Thursday 29 December 2011

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Best of 2011 - Best Vacation

Complete agreement is a rare thing in our house. It doesn't matter how great something is, there's always one person who holds a different opinion. For example: Four of us love roller coasters - one of us doesn't. Four of us love burgers - one of us has decided to be a vegetarian. Four of us love TV - one of us only just found out (almost 3 years later) that the TV in their room is hooked up to cable. We form a majority well, but we'd be terrible if a unanimous vote was required.

That, of course, is what makes the results of these little votes interesting. They certainly haven't all gone the way I would have thought. They haven't even all gone the way that I wanted them to, and that concerns me a little. When Lori and I were newlyweds, a wise neighbor of ours took us aside one day and gave us the sage advice "Never let the children outnumber you". Considering her and her husband had three children, I probably should have considered her the voice of experience and not just idly tossed her recommendation aside. Now I start to see what her warning was about. In an open democracy, Lori and I would be outvoted in almost every matter. Our kids may fight and argue a lot, but I've seen them band together when necessary to fight a greater evil, and in their minds, that evil is usually me. Fortunately none of them are legal age to vote yet, so outside of these year end polls, our family is still a dictatorship. You may call me Kim Jong Steve from now on.

Today's Category - Best Vacation

 And the nominees are:

Disney Cruise Line - The form of transportation we never wanted to take, to the country we never wanted to visit. Sounds like a perfect recipe for a vacation right? Realistically we thought it would be fun, but it far exceeded our expectations. The food, the entertainment, and the kids clubs were all amazing. The concept of the portable cabin phones, not so much. I spent a large chunk of my time answering the phone to explain to her friends that Neve wasn't here right now.

Disneyland - The equivalent of "going to the summer cabin" for us, although I don't know if the Hyatt Orange County would enjoy being called a cabin, it's that comfortable vacation where I don't really have to worry about where my kids are. I can let my older two roam freely inside the park, and I know I don't have to worry about them getting lost. That's more than I can say for my wife, who constantly gets lost, and always seems to find herself in the stores with large bags of merchandise. It's one of those strange mysteries that science may never be able to explain (but Visa might).

Orlando - It took a while, but we finally made the journey to the East coast to check out Walt's second park. The Magic Kingdom was fun, but what we all were blown away by was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. More specifically, we were all floored by just how good the Butterbeer was. I'll grant you that it was stinking hot, and the Butterbeer was ice cold, but this was a good enough drink to make all my kids consider transferring to Hogwarts, no matter how tough the math teacher is.

Phoenix - You wouldn't think that Phoenix in August would get a lot of consideration for Best Vacation, but I love the desert in the summer. Sure it's hot, but it's hard to take more than three or four steps without stepping into some sort of air conditioning, and man are things cheap! The Fairmont Scottsdale already won for Best Hotel of our year, and if we'd had such a category, the smoothies they sell at the pool would have been neck and neck with Butterbeer for Best Drink of the year. The drive-in mid-summer might not have been our best idea though. Not sure how much gas we burned off trying to keep the temperature in our rental van in double digits.

Seattle - We made a couple of runs to Seattle this year, once to see a touring version of Mary Poppins, and once to see the premiere of Disney's Aladdin. Normally, these kind of weekend jaunts wouldn't have the firepower to compete with Disneyland or Orlando when it comes to Best Vacation, but after many trips through Seattle my girls have discovered one thing - there's a ton of good shopping. Combine that with Urbane at Olive 8 serving the best breakfasts I've ever had, and the Cheesecake Cafe continuously adding new flavors to make sure that we never get to claim that we've tried them all, and there really is something for everybody here. Unless you don't like coffee.

And the winner is.......

The Disney Cruise Line!!!

Notify Ripley's, because for the first time in pretty much forever, it was a unanimous vote! Really though, it wasn't even close. Whenever I took the previous votes I'd get a lot of "Let me think about that one", or "What did everybody else vote for?" This was just a matter of everybody saying "the cruise" before I could even list the nominees for them. I suppose you could be forgiven for thinking that the cruise must just have been so good that there was no hesitation in anybody's mind. I prefer to think of it as my dictatorship style of heading the family filtering down and making voting irrelevant. I wonder if I can get my kids to call me "Illustrious Leader"?

Congratulations to our Best Vacation of 2011 -
                       The Disney Cruise Line!!!