October 21, 2002
A Day at Disney

We just had a fabulous day at Disney World. Al even got into the Disney spirit this time, which was a surprising development. :) We got up relatively early, shared a waffle in the lobby of the Jameson Inn (yes, they had make-your-own waffles, and they were delicious), and hit the road for Lake Buena Vista. We went straight to the Magic Kingdom, since our hotel check-in time wasn't until 4pm; we figured we'd do the one day, one park thing until 2 or 3pm, and then head over to our hotel.

That's exactly what we ended up doing. I've been to the Magic Kingdom a zillion times, so I let Al choose the agenda. I figured he'd pick some of my favorites anyway. He did: we went first to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, skipped Space Mountain (for perhaps the first time since I got the courage to ride it), then walked through Fantasyland and got on It's a Small World. Me: "Are you SURE you want to ride this?" Al, after getting about halfway through the singing doll display: "This isn't what I thought it was." Interestingly, I think they toned down the "it's a small world, after all..." music; you could barely hear the lyrics this time through, and I remember them being blaringly loud when I last rode this strange anachronism as a kid.

Next we went to the Haunted Mansion: not scary at all, but a sentimental favorite. We stopped for a Powerade, a water, and a hotdog (for Al) in Liberty Square, and then visited the Hall of Presidents. I didn't fall asleep this time (as I did when I visited with Sandy, back when Bill Clinton was our leader), so I got to appreciate the audioanimatronic presidents in their full glory. They really are impressive. The history lesson that preceded speeches by George W. Bush and Abe Lincoln was not, however; somehow it managed to leap from the Civil War to NASA in a single bound. Anyway, I'm glad I got to see the prezes, the great seal of the U.S., and the memorabilia in the lobby.

We sat in the shade next to the shooting gallery in Frontierland for a bit and ate a pretzel, and then I agreed to go on Splash Mountain. I wanted to do it last, since you get wet, but Al reminded me that the ride broke down last time we were at Disney, and he didn't want to risk that happening again. We seized our chance and got a fastpass that allowed us to return at 12:40, poked around in the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop to kill time, and then at 12:40pm sped past other waiting guests to the front of the line. We got in the very back of our log and immediately got wet butts as soon as we sat down.

I began to get nervous that the 50 ft. drop might be even more scary than I remembered it from my trip with Sandy as we floated off through the Song of the South intro. As we passed the bottom of the hill two jets of water spurted out, and I got drenched. The woman in front of me reminded me that getting wet was the least of my worries. This was confirmed when we encountered the two warm-up drops, which very nearly scared the pants off me. By the time the big hill loomed, I was shaking... and wishing I could get off. Consequently, the photo that Disney snapped of us as we started down the drop is particularly hilarious, with me gritting my teeth and squeezing my eyes shut. We bought a copy for posterity (and the scrapbook); if I can scan it at home, I'll post a copy.

After our positive experience with the fastpass on Splash Mountain, we obtained one for the adjacent Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and then took the Disney Railroad loop around the park. When we returned it was time to go on Thunder Mountain, so again we zipped to the front of the line and boarded a car. I love that ride; it's not at all scary, and it's the only roller coaster I really get to yell, "whee!" and "yiiiiiiiiiiii!" on. (All others I either can't get on at all, or if I can, I can only make a "euhhhhhhhhh" sound through gritted teeth on.) After an exhilarating loop around the track, we pulled into the station, and I saw people standing on our right, waiting to get in the car. I motioned to Al to get off on the left, where there were no people. As soon as we did, the attendant started yelling at us that we were supposed to go the other way. We couldn't, because the people who'd been waiting were now in our seats, and the only way to cross over was to step on them. She said, "oh well, never mind. You'll have to ride again."

We looked at each other, and Al said, "good job, honey!" We agreed that even when I'm wrong, I'm right. ;D We got to ride again, and though the second trip wasn't as fun as the first, it satisfied us. It was 2pm, and we were pretty much done for the day. We stopped at a shop on Main Street to buy a gift for Henry, Al's—now our!—three-month-old nephew, and some golf balls, and then drove back to our hotel. We were able to check in and go to our room, in Touchdown! building 10, right away. Disney's All-Star Resort is the budget hotel of the lot, but it still gives you the full-on Disney experience. There are three swimming pools at each All-Star hotel, and we were determined to try at least one of them, given that we had two hours until dinner and it was 85° out.

In the end, we tried two; we went first to the diamond-shaped pool in front of the baseball buildings, which featured a Goofy fountain on the pitcher's mound and "bases" at the corners. After fooling around there for about 20 minutes, we grabbed our stuff and walked over to the main swimming pool, which was much bigger. We jumped around and gave each other rides and generally alarmed the lifeguards for another 30 minutes, and then we went back to the room to shower for dinner. Although I prefer Disney World when the weather is a bit cooler, the heat made swimming not only feasible but enjoyable, and it was a key part of our fun.

Dinner was the Clambake Buffet at the Cape May Cafe in the Beach Club Resort. Sadly, the ambrosia had disappeared from the salad bar, and the vegetarian lasagna was also gone, but the mussels were much better than last time, and I thoroughly stuffed myself. We again said to ourselves that although the food ranks at about a 5.5 or a 6, the atmosphere is really fun, and we'd come again.

After dinner we walked over to the gift shop in the adjoining Yacht Club to look at golf shirts; there was one with Grumpy on it that looked great on me, but it didn't come in (men's) small, and the medium was way too big. I had to settle for a Grumpy golf hat, which also suits me pretty well. On the way out of the shop, I noticed a Christmas ornament that had a bride & groom Mickey and Minnie on it, and said to Al that we should see if they had any other Mickey bride & groom stuff. He said he needed to use the restroom, so I went and asked a clerk. She led me to the back of the store, where they had two sets of figurines, a photo frame, a plate, and a snow globe. The snow globe was the most enchanting: the water-filled glass ball contained Mickey and Minnie figures dancing in their wedding attire, and it was supported by a wedding cake pedestal. Tipping it upside down caused silver glitter to dance with Mickey and Minnie... and revealed a $60 price tag, two to three times the price of the other wedding memorabilia. I was torn. It seemed way too expensive, but it was very nice, and Al collects snow globes. I looked again at the photo frame and the plate.

When Al returned to the shop, I led him back to the display and pointed out the options. He immediately turned to the snow globe and said, "is it a music box as well?" I said I didn't think so, but he turned it upside down, and we saw a silver knob next to the price tag. I turned it, and Someday My Prince Will Come started to play. I looked at Al, smiled, and started to cry. Yep, we'd be buying the snow globe. We arranged to have it shipped back to our house in Mountain View, since it was heavy and would be a pain to carry in our suitcases.

After walking back to the car, we drove around the Epcot Resorts Blvd. loop and pulled into the lot for the Boardwalk. We walked up and down the wooden expanse for a while, got a photo postcard of us at a photo booth, watched some of the live ESPN Monday Night Football Pre-Game Show at the ESPNZone, and poked in the shops. By the time we were done our feet were tired, so we headed back to our room at All-Star Sports, where we are now, preparing to pack for the trip home. Yay, what a fantastic day!

Posted by Lori at October 21, 2002 07:18 PM