Day 4 - Kennedy Space Center
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|Sat, 04-05-2014 - 3:07pm|
Day 4 - Monday, 24, 2014
Chapter 5. Enough Meltdowns to fill Outer Space
(Technically, most of this day was not at Disney, but I though I would post it here just for continuuity)
We had originally planned to go to Epcot today, but the weather forcast for Orlando looked dreary, so Titusville and the Space Center seemed a better option. (Well, we had originally planned to do Epcot on Sunday (yesterday), but I was reading too many reports before the trip, of the Flower and Garden stuff being slammed on the weekends by locals) So we were putting Epcot off yet another day.
I had requested a 7am shuttle to the car care center to pick up our rental, hoping we could just leave from there to drive to Titusville. But the kids weren't ready to get going yet, so I went by myself and told Brian to get them dressed and fed before I got back to pick them up.
The rental process went smoothly, except that on the shuttle I got a call from Lily... She was freaking out because Owen was having another meltdown and Brian was losing his temper with him. So this is how the day was going to start.
At least Brian wouldn't think I was just making things up any more. Totally unrelated, but I did find it a little odd that, being the only female on the shuttle with 3 other guys, not one of them held the door for me when we got there, but instead pushed past me to beat me into the line. Oh well.
By the time I got back, Brian had things under control and they were eating breakfast in the Mara. So much for making it in time for opening at the Space Center though. We also had to check out of our room today. Since I ended up booking the trip as two separate ressies (one DVC rental and one regular room-only) we were going to have to move.
It took longer than I had expected to get our new room assigned, but only because the nice CM at the desk was trying very hard to find us a Savannah view room, even though we hadn't booked one. She finally succeeded, though apologized because it was so far away. I started to say it was no big deal because were far away before, but then realized that our first room was only about half-way to this one! It was the absolute last room at the end of the last hallway, truly as far from the lobby as possible. But we could tell from the map that it was going to have an awesome view, so Brian was especially excited.
She also gave Lily a purple princess tiara, which she wore for much of the trip after this. I have to say, I actually liked checking in at the desk instead of waiting on the couches and being handed a packet. It just felt like things were more solidified before we walked away. I did online check-in for both ressies, so I’m not sure why it worked differently this time.
We were on the road to Titusville at 8:50am, 10 minutes until they opened, with over an hour drive ahead of us. I forced myself not to stress, we had already bought annual passes and were planning another day or two here in December, so we would simply do what we could today and not worry about it.
On the way there, before falling asleep, Owen suddenly said that his throat hurt. And I about panicked. He is extremely prone to getting strep throat, that's the last thing we needed on vacation! And the children's Tylenol, the second bottle I had bought on this this trip, was back at the hotel. Hopefully I wouldn't have to buy a third by the time the day was done.
And he asked about raccoon, but I told him that maybe he was back in the room. Fortunately he had been too tired the night before to notice he was gone. Not sure how long I would be able to put him off though.
He was seeming okay by the time we got there, but still whiney like he has been for much of the past few weeks. It's a trait that Brian has very little patience for. It took a little while to get our vouchers converted to APs, and I was anxious to get on to some of the more popular exhibits before it got too crowded. So far it didn't seem too bad despite our late start, at least. It was almost 10:30 by the time we got in.
We stopped first to look at some of the rockets in the Rocket Garden. Brian was particularly fascinated by these. And Owen had fun climbing into a few of the capsules and pretending he was flying to space. I was trying to get everyone to move on, when Lily suddenly announced to Owen that we were right next to the playground. I can't even count how many times in the last few months I have asked her not to offer things to him without asking me first, and I got quite frustrated with her now.
Brian didn't want to risk another meltdown and decided that we should just let him play for a bit. I know I said I wasn't going to stress, but I was very displeased that we were doing all the things that wouldn't get crowded first. Finally we were ready to move on, and headed all the way to the back of the complex to where the space shuttle Atlantis is. This is a fairly new exhibit and it was the one I was most looking forward to.
As we were getting in line, there was an announcement that the first part of the tour was a movie, and that it had loud parts which could frighten young children. I thought we would be okay since it was supposed to be brief, but Brian started talking to Owen about it, and of course he got all worked up. I really wish he just hadn't brought it up. So, when the doors opened, he refused to budge, and threw another screaming fit right there in the line.
This was starting to feel like a nightmare, we weren't going to be able to do anything! Brian and Lily ended up going ahead while I sat outside with him, still lying on the floor crying. One of the employees offered to take us around the back way so that we could skip the movie, but it was a few minutes before I could even get him calmed down enough to do that.
Once we were inside, he was all smiles again and ran around happily looking at the shuttle and playing inside the model cockpits. We even found a "space station" of tunnels that he could crawl through! Brian and Lily came out from the movie a while later and joined us, though Owen was running all over by that time so we didn't end up touring together much.
At one point I spotted a big slide and Owen was all excited to do it, but when we got over there he wasn't tall enough. He was very sad and I felt bad that I hadn't checked it out first. Lily did it a few times though. I went into the gift shop to buy the picture we had taken, and got each of the kids a small souvenir.
The exhibit is really cool. The space shuttle Atlantis is the main center piece of course, and having been fascinated by the shuttle program as a kid, it was neat to see a real one right there. They also have a shuttle launch simulation ride, which we wanted to do, but would have to use rider swap since Owen wasn't tall enough.
And this is where the trouble started. Well, started again I should say, since we had already endured 2 meltdowns this morning. They wouldn't let us bring anything at all into the line, even Owen who wasn't riding. (Unlike at Disney, their rider swap required everyone to wait in line together) When we went to put our stuff in a locker, Owen freaked out that he had to give up his new space shuttle toy. And we had ANOTHER meltdown. And then Lily got upset too, and at one point we had two kids melting down at the same time.
After about 15 minutes, we thought he was calmed down enough, but he threw another small fit later in the line. And we were starting to think that we just can't take him anywhere! Brian and Lily rode first. We actually got to watch their ride on screens from an observation room. Owen was a little scared at first, but actually ended up enjoying it. Then we switched and Lily went again with me.
It was a cool simulation, similar to Star Tours at DHS in the way it moved, but of course themed to be a shuttle launch. We had promised Owen more playground time after lunch, since there was a cafe right across from it. It was after noon already so we headed back there.
Chapter 6. Afternoon Explorations, a Good Dinner, and a New "Strategy" for Tomorrow
Lunch was really good! It was an outdoor counter service venue, but definitely more upscale food than you would get from a similar place at Disney. And Owen was surprisingly patient waiting for us to finish so he could go play. (The child eats next to nothing, I don't really know how he stays alive)
While they played, Brian explored the rocket garden some more, and I took advantage of the down time to solidify our plans for the rest of the week. We had originally planned to go to Epcot today, and do the space center tomorrow, but the weather forecast caused us to flip flop at the last minute. It turns out that there was actually a launch at the space center tomorrow... It would have been cool to see, but at the same time I was kind of glad we were there on a day that wasn't so packed, so that we could see the exhibits.
Again, Owen surprised us and actually left the playground without too much fuss. We'll take what progress we can get, lol! He does tend to do better in the afternoon, not a morning person I guess.
We spent the next couple of hours exploring some of the museums. I know we did the Space Exploration museum and the Angry Birds Space Encounter, maybe one more that I'm forgetting. They were really cool. Lots of neat exhibits and interactive stuff, some of which Owen even enjoyed. He had a few rough moments, but no disasters.
We would have liked to stay longer and do the tour that takes you out to see the launch pad and other buildings, but there just wasn't time. Brian was a little disappointed to miss so much, but I promised him we would do it in December. The place is much bigger than I expected. I didn't think one day would be enough, but I thought we would come closer to seeing most of it, we had barely scratched the surface!
Both kids fell asleep on the ride back to Orlando. Hopefully that would help them make it through dinner. We had an ADR at Jiko, it was the one Brian was most looking forward to! Getting the car returned was easy, and we were back in time to relax for a few minutes before heading to dinner. And enjoy our new view! There were tons of animals outside our balcony - gazelles, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, and a few others I think.
Dinner started off challenging, as had seemed to be the trend so far. Fortunately, once Owen had a fresh cup of milk and some bread to snack on, he settled down and actually ended up doing quite well. Brian started thinking at this point that maybe he could be bribed with food, specifically candy. And made plans to go shop for some after dinner, lol. Not sure what happened to my "kids-should-never-ever-eat-any-sugar" DH on this trip...he even encouraged Lily and I to share a dessert tonight! It's a strange world, suddenly.
Dinner was very good. Brian said it was his favorite meal of the trip. Our server was excellent too, a big relief after last night. So we were all in good spirits when we left, and Brian did indeed go buy a Pez dispenser to "use" on Owen tomorrow. He does tend to rely on the jelly Cliff Blocks when hiking with Owen, Brian had discovered their magic a few months ago and was wishing he had brought some. But Pez would probably do just as well.
We briefly stopped by the observation patio and hung out in the lobby for a few minutes, just enjoying the music and ambience. Definitely my new favorite resort, it's going to be hard to stay anywhere else now!
Oh, and I had been asking Owen about his throat all day to the point that he got tired of me bugging him about it. He constantly assured me it was fine, and he didn't seem to have any other symptoms, so hopefully he had just had a dry throat this morning, and we had dodged a bullet...