Sunday, August 21, 2005

"It's a small world after all."

This life preserver is at one end of the adult pool "Quiet Cove". It is more for decoration but seems to be fully functional. The pool is only 4 feet deep with a wide deck surrounding it which is always about 3 inches submerged. It sloshes with the roll of the boat. There is really no reason to use it or to use my name "Bob". You can bask or float, but no bobbing. We spent alot of time at the pool when the rest were in port at Cabo. Got a bit of a sunburn. Very hot and humid. Betty and I made progress on our current "summer reading" novels. Very enjoyable, however, the real joy...

Was experiencing all of this cruise through the eyes of our grandchildren. There was so much for them to do every minute of the day and night just about. Disney puts them first in their entertainment venues too. At the restaurants they get served first and catered to in every way. They have a different menu with puzzles and things to do at every meal. Our Assist. Server, Okim, made origami and napkin animals, did magic and made their cruise very special. They could spend most of the day "checked in" at "D. Sea U." or the "Sea Lab" of Oceanology. They had facinating things to do and learn. Part of the last evening's entertainment was the "graduation" of all 200+ of them on the Walt Disney Stage/Theater. They all "turned their tassels from "port to starboard" They are a big part of Disney's "Small World".

One of our most enjoyable events was the "Disney Downhill 200" - a vegetable car race - Eighteen teams had to make a race car from a potato, a carrot, 4 wheels, nails and 2 toothpicks. Ian made it so much fun with his zany call of all the crashes and mishaps. I was chosen as one of three judges. He went to us from time to time for comments and decisions if needed. It was quite funny and very involving for the kids. There were "heats" and "semi-finals" and a "final". Pins were awarded for the kid's "flair" ribbons. All the cars had names and "drivers". To quote Ian, "I can't believe I do this for a living." Later, after it was over and pictures were taken, went up and thanked him for making it so special. I told him that I did do that for a living and over my teaching career had several "vegetable races" in our physical science units on momentum and gravity. I took his picture.

We also had lots of fun "baby-sitting" our grandchildren. They came over to our cabin and wanted "stories told" We have done that before. This time we got into the additive story. Each person, including them, had to take the story to the next stopping point. They loved it and requested it at our next session up on the pool deck while mom and dad went to the gym. Stone is quite the creative idea-getter...he can really surprise you with his new ideas for stories. Later, most of the longer concerts or live shows at the W.D.T. he insisted on sitting on Gramma Betty's lap and was usually falling asleep there mid show. We got to know them better and, I think, they us.

There is a "small" piano bar where we found Daryl Lockhart at the keyboards. He is extremely good at what he does. He did a whole set on Ray Charles' music. Sounds alot like him too. His playing is what really makes it so special. We tried to get back to him for another set but it was always too late and we got increasingly more tired. We had to keep changing our clocks each evening; first going back two hours as we went east to the Mexican mainland and the "central time zone", then forward to "pacific time" as we came back. No wonder our body-clocks were confused and tired.

By the fourth or fifth night and all the "Disney-type" entertainment you do get the feeling that it is truly a "small, small world" and very self-contained. One of the biggest money-makers for Disney is all the picture-taking with all the characters. They then display the prints enmass for everyone to see and choose from. Way too tempting for most loving parents and grandparents. We got some very good quality pictures which were specially ordered by Shane as gifts. Very thoughtful. His daughter, Shelby is such a wonderful poser for pictures; young model for sure. Shireen had prepared special magnitized pictures, name-tags, note pads and marking pens for all of us to keep in touch. So thoughtful. They had cruised before on this same ship out of Florida. They actually requested and got the same room. They were in the "Castaway Club" as second-timers with extra perks.

One of the most memorable events was the meeting sharing an evening with one half of the Sherman Brothers. They were "staff song writers/lyicists" for Disney for many years. They won two Oscars for their "Mary Poppins" songs. He shared how he came to compose for "Walt" all the special songs he needed during that time. Yes, they were the original composers of "Small, Small World" and actually saved the attraction when it first debuted at the World's Fair.

As the song goes...(I think)..."though Oceans divide, it is time we decide(?), it's a small after all." What Disney has done with this is amazing; they have used the oceans to bring us together and not divide us. We have so much in common with each other and the world is truly becoming smaller with each amazing trip. Bob


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