Welcome to the Blue House

There will now be a short diversion to the story as I recount a missing part of the morning. At some point during the morning, I know not when and I know not why, all I know is that we did, we ventured down Mickey Ave. For some reason I have no notes on this, I just remember that it happened at some point. We met Meeko outside his trailer and then we went over to Max outside the next trailer. As I lined up with Steven to meet Max I caught his helperís accent and asked her where she was from. North Cheam in Surrey. Probably means nothing to most people but itís the next town to where Nanny Lesley grew up. We chatted a bit about how she ended up in Florida and she asked me if Derby Day is still as chaotic as she remembers, then we met Max, bid our farewells and were on our way again. Back to the original schedule.

So we exit the restaurant, recover our randomly parked buggies and wander aimlessly in no particular direction. We end up walking towards the main street with the aim of picking up those items we saw during those early morning browses. As we reached the corner we noticed that the kerbs were lined with people. Oh, maybe thereís a parade. I donít know, Iím just the expert and Iíd forgotten all about parades and show times and stuff. A quick check of the park guide shows that the Stars and Motor Cars Parade will start in 30 minutes. Oh, shall we wait and watch it then? Um, yeah ok, but weíd better get a good spot saved. Well what about this spot right where we are standing now? Oh, yep this will do fine. We are right on the kerb by the entrance to Hollywood Clothiers or whatever itís called; you know, the one that sells all the clothes. We line up Harry and Stevenís buggies at the front with Ellie seated next to them and then a couple of adults stay with them while the rest of us take turns in going to buy the things weíd earmarked for purchase that morning. I spotted a huge bunch of gold star-shaped balloons coming our way and swiftly purchased 3 of them for Ellie, Harry and myself, sorry Steven. Whilst we waited for the parade, Ellie played peekaboo with Steven, a game that they both appeared to enjoy immensely. Actually both Ellie and Harry love their cousin, Baby Steven, and often play games with him and try to help when he cries and stuff.

The parade was excellent: Iíll post the photos when I get the chance, and amazingly no last minute rude person tried to invade our kerb space, unless you count Lisaís leg which kept appearing in my viewfinder every time I tried to take a low level shot.

As the parade crowds dispersed we headed, along with a whole bunch of other families with pre-schoolers, to Animation Courtyard. We parked our buggies in the buggy lot in the centre of the courtyard and got into the fast-growing line for the Playhouse Disney show. This was a new one on me; never having been with children, Iíve never felt the need to see this. However due to Ellie always watching Playhouse Disney when she was younger I am familiar with all the relevant characters. I had also taken the trouble to learn the words to the opening and closing songs of Bear in the Big Blue House just in case any singing would be required.

While we waited to be let into the theatre I noticed a family a bit ahead of us in the line. There was about 5 children with them and the youngest, around 4 I guess, was carrying a drink. The other children kept taking the ice from his drink and every time they did that he screamed a murderous scream. And the parents/grown-ups just let this go on for the whole time we were in line. Anyway, the theatre doors open and we start to file in. Just as we get to the doors Harry decides heís going to turn round and follow the ropes back the other way. By the time Big Steve managed to catch up with him he was almost back at the start of the queuing area and weíd had to stop and let about 5 million people in ahead of us.

We are seated to the left of the stage and have a pretty good view of the show. As I anticipated, singing was required so I was able to participate fully due to my pre-show preparation. I was most pleased to see Pip and Pop as they are my favourites from Bear. All the children had great fun dancing and bouncing around to the songs and even Steven stood up and had a bounce; with a little help from Daddy. All to soon it was time to sing the Goodbye Song and say farewell to Bear and his friends.

The Backlot Tour would be the last attraction we did before heading into the theatre to get seated for Fantasmic. We arrived at the waiting area just after the volunteers had been picked to help with the special effects demo so Adrian and myself were spared the ordeal this time. We got asked to volunteer last time and even though we are both definitely not the volunteering kind we both somehow found ourselves agreeing to do it. Anyway we go through and watch the water stuff then walk through to the tram boarding area, where of course we have to wait while Ellie goes to the restroom. Theyíve changed the route of the tram tour slightly to allow for the construction work going on in the Backlot area, but you still a lot of stuff. Harry was a bit restless here and kept trying to stand up and climb into our row of seats behind him. Steven spent most of the ride standing on his seat in excitement, though we held him firmly down in the Catastrophe Canyon section.

As we exit the tour itís about 6.40pm and Fantasmic is at 7.30pm so itís time to make that final restroom stop, grab those last minute drinks and snacks and head into the theatre. Buggies safely parked in the huge area there, remembering to remove all valuables and children, we entered the theatre. I would say it was about half full when we got in there just before 7pm, but the crowds were pouring in behind us and by the time the show started it was pretty much full, though they did not need to resort to standing room. We were seated about 3 sections to the left of centre; I should pay attention to the name of the section but I didnít, though Scar is ringing a bell for some reason.

Anyway we spent the wait watching all those people at the top of the seating looking for people whoíd obviously come in earlier and saved seats for them. I wonder if any of them actually found their groups? They kept us amused anyway. Our children were kept occupied with drinks and snacks and doing the obligatory Mexican wave, which Iím sure must be a nightly feature here, and then it was time for the show.

I wonít go into details of the show because those who have seen it know about it, and those who havenít, I wonít spoil it for you. All of us grown-ups loved it. Ellie gave it two thumbs up Ė though anything that can hold a 6-year-oldís attention for 30 minutes has got to be good. Harry liked it but the bit with the big snake was a bit gairy and he had to cover his eyes.

Steven liked it too. We were a bit wary as it was his first firework/laser/special effects experience but he was just fine and actually watched quite a lot of the show.

Once Mickey had saved the day we sat and waited for the exiting crowd to reduce in number considerably before attempting to leave. Though hereís a tip to save a couple of minutes if you donít want to wait till the theatre empties. From your seating go down to the waterís edge and walk along the front until you reach the cente then go up the steps through the Mickey section: this area cleared much quicker and you donít get stuck in the log jam at the top of all the other sections.

We reclaim our buggies and exit the park without incident, and make the short drive back to the hotel. Adrian curls up on the bed again, suffering with cold symptoms, while I get Steven off to sleep. At some point during the night my pillow vanished.