Monday, June 16, 2008

It's a Small World

You try to get that song out of your head after the ride. Go on, I dare you.

Overall, it was a fabulous but totally exhausting week. And when I say exhausted, I mean I was totally and utterly spent. Feet hurting, mind dimming, dizzy and weak type of fatigue. At times I wasn't sure I was going to make it back to the hotel. I'm not sure if it was the Florida summer humidity and heat, the pregnancy, or maybe some raging infection of Disney Magic, but something conspired to drain me of all energy.

I read in a guide that a typical Disney visitor can walk from 5-12 miles a day touring the parks. I'd say we were definitely on the high end of that. I went to and plotted out just one hour of park trotting on two different occasions and found that we went 1.2 miles on one, and 1.52 miles on the other. And we spent 6-8 hours in the park each time, not to mention trips back for dinner, or to go see a nighttime parade/display. It...was...brutal.

The kids, believe it or not, kept up with us the whole time. They walked every step we walked. There was one afternoon at Animal Kingdom where we rented a stroller but that was it. And we only spent 3-4 hours there anyway.

Highlights include:

1. Getting on the plane. Orbitz totally screwed up our seat assignments and USAirways never got it. So when we checked in, they assigned the only seats left, which put me and the kids in three separate middle seats all over the plane. (Brian was flying separately that evening after work.) The gate agent told us just to get on the plane and "take row 21." When I got on, I was relieved to see three frocked priests sitting in row 21. I smiled nicely and explained the issue to the priest sitting in the aisle seat. Priest one looked up from his book and said, "oh, that's a shame." The other two just kept their noses buried in their newspapers and pretended not to be listening. WTF? A pregnant mom traveling alone with two small kids in tow with a problem they could solve immediately? I took row 20 (where my seat was) and decided to wait for the aisle and window seat people to show up and ask them nicely. The college kid who was supposed to sit in the window seat graciously took Maddy's middle seat in front of us, and the nice attorney-looking woman who was assigned to the aisle took Maddy's window seat right behind the priests. I told the flight attendant to offer them a glass of wine or beer or a "snack box" and I would pay for it.

2. Disney Magic also has a sarcastic edge to it. I guess when you have to smile and be incredibly nice all day, you also better have a sarcastic edge. And, frankly, I found it really refreshing. We were at Animal Kingdom and there were a few Disney cast members handing out hula hoops and playing music. Abby runs up and declares really loudly so all the Disney employees standing there turn around to look, "HULA HOOPS! I'm so good at this!" And with that, she takes a hoop, swings it around her waist and it...clatters directly to the ground. The Disney guy handing out the hoops leans to his colleague and, unheard to Abby, makes one of those "wah wah" failure sounds. I cracked up.

One evening (Extra Magic Hours at Epcot, so well after 10 pm, Maddy in tow while Brian, my father, and Abby did Soarin') we walked up to Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable in our quest to find something to do while they waited in a 90 minute line. My mom leans in to the guy holding open the door and asks, "how long is this show?" The guy says, "about 13 minutes." My mom responds, in this business-like tone as she waves her hand dismissively (she didn't really mean it that way), "that will be fine." The guy clearly can't help himself and retorts immediately in the same tone, "really? So, that will be feasible for you?"

3. Disney Magic also inured to our benefit at times. Also at Animal Kingdom, right at the absolute nadir of our central-florida-in-summer fatigue, a Disney employee walks up and asks if we need any help. (Did we look that lost and dazed?) We said we were fine, we were just taking a break because we were so hot. She said, "I think I know what will help. Have you been on Kali River Rapids?" We hadn't, because it, along with every other headline attraction, had lines more than 60-90 minutes long. She winked and walked us through this employee-only path to the front of the line and left us off with a breezy "enjoy!" It was really wet and just the thing we needed to rejuvenate. And then, later, dh and my dad asked how to get to Expedition Everest (another long-line headliner ride) and the Disney employee told them and also gave them "Fast Pass" tickets for it, which bring you to the front of the line as well!

4. Smoked turkey legs are delicious.

5. The Bippity Boppity Boutique baited and switched us, which was really annoying, especially for something that expensive. The price for the "Castle Package" went up $10 between the time we called to confirm our appointments (the day we arrived) and the day of our appointment, which was two days later. When we arrived, we checked the brochure, which still reflected the old price, but at checkout, the price "magically" had gone up. The cashier explained that the prices sometimes go up with little or no warning, and it had only happened the day before, even before they could get new brochures, and wasn't that just a shame for us. I looked at her evenly and asked if there was anything prior to this point in the transaction that I could have reasonably discovered the price hike, given that I'd called two days prior and even checked the price list upon arrival, and she frowned condescendingly and said, "I suppose not." But she still charged us the new price. I didn't want to make a stink in front of the kids (mine plus the throngs of tiny princesses milling about) but I fully intend to take this up with Disney now that I'm back.

That being said, the experience was incredible and the kids got such amazing attention all day (and the next, since the hairstyle was made from some industrial strength glue-like hair product that I'm sure we'll discover, along with the pixie dust, is toxic to children.)

6. Speaking of pixie dust, it started to pour at one point, and when I said, "run for the monorail, kids, it's raining!" Maddy exclaimed, "don't worry Mommy, in Disney World it's only pixie dust!"

7. Most overheard thing said by parents at Disney: "There's no crying at Disney World."

8. When one of your children is scared primarily of two things, dinosaurs and lightning, don't take her on a ride called Ellen's Energy Adventure, no matter how far from dinosaurs and lightning you think it would have to be. Because the ride is, in contravention of all reason, primarily about dinosaurs and lightning.


Unknown said...

How about giving kudos to the 60 something parents keeping up also! You guys are really fast!

Lauren said...

Where do you think we learned it from?

Keri said...

Just one ride on "It's a Small World"? Try getting it out of your head after 4 rides in a row...

Petunia said...

So, did you get any resolution with Disney about the price hike?

Old and Irrelevant said...

Vuntz I had a kendy store
Bizniss vas so bad,
I asked mein vife vat to do
And dis is vat she said:
Take yourself some kerosene
Pour it on de floor
Take a match
Give a Scratch
No more kendy store, HEY!

Cara Russell said...

We just took our kids to Disney for the first time. We rented a stroller the whole time - I don't know how yours walked all that way! Ours got tired (translation: cranky) really quick from the combination of heat, lots of walking and wanting to get to the "next ride" as quickly as possible. Apparently Mom and Dad are too slow for their liking. Kudos to you guys! Next time I may have to rent a jogging stroller to keep up with my kids!