Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Grumpy Summer vacation, day 1

This year we decided to start the trip by flying to San Diego, to visit my family there.

The flight from Grumpyville to San Diego yesterday was going fine, until the flight attendant brought Craig a little packet of artisanal hypoallergenic goldfish crackers. She complimented him on his hair, and he quickly become even more insufferable about it (hell, I didn't think that was possible).

Today we (and some cousins) went to Lego Land. This will, mercifully, be our last trip there because my kids are getting pretty damn old for it (they insisted on going! Not us!) and our annual passes expire next week. So this gives me a good reason to be done with the place. I have nothing against LL, but it gets old after a while. There's a reason you don't hear Super Bowl winners yell "I'm going to Lego Land!"

I suspect most of their "Master Builders" (that's what they call them, I swear) are working at the new Florida park, as the California one could use some upkeep. One of the big construction dinosaurs ("Lazy Pete") you see near the entrance is pretty well covered with black gunk. You get a frighteningly good look at it on the Coastal Cruise ride.

This a boat ride that takes you around various (fairly impressive) Lego structures of world monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, Taj Mahal, etc. But the ravages of nature affect the Lego models just as much as the real ones, but on a more dramatic scale. Today the Lego man cleaning the windows on the Opera House was partially trapped in a spider web, and there were gigantic (by comparison) pigeons perched on the Eiffel Tower. With, I assume, huge bird droppings threatening to crush cars and pedestrians below.

From a perspective view these would make great horror flicks.

The annoying thing about Coastal Cruise is the guide's patter, which never changes. "Make sure you have your seatbelts on!" (riders look for seatbelts) "Just joking, there aren't any!" or (in a part where a Lego figure looks like he's about to fall on the boat) "Don't worry folks, he's been hanging on there for 14 years, and he hasn't LEGO yet!" They also always add something like "He's made out of 1,324,863 Lego bricks and took 346.57 hours to put together."

This is minor league stuff of course. Let's face it: the ride by which ALL corny boat ride monologues are measured is the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. As far as I can tell (as of my 2008 visit) the patter there hasn't changed since I was kid. I guess this is part of the attraction. ("You're lucky your guide is such a crackpot!"

The cultural impact of the Jungle Cruise (most famous line is about hippos wiggling their ears) is such that it was further immortalized by Weird Al Yankovich in his song "Skipper Dan."

So, I think the bottom line here is that when you're working on the Coastal Cruise, you're in the minor leagues, and hoping to be called up to the majors in Adventureland.

The models also need to be repaired. Take this Lego butterfly that's up on a pole:

It looks good. I mean, pretty impressive when you realize it's all made out of Lego's. But on the next pole over:

The butterfly on the right has lost a chunk of one wing (likely fallen, shattered, and pieces picked up by passing kids as free Legos). The one on the left has lost pretty much everything, and what remains looks like one of Gene Simmons' evil robots from the 1983 movie "Runaway."

Over in Miniland we witnessed a traffic accident:

I hope all the Lego people are okay, and that the school bus driver has good insurance.

Frank, for whatever reason, has named his winkie "Bob." As we passed the theater showing "Bob the Builder in 4D" They have an overhead recording that says "Come on in and join us! Because no one can get enough of Bob!" The 5 of us broke into hysterics, leading many to assume we were nuts. Which we probably are.

They've installed a new water ride since we were last here, which was originally used for interrogation at Guantanamo Bay. It's called "Pirate Reef" and consists of a boat-flume type ride, with a single drop. Craig, who LOVES soaker rides, conned me into trying it with him.

It looks deceptively harmless. You figure, "Okay, maybe I'll get a little wet." Sucker.

You first realize something is amiss when they make you put EVERYTHING attached to you into a plastic bin before boarding: watches, glasses, phones, toupees, cameras, jockstraps, facial moles. Then off you go, in a boat that holds maybe 15-20 people. After getting in you realize that the bottom of the boat has 3-5 inches of water in it, and your feet are soaked. This is your first warning.

You chug around the little loop peacefully, then start the slow climb to the top. You are trapped.

And then you have the drop.

As you hit the bottom there's a split second where the water splashes up, you get a little wet, and you think "that's not so bad."

Then you get walloped. Because of the landing basin's design the entire water displacement of the boat and people in it is projected directly UP OVER YOU. So while you're thinking "this isn't so bad" the mass of water is right above your head, and starting to come down.

On impact it takes you completely by surprise. The practical effect is that you're completely underwater for 1-2 seconds, and get SOAKED. There is nowhere to hide. The entire boat gets it equally.

And it isn't over. As you come out of the downpour you go between 2 large Lego pirate ships. With 10 water cannons on each side, shooting down at you. Manned by the last people who went through the ride, and now looking to take it out on the next group of riders. They can also shoot at each other, but prefer to hit you. After you pass this there's a few more H2O sprayers to get through before returning to the dock. Where they cheerfully return your goods to you, as you drip all over.

Of course, you're now soaked, and so decide to stop in the pirate ships yourself to spray the next group of suckers. Craig and I got on different pirate ships, and battled each other.

Then the next boat came down. And in our determination to soak its payload we suddenly realized that the tsunami wave it generates would soak us again, 20 feet up on the pirate ships. DRENCH!

As we walked away from this aquatic conflagration I realized that, in spite of both of us being completely soaked to the skin with our shoes filled with water, Craig's hair was miraculously dry, perfect, and radiant.


Lipstick said...

Oh, Dr Grumpy this is so very funny! My friends and I almost went to LL once and (wisely) decided against it.
BTW, every time I see something "artisnal," I think of you!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Hahah! I want to go on vacation with you guys. :)

BTW, there is a Lego Discovery place in Chicago. Actually, it is in a mall in a Chicago burb about 30 miles away. 2 weeks ago, we went there. It took an hour an a half to get there! First we had to take a train and then we had to transfer to a bus. I thought it was going to be about a half hour, I really shouldn't have had so much coffee before we set out! Anyway, because we went to the Lego Discovery place, we never need to go to any LegoLand! My son, at almost 11, was pretty much the oldest kid there and now, although he still loves Legos, doesn't want to go to LegoLand. YEA! I dodged a bullet there!

Enjoy your trip, looking forward to more stories.

Mama D said...

Oh no! What will we loyal readers do without the annual dispatches from Lego Land?? I guess we will have to hope for more cruise adventures. ;)

Anonymous said...

The newest Lego Land opened here in Kansas City this spring, next to the new aquarium, all in a complex owned by Hallmark. Maybe that's where the master Master Builders are for a while.

Laura said...

You know what bugs me even more than "artisanal"? Affect vs. effect. :P

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Oops, sorry. Fixed it.

Old MD Girl said...

You need to post a picture of Frank's hair.

Mad Jack said...

I'd never make it as a tour guide. At least not for long. The temptation to fabricate facts and anecdotes about the exhibits would be too much for me to resist, and I'd succumb to temptation.

...and if you'll look to your left you'll see legoman. Most people don't know this, but legoman is actually modeled after a noted neurologist who provided reconstructive neurosurgery to the inventor of the Lego building block.

The water rides are always interesting if you hang around long enough. One attractive, nubile female in the group behind us was dressed in light summer clothing which was turned transparent on contact with water.

Oh hell yes!

Enjoy your vacation!

Moose said...

Hmm. Someone points out you screw up affect and effect and you rush to go fix it.

I point out -repeatedly, mind you- the way you mangle Noun and I/Me and all I get is snark.

Geez, I guess I know where I stand around here. *sniff*

Have a good vacation, Dr Grumpy... while you still can.


GPMommy said...

DH took the munchkins to our local mall/aquarium/Lego-somethingorother mash up the other day to meet up with visiting cousins. Sounds like they all had a good time, but I'm under the impression that it's the kind of place you might make a yearly pilgrimage to, but not much more.
Do you get the commemorative Duplo brick at LegoLand in CA?

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Only if you steal one from a "kids play while adults wait in a long line" bin in the park. And you won't do that, because for all you know it was inside a diaper 10 minutes ago.

Packer said...

Vacation slide show and description so boring, I fell asleep and smacked my forehead on desk, woke up still smarting I plunged ahead and got real interested in the part about "Bob" and the wet T shirt contest that never really got described in detail.

Unknown said...

My son and I were at Legoland in Carlsbad yesterday as well. Granted, we only live 10 miles away and had nothing better to do for a few hours but to go to Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium. Who knows, we very well may have seen you there. Perfect description of the ride where you get completely soaked. I, too, was a sucker for that once. Lesson learned, never again! Enjoy the rest of your time in sunny San Diego.

Gracie's Mom said...

I am enjoying your vacation exploits from the quiet (dry) comfort of my favorite chair. Please post photos of Craig's hair for me to marvel at.

Anonymous said...

how come Craig's hair was dry? did he bring an umbrella with him?

Grumpy, M.D. said...

No umbrella. It's like it has magical water/wind/earthquake repelling forces. Maybe he uses Turtle Wax.

bobbie said...

I'm with Old MD & Gracie's Mom ~ we NEED to see a picture of Craig's hair!!

Grumpy, M.D. said...

It's no different since this post's picture from last Summer.

Anonymous said...

Next year, you need to go to Hershey, PA, and ride this:

Anonymous said...

but it doesn't look like justin bieber's hairstyle

Mockingbird said...

Please, please, PLEASE post a couple of photos of Craig's hair!

Christie Critters said...

long live Craig's hair.

Anonymous said...

Kim I know where the LL is you are talking about and you win Mother of the Year for going through what you did w/our transit system to take your kids there. Did you @ least get a meal at one of the handful of self standing eateries that share a lot w/ LL?

Thankfully Craig's hair survived! I would not want to spend the afternoon w/ a hormonal pre-teen w/bad hair. Can't wait to see where your summer adventures take you next. Have a great (and safe) vacation.

Anonymous said...

Well thanks, anonymous 10:22! ;) We did not get a meal at any of the self standing eateries, we walked across the street to the enclosed mall and ate there. Had to catch a bus back to the train there anyway. I can't believe we spent 3 hours round trip to go from our hotel in the loop to that place!

Mari-Ann said...

Just looked at last year's kids' hair picture and by God, they DO have gorgeous hair although it doesn't look as if Frank's hair is less awesome than Craig's hair. Thanks for the vacation blog. I look forward to it every year. Time is flying, huh?

And everyone quit griping about grammar! He's entertaining us on HIS vacation! I'm sure he's typing fast because of everyone whining, "Daaaad....let's GO!"

bobbie said...

Thanks for the hair pic link, Dr. G ~

Just Me said...

I have to say looking at the photo of Craigs hair that I was really expecting more - a mohawk or a spiked do or something. Perhaps the photo doesn't show the full hair awesomeness!

Locations of visitors to this page