Sunday, January 03, 2016

Winter Has Arrived.

It's only January 3rd. Let's not rush these things.

Today's high was in the mid-50s, with an all day chilly rain. It was a fire in the fireplace, duvet on the bed day, at last. This week's forecast is warm days and crisp nights, as it should be in Central Florida in the winter. Hi Winter, where the hell have you been?

Yesterday was supposed to be a cool and overcast day. My Disney-mad daughter booked us to go to Hollywood Studios to see the last night of the Osborne Family Lights. I kept reminding her that if I'd really cared about seeing these lights, I'd have arsed myself to make the trip at some point in the last TWENTY YEARS, but she planned an efficient itinerary that included the lights. So despite deep misgivings about the insane holiday crowds combined with the closing night of a hugely hyped and famous light display, we ventured forth.

My daughter is a planning ninja. The crowds were hideous, which made doing anything spontaneous impossible, but she found and scheduled enough activities to fill the day and planned a stop for a late lunch when the crowds were thin, and all was entirely amazing, if hotter than promised. It wasn't cool and overcast at all. It WAS insanely crowded with holiday/Citrus Bowl party animals. A lot of people in Gator shirts had come out to drown their sorrows (Hollywood Studios serves alcohol just about everywhere.)

Hollywood Studios is the most awkward of Disney parks, and is scheduled for a major update in the next few years. It has few rides for young children, and a lot of the shows and displays just seem tired and dated. It's hard for a 4 year old to get excited by the sight of studio set faux city streets in the year 2016. It's just as hard for the grownups - it is designed to look "retro," but somehow feels retro upon retro - it's tired. Delaney calls Hollywood Studios "the fake city," and while she had a good time, felt a bit cheated yesterday.

The highlight of Grandma's day wasn't the famous light display, but a ride on Star Tours. I'm an unapologetic Star Wars Geek, as well as a Disney and Harry Potter and Star Trek geek, and I swear I felt like a teenager when we strapped into our seats and our dithering and panicky "captain" for the ride was C3PO! OMG! SQUEEE! I just saw the new Star Wars movie last weekend and LOVED how the original feel of the movies is back. (I couldn't sit through all that shit that came between.) When the ride commenced and a side screen came on and Finn (from the new movie) appeared, my daughter and I looked at each other and did a quiet squee in unison! They've incorporated the new movie into the ride, and Finn and BB-8 both make appearances. I know I sat there with a big, goofy smile on my face through the entire ride, as R2D2 tried to steer us through all sorts of dangerous situations, and C3PO babbled about how he's not authorized to fly the craft, and it was just pure goofy fun, as Star Wars used to be. (Before George Lucas drove it into a ditch, and then started shitting all over Disney after they arrived with a tow truck. I'm sure they'll make him another billion off the revival of the franchise. Part of the retooling of Hollywood Studios will be a major new Star Wars attraction, and I'm sure Lucas has a slice of that huge, juicy pie, so he can just shut his damn piehole.)

You know an author I really admire? Charlaine Harris. Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 1) She wrote the very enjoyable series that spawned True Blood on HBO. HBO took it into a totally different direction in many ways, while retaining a few characters and a few character names they didn't stay faithful to the books (especially in the last couple of seasons, and the ending was better in the books, but I digress.) HBO took Ms. Harris's work product and threw it into a blender, added new ingredients, used character names in very different ways, but somehow did stay true to the quirky fun of the books. If Charlaine Harris ever had a pissy fit over what happened to her body of work, I am not aware of it - everything I read was all positive. She sold the rights to HBO and had enough class/sense to be gracious and at least publicly pleased with the series.

BTW, she has a new series underway: Midnight Crossroad (A Novel of Midnight, Texas). I've loved the first two, and am guessing HBO will come sniffing around after she's supplied them with enough material. She's really good at creating a fictional town that feels so real, in a surreal way. A psychic, a witch, a couple of angels, an assassin and a vampire walk into a diner.... But I digress again.

The Osborne Lights really were pretty cool. We were there for the lighting, packed shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of other nuts, and I absolutely will say that when the street lit up and the music started, it was quite a thrill!

But after a few minutes we were quite content to fight our way, very very slowly, through the madness to the other side of the park, where our Fast Pass Ninja had booked us for Fantasmic. A new experience for all of us, and highly recommended. It's hard to describe it -it's a light show with projections on huge fountains, with plenty of live action and cannons and fire and fireworks and a huge dragon and princesses and villains and... yeah, worth using a Fast Pass. We had fabulous seats, so close that when the lake was set on fire, we felt the heat of the flames. Just one tiny part of a very, very elaborate show. Spoiler alert: Mickey saves the day and there's a happy ending!

By the time it was over Delaney was fading out - she'd danced with a Chipmunk at the dance party,

then she climbed around the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Playground (see what I mean about dated?)

and saw the Muppets in 3D, rode Star Tours, saw the Osborne lights then Fantasmic, and had to be carried out of the show over Daddy's shoulder. It was a very full day - and considering that it's a park that isn't very four year old friendly, her mom managed to find a lot of stuff to entertain her. But we've all concluded it's a "once a year" park, and I'll go back when the new Star Wars stuff opens.

The holidays are over, and tomorrow it's back to the Grind. I like my job, I like my co-workers, but I still don't want to go back.

On a far, far happier note, Willa was finally released from the hospital this evening! My poor daughter-in-law must feel like she just got out of prison, she's been there 24/7 with the baby. My son got a few breaks but was there nearly as much. So if the first few days of the year set the tone, we are feeling optimistic!

BTW, when my son sent me that picture (to show me how she's enjoying the present I sent) I recognized the jammies. They are now 5 years old. Supergirl wore them, then their cousin, now they are back for Willa to have a turn. Nick and Nora jammies are worth the price.


KatyaR said...

Good news about Willa to start the week! Happy Back To Work Day--not (blarg).

k said...

Yay for Willa! Yay for the new Star Wars! (I think we're waiting for DVD time.) And Yay for decent weather!

Brenda said...

Yay for Willa---I have some Nick & Nora jammies and I have been wearing them for years, but they are still hanging in there. Target has changed the sizing on them though, and the new ones don't fit me. I have started sewing my own, but they are not as cute.

I just received some spam from you---have you caught another virus?

Catherine said...

Oh hell. Thanks for the tip - passwords changed.