Today was the big day. The big finale. The big trip to the Magic Kingdom, the Mecca of all things Disney. We drove up under the big Walt Disney World archway and found our way to the line to pay our parking tithe and made our way into the parking lot and eventually onto the Tram and to what I thought was the entrance. I was struck by the fact that there were no security lines or anything and that I couldn’t find the place to insert my ticket. Then I noticed that we had to take the monorail or the ferry from this pseudo-entrance to the real entrance. We opted for the monorail and 4.5 minutes after departing the station we came to the real entrance to our glorious destination.
Once through the gates, we set foot on Main Street, U.S.A. and looked out over the mass of humanity swarming around us to see Cinderella’s Castle, like a beacon in the bright sunshine, looming ahead of us. We stopped at the first restroom on our tour and then continued onto Main Street. Here we saw a brass band consisting of trumpets, trombones, a tuba and drums. They were playing jazzy Dixieland music and were great. Of course, The Girl and I may be biased given our love of the trumpet, but any time you can get four part trumpet harmonies mixed with three part trombone harmonies and a tuba… that’s good stuff!
Every time I see a band such as this, I decide that I’m going to start one of my own. We can tour around the suburbs, impressing everyone with our amazing musical talents and lifting them, at least temporarily, from the cesspools of their drab, wretched lives. Then I think about it more and realize that I’d have to keep my day job in order to be able to pay for parking at the theme parks at which we’d have to perform… and my bubble bursts. Oh, well… I’ll just have to stick with my more reachable goal of writing the great American novel and being better known than J.K. Rowling.
Anyway, after the band was finished filling me with thoughts of what might have been, we wandered into Tomorrowland, home of Space Mountain and other exciting rides. We immediately got in line for the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor and 30 minutes later were inside, helping Monstropolis to have enough safe, clean, laugh-based power to run for a good long time. They did a great job with this show, intermixing the people in the audience with the animated characters. Clearly it was a live voiceover that was happening because they were interacting with the people they were picking on in the audience. Well done and well worth the 30 minute wait. If it had been longer, I might not think the wait was worth it.
After this completed, we went and rode on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority ride, which was simply a little box car ride around and over Tomorrowland. It was nice to sit for a few minutes and to see some of the attractions from a different perspective. We exited that ride and went to get in line for the Stitch’s Great Escape adventure, only to find that the wait was now up to about an hour. Sorry, no. Maybe later.
From here we then traipsed back around toward Mickey’s Toontown Fair and Fantasyland. We rode on the Mad Tea Party so that we could have our mandatory teacup ride for the trip. Once this was done, I had to separate from the rest of the group and head out to the Guest Relations building at the front of the park so that I could print out boarding passes for the return trip we were all looking forward to so very, very much. In the meantime, the wife and kids went to Mickey’s country house, Minnie’s country house, Ariel’s Grotto and Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel. As I returned from Guest Services with boarding passes but no seat assignments, I learned that the big parade was going to start, so we hooked back up and headed back to the front of Cinderella’s Castle to watch the parade.
Of course, the front row of the viewing area was crowded and clogged up by stupid adults who were standing in front of their own children at times to ensure a good view for themselves. We decided to put our children on our shoulders so that they could see and we stepped to the back of the viewing area so as to not block other people’s views. Then we waited. And waited. Now, my kids are not heavy, but wow, holding them on your shoulders in 90 degree weather, in the sun, for forty minutes gets old real fast. It gets older when other people are less considerate than you are and put their kids on their shoulders and walk out in front of you rather than being polite and staying in the back. Jerks.
Seriously, the more people I see, the more I like my dog.
Anyway, the parade was loud and exciting. Everyone was in it from the various Disney movies, though not everyone merited a parade float so some poor characters, like Chip and Dale, had to walk and dance while others, like Ariel and Belle and her Beast, rode around in luxurious castles.
Once the parade was complete and I figured out how to get The Girl down from my shoulders, we headed back to Fantasyland and rode on the “It’s a small world” ride. While in line, I played the part of nanny for the family in front of us who couldn’t seem to keep their boys with them. I just keep envisioning the little boys getting lost in the throngs of uncaring, self-centered people waiting in line, so I kept ushering him back to his family. At least they thanked me. That was nice of them. Some of the other parents that I reunited with their wandering children glowered and scowled at me, as though I was the one who separated their kids from them in the first place. Nice response, deadbeats.
Anyway, the ride was what it always has been, a boat ride where the refrain for “It’s a Small World” is sung over and over and over and over again in various languages. But it was air conditioned and we were sitting down, so there was and will be no complaining from me.
From here, we went to find a restroom we hadn’t seen before and then on to Mickey’s PhilharMagic 3-D movie, which was advertising a 20 minute wait. About 40 minutes later, we finally got let into the inner sanctum, which was simply another waiting room, just without the stupid ropes and bars and chains to keep us all walking in something similar to a line. So, we stood there in the mob and at one point The Boy said, “Hey, there’s the Reeds” (recall that the Reeds are The Girl’s friend from school’s family). We looked up and lo and behold the Reeds were standing right next to us, not noticing us any better than we had been noticing them. Laughs were exchanged and then the two Girls linked up and sat together for the show. The show was an exciting and energetic music show which had Maestro Donald Duck losing control of his orchestra and suddenly being transported into scenes from all the big Disney movies as he tried to recover from being knocked off his rocker by a flute. Eventually, Mickey himself comes in and regains control of the orchestra in much the way the Sorcerer takes control of the crazy, heroic brooms in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.
After a visit to another restroom (yes, we literally visited hundreds of them this week), we decided that we had spent so much time waiting in lines that we’d have dinner at the park and stay later. So, we plunked 35 dollars down on some lousy pizza, a cup of fries and some sodas and bottled waters. Once we slogged through the meal, we were accosted by a survey taker who wanted our opinions on the restaurant (“fine, but too expensive”). She gave us a few stickers for our troubles and we wandered off, this time heading toward Adventureland. To get there, we had to cross through Frontierland, home of Splash Mountain and other rides that none of us wanted to do. All the while my darling daughter questioned whether or not I was leading our little group in the right direction or not (I was). But we eventually got there and headed straight to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, which amazingly had a 5 minute wait. We went through the ride, which was on a boat of course and followed the misadventures of Captain Jack Sparrow and his friends. There was a dark waterfall which offered some excitement, too, so that was good.
We left there and found our way to the Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) and waited 10 minutes for this exciting adventure. Except that it was boring. It was fine, I guess, but it wasn’t exciting or anything. We got to hear various birds sing songs about the Tiki Room and we got sing-songed out of the room at the end. It would have better if they exploded something.
So we exited into the rain (Did I mention that it had started raining before we got to the Pirates adventure? And oh, yes, I wore sunscreen today.) and found a restroom. We headed back out to Tomorrowland to see how bad the wait was at Stitch’s Great Escape and found it was only like 20 minutes. So we went in. The ride wasn’t much of a ride but more of a walk from place to place and eventually sit in a seat type of thing. The Boy bowed out in the middle with a stomach ache or nerves or something, so The Girl and I continued in. The room was plummeted into total darkness after we were all firmly secured into our seats. Stitch broke out of his containment area and jumped on our shoulders, caused the laser beams to spit acid on us, messed with our hair, ate some poor bloke’s cell phone, stole someone else’s corn dog and then burped in our faces, and otherwise caused havoc and mayhem for us and the guards. Then, he escaped to wreak havoc upon Central Florida and we were dismissed.
We found The Wife and The Boy and headed back to Main Street U.S.A. to get the last of our souvenirs, only to find that we were then stuck as the nighttime parade had started. We watched the bright lights of the floats for a while and were impressed by the songs and the excitement they generated. Eventually we found that they were letting people through once in a while and we made our way out of the park before all of the throngs that were stuck with us. We took the monorail to the Tram to our car and headed back to the villa, tired and cranky because it was nearly 10:00 PM now.
On the ride home, we followed a little convertible much of the way. Near the end of our journey, there was a sprinkler system gone awry and it was shooting lots of water straight up into the air, but over the road way. Guess which little convertible didn’t notice it and got quite wet inside? Yep. The spiteful part of me that was jealous of driving a Corolla instead of a convertible was quite pleased as I watched them quickly trying to dry things off while all I did was push the button for the windshield wipers. Done.
A fitting end for a crazy day and a crazy stay in Orlando. Now all that’s left is the return home…. And we all know how much I am looking forward to that!