paying full fare. You get what you pay for, huh?

The Great DVR Purge Of 2011


I sat down to watch PTI in the living room the other day. Flipped on the nice, big, hi-def TV that Danny sprung for a year ago and opened up the recorded shows. Pressed the “list” button on the Time Warner remote to bring up the recorded shows. Here is what I saw on the screen:

What’s that? You need a closer look? Here you go:

Still not clear? No problem:

That’s right, the entire first screen (and then some) was “America’s Next Top Model” and they had all been recorded in one day. I knew who the culprit was, but I also knew that trying to explain the difference between recording a show and recording a series was futile.

I cruised down the rest of the list, curious as to what else was on there. Here’s a sampling:

Ah, yes, a Disney sitcom, an acapella singing competition, and “Glee”, the show that every parent thinks is just a prime time TV version of High School Musical when it’s…not. But in actuality, I have no problem with DJ watching the show, because Danny watches it as well and can use it for talking points as he gears up for having a high school student in the house. And her Mom loved the show. No, my only real issue with any of these selections is that they’re all over a month old, and no one will ever watch them again. DJ even admitted the other night (when she asked me for the fifth time if there was a new “Glee” episode this week): “I don’t watch any reruns or ones I’ve already seen. Except the Brittany one, because it was AMAZING.” So why do we have them on the DVR?! Fortunately Fox finally began advertising that new “Glee” episodes would be back after the Super Bowl. “When’s the Super Bowl?” God, please give me at least one son.

Six episodes of “Living Single” all recorded in the same day? Again, I have no opinion one way or the other on the 90’s sitcom “Living Single”, though it appears to have done well and may have even been ripped off  to make “Friends”.  It may be a fantastic show. I don’t know. What I do know is that no one in our household has ever watched an episode of “Living Single”. Someone must have sat on the remote. I didn’t even bother to look up what “House of Glam” was.

And here we have an assortment of other shows that I’ve never seen anyone actually view on our television set (though I suspect Danny faithfully follows Desperate Housewives when I’m not around). And again, all shows that are over three months old. Based on what I’ve seen of our family’s remote control aptitude, I feel confident in saying that they could not even find these shows on the DVR. They are merely taking up space.

I record one series (the aforementioned PTI) and delete after I view. Often times I will DVR a ball game, and again, I usually watch it later the same day or the next, and when I am done watching it (or if I don’t get around to it after a day or two), I delete it. Perhaps this is from living with other DVR-savvy roommates over the years, but I see the cable box as shared space, and with everyone pitching in we can all see the shows we want. I’ve accepted that no one in the Tanner house will ever care about the AFC Championship game like I do, I just wish they would sympathize with my fear that one day a game will go into triple overtime, and as I’m watching hours later a window will pop up on the screen that says: “Sorry, your DVR has exceeded its space limit. Consider erasing some of the “Hannah Montana” episodes from last summer.”

And so, in an effort to abate this fear, I am having a DVR purge. Buh-bye, “America’s Next Top Model”. So long, “Living Single”. Am I worried the girls will complain I erased their shows? Not in the least. Like I said, I’m fairly confident that no one else knows what’s on there anyway. Well, maybe one person–but she doesn’t have to worry: I’m sure there will be 6 more “America’s Next Top Model” episodes on there by the weekend. And the Super Bowl (and new “Glee”) is only two weeks away.

The “New” Disney

Posted by Danny

Trip to Disney December 27, 2010

We are a Disney family – my parents are Disney fans and my in-laws are Disney fans.  Lisa was the worst however, dedicated to the mouse in a deep fanatical sort of way.  Her absence in planning was painfully obvious this year.

On park hours

With Lisa:  A spreadsheet with crowd level predictions; at the door when the park gates open; a strategic plan for “fast passing” the most popular attractions.

Without Lisa:  Stroll into the park at 10; hope you get to ride something.

On eating

With Lisa:  The dining plan purchased along with our tickets; reservations for almost all of our meals; eating at off times from the crowd so we could maximize our ride times while they all stood in line for food.

Without Lisa:  Pretzels, soda and ice cream at a rolling cart at noon.

On attractions

With Lisa:  A spreadsheet with parade times and shows; reserved front row seats for all; autograph books for character signatures; Princess breakfast for our gaggle of girls; tour of the park that climaxes with a personal meeting with Tinker Bell and Peter Pan.

Without Lisa:  Saw the top of parade floats behind the massive crowd; Princesses?  Are there Princesses at Disney?

On transportation

With Lisa:  A short boat or monorail ride to the park.

Without Lisa:  Drive the family van from the hotel, wait in line, walk two miles to the park and pay $10.

On shopping

With Lisa:  Each child has time to shop alone with mom to pick out the perfect souvenir to remember our trip; a Christmas ornament for posterity.

Without Lisa:  No shopping.

The wonderful thing about our family is that even without the organization, even without seeing a half of the attractions, even without going into one Disney World store, we still had an incredible time!

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