Saturday, June 21, 2014

Day 3 - June 9th - Typhoon Lagoon and Hoop De Doo Review

This was our non-park day, but true to form, I’d still made….you know…. “plans.”

We got to sleep a little longer that morning because rope drop at a water park isn’t the same as rope drop at MK or EPCOT. Sadly...the wait for the Typhoon Lagoon bus was way, way too LONG. I admit it...I began to stress out. A lot. I started babbling about how we should have taken a cab...and how we wouldn’t be there at rope drop. I don’t think anyone in my family specifically told me to shut up but I suspect they were thinking it. To my credit...I realized I was going a little psycho and admitted (out loud to my loved ones) that I knew I was being a bit crazy. But...I really wanted to be there when Typhoon Lagoon opened. I’d read how crowded the water parks could be and we were all excited to swim at the shark reef.

Of course, it was all fine. I’d sprung for the $50 reserved umbrella and chairs (you also get 4 towels and a locker, which is nice but less necessary than you might at first expect - we didn’t even use the locker and sort of dried our faces at the end of the morning with our towels *shrug*).

Before I get into more details - if you’ve never been to Typhoon Lagoon during a Disney trip, I highly recommend that you make time during your next visit. It was never a big thing I wanted to do (after all, I tend to be focused on rides and enjoying the resort) and I grew up going to Schlitterbahn in Texas. I figured I knew water parks. The only reason we went this time was because we had free tickets from our travel agent.

Thank goodness for that freebie because I learned that a Disney water park is nothing like a typical water park. The theming at these parks is like all of Disney’s theming - incredible. Even walking in, we felt like we were suddenly on an island in the middle of the ocean. You know how at regular water parks you can see the structures supporting the slides? It’s not like that at all at Typhoon Lagoon. We had so much fun noticing the details waiting in lines here - just like we did at the parks. (Although thankfully the lines weren’t much of an issue.) I didn't get many great pictures but to get a feel for some of the cool details like a tractor that the “typhoon” deposited on a roof and a surfboard through a tree, you should really look at some of the pictures on this site: There’s a great written description of the Typhoon Lagoon details on the Allears site: .

A few words of wisdom about Typhoon Lagoon:

- Most important tip: We went to the Shark Reef first and didn’t have a wait (apparently later in the day you might have to wait for quite a while to swim across the reef), but you might notice on the discussion boards that there is quite a bit of talk about how the stuff they use to clean the masks stings the skin on some people. I was moderately concerned about that. My son and I have very sensitive skin and I’d warned him and my husband that might be a small issue. I debated about whether I should take snorkeling equipment, at least for him, but ultimately chose not to do that. That was the wrong choice. The stinging was a big issue, not a small one. We were both in a lot of discomfort as soon as we put the masks on. I’m 43 and decided to tough it out. I enjoyed seeing the sharks way below me and a group of Dory fish swam right under me where I felt as if I could touch them. Dennis, on the other hand, said - no way, Jose - and chose to forgo the swim so he could remove the mask. We both continued to feel the stinging for a number of hours after the swim (and he only had his mask on for a few minutes). It certainly wasn’t bad enough to ruin our fun and we never got red marks but whatever they use on those things was very painful for us. If you think your kiddo might react in a similar way, toss in a mask and snorkel for them. It’s worth it.
- I picked Monday as our Typhoon Lagoon day because Josh (EasyWDW) had only one park as green that day. Since the “regular” WDW parks were predicted to be more busy on Monday, I figured this would be as good a day as any to use our free water park tickets. It was great. I’ve heard the water parks are sometimes quickly overrun with people and it certainly became more busy later in the morning, but I always saw plenty of empty chairs. Maybe the reserved umbrella wasn’t as critical as I first assumed, but it was still nice to have that spot and we felt very safe just leaving our stuff there all morning.
- I sort of wish I hadn’t planned Hoop de Doo Review on the same day as the water park because I think we all would have enjoyed staying at Typhoon Lagoon all day long.
- I was pleasantly surprised to run into PhotoPass photographers at the water park! There was a photopass photographer as we entered the park and we got a magic Sebastian shot.

- There were also photographers at the bottom of the Crush’n Gusher.

- A lifeguard had to jump in to help a kid in the wave pool at one point and it took FOREVER for the waves to start again. seems like it must have been 45 minutes. Maybe that was a coincidence but I don’t think it was - so if someone gets rescued (the kid was fine, just needed some help) and the wave machine is turned off, you might as well go do something else if the waves are fun for you because it will be a while for the waves to start again.

- Although plenty of people posted that Gangplank Falls (the ride where you can get your whole family in a big raft) was no big deal, I’m very glad we did it. It was FUN to ride in a raft together. I handed my husband our waterproof camera and he snapped a few fun pictures during the ride.

My daughter and husband rode more slides than Dennis and I did, primarily because Dennis really loved the wave pool and the lazy river. I mean...he REALLY loved those two things. He did a few slides with us but wanted to spend most of his time with the waves or in an inner tube.

As you can tell, I’m posting a few of the crummy pictures I got with the waterproof camera because these are, by far, the most expensive pictures of the entire trip when you consider the per-print cost of buying the camera and having old-style film developed. (Not to mention the number of wasted pictures because I’m so spoiled now with seeing pictures on a screen before I get the shot. That’s not exactly an option with a water camera.)

Here’s David with the two kids in the wave pool.

All four of us ended up on the lazy river (girls at one time and boys at another) and I’m actually surprised how relaxed I was after that loop. The final stress I was carrying around about schedules and late buses, and getting things done finally melted away. It was honestly better than a muscle relaxer….ahhhhh…...and a lot of that peace stayed with me for the rest of the trip! You can see my fancy Magic Band (created by Kathryn, of course) as I hold onto her inner tube so we didn't get separated during the lazy river float.

We would have enjoyed more time at Typhoon Lagoon but we needed to get some rest and get ready for dinner at Hoop De Doo Review. We went home and all Recks without the first name Jennifer went to sleep while I did laundry. (So although “we all" needed rest, I opted for the Energizer-Bunny-Mom approach while the other three napped.) Our photopass pictures were already up and I had fun looking at the pictures, drinking Diet Coke, reading Freakonomics and doing laundry all by myself. (It’s funny how your idea of fun shifts in your 40s…)

I was in charge of getting my family out of bed and heading to the bus. I also made sure my husband put on his Anniversary Button - we wore these babies every day, all the time, unless we were in our swim suits. It’s a fun thing to be told “happy anniversary” all day long and we even got a couple of phone calls from Mickey and Minnie, singing happy anniversary to us during the week.

My husband made sure my son put on a nicer shirt for dinner and my daughter, as a 15 year old young woman, definitely looked nice for dinner!

Back to waking up the family. My insistence upon limiting their naps to just an hour or so annoyed some (possibly all) of my family members because it was hours before our dinner reservation. Certain individuals (understandably) wanted more sleep. But I wanted to take the bus to MK so we could ride the boat to Fort Wilderness and I also wanted to have time to enjoy the area. I’m glad we did it that way. The boat ride to FW is lovely and it puts you right next to Pioneer Hall. It was so pretty, quite breezy, and even a little cooler over there...very, very calming. We saw the ponies and went into the horse stables to admire the huge horses.
Huge horses...


Then I gave my son $20 for the arcade and he played some games (my daughter joined him after about 15 minutes) while my husband and I had a drink at Crockett’s Tavern. After finishing our drinks, we went to get the kids and David re-lived his youth as he played Galaga.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a negative comment about HDDR. I’m sure they’re out there somewhere but considering how many negative comments you can find about EVERYTHING ELSE at Disney on the forums - I had pretty high expectations for HDDR and I was NOT disappointed. It was such a funny and fun show. Our waiter told the corniest jokes on the planet and we had beer and fried chicken before bed. Gotta love it!

They take your picture before the meal and I respected the fact that, although they brought the printouts into dinner and gave you the option to buy them, they also said "We see you have Memory Maker so you will have access to these online and don't need to buy them if you just want to have access that way." That's what we did!
It's sort of obvious which Reck has the best fashion sense, isn't it?

Oh - I DisneyBounded as Merida for dinner (because, you know, there are horses at Fort Wilderness) by wearing a dark green t-shirt and a bow and arrow necklace.

You’re probably wondering if I bounded as Ariel that morning by wearing a purple bikini to Typhoon Lagoon, aren’t you? No. No I did not.

After dinner, they had buses waiting for all the resorts and I handed out glow sticks to all the kids in the bus, telling them they were magic wands.

Once we were at our room, I told everybody to go straight to bed because tomorrow was going to be a “real” rope drop and it was important to be at the front of the crowd. We’d be staying at Disney Hollywood Studios all day long to watch the first Fantasmic so we needed our rest!

I think the last thing I told my kids as they went to sleep that night was that if they got up without complaint the next day, I’d walk over to the main building to refill their mugs with hot chocolate for breakfast.

“Really, Mom?” (They knew it was a seriously long walk.) I reiterated my promise and had high hopes for the morning. Stay tuned to hear about our Star Wars day!

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