I’m really glad I don’t have to apologize to Neil Patrick Harris

Well, we survived the annual trip to Walt Disney World for the boys’ birthday celebration, but I must admit I feared utter chaos would reign for there for a while. It was definitely a near run thing. My fears were raised just a couple of minutes after we arrived at the fab Animal Kingdom Lodge when the bellman told us that Neil Patrick Harris had walked in about 20 minutes before we did. A look came over Mrs. Lo’s face that clearly stated “I’m going to stalk Doogie Howser until I find him, scare him to death and cause him to take out a restraining order on me.” (We knew that he would be at Disney to narrate the Epcot Candlelight Christmas Processional that we were going to see the next day, but this was just a coincidence.) Oh lovely.

Luckily for us, the kiddos and the surroundings provided enough distraction to keep Mrs. Lo’s obsession with finding NPH to the occasional “I wonder if he brought his family? I bet he did” or “Ohhhh, he must be staying in this suite” while pointing at pictures of the different rooms available at the hotel. The first night we just chilled around the hotel on our balcony and looked at some of the scenery until dinner.

By scenery, I mean these guys. Not a bad view.

Dinner was at one of the best kept secrets at the world of the Mouse, Sanaa, which serves “African cuisine with Indian flavors.” Not exactly sure what that means to be honest but the food is fantastic. We had Naan with raita, mango chutney, and red pepper hummus, vegetable samosas, fried cauliflower, chicken curry, and an completely awesome “spicy Durban” shrimp, which I took as their take on a vindaloo curry. It brought enough heat to satisfy me, which means that it’s probably off limits for most people. The red curry chicken, however, was nice and mild but still flavorful. I enjoyed all of it and definitely recommend checking it out if you find yourself in the mood for something different while visiting Disney.

Saturday morning Brandon, our resident roller coaster and thrill ride addict, and I got up early to go hit some rides at the Magic Kingdom, while Mrs. Lo and Byron stayed behind to have  a bit of a lie in. MK opened their doors at 8:00 AM and we got there right as the gates where unlocked. If you are like me and can’t stand crowds or waiting in line, it is TOTALLY worth it to sacrifice a little sleep and endure that much Disney cheerfulness before getting your morning coffee. B and I hit all of the rides we wanted and then some before the masses flocked in around 10:00 AM. I think we may have been the first people on Thunder Mountain Railroad, and we had Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear, and the Astro Orbiter basically to ourselves. B loved it all, while I was just happy to finally get some coffee. By 10:00 AM we had hit up a couple of smaller rides and were back on the bus to the hotel just as the park was starting to fill up.

Sopping wet after getting hit in the face with some of that ice cold Splash Mountain "water."

Sadly, not the future king of England.

After grabbing some lunch and freshening up a bit, the entire Lo family hit up Epcot to take in one of our favorite things they do there during the holidays, learning more about the holiday traditions of the different cultures represented at the World Showcase Pavilion. Actors tell the traditional holiday stories (think Santa Claus around the world) from each of the country we all enjoy listening while having a glass of wine (for the adults) or hot chocolate (the minors). Our favorite is probably “La Bafana,” the good “witch” from Italy who delivers gifts to children while searching for the baby Jesus.

The lads and La Befana.

After hearing the different holiday stories while dodging the rain drops, we went to dinner at the Garden Grill at Epcot. The food is served family style at the table and features vegetables and fish farmed at Epcot’s Land. The food is certainly good prepared simply, and available in endless supply, but the real attraction is that these guys drop in and visit the kids during your meal.

I know the big kid in the middle from somewhere, but I can't put my finger on it.

Hello Pluto. Did you notice the scenery behind them changed? The restaurant rotates slowly.

We also saw Chip and Dale, who I can never tell apart, but from what I understand now Chip has a smaller, darker nose like a chocolate chip. Makes sense, no? It’s still really cool for me to see how much joy something so simple as seeing a character for just a couple of minutes brings these guys, even though they are starting to realize that these are just people dressed up in costume. I hope stay that way for a while and keep that level of innocent wonder – though I know they won’t forever. It’s why we don’t mind paying some extra money to have moments like this while we still can.

After dinner it was time for the Candlelight Christmas Processional, narrated by the aforementioned NPH. The processional is a very traditional telling of the Christmas story accompanied with some really wonderful music featuring a full orchestra and choir. In other words, it’s all the best pomp and circumstance of a Christmas Eve church service done outside with a little Disney flair. It’s something we’ve already enjoyed and were excited to share it with the boys for the first time.

NPH narrating, with the massed choir in the background.

In the end the processional was a pretty amazing event: NPH was predictably funny and charming, the music was joyful and inspiring, regardless of your particular religious or spiritual views, and the boys enjoyed it despite being pretty exhausted. I found it amusing that our family is one of the few who don’t associate NPH with his role on How I Met Your Mother. To Mrs. Lo and I he’s Doogie Howser, MD and to the boys he’s “that guy in the Smurfs.” (thankfully that was the MiL’s doing, and I didn’t have to see that movie with them, whew.) I think we may be the only people in the world who don’t watch HIMYM, but I do believe that we should just declare NPH to be permanently “host” of anything that needs hosting (Oscars, Golden Globes, etc). He really looked liked he enjoyed what he was doing, and the crowd around us got a big kick out of his subtle “dance moves” during some of the more energetic songs.

All in all it was a fun but too brief weekend of fun. Tomorrow is back to work and the real world, but, hey, at least we weren’t served with cease and desist order from any celebs this weekend. Always look at the bright side of life, right?




Posted on December 12, 2011, in Food and Drink, Music, The Dad Life, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I associate NPH to all of those mentioned (of, except the Smurfs because I refuse to watch). I would probably want to stalk him too.

    You SHOULD watch HIMYM sometime (from the very beginning – it’s on Netflix now, so no excuses) because it really is a great show. You would probably like it for Robin Sparkles alone.

    Dan associated the Candlelight Processional with Greg Kinnear because we have seen him read for it 4 times. Yes, 4. I can sense your jealousy.

    • Hmmm, four times a lot to see anybody. I am jealous. We’ve seen Gary Sinise (who was probably the best reader of the bunch), Andy Garcia, Phylicia Rashard, and John O’Hurley. NPH was definitely the most fun though.

      Yes, HIMYM is in my Netflix queue now, but there’s a lot of stuff to get through first.

  2. great post I’m a big cycling enthusiast from holland

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