Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vacation Memories #6: Swimming with My Little Fish

We planned to swim on Thursday afternoon before our dinner at the Rainforest Café that night. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: California Adventure is hot. After we stood in a sixty minute line to ride Toy Story Midway Mania (worth it but hard on Derrick’s back since Penelope refused to stand for any of it), we were all pretty ready for some time in the water. (Toy Story Mania was much more fun than last time I rode it in 2010, by the way. Last time, Penelope sat on my lap and insisted on shooting the gun, even though she didn’t have the slightest clue what it did. This time, Penelope sat beside me, and I got to shoot for myself. I was so proud of my score, too, until I heard Derrick’s and Grayson’s scores.)







I wish Penelope had been tall enough to ride Grizzly River because I know she would have enjoyed it. Nobody else even wanted to ride, however, so we bribed her with cotton candy, which kept her happy to wait with them.  I was so hot and tired before we rode, and I wasn’t even that excited about riding. But somehow, when we got off the ride, I was in the best mood ever and thought, This is the most wonderful amusement park! That happens to me every time I get off that ride. I can’t really explain it, but the ride leaves me with a giddy feeling of euphoria and excitement about the future. I always imagine going with older kids someday, staying in the Grand Californian, and jumping onto that ride first thing every day.  Maybe it's so much fun because you always get to talk to other people on the raft.  As Grayson put it last year, "I love this ride because every time you go, you make a new friend."  Of course, on that particular trip, one of the women riding with us kind of rolled her eyes at him, and I wanted to punch her in the face.  Nothing like that happened this time, though.  We did, in fact, make new friends, and I saw two of them again the next day outside Pirates of the Caribbean.

Anyway, after that we all headed back to the pool. I’d been very excited about trying out the Disneyland Hotel’s new pool. And it did not disappoint me at all. I only wish that I’d accompanied Derrick and Grayson to the slide area because apparently there was a little slide for Penelope that I didn’t know about.

 Hot, tired, and excited to swim, I didn’t bring my camera down to the pool area. I’ll do that tomorrow, I thought. (But I didn’t, of course, though I cursed myself for it later when I saw how awesome the kids looked in their matching yellow suits with the gorgeous pool area behind them!) I took Penelope into the main pool with me because I wanted to swim myself. She held onto me tightly even though I had her strapped into a little life jacket. Finally, though, I convinced her to hold onto my shoulders while I swam around the pool. (That’s how Merry and I used to play Pool Taxi when she was little.) 

Later we got into the hot tub with Aunt Merry. Penelope told me, “Thanks for my swimming lesson.” She really liked the hot tub (because Anaheim is pretty cool in the evenings).

Merry and I meanwhile were horrified by the prepubescent girls chattily sharing their sexual exploits. When Merry first mentioned them while I was still in the pool, I thought she was exaggerating or mistaken about their ages. But no. Speculating that they were in sixth grade seems excessively generous. They could not possibly have been older than eleven, and two of them looked markedly younger, more like nine or ten for sure. Meanwhile, their conversation would not possibly have gotten an R rating, even if they had Harvey Weinstein in their corner. Every word was NC-17. At first, I was really disturbed. I wanted to yell, “Your obviously new ultra-ridgey permanent teeth are huge. I’m pretty sure they’re all that fits in your mouth right now!” Then I remembered back when I was in sixth grade and got slightly less disturbed. (We were pretty good talkers, too.) 


 But it still seemed odd that they so brazenly and graphically discussed their sex lives around adults. I’m hoping that they weren’t actually doing all the stuff they said, but I guess maybe ten-year-olds mature more quickly in California. Maybe there’s something in the water. (Certainly there was something in the water in that hot tub. It totally bleached my mom’s new suit after just a couple of quick visits.) Merry was like, “It’s your job to make sure that’s not Penelope.” 



Speaking of Penelope, she watched one of these young sexperts climb out of the hot tub and lie down flat on the concrete with her toes touching the edge of the hot tub. After the girl left, Penelope told me wisely, “Now it is time for my first pool lesson.” Then she got out of the water and tried to lie down flat but found it more difficult than she had imagined. She was constantly wanting to show off her “pool tricks” and “pool lessons” most of which were pretty amusing if anticlimactic. 



The next day, we all split up not long after lunch. Derrick, Grayson, Merry, and I rode the Matterhorn while Grandma and Grandpa took Nellie on the carousel, posed for a picture with Snow White, and then went for ice cream. We all met up back at the hotel to take a swim. 




Because Grayson asked, the Monorail conductor opened a special compartment in the tail of the Monorail just for the four of us. So we had a fun ride back to Downtown Disney. We even stopped to pose for pictures with a parrot outside the Rainforest Café. 

Not long after we got back to the room, Grandma and Grandpa showed up pushing Nellie in the stroller. Pinkie was draped over the front of the stroller like a curtain to block out the sun. 

Wheeling her in, Mom peeked into the stroller and said, “Aww! She’s asleep!”

But when I peeked into the stroller to confirm this, Nellie opened her eyes, smiled sleepily and said, “I got my hand stamped!”

I asked, “Are you ready to go swimming?” and she yelled, “Yeah!” and then added mysteriously, “I can’t wait to babysit!”

“To babysit?!” I exclaimed in confusion.

She explained, “When I’m older,” and then confided with joy, “I got ice cream.”  Later in the pool, she revealed that it had been orange sherbet with vanilla.

That day, I had her wear her yellow polka dot bikini, and she was a little braver about leaving some water between us. She liked pretending to be a little fish, hence this exchange I remembered and posted on facebook when we got back to the room: 

Nellie (in the pool): I'm a little fish.
Me: Come here, little fish.
Nellie (indignantly as I accidentally let water get in her mouth): Um, little fishes can't breathe under water yet! (Later) I'm a happy, little orange clownfish swimming in the Nile!
7:15 pm



Meanwhile, Merry had been calling Derrick “the daddy sea horse” the whole trip. He’s extremely nurturing, and, of course, the male sea horse gives birth to the children and cares for the young. While she was watching the kids hang on Derrick in the pool, she told me with a knowing grin, “See? I told you! He is the daddy sea horse!”





Vacation Memories #5: Flying with Dumbo and Sneaking on Star Tours

Last year’s marathon fireworks (when I had to power walk during the entire fireworks display because I didn’t know where to stop) made a definite impression.  I left the park with a runner’s high, having seen the fireworks better (and at greater speed) than ever before.   I didn’t see how it was possible to top that.  Monday night, we walked off A Small World just as the fireworks started, so we stopped to watch.  They projected thematic images—Cinderella, Pinocchio, Mary Poppins—onto It’s a Small World as the fireworks went off.  And we had never seen that before, so it was novel and cool, but not as great as last year’s fireworks.
 
Tuesday night, however, something magical happened.  Merry, Derrick, the kids, and I had just had an impromptu dinner at the newly remodeled Carnation Café on Mainstreet.  We got to wait for a table in the new indoor area, and then we ate outside where Derrick and I made the inspired decision to order the cherry chocolate coke—a liquefied concoction that must be the best drink on the planet.  (I’ll sing its praises more later.)

Our fastpass window for Space Mountain opened at 10:30, and the last Monorail back to the hotel was scheduled to leave at 11:30.   So after we ate, we headed over to Tomorrowland to take a quick ride on the Astro-Orbitor.  After that, we planned to kill time in the Star Trader.  Well purely by luck, we happened to be in the air during the fireworks. 

As we prepared to board the rockets, the cast member operating the ride told us, “Folks, you just so you know, you will be flying at the same time as Dumbo.”

Sure enough, when we were up in the air, we could clearly see Dumbo flying to and from the castle as fireworks exploded in the air above.  You can bet I would have gotten a picture if I hadn’t been flying with Penelope.  Instead of trying for the shot, I kept my arms around her and repeatedly tried to get her to look in the right direction to see Dumbo.  Finally, she decided, “Ugh!  This is making me dizzy!”  It was a little dizzying trying to keep an eye on Dumbo as we whizzed around and around.  But it was so worth it.

Since we’ve been home, Penelope has several times named “the one where you fly in the little rocket ships” as one of her favorite rides.  Plus being up in the air during the fireworks brought back incredibly pleasant memories for me.  When I was eleven, my cousin Dan and I rode the Skycar to Tomorrowland, then whizzed around in the Astro-Jets during the fireworks in the cool, refreshing night air.  That’s one of the best ways to watch the fireworks since you’re in the air yourself.

After our ride ended, we stepped back behind the line area and watched the rest of the fireworks.  Just as they ended, Grayson noticed that the stand-by time for Star Tours was only fifteen minutes.  Parking the stroller like maniacs, we rushed into the line and were immediately followed by a human flood that must have doubled or tripled the wait time within seconds.  But just by dumb luck, we managed to all but walk onto Star Tours for a second time, a deliciously delightful surprise.









Oh, and when we finally did ride Space Mountain, Penelope insisted on walking through the line, not being carried.  Since we were in the Fastpass Return line, we had an awful lot of ground to cover fast, but she started actually running forward to keep Derrick from picking her up.  Merry was kind of nervous trying to keep up with her.  


Once we boarded, Grayson (who has always been too scared to ride Space Mountain but agreed to go this time because Penelope and Nellie were going) loved it and declared it his new favorite ride.  He said he’d rather ride it again than swim in the pool (which is never something I’d thought I’d hear from Grayson “The Human Fish” Rayburn).  Penelope, meanwhile, held my hand over her face for the duration of the ride.  Right after we got off, she assured Grayson that she’d loved it, but later in the hotel room she confessed to Grandma that actually she had not cared for it at all.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Vacation Memories #4: Not Losing Penelope on Thunder Mountain

 Probably my favorite times throughout the vacation were when we broke into groups in the evening.  (Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying I don’t enjoy hanging out with anyone in my family.  It’s just easier to do things with four or five instead of seven.)  I’m also a night person, so this may be why the Disney nights were extra magical for me.

My dad broke his toe last year, and Tuesday afternoon, while we were having a snack at the Hungry Bear, somebody stepped on his sore toe.  Then, just minutes later at the Mad Hatter, somebody ran over his foot with her stroller.  So at that point, he was pretty much ready to go back to the hotel for the day.  Mom was also much more tired than she wanted to be because of her blood pressure medicine (something she was not happy about).  So after we picked up five fastpasses for Space Mountain at 10:30, Mom and Dad went off to watch a parade and head back to the hotel, and the other five of us headed over to Big Thunder Mountain to wait in the standby line for forty minutes.
This was Penelope’s first ever roller coaster.  She had promised to ride with me on our talks leading up to vacation and took that promise very seriously.  She refused even to consider riding with anyone else.  So at first, Merry was going to ride alone, but after much talking in line, we decided that Merry and I could probably fit Nellie between us. 

Thank goodness that’s what we did because Big Thunder Mountain is one wild ride, and having an adult on either side of Penelope really helped to keep her in the car.  At one point, though, I couldn’t keep from falling to my left.  Well, leaning into Merry would have been no big deal, but I felt like I was totally squishing Penelope.  I worried her eyes would pop out of her head or something (although she wasn’t complaining and seemed to prefer being squushed).  So from then on out, I pointedly refused to fall onto Penelope.  Bracing my legs like that actually pulled a muscle I guess I must never use.  (I noticed the strain the next day and couldn’t figure out what was causing it at first.)  I couldn’t use my arms because I had my camera in one hand.  The other hand spent most of its time either on Penelope’s body or over her eyes.  (At moments when she got too scared, she’d throw my hand over her face and hold it there).

Penelope was pretty scared on the ride, but, of course, it was her first time, and she had no idea what to expect.  At one point, when we’d just come out of the squishing her section and we were traveling slowly upward, I heard Merry yelp, “What are you doing?” and turned to see that Penelope was trying to stand up saying, “I want to get off,” or something.  She had almost wormed one of her legs out, when Merry was like, “No, you need to sit down.”  In retrospect, I don’t think Penelope was trying to escape.  I think she thought the ride was over and was trying to figure out her exit strategy.

Earlier, we’d had a similar incident on Winnie the Pooh.  Up till that point, Penelope had ridden next to me and only me, and as we neared the end of every ride, I would lean over and give her instructions about how to exit.  But on Pooh, Merry rode with us, and Penelope accidentally sat on the other side of her.  So when the ride was ending, it didn’t occur to me to give Penelope instructions until I heard her yelling and looking pained.  “What’s wrong?” I asked, trying to understand her.  “What do you want to do?”

She yelled back frantically, “What do I do?  Where do I go?” as if the world would explode if she made the wrong choice.

Anyway, we finished Thunder Mountain without me squishing Penelope again or her climbing out of the ride.  To our huge astonishment, Penelope said, “That was fun.  I will ride it again,” and she agreed to go on Space Mountain later that night.

I’m not sure if she really enjoyed it, or if she just wanted to please me, but both Merry and I thought she was extraordinarily brave.  After that, we headed over to Adventureland and rode the Jungle Cruise.  Penelope cracked me up on that one.  From the time that she spotted another boat heading in the opposite direction, she began asking periodically, “Are we going the right way?”  Another favorite question:  “Is this part of the ride?”  All of the dangers made her very nervous, and she didn’t seem to trust the driver.

After that, Merry broke off to call Matt, and the four of us headed into the Tikki Room where Penelope loved singing along.  

Vacation Memories #3: Grayson's Hat


When we bought our long-awaited Splash Mountain photo, I also grabbed a dry shirt for Penelope, and Penelope declared, “I’m thinking about getting something, too.”  As it turned out, she had her eye on the pack of rainbow, mouse-ear suckers.  Oddly enough, these were also a part of our typical post Splash Mountain shopping experience because Grayson always used to get them. 

After I changed Penelope’s clothes, she was completely dry again, but my feet weren’t so lucky.  We rode the Haunted Mansion next, and I tried to sunbathe my shoes as much as possible.  Unfortunately, after the ride, my feet were still quite wet. 

Maybe they’ll dry out some more in the Pirates’ line, I thought.  But Pirates of the Caribbean had temporarily broken down, so instead we all headed over to Pieces of Eight to search for a pair of dry socks.

Well, Pieces of Eight didn’t have any socks, but they did have lots of desirable pirate paraphernalia.  After trying on a cute pink cap that was way too big, Penelope eventually picked out some pirate princess ears.  I also showed her the red and brown version of the hat, but she declared dismissively, “Those are for boys.”  ­




 Meanwhile, Grayson found the coolest hat in the world.  (Coincidentally, Merry picked out the same hat for Matt.)  It was a black fedora featuring a ring of silver skull and crossbones studs, a subtle but supremely piratey touch.  After that, he picked out a pirate necklace.  Of course, Nellie wanted a necklace, too, but she ended up getting a pink pirate pin for her lanyard instead.  Meanwhile, I picked out a pirate shirt and then followed a tip from one of the cast members who told me that they did sell socks in the nearby Le Bat en Rouge. 
My wooly Jack Skellington knee socks did not look nearly as awesome on me as Gray’s hat did on him.  When he put the hat on, he looked ready to join the Rat Pack or go on tour as a rock star.  It was the coolest hat in the world and made him even more photogenic.  Every time I looked at him in it, I wanted to take his picture.  He loved the way he looked, too, and at that point became much more willing to pose for pictures.

After we finished our prolonged shopping spree, Pirates was back up again, and Grayson turned heads in the line by carrying Penelope while wearing his new rock star hat.  Derrick took great pride in the way every girl around seemed to be smiling over at Grayson. 

“He's getting lots of looks now. What's cooler than a nine-year-old in a fedora holding his baby sister?”

Clearly the answer is nothing.  

Vacation Memories #2: Our New Splash Mountain Picture

 I remember when Splash Mountain was new. Even though I liked it, my mom and my sister weren’t fans.  Mom pointed out that the boat knocks around a lot, which isn’t exactly easy on the knees.  And Merry still finds the drop unsettling.  So basically, I always thought it was a bit overrated and the least engaging of all the mountains—until I went to Disneyland with Grayson.

Splash Mountain is Gray’s favorite ride, and one trip to Disneyland with him was all it took to make it one of my favorites, too.  (And really, it ought to be considering how much I loved the log ride at Knott’s Berry Farm when I was little.)  We have a great photo of the three of us taking the plunge in a souvenir Splash Mountain frame.  The frame has now seen better days.  Brer Rabbit (who lunges out in plastic molding) has lost so many body parts because toddler Penelope fell in love with the picture, and we all know what toddler love is like. 
 
Well, this time around, Penelope was over forty inches (though, sadly, just shy of the 42 necessary for the Matterhorn and Grizzly River).  For months, we had looked forward to the Disneyland trip, often discussing on our walks that she would be big enough to ride almost everything—even Splash Mountain, Bubby’s favorite ride.  A thrill-seeker and devotee of the cult of Grayson, Penelope could not wait to ride.  As usual, we made getting a Splash Mountain Fastpass our priority when we entered Disneyland for our first full day in the park on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, nobody wanted to ride but the four of us.  I got very nervous when Grandma and Aunt Merry kept talking about how scary it was, how big the drop was, how much it bumped you.  It was Penelope’s first thrill ride.  She’d been looking forward to riding and to having a new family Splash Mountain picture that included her.  I tried to distract her when they were talking up the scare factor.

Penelope, though, is very brave.  But once we were on the ride, I did get a little scared when the first drop (near the beginning) took us both by surprise and sent Penelope crashing to one side.  (I hope she doesn’t fall out! I thought in a moment of panic.)  Quickly adjusting my riding strategy, I kept both hands on her for the duration of the ride, squeezing especially tight on the big drop at the end.

Because I was so focused on her, though, I managed to let my socks get totally soaked, something I’m ordinarily wary enough to avoid.  Penelope, too, was entirely drenched.  We had to buy her a new shirt and change her into her spare skirt and panties after the ride in the Hungry Bear Restroom.  Meanwhile, I had packed dry socks for Penelope (who didn’t need them since she was sockless in Crocs), but none for me.  I knew that unless my feet dried out fast, I’d need a new pair, but the picture turned out perfectly, and that was what mattered for the moment.

And, as an added bonus, Penelope loved the ride and found the drop very exciting (once she recovered from the shock)!  Plus, while we were on the ride, Grandma held my camera.  Obviously, they had a little adventure, too, since I later discovered these exciting shots:





Sunday, July 29, 2012

Less Amusing Tour of the Disneyland Hotel 2 Bedroom Suite

Much Funnier Tour of Two Bedroom Suite

Vacation Memories #1: Our Two-Bedroom Suite at the Disneyland Hotel

When planning our vacation, I’d read lots of reviews of the Disneyland Hotel on various travel sites. I cannot stress how often people complained about being put in the Frontier Tower. According to these reviewers, the walk to the park from the Frontier Tower was long and grueling. The Adventure Tower was closest to the Monorail. If that was unavailable, the Fantasy Tower was the next best choice. Another common complaint: room preferences weren’t available on check-in. Asking for two queens and getting a king (for example) ruined people’s whole vacation.
 
Well, let me just say now, those people are crazy.  Crazy. 

We got to the hotel about 4:30.  Since I’ve never stayed at the Disneyland Hotel before (but always wanted to), I had no idea what to expect.  Last year at the Grand Californian, the staff seemed to know our names the minute we stepped out of the car.  With efficiency that was frankly a bit dizzying, they removed us and all our belongings from our car and beamed us up to our room using technology borrowed from Star Trek. 

The Disneyland Hotel was definitely not the same kind of well-oiled reception machine, but we still found a bellman to help us with our bags and valet park the car fairly quickly.  (I’ve read that you can’t get these services at the Disneyland Hotel, but that is a flat out lie.  You just have to ask someone.  It’s not automatic and required like at the Grand, but it’s still very easy and definitely the way to go.) 
 
Once inside the lobby (located in the Fantasy Tower), we did have a bit of a wait while Dad and Derrick were at the desk.  To me the delay seemed ominous, but in the meantime, I fulfilled my dream of taking pictures of us sitting in the tea cups in the waiting area (though the kids were not in the mood to pose).  As it turned out, our room preferences were not available, nor was our request for the Adventure Tower.  The hotel was sold out, so we were in a two-bedroom suite in the Frontier Tower.  The suite had two kings (instead of four queens), a queen sofa sleeper, and a day bed.  They also said they’d send up a rollaway (but that turned out not to be necessary.)

Now I must confess something.  Ever since I’d put in my fervent request for the Adventure Tower, I’d been secretly worried that I should have picked the Frontier Tower instead.  Yes, that would be furthest from the Monorail, but wouldn’t it also give us the best view of the resort complex and force us to walk through the hotel grounds (and thereby, see them)?  So a part of me was glad when we ended up in the Frontier Tower—especially once we got there and I experienced firsthand this terrible death march countless guests had complained about at length.  Seriously?

 It cannot take more than two minutes (tops) to walk from the Frontier Tower to the Adventure Tower.  And that walk is around the pool area, surrounded by beautiful flowers (and even a geyser), and it’s Anaheim, California, so it’s like 70 degrees in the shade.  What do people expect?  Now I will say that when you’re staying at a Disneyland resort hotel, you do need to bring your own stroller.  (We learned that the hard way staying at the Grand—itself twice the size of Rhode Island—last year.)  But assuming you are able-bodied, this walk is short, pleasant, and certainly not torturous.  In fact, it’s like a perk.  It’s not like you have to walk five miles uphill through the desert.  I cannot believe the things people complain about!

The lobby of the Frontier Tower is also pretty great.  There’s an elaborate scale model of Thunder Mountain in a glass case that the kids absolutely loved.  It was pretty cool.  Penelope always wanted to linger for a long look at it, and Grayson kept joking, “And see?  There’s Sarah taking a picture.”



And satisfaction doesn’t even begin to do justice to what we all felt when we saw the suite.  In Penelope’s words, “Wow!  My dream came true!”  We had a two-bedroom suite on the fourth floor which was pretty awesome.  It was all the way at the end of the hall.  At first we were confused because it was one door for the entire room.  You opened up that door and found yourself in a small vestibule with another door on either side.  To the right was Mom and Dad’s bedroom.  They got the colors I wanted—blue and gold carpeting, a king bed with a fireworks headboard, and a couch that converted to a day bed where Merry slept.  You could see the top of the Matterhorn from their window.  Plus—this is awesome!—they had a balcony.

That was the best surprise to me.  I’d read that when they renovated the Disneyland Hotel (a huge multi-year job that was just completed), they’d taken out the balconies, so I’m assuming we had balconies because we were in a two-bedroom suite.    The middle part of the suite was a very spacious living room with a kitchenette and half bath.  That’s where the kids slept, on the queen sleeper sofa that we just left pulled out.  They had a balcony, too.  Mom and Dad watched the fireworks from that balcony one night.  You could see the other two towers of the Disneyland Hotel, the Grand Californian, and the Paradise Pier from there.  It was pretty great.  (I was also able to see that the walk from the Paradise Pier isn’t all that bad—good for future reference.)


Then in our bedroom (done in the brown carpeting), we had a window that overlooked the cool new Monorail Slide part of the pool.  (Grayson actually got to slide there, and I regret now not taking Penelope because Derrick said there was a little slide, too, which I didn’t realize.)  The artwork was pretty great—a picture of the Mark Twain, a photograph of Walt Disney standing by the castle.  All three rooms had their own flat screen TV, but we never watched TV (though Mom, Dad, and Merry may have).




Penelope flipped over the beds.  The headboards (now standard in every room since the renovation) feature illuminated fireworks.  When you first flip the switch, they twinkle as “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” plays.  Then the music ends, and the fireworks remain lit as a night light.  Penelope loved to turn on the music and climb into the bed to “go to seep” at random moments.  When she first saw the headboard in action, she exclaimed dramatically, “Happy Birthday, Grandpa! [She says his name more like, “Beeyampaw!”] Wow! I'm living in a dream! Look at that firework sky! The night light is good!”)

Our bathroom was also very large and full of Disney touches.  Overall, I’d say that the Grand Californian has more attentive service (but sometimes that can be a little overwhelming), but the Disneyland Hotel definitely has far roomier rooms (not that you really need a spacious room at Disneyland).

Merry had flown into John Wayne Airport at just about the time we arrived at the hotel, so while we waited in the room for her to take the Magical Express to the hotel, we took lots of video of arriving. 

Honestly, the room so far exceeded my expectations that I think I could have hung around the room or the hotel grounds all week without going into the park and still had an awesome vacation. 

In some ways, I preferred the Disneyland Hotel to the Grand Californian.  It is nice to begin every day by walking through a beautiful resort complex and then through Downtown Disney.  Most days, we did take the Monorail into the park, but a couple of times we weren’t able to and had to walk.  Since last year’s stay at the Grand taught us to bring our own stroller, walking in was not an inconvenience at all.

Full disclosure, two minor negatives:  The hotel proudly states that it has free wifi.  It neglects to mention that this free wifi doesn’t actually work.  The signal strength is beyond weak, and it cuts out constantly.  That was a minor annoyance that barely registered for me, but my sister had some work to do online, so she found it more of a pain.  Also, the shower was kind of like a thrill ride with no line.  It was like we really were in frontier times.  You had about an eighty-five percent chance of being boiled like a lobster, and a ten percent chance of getting hypothermia.  Only the most skilled showerer could successfully bring forth the five-percent of temperate water.  But honestly, once you found the sweet spot on the faucet, the shower experience was perfectly comfortable.






As you may have noticed, those complaints are so ridiculously minor that they don’t even matter.  Anybody who complains about the Disneyland Hotel or the Grand Californian must be the sultan of Brunei and have grown accustomed to being treated accordingly.  Our suite was simply awesome and wonderful by any standards.  I’d go back today if you asked me.