After checking into the Caribbean Beach Resort, we hopped one of Disney World's buses over to the Magic Kingdom. A Disney bus is like a New York subway (except clean and devoid of rodents... if you don't count the giant one who is the corporate icon) and that's especially true at the end of the day... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
We arrive at our destination and follow the vast sea of humanity as it washes upon the shores of the Magic Kingdom. According to various stats, the week of our visit is typically not crowded. Let me say, if you don't like crowds, there is no such thing as a not crowded Disney theme park. But it's the price one must pay for all the friggin' happiness. (That and several hundred dollars for park passes.)
First we went through metal scanners which meant removing the buttons given to us by the very friendly Disney hostess at the check in desk. My daughter Randie had one proclaiming it was her birthday... and virtually every single worker ...excuse me, "cast member" made a point to wish Randie a Happy Birthday. I think they may have shock collars that go off if they fail to acknowledge her birthday button. My wife Andrea and I had buttons that said we were celebrating and we frequently had to address questions of what we were celebrating. Andrea would be honest and say it was her daughter's birthday. Me, I had answers like:
- "My divorce! But don't tell my wife; it's a surprise!"
- "My terminal illness diagnosis has been upped from 3 months to 5!"
- "My erection is lasting more than 4 hours!"
- "Sea otters! There's so damn cute!"
- "My forthcoming bankruptcy after I leave Disney World!"
Next up we actually get into the park. On our wrists we wore MAGIC BANDS! (Ahhhhh! Magic Bands!) These things are great! You wave them over scanners and they get you into the park, through Fast Pass entry points, buy food and souvenirs and unlock doors when we get back to the resort. (They also make julienne fries!)
If the Mickey Mouse emblem on the scanner turns green, you have passage into Nirvana. If it doesn't, you're pulled down by the darkest demons of unholy Lucifer into the fiery pits of hell itself.
Once inside the park, the first thing you're going to see is Main Street which is designed to look like a Norman Rockwell painting ...assuming ol' Norman was hyped up on caffeine. It is crowded with lights and noises everywhere. It's Time Square shoved into Lake Woebegon.
Here are some of the features we went through on our first afternoon and evening in the Magic Kingdom:
The Swiss Family Robinson Tree House
A marvel of design and imagination showing off good old white European know how that can conceive and build a complex tree structure. Instead of a boat.
The Enchanted Tiki Room
Birds and flowers sing songs and tell bad puns. It's the cutting edge technology of 1972 but somehow still remains charming.
Pirates of the Caribbean
It's just like the movies except the plot is coherent. Randie asked which came first, the ride or the movies? The ride came first but since the success of the movies, Capt. Jack Sparrow has been redesigned to look more like Johnny Depp's take on the character. Little known fact: about once a month, Depp himself gets dressed up as Sparrow and chills out for a few hours in place of one of the Sparrow automatons.
A river cruise hosted by a young man or woman who spouts bad puns about the jungle scenery and clearly comes to question their life choices by the end of the day.
This is the log flume ride based on the Disney movie that dare not be named. OK, I'll name it: Song of the South. It's a bit of a pariah in the Disney movie oeuvre as it depicts black people in slavery as happy. That is a questionable choice but the thing that stood out to me the last time I saw it was there this little white boy running around in the South in August... in a velvet suit! A velvet suit! God, white people are stupid! Anyway, the log flume ride is based on the stories of Uncle Remus and the songs from the film. The ride ends with a near completely vertical drop which is quite a rush. Particularly if one is sitting at the front of the log. Randie and I were sitting in the front of the log! The front! Of the log!
After all that and some other stuff, it was time for fireworks. Let me speak, if I may, and I may, it's my blog, on the subject of events at Disney like fireworks, parades and other stuff. One just does not go, "I say! Fireworks are beginning in about 5 minutes! Shall we saunter over and watch?" "What a splendid idea! Let's shall!" No, these things take planning. Advance planning. NASA space shots don't require this much planning. When it comes to fireworks, parades and what not, you need to establish a vantage point WAY before hand.
On this night in the Magic Kingdom, the fireworks over Cinderella's castle were scheduled to begin at 10 PM. 10 PM?!?! It was 9:30 PM and after only a half day of walking just a quarter of this park, I was tired and just wanted to get back to our room at the resort (AKA, the Fortress of Amaze-itude). But there was this person jumping up and down in front of me with child like glee saying, "I wanna see the fireworks! I wanna see the fireworks! I wanna see the fireworks!"
No, that was not my teenage daughter. She was with me on getting back to our room. That was Andrea, my wife. Alleged grown up person.
"I wanna see the fireworks! I wanna see the fireworks! I wanna see the fireworks!"
So Randie and I reminded ourselves that we were at the Friggin' Happiest Friggin' Place On Friggin' Earth. So we stayed for the fireworks.
I should note that Cinderella's castle was done up with extra sparkly lights, a Frozen theme combo'd with the holiday spirit. It was quite lovely to look at.
But after it was over, we had to slog through the swarming masses thronging down Main Street which was noisier and brighter than ever before. It was all too too. Eventually we staggered back to the bus stop to hitch a ride back to our resort. And this brings us to the narrative I call...
Attack of the Random Cheerleader Zombies
Randie does not like cheerleaders. Too many of them are too perky and too self aware of their prettiness with all the smug self-satisfaction that comes with all that.
So naturally there were cheerleaders in Disney World that week. Lots and lots and lots of cheerleaders. Seems there was some kind of big honking cheerleading competition thingy going on and it was being covered on ESPN or something with Minnie Mouse hosting.
Randie became aware of the cheerleaders when we were having our late lunch at Old Port Royale earlier that day. Lots of chattering, giggling girls swarming all over the place. Over the course of the day, we kept encountering random groups of them. And there they were. On our bus.
Earlier I said that a Disney bus is like a New York subway, especially at the end of the day. Well, we're at that point now.
When it comes time to start clearing people out of the parks, Disney bus drivers do not mess around. They insist that all possible space on the bus be filled. Along the bus are poles and straps to hang on to and by God, you will hang on to those things and fill every square inch of the bus or it ain't moving.
Except in our case, our bus was not filling up to the satisfaction of our driver. And the reason? Cheerleaders.
There was a whole gaggle of them at the back with a lot of wiggle room between them. The driver keeps yelling for people to move back and fill all the space. But there's only so much movement the rest of us can do. I can't move back because the guy behind me can't move back and the guy behind me can't move back because the guy behind him can't move back and the guy behind him can't move back because the cheerleaders won't f**king shut up and move!
Randie had enough. And she makes the following announcement:
"HEY! RANDOM CHEERLEADERS! YOU NEED TO MOVE BACK!"
You go, girl! You go!
Sometime around 11:15 we arrive at Caribbean Beach Resort. As I noted yesterday, our room was in the Martinique section of the resort so we got off at the Martinique bus stop. This was a mistake. The bus stop is close to buildings 21, 22 and 23. But we're in building 25. I realize that we should probably get off at the Old Port Royale bus stop next time. That should work better,
Spoiler alert: It doesn't. But we'll address that in Part 3.
Going live at 5 PM Eastern Time (USA), I post about income equality for women and take a look at what might be a porcelain penis statue.
Working around the clock to 5 AM Easter Time (USA) on Thursday, the El family ventures forth to EPCOT for Disney Daze - Part 3.
Until next time, remember to be good to one another.