We did make a quick stop at the ice cream palace before breakfast, mostly on the general principle that we never have the opportunity to eat ice cream for breakfast at home. This was the third time in the week that we did that; I'm sure it played holy havoc with our digestive systems, but that was a price that I was willing to pay. I think I was intelligent enough to monitor portion sizes, so the kids only had a small scoop, but it was significantly more ice cream than they usually have.
After breakfast, The Boy had a moment of true revolution. We were planning on heading to Hollywood Studios, formerly known as MGM Studios, in DisneyWorld. He threw a legitimate fit at that point, saying, "Daddy, I don't want to go to DisneyWorld. I want to stay here and play!" We tried to convince him, to no avail. Now, in our defense, The Boy will frequently choose to do nothing and to stay home, if given the opportunity. He's very much a creature of momentum: if he's at rest, he'll stay at rest, and if he's in motion, he wants to stay in motion. There's a difference in a fit caused by the desire to maintain momentum; this wasn't it. He really, authentically was parked out and wanted to explore the resort and play. It was a good thing we did. Diego was at the resort for pictures right after breakfast, which was a treat. Diego was graceful enough to be happy and surprised that The Boy had Diego shoes on his feet, and The Boy was delighted with the interaction. The characters were all truly wonderful to see, and they were very, very patient with The Boy and Little Bear. They allowed him to be a small child and didn't rush him into a picture for the next child. That little bit of time allowed my small children to become comfortable with the large, oversize character figures. Mickey and Minnie on Monday were incredible, and the Mary Poppins lady actually talked with the kids and told little stories about Jane and Michael Banks. Diego on Tuesday was similarly wonderful. I suppose Dora might have been more enthusiastically received, but Diego is still pretty cool.
After Diego, we had a special treat: the football players from the Florida State and Notre Dame teams came to the resort and played with the kids. I'm pleased to report that the players were very patient, kind, and gentle with my children, and they all tried their best to engage the boys in fun activities all morning! The Boy played blocks with three of the men for about 20 minutes, and he culminated the activity by spelling (from a nearby poster) "Go Noles" for them!
They were really entertained by that, and The Boy became the momentary focus of positive attention by about fifteen or twenty of the players. The remainder of the morning was spent running around (literally) the resort, exploring the miniature golf course and palling around with the football players. We did swim for a little while, and returned to the villa for a nap.
The pool deserves some special mention. The resort brings handicapped accessibility to an entirely new level. The pool does not get deeper than 4 feet, and it has a large zero-entry section. The water starts at no depth and gradually increases to the aforementioned 4 feet. They actually have PVC wheelchairs available poolside, that the more involved students can use to swim! They also have a large spray park, although that was off on Tuesday.
After the nap, everyone was a little more rested and a little more ready to play. Grandma and Grandpa were again generous with their time and took care of The Baby, while The Wife and I took the boys to Hollywood Studios. We had a wonderful time, but it is interesting to remember that, with small children, you really don't get to do very much at parks like this. Between the crowds and the travel time, kids just get exhausted quickly. There's an awful lot of stimulation for them, and all of the walking around and standing in line and excitement wears them out quickly.
Tuesday night, we walked through Hollywood Studios to get to our focus for the night: Toy Story Mania! Waiting for this ride, you hang out in Andy's Room: a huge, huge child's room with lots of people-sized toys. You get to see Andy's room from the perspective of Buzz and Woody! The ride is a 3D ride, and you have a gun that you use to shoot darts at balloons, throw eggs at targets, that sort of thing. Little Bear enjoyed the ride, but was kind of indifferent about the game aspect. The Boy loved it, and he did a fairly decent job of shooting things!
After the ride, we walked over to the Sci-Fi Drive-In Theater Restaurant. It's a really cool restaurant that has tables shaped like cars, with decor like an outdoor theater and an oversized screen playing 1950's cartoons, advertisements, and trailers for drive-in movies.
We had normal kid's food, I had a pretty decent burger, and The Wife had a chicken dish. Afterwards, we went back to the Toy Story Mania ride, then packed the kids into the car and went home. They were done.
Special note: the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is unbelievable to see. Click the link. It is literally millions and millions of Christmas lights, covering every single inch of space of buildings on an entire city block. The boys liked it as much as we did.
We got home, put the boys to bed, and packed our bags. Our flight required us to leave the resort at around 7 AM. I'm the designated packer of the family, as a misspent youth playing too much Tetris as well as my years as a high school marching band director (learning how to compress lots of kids and instruments into small places and move them to other places) prepared me for that.