Monday, September 7, 2015

Weekend Trip to Disney

Hi all! I’m back from a two-day trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando. We drove out Friday afternoon and arrived in Miami yesterday evening. The two days in between were quite adventurous.  
We haven’t been to Disney World since 2011, when we stayed in Bay Lake Tower and learned how Disney is accommodating to special allergies and dietary needs for my younger brother. This was going to be fun, short, and sweet. And it all was. On top of that, I smuggled in my Hiccup doll for comfort from the packing stress and the road, and to indulge in the subversive nature of bringing a Dreamworks character to a Disney franchise.  

Hiccup enjoyed himself, I can tell you that. So did we. So much has changed in Disney over the past five years. A few rides, like Snow White’s Scary Adventures, have vanished and been replaced by a Princess Fairytale Hall where you can meet and greet the ladies of Disney. We didn’t go on the new Snow White ride, Mine Train, because the waiting times were between 40 and 60 minutes, but it certainly looked interesting. Fare thee well, Snow White; I wished I had ridden you more often before your 2012 closure. 
On the first day, we went to Epcot, which remained mostly the same as it was in 2011. Spaceship Earth is still the most soothing ride, and my mom’s favorite experience was going on Soarin’. The large globe is soothing to see at night, though the walking between rides and Via Napoli wore us out. I actually fell asleep on my brother after we boarded the Monorail back to our hotel room.

On Saturday and Sunday, we went to the Magic Kingdom. The park is decorated in full for Halloween, even with a month to go before Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. It certainly gives a delicious air to the fall atmosphere. The people dancing around trolleys and singing about hayrides also helped.

The new ride that I loved the most was The Little Mermaid ride. I saw a 3D blueprint of the ride on my Little Mermaid DVD, and was excited to get a chance to go on it. The animatronics were very sophisticated, with the audio matched closely to the lip synching, and there was an extended sequence depicting “Under the Sea” with Sebastian the crab conducting.
With that said, they do cut out the Lovecraftian climax towards the end where Ursula gets angry and takes over the oceans, but I figured that’s a small allowance to make in favor of an actual Little Mermaid dark ride. This took twenty years into the making. The queue was also entertaining, with an animatronic Scuttle providing commentary and a sea-like backdrop.

We also went on Splash and Thunder Mountain; I was terrified of going on the rides as a kid, when we used to go to Disney more often, but I managed to swallow my fear and go on the drops. After all the stress of the past three years, an amusement park ride that relies on our fear of falling felt like a walk in the park. Plus, I can make up for the times as a kid that I freaked out and refused to get on, requiring my mom to wait with me outside the ride.
 On the second day, I took Hiccup with me to the Magic Kingdom. He got a glimpse of Cinderella’s castle, which is undergoing renovations. I found it wicked to sneak in my favorite Dreamworks character into the Happiest Place on Earth (fanfiction material). He sat with me on Space Mountain, and no one noticed. It was hard to take a photo of him in the dark, but I managed. Space Mountain was pure darkness, so I was relieved to have a comforting character with me.

We also went on the Carousel of Progress (which will remain a classic), Small World (ditto), and the Haunted Mansion. I love the ghost host outfits that the cast members wear and asked where I could get one. A cast member told me that the nearby shops sold a t-shirt, but I want to go for the full Victorian dress. I also got flashbacks when a frightened child said he didn’t want to go on; I was the same way about Pirates of the Caribbean. Jay and Mom remember that, and how I would always say, “NO yo-ho!” On the bright side, the ride was as fun as I remember, with a few updates; Leota’s head does more floating, I actually saw the Black Widow bride, and the tombstones were hilarious as always.
Overall it was a fun trip. I enjoyed myself, as did the family. Hiccup also got a chance to see my childhood and enter a place forbidden to him; the security guard that checked my bag didn’t even recognize him. I got to be a proper kid again, with some cynicism about progress and yet less adult worries on hand. In the Magic Kingdom, you can shut most of the real world out, and get lost in the atmosphere.

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