We Disney Worlded, y'all!!
For Spring Break, Jude and I flew across the country for a week at Disney World in Orlando! We were treated by Jimmy's brother Tony and his wife, the amazing Niki to an action-packed week of Disney fun. You will notice that Jimmy is not mentioned as part of this trip, and that is because he was not. Tony knows his brother very well, and knows that though he loves rides and certainly loves sitting by a pool, Jimmy is not the best with things like...lines and crowds. So he did not join.
And though you probably don't want a day-by-day travelogue of our trip...I'm going to give it to you anyway! Because it was all so much fun, and I can't resist.
I feel that I should put forth a disclaimer here that I have a love/hate relationship with all things Disney. On one hand, everything is so fake and glossy and artificially perfect, and on the other hand, everything is so fake and glossy and artificially perfect. I mean, I have to hand it to them, the attention to detail of the entire place is pretty amazing. And they make every detail of your trip extreeeeeemely user-friendly. But on the other hand, you pay for that - everything costs extra. But on the other hand, it's kind of worth it. So...
Monday: The Evil Red Eye
On Monday night, Jude and I hopped on a red eye at LAX and flew to Orlando.
It was five hours of hell. Seriously. That red eye was the one of the mostly physically exhausting experiences I've ever endured. I'd say 1. Childbirth. 2. Red eye. Neither of us slept for one minute. I would sum up the reasons for this as such - snorer, cougher, crying child, horrible cologne, movie nobody watched, turbulence, seatbelt. Jude's reaction? "Now I know what it must feel like to be a homeless person, trying to sleep on the street."
Tuesday - The Magic Kingdom
We arrived, blurry-eyed at 5:30 in the morning, stumbled our way to the Magical Express Bus, and as soon as Disney took over, everything went magically.
[Magical Tangent - Everything at Disney World is "magical". Every time you talk to a Disney employee, or "cast member" (Cast Member Tangent within a tangent - everyone who works for Disney is refered to as a "cast member". It's like Disney's wink to acknowledge that everything is fake and glossy and artificially perfect.) they tell you "Have a magical day!"]
I highly recommend to anyone visiting Disney World that you stay in one of the Disney resorts. It makes everything SO much easier. First of all, everything's so clean and...fake and glossy and...well you get it, but also, those cast members bend over backward to make your stay more magical. AND you get to use these amazing gizmos...
We pre-ordered our personalized Magic Bands ahead of time, connected it to our itinerary and to a credit card. So all you have to do is scan this puppy and you are in wherever you go. It's your motel room key, your ticket to the parks, it manages your Fast Passes, and you use it to pay for your food and all your shopping. It's a magical miracle.
We stayed at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, which is one of their "cheaper" motels. But I must say, we were completely happy and comfortable. The room was small, but it was all we needed, and it was SUPER clean and very quiet. Which came in handy when we got there at 7 am.
When we scanned ourselves into our room, we were greeted by this...
...and a phone message from Mickey himself, wishing us a magical stay.
[Mickey Tangent - Everything at Disney World is Mickey. Mickey-shaped waffles, Mickey-shaped ice cream, Mickey ears, Mickey shampoo, Mickey soap, Mickey, Mickey, Mickey.]
We caught 4 hours of good solid sleep, then hopped on another bus and headed for the Magic Kingdom to meet Tony and Niki!
Since we go to Disneyland here in California fairly often, the Magic Kingdom was a bit...redundant. As Jude put it "It's just like Disneyland, only with humidity!" But it's always fun anyway, and we loved being with Tony and Niki, who we don't get to see enough, and we enjoyed riding the rides at DW and comparing them to DL.
Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain were superior at DW (though we missed the groovy Space Mountain music they have at DL)...
While Pirates of the Caribbean and It's a Small World were better at DL.
So we rode ourselves silly, grabbed a Disney meal and crashed back at the hotel.
[Nugget Tangent - Every restaurant in Disney World has chicken nuggets. I started thinking of them as "the ubiquitous nuggets". It didn't matter if it was a pizza place or an Indian restaurant, they had the nuggets. I remember a time back when Jude was about 4 when I would have thought that this was a miracle. But nowadays I found myself slightly disgusted.]
Wednesday - Animal Kingdom
We LOVED that Animal Kingdom. Seriously.
Jude's words - "It's like a zoo and an amusement park in one!" And it's the cleanest zoo I've ever been in. I don't know how they get those animals to not stink. It's part of the magical fakeness thing, but it's amazing. It's like all the animals are "cast members", trained in making everything magical. The park is divided into sections arranged around The Tree of Life, the coolest and fakest thing of all...
There's Asia, Africa and Dinoland...
...each with their own vibe and appropriate animals and rides.
In "Asia", we found Mount Everest...
...and our new favorite roller coaster EVAH - Expedition Everest. I promise, this is an excellent roller coaster - just the right amount of extreme. It's scary, but never makes you think you're going to barf...
We also really loved the Kilimanjaro Safari, which is in "Africa". It's so perfectly fake that you really feel like you're on a real safari. You ride in a big jeep with a guide, and you ford streams and hit real fake potholes. The animals are beautiful, and you get really close to them. I am absolutely fascinated by how they can have lions on one side of the road, and zebras on the other side, but nobody eats each other. There must be some secret, hidden fencing system that keeps everybody in their places, but I couldn't spot it. Jude LOVED it. And I must say that, unlike some zoo experiences, I had the feeling that these animals were all terribly happy and well-cared-for.
It was fun and also genuinely educational. Actually, most of the Animal Kingdom was like that. We also loved the Kali River Rapids and the Dinosaur ride.
Then in the late afternoon, we took a bus to another bus to Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort to something called the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, described on the website as "a hilarious, high-spirited hootenanny the whole family will enjoy, accompanied by a finger-lickin' countrified feast". Niki has a friend who had raved about it, so she made the reservations, and we all loved it.
The show's a little hokey (okay a lot hokey), but the music's fun and the show is tried and true. And by tried and true I mean that they've been doing the same show a couple of times a night every night since 1974! The cast shifts around, I suspect they just pass around the costumes and wigs, but everybody is a real pro. Dinner was pretty damned good too - fried chicken and ribs and all you can drink beer and wine. Can't ask for better than that.
Wow! I've already written 1400 words and we're not even to Epcot yet! So come back next week for It's All Magical and Mickey at Disney World Pt. 2!
Oh look! Mama Kat's with me on this...
1.) Let's reminisce about the last trip you took...pictures please!