Yep, we got back from another Disney World weekend last weekend... myself, The Lovely Steph Leann, the Sis-in-Law Angie, niece Madeleine and nephew Benjamin flew down to Orlando on Thursday, and we flew back on Monday night.
It was a semi-quick trip (encompassing five days), but packed full of rides, food, laughs, exhaustion, sore feet, five hour sleep nights and of course, magic. Really, though, aren't all Disney trips full of those very things?
Before I tell my little story, I figure I'd sweep through the highlights...
- It was supposed to rain the entire weekend. The Lovely Steph Leann & I had been following along with weather reports, and each full day--Friday, Saturday, Sunday--was nothing less than a 60% chance of rain. The only time I saw rain was on Monday afternoon, as we sat on the Magical Express bus on our way to Orlando's airport.
- This worked to our advantage. While in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, I heard the announcement that "because of inclement weather, we may be closing this attraction for a limited time until the weather passes..." Much of the line, nay, much of the park cleared out. We rode Big Thunder three straight times with no more than a 5 minute wait.
- We went to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on Friday night, and caught up with MZ and her family there. We had dinner all together at Casey's Corner on Main Street. We also ended up on that same Big Thunder together when the rain was supposedly coming.The crowds were minimal.
- At 8:45 on Friday morning, as we prepared to go into Animal Kingdom, the lines were barely twenty, thirty people deep. Normally, the lines stretch from the opening gates far past the ticket kiosks and into the courtyard.
- Because the crowds were minimal, we spent most of the day at Hollywood Studios on Saturday. I got to meet The Incredibles again, which I love, we got to get pics with Sully, the Green Army Men, and I got my picture with Sorcerer Mickey.
- Toy Story Mania is one of those rides that I love taking people on for the first time. And, we got to take Sis-in-Law Angie, Madeleine and Benjamin on it for the first time. And like I knew they would, they loved it. They've got a Wii version of it out now, and you'd better believe its on my list for Santa Claus.
- In Hollywood Studios, I watched the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular for the first time since The Lovely Steph Leann and I saw it on our honeymoon in 2004. This time, though, because I was so tired, I nodded off a little. It was still a good show.
Now... after Hollywood Studios, we took the ferry over to Epcot. Again, the crowds were minimal, so in the span of about 3 hours, we managed to knock out that stupid Figment ride(okay, they knocked it out--I went to get Fass Passes for Test Track and Soarin'), Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Ellen's Energy Adventure (which truly is a hidden gem, if for no other reason than the fact you get to sit in a dark, cool place for 37 minutes on a semi-interesting ride that allows you to snooze and relax without loud explosions, jerky movements or big noises), Test Track, and finally, on the last ride of the night for Soarin'.
What to do now? Well, we're pretty tired... we've got breakfast at the Grand Floridian at 8:10 the next morning, so we'll be up early. Our plan was originally to get to bed on this night, but we had been discussing most of the day how we would go to Downtown Disney... thus far, we had no chance, and we didn't anticipate Monday morning to be a good time to go either. So, we figured we'd go tonight.
Our plan was to leave Epcot, catch the bus to a resort (ended up being French Quarter) then catch another bus to Downtown Disney, maybe get there by 10:15 or so, go have appetizers at The T-Rex Restaurant, hopefully get out by 11, and have 30 minutes to go to The World of Disney (think The Happiest Place in the Mall on speed, heroin, steroids and PEDs) and The Lego Store (Benjamin had been clamoring for this all day) and whatever else we could find.
As it happens, and anyone who visits The World will attest, getting from one place to another ALWAYS takes longer than you anticipate. We got in line for Soarin' at about 8:55, we didn't' get done til 9:15, we didn't get out of the park until 9:40 (there's a long walk from the ride to the front of the park and then to the bus stop) and we didn't even get to Downtown Disney until at least 10:30 or beyond. The T-Rex Restaurant--which I really just wanted to go to because Benjamin loves dinosaurs, and this is really a cool place I wanted him to see--seated us pretty quickly, and our waitress, Lia, came over with a perky "gonna earn me another tip from the tourists" smile.
Now our story begins... perhaps its not as good as a restaurant tale of foreboding and woe as told on Lily Barnett's site, "Whachay'all Eatin?", but its worth a good spin.
We are scanning the menu, and already, I'm kinda sighing and hanging my head a little, because I was thinking of something to drink, something to nibble on, some pizza shooters, shrimp poppers or extreme fajitas... instead, its a bunch of stuff that is a little overpriced and none of it strikes me as something my 8 year old picky-eater nephew or my 11 year old pickier-eater niece Madeleine is going to like. Plus, add in the fact that I know Angie didn't want to spend alot and suddenly, its awwwwwkkkkwwarrrddd...
Keep in mind, we're all tired. Our feet hurt. We're starving. We've also got two very tired, very hungry kids that don't really want anything on the menu, and all in all, would probably just like a cheeseburger or some pizza (though we've already done pizza, so Angie has nixed that idea). Benjamin decides, with mom's help, on the spaghetti. Madeleine decides, again with mom's help, on the quesadillas as part of a Appetizer Sampler option on the menu. Only, the quesadilla has a bunch of stuff on it, and all this girl wants is chicken and cheese.. but its a quesadilla, right? As you prepare it, you put on only what you want, you leave off what you don't. Then you fold it. Right? Right?
Lia: Okay, you guys decided yet?
Yours Truly: I'm going to have the Footprints flatbread.
The Lovely Steph Leann: I'll take the Jurassic Salad, with ranch dressing please.
Angie: Okay, for Benjamin, just the kids spaghetti, and I think that Madeleine and I are going to split the Supersaurus Sampler, but let me ask you, can we get the quesadillas with just chicken and cheese?
Lia, without hesitation, without thought, without a single reservation: We can't do that.
I looked up at Lia, The Lovely Steph Leann looked across at Angie, and Angie just stared for a second. "You... you can't do that? What?"
Lia backpedaled for a moment, though not much, and said, "Well, I mean, I will have to ask, but I don't think the chef will do that."
I gazed at Lia, then at The Lovely Steph Leann, then at Angie bewildered. Angie paused, as if gathering her thoughts, then said, "Okay, its a quesadilla. You don't put on what you don't want on it. Its not that hard."
"Well, I just... I don't know they will do that or not...." she stammered.
"Okay, I've got two tired, hungry children here, I'm hungry and tired, and I'm just asking you to leave off the onions on a quesadilla. Work with me here, Lia."
"I'll... I will go check for you," she replied, and bounded off.
Angie looked at me and The Lovely Steph Leann sitting across the table. Steam began to ease out of her ears. "Okay, so, Randy [husband] was a waiter forever, and if there's one thing you DO NOT tell a customer, its that you can't do something, and you especially don't tell them that with an attitude like she gave me. Did you hear her?"
"Angie, why don't we pluck down a few bucks for the Cokes and such, and go to McDonalds right behind us?" I said.
Lia had not come back to our table to tell us if they would fix it as ordered or not. This is an important thing, because if they cannot do what we ordered, we need time to order something else...
"No! Its the principal of the whole thing! I want her to come back here and tell us that the cook can do it, because... its a quesadilla! Its right here in the pictures! Its folded over! You put on it what you want, then you fold it over!" And the more Angie talked, the more angry she became. Finally, she just tossed her napkin down and said, "I'm going to see a manager." With that, she got up and left.
Lia had not come back to our table still.
I looked over at The Lovely Steph Leann, who looked back at me and shrugged. Madeleine looked at both of us and said, "I think she's really tired." The Lovely Steph Leann said, "We all are." I replied, "You know, Angie has a point... I waited tables for 7 years, and I know you don't tell anyone 'We can't do it', even if you know you can't. You always try to find out, or at least give the impression you are going to find out, unless it specifically says so on the menu."
Angie finally came back. Seems like she had a chat with the manager--now understand, Angie wasn't going to make a scene. Its not in her nature to cause trouble, and she had no intention of getting Lia in hot water, but she wanted a manager to know that we, a paying group of customers, had been given an attitude by a 19 year old waitress who seemingly refused to check on something as simple as the construction of a Mexican standard.
Lia had not come back to our table.
A few minutes went by, and the manager stopped by the table. "Wanted to let you know that its not a problem to fix the quesadillas like you wanted," she said. "Let me know if I can do anything else."
Angie leaned over, "Listen... I didn't want to cause trouble..."
Manager cuts her off, "No, no, you didn't. I want to know this kind of stuff. Your food will be out soon. Has Lia come back here?"
Angie half-smiled, "No, we still have not seen her."
Lia finally reappeared a few minutes later. She squatted next to Angie, and simply said, "I didn't mean to offend you, ma'am..." to which Angie said, "You didn't offend me. You just told me straight up that you couldn't do something that I knew you could easily do, and that bothered me." Lia replied, "Well, I... I... uh... I said I would check for you..." and Angie said quickly, "Only after I pressed you on it." Lia said she was sorry, and left.
I offered to take Benjamin to the Lego Store before our meal got to our table, and before the Lego Store closed. He bought him a Bionicle, which, by the way, I never had when I was a kid. This bugs me. Bionicles look cool.
By the time we came back, the food was there on our table. And it was great. I chowed down on warm flatbread topped with cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan and goat cheese, rotisserie chicken and carmelized onions, drizzled with a balsamic glaze. I stopped a few times, telling myself I wasn't going to eat it all, and did anyway.
The Lovely Steph Leann enjoyed her salad, Benjamin nibbled on his spaghetti while gazing in wide wonder at all the dinosaurs in the place, and Madeleine got her quesadillas with just chicken and cheese, and she loved them. Lia had apparently filled Angie's glass two or three times, though mine was never touched. As a matter of fact, I don't think Lia paid any attention to anyone else except Angie, who she waited on eagerly.
I noticed Lia throughout the cafe, looking downtrodden and melancholy while talking to other members of the wait staff. About what, you ask? Well, having worked in a couple of restaurants and almost 7 years at Starbucks, I suspect that Lia was telling the other people that "this witch with a B from H-E-Double Hockey Sticks is getting me in trouble, and telling me off and being very rude to me, when I told her I'd ask the kitchen about her weird request for her bratty kids..." I'm sure that according to her, and the story the staff heard, we were the worst people in the history of the world, ever. Cause that's how it works.
The end of the meal came, we are all stuffed to the gills with food that was very good, if not a little too pricey, and Angie noticed half of Madeleine's quesadilla on the plate. She laughed, and said, "I need to take that with me, I don't want anyone to see it left after the trouble I made!" I took care of it, however, in a few bites.
Finally, as we were about to leave, The Lovely Steph Leann took Madeleine down the street to The World of Disney shop, and Angie took Benjamin to the other parts of the restaurant to take pictures. As I was walking out, I spotted Lia wiping a table. I walked up beside her and said, "Don't let it ruin your night."
Lia: Its okay. I won't.
Me: Just remember... short of someone requesting crap on a pizza, don't ever tell someone that you can't do something. That's just bad serving.
Lia, kinda grinning: Okay. I won't.
And I left.
In case you were wondering, yes we did leave her a tip, which flew in the face of everything I believe in when it come to tipping. Why? Maybe I felt bad for her. Hell hath no fury like a exhausted, weary, fatigued mom of two exhausted, weary, fatigued, fussy children under 12 who just wants quesadillas with meat and cheese on them. I think that's in Proverbs.