I’ve returned from Disney World, a sewer sea of humanity that makes sense of the phrase I need a vacation from my vacation. I think this was our longest trip there yet. In the past we’ve only done about 4 days in “the World”. It never seemed long enough and it wasn’t as if we were wanting to see everything. Even at a week, we still had a lot that we missed simply because there is just so much – the world is so vast – there are just so many people – it was just so dang hot and well, we couldn’t move that fast. I will freely admit that I am weary. It’s tough to be away from the comforts of home. 7 days on a slab of concrete that Disney passes off as a bed can do most anyone in. I slept but my body did so under protest. Usually I get some good rest when I go to these places because I wear myself out to the point that exhaustion renders me unconscious. But this time, I am sad to report that although I managed to get a few winks, the rest was far from restful. And I am paying for it today. *Ouch!*
Disney World is the Mecca for the Disney enthusiast. Many would call me one but I would have to say that I am more of a purist. There is just something about Disneyland in California that holds a place in my heart. Disneyland is smaller. It’s more intimate. If your kid pees her pants when she gets off a ride 15 minutes after getting into the park, it doesn’t take you half a day to take her back to the hotel and get her changed. There’s something simpler about Disneyland that makes it more special to me. Disney World is certainly a great place to visit but Disneyland is home. That being said, however, I’ll recap my trip to Disney World a bit.
First…even Disneyland doesn’t have a handle on the types of humanity that you encounter at Disney World. Amongst us at the value resort we were staying at were the “have nots” who clearly had enough to pay for their journey to the Mouse House. Even in “value” accommodations, things were pricey but that didn’t prevent your average slummer from pirating in their mugs from their 1997 trip so they could get some free soda. On the surface, I can kinda understand why they do this but really, can you get any more blatantly dishonest than that? Sheesh. My idea of playing the system was being creative with my snack and meal points. There were ways to feed yourself to make your points last all the way up to the moment you left the resort. In fact when we left, there were still 2 points in our account. I was just too tired to care. This was my 4th trip to Florida. I have stayed at the value resort each time and I think that this may be my last time I do so. The over crowding of the resort even during the “off season” such as this supposedly is, was a turn off to me. To have to go to the dining hall before 7 am when the parks don’t open until 9 just so you could find an empty table just seemed to absurd to me. I think my next trip it will be worth paying a bit more for some moderate accommodations – at least ones with more busses, less distance to walk to them and certainly less people.
On the flip side, Michaela and I got a taste of where the “other half” stay when we visited the Grand Floridian resort for dinner on our last night there. The place was posh. It was luxurious. The resort was absolutely beautiful and QUIET. Lots more older folks were there. Many of the guests were couples. There were children but I wouldn’t say there were a lot. Even the noise from their pool was at a low hum when compared to the roar that came from the pool at our resort. Still…I am not sure I would ever pay the amount of money that one has to put up to stay there. You may get a nice room and quiet grounds but you still have to make your way out into the crowds at the parks where nobody can tell which resort you’ve come from. And when you’re there, it’s every man, woman and child for himself. Here you get a wide eyed view of just how many people don’t have manners, can’t flush a toilet and are willing to leave their empty water bottles laying amongst the atmosphere of the ride queues. Don’t those people know that Mickey loves them?
So, did I have a good time? Yes. Would I go back? Yes. Was it money well spent? Of course. I got 7 uninterrupted days with my daughter. Yes, there were times when I thought that it was difficult to do this trip alone. Michaela and I had a brief moment of time about the middle of our trip when we realized just how much we wished that Daddy was there. It was tough to see the families all there – the dads struggling to fold the strollers and walking around the park with their little girls on their shoulders – the moms trying to keep the kids quiet – seeing “families” get chosen to open the park when our little family, as incomplete as it was, was just a family visiting the park, too and trying to have a good vacation. Mike was sorely missed. It was really hard to be all things for Michaela. I had to document each moment. Listen to each story. Ride each ride and be apart of each and every one of her whims and although I feel truly blessed to be given these moments, it’s hard to not think that Mike should be here too sharing them with me or giving me a moment to step back and watch when she’s experiencing these things with one her parents. *sigh* But I digress…This could easily turn into one of those whoa is me posts, so I will end it there by saying that yep, there were moments that had me reflective and yearning for my husband. I wish he could have been there.
So, what were the highlights? Well, Michaela met LOTS of characters, many of whom she had never met before such as Peter Pan, Pinnochio, Lady Tremain and the evil step-sisters. She also saw the elusive Donald Duck (who is curiously missing from Disneyland most times we go), Daisy Duck, Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Michaela also had her big makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at the castle and was dressed to the nines in her super-fancy Cinderella dress. It was cool and freaky at the same time to have so many people watch as she walked through the park. Her dress was no ordinary dress. It was much fancier than the ones sold in the park and she loved the attention.
After the makeover and some quick photos in front of the castle, Michaela and I had dinner with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremain and the step-sisters at the Grand Floridian. It was a great dinner that was capped off by a sunset cruise across the lagoon back to the Magic Kingdom. Michaela said the boat ride was more “princessy” than traveling by Monorail even though that would have been much faster.
Other highlights were rides on the roller coasters. Michaela’s new favorite ride is the Aerosmith Rockin’ Roller Coaster that goes upside side down not 1 – not 2 but THREE times. She will brag about that to any one who will listen. She will also declare that this trip she finally kept her eyes open on the Mt. Everest ride and she got on that one twice. Big kid! Michaela was also the envy of every little girl on the Tea Cup ride because when we asked Alice to ride with us, she said YES!! So we got a great photo opportunity there with one of the characters and that made Michaela feel extra special. I’d post all the pix but I took over 700 of them. Yeah…SEVEN HUNDRED! And that doesn’t count the 150 that we took with Disney’s Photopass. HA!