For Spring Break, the boy and his Nana took a cruise on the Disney Dream cruise ship. The moment we pulled into the port and the boy saw the ship (and the water slide on its top) he stopped worrying about sailing and couldn’t wait to ditch us.
Telling someone goodbye and knowing they don’t miss you one little bit makes it easier for everyone involved.
Less than an hour later, Nana called and said that he was eating lamb chops and prawns. We moved from having hurt feelings to pangs of jealousy.
With the boy off to sea, we decided to embark on our own Disney adventure. A quick check of the park schedule yielded a pleasant surprise: Disney World was open until 1:00 am!!! This unexpected surprise gave us the opportunity to enjoy the park without rushing.
It’s always exciting to pull into the gates of a theme park!
I have been using the Undercover Tourist app very religiously. I checked my app and was dismayed to see that wait times were well over two hours for almost everything. Upon entering the park, we went to Space Mountain and got a FastPass that invited us to return after midnight–more than 12 hours from the time we secured it.
(Tip 1: Download an app so that you can use your smart phone to enhance your park experience. Disney has one, but I prefer the Undercover Tourist App. I think it’s better).
After we secured a somewhat useless FastPass, DH looked at me sheepishly and said, “Kim, don’t kill me but I’m a little sleepy.”
“No problem, DH!,” I said. “I’ll take you where all sleepy people at Disney World go: The Hall of Presidents!”
(Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to take a break–and sitting in an air conditioned show is a great place to do it! ).
He looked horrified.
I was thrilled.
It was a stroke of good luck really. The crowds and the stinky Disney World line management system meant that we were going to have to switch gears a little. I decided we would look at the map and take inventory of all of the things we’d never done before: Sleeping (for him) and watching the show (for me) met my criteria! As we sat down and waited for the show to start, I circled everything we were going to do, making a revised plan of action.
(Tip 3: Bring a Sharpie and grab two maps. Mark one up and circle the things you are prioritizing. Keep the other one in your pocket/purse as it is sometimes hard to find another later!).
The Hall of Presidents show was actually pretty cool. Audio-Animatronic presidents participated in a historical overview of the United States. I was in a, “I miss America” mood and a standing-up, sitting-down Abraham Lincoln was just what I needed. It was incredible to watch each of the presidents turn their heads as they watched each other speak. I was also pretty excited to be an American after watching it. Mission accomplished, Disney!
We were having a good time until I spied the characters from the movie, Toy Story. I had been hoping we would see them so that I could shout, “Andy’s coming!!” When you do, the toys have to slump to the ground as if they were lifeless discarded toys just like they do in the movies.
DH refused. He dragged me away and I pouted for a little while. (Tip 4: Plan your interaction with the characters. You only spend a minute or two with them–but make it a good minute!! Here are some fun things you can do!).
After we made up, we headed off to The Enchanted Tiki Room. Although it’s a classic Walt Disney World attraction neither of us had ever been before! Like Hawaii, things in that Tiki room remain unchanged. That song those birds sing, the click-clacking of their beaks–oooh! It drove me crazy.
In fact, I was so annoyed, that during the show I Googled the attraction to help me figure out why when it caught fire a few years ago, Disney didn’t let the damn thing burn to the ground. Turns out, that Walt Disney imagined 3 dimensional animation as far back as 1949. While on vacation, years later, he purchased a mechanical bird that sang and moved its beak, head and wings. He gave it to his team and asked them to create something similar. If you’ve ever had a boss with a pet project then you know what those poor Imagineers were up against. I can just hear him walking by their desks asking, “How’s the invention of animatronics going guys? Any progress? I know you’re inventing something, but are you done yet?”
Welcome to hell.
In spite of myself, I almost liked the attraction out of pity for those poor Imagineers.
The show we watched has since been modified from 17 to 11 (long) minutes. This change was made to accommodate the shorter attention spans of today’s guests. While I appreciate the attraction’s historical significance and the impact that those crazy birds have had on theme parks as we know them–I don’t ever want to sit through that show again (unless it’s raining).
But, every cloud has a silver lining. The very best thing about the Enchanted Tiki Room? It was sponsored by Dole! And, as I researched our trip, I discovered that one of the most legendary things to eat at Disney World is a Dole Whip!!
A Dole Whip is a dairy free pineapple-flavored soft-serve frozen dessert. Until recently, this dessert was only available at Disney World, Disneyland and the Dole Plantation in Hawaii. Although I have visited the Dole Plantation in Hawaii, (and eaten a Dole Whip there!) I was unaware that Dole Whips were available on the mainland! It was only after I began researching the most popular food items at Disney World, that I learned that Dole Whips are legendary Disney cuisine!
After enduring that Tiki Show, we needed a little sugar. We ordered a Whip, and absolutely loved it. DH, who (allegedly) does not care for pineapple was impressed. As you can see from the photo above, the person who “doesn’t really like pineapple“–also doesn’t really share!!
While we had a nice time, we grew tired of the lines. The wait was long. And traveling without kids made it feel even longer.
I know that Disney World is all about nostalgia, but still. I was bummed out that there wasn’t a FastPass option or a single rider line.
There was nothing to do but wait, and as we were waiting I was a little bored. Both of us felt they could have thrown some flat screens up with a reel of cartoons to watch as we waited. It seemed like a missed opportunity to introduce the magic to another generation.
During the evening parade, we checked out the new Fantasyland. The expansion of Fantasyland is the largest expansion in the Park’s history. The new Fantasyland is almost twice the size of the old one. There are princess meet and greets, new play areas, and they’re building a new Snow White coaster. Not to worry though, the Dumbo ride and Teacups are still there. We did the teacups and had an incredible time. We laughed, and laughed and laughed. While we were in line, I had Googled that ride too. I was thrilled to inform DH that more people vomit on the tea cups than any other ride in the park. “You go first and check the teacup carefully, before getting in,” I said. Then, to make him feel better, I assured him, “The teacups have breaks now, don’t worry, we can’t go that fast.”
(Tip 5: Ditch the parade and hop in line for one of your favorite or must-see attractions! It’s the best time to get in line!).
All in all, we had a magical time at Disney World, and if you go, I hope that you do too!!