A Week of Magic, part I

No one who knows me doubts my love of Disney, so when the youngest received her high school diploma (a major milestone in her life and such an accomplishment–it is a regular high school diploma, no asterisk or special designation) I knew her graduation present had to be a trip to Disney World, a spot none of us had ever been. And what a magical idea it was. Not only did the three of us spend a week in Florida, but my oldest two were also able to join us for four days.

We stayed on site, not only because we wanted that experience, but also because the thought of having the Disney Magical Express pick us up at the airport and collect our luggage was something I wanted to have. That’s right. Ever since I saw those buses picking people up at the Orlando airport at the last RWA conference held there, I’ve wanted to take the Disney Magical Express. Big part of the decision making. Now for a bit of a rant. Not against Disney, because the bus ride was everything I had wanted, but against the airlines. Their policies against luggage piss me off. Yes, I understand that luggage adds weight to a plane, but charging for luggage has  made carry-on bags bigger, people more impatient, the seating area less roomy, and the experience of flying more like a bus ride. And you know what they say about bus rides. People are so intent upon getting their luggage into the cabin they lose sight of politeness. And the airlines don’t enforce the “one carry-on, one personal item” rule.  And let’s face it–for a week of travel for three people, we needed a suitcase for clothes. Especially to a humid climate where multiple changes of clothing are definitely necessary. Seriously, who travels without a change of clothes, and if you are on just such a trip why would you pack an unnecessary bag anyway? Aren’t clothes part of what one needs to take?  I think airlines can charge for heavy bags or for the second bag, but really? I read somewhere that airlines collected over six billion in bag and reservation change fee. Numbers that big make me nervous. And suspicious. And we’re pretty much stuck. On the plus side, we are freaking flying in the sky and that’s awesome.

So back to the magic. After getting to the quite lovely Caribbean Beach Resort, we headed to Downtown Disney for our first night. There was a performer who absolutely lit up Steffie’s night. He was playing kid music (YMCA, Who Let the Dogs Out, etc) and teaching dance moves and making the audience sing. I have rarely seen her so animated. She loves to sing here at home–at the top of her lungs and so totally off key. But there she was singing as if she was at home but doing it in public. It was so incredible. Yes, we got many looks from strangers, and it was beautiful.

Full day one was Magic Kingdom in the morning with…wait for it… no lines. Seriously. No lines. We stayed until noon and never stood in line more than five minutes. Now I have to let you know that because of Stef’s disabilities we received a pass that we used the rest of the week to make our stays in line much shorter (read practically none), but there were no lines to speak of that morning. It was magical. And then it started to rain. What better thing to do than hit a water park. So Typhoon Lagoon it was. We did several slides and swam with the sharks. And again, it was magical (Have I used that word yet?). Most people stayed away because of the rain. So again, no lines. We got back to the hotel (the water park closed at 5:00PM) in time for our dinner reservations and waited for the other two daughters who were arriving that night.1232571_10152445237526677_1435708030_n

And speaking of food, when we bought our tickets they were offering the dining plan for free with travel during the time we had planned. More food than we could possibly eat. Although we managed. And dessert with every meal. Okay, so some of the meals weren’t anything to blog about, but free food. What’s not to like? And a couple of the meals were spectacular–particularly at the Wilderness Resort Artist Point restaurant and in Morocco at Epcot.  We also ate lunch one day at the new Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom.  But we didn’t go to Disney for the food.

Day two–family united again. For the first time since June, five of us were in one place–The Magi Kingdom. we did the whole park. So much fun. Our first ride was the one with the longest lines throughout the day. I bet you’re thinking Splash Mountain or Space Mountain. You’d be wrong. The ride with the longest lines throughout the day is Peter Pan. According to the robotics engineer husband and computer scientist daughter the through-put on this ride is not efficient, so they can’t move people like they can on Pirates of the Caribbean.  So Peter Pan it was.  But we did them all. Small World, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Thunder Mountain. There were some special surprises. The Monsters Inc Laugh Floor was surprisingly good and the use of technology in it was impressive.  And right now we are having an on-going argument whether the California Splash Mountain has a taller drop than the Florida one. If you know, let me know.

More to follow.

–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:

Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips