I'm late again but I have an excuse, really. It's my birthday and I spend the day celebrating.
The big plan for today was to arrive at the Magic Kingdom well before 7:00 am. That's really early, even for me the early riser. When I woke at 5:30 but took one look out at the dreary, drippy weather and promptly returned to my bed. I had had a bad night.
If you've ever stayed at Pop Century perhaps you've experienced their nightly program. I call it Symphony of the Toilets. In the Big Wheel building it began around 11:00 and continued pretty much non-stop through the night. I'd heard them on previous trips but last night was insane and kept me tossing and turning instead of getting my badly, badly needed beauty sleep. The Magic Kingdom was going to have to wait.
I dozed until 8:30 when I got up and set out on the hunt for some caffeine. Caffeine is my big addiction and there are no coffee pots at Pop. (That's got to be against some sort of law. Cruel and unusual punishment, perhaps?) No one, and I mean absolutely no one, not even my own mother, wants to be around a decaffeinated me. I'm mean and grouchy and stupid. I don't even feel like talking, which, if you knew me, would be proof positive that something's wrong. I'm not even up to putting on clothes without at least one cup in my system. I'm going to write a strongly worded letter to Disney pleading with them, for the sake of humanity, to please put coffee makers in the rooms at Pop. It's bad enough that you have to get up way to early at Disney World. For them to expect you to do it without caffeine is just sick.
I threw my jacket over my red teddy bear jammies set out on a caffeine hunt. I found the vending machines and read bleary-eyed through the choices. I decided to treat myself to Diet Coke. While I was vainly trying to get the machine to take my money (Remember, no caffeine=mean and stupid.) a poor man dropped by for a bucket of ice. He got to watch me try and try and try to feed my money into that cruddy machine. I may have said a few very non-Disney type words. I know I lost my temper and kicked the machine before I was finally able to buy my overpriced Coke and stomp off. I'm pretty sure I gave the guy at the ice machine a dirty look on my way out. I'm soo sorry now, really, I am. If I ever kill anyone I won't use the Twinkie defense. I'll use the no coffee excuse and hold Disney responsible.
Back in room 367 I sucked down my drink, put on the TV and had breakfast. The yogurt parfait was okay, mostly just a larger version of the one at McDonald's. I ate about half. The weatherman said it should clear up and hit 75 by this afternoon. Yippee! I also watched the Wakki Nu Nu (Appliance Direct) guy. Do any of y'all know him? He's a hoot.
I finally got dressed dragged my lazy b*tt over to the bus stop. There was a Magic Kingdom bus waiting for me, yippee! It was really crowded and I had to stand for the trip but, again, yippee! I thought I would have to wait and wait for a bus.
I always get all excited on my first day. I had celebrated this first day by donning one of the many Disney outfits that my family so loves. Today I'm wearing my glitter Tinkerbell pants in honor of my plans to hit the Peter Pan ride.
The lines at the gate weren't at all bad and in no time I was standing on Main Street. The sky was beginning to clear and Main Street was just lovely. It was crowded but not overly so. I like a bit of a crowd at Disney World. Weird, I know, but it just seems so much more festive with people around.
Fantasyland was my first stop. Here I picked up a FastPass for Peter Pan's Flight. The posted wait was 40 minutes. (We have a general rule in our family that we don't wait in a line unless it's expected to be 20 minutes or less. Daughter Liz and I are fairly patient with lines, Son Sam not so much so. As for hubby Scott, he doesn't even want to ride in the first place, much less wait an hour in a line to do so. I can't tell you how much FastPasses have improved our family vacations.) I had an hour until my FastPass was good so I set out to enjoy the rest of Fantasyland in the meanwhile.
My first stop was Mickey's Philharmagic. The show was just about to start. There's almost never a line for this and today was no exception. I don't get it. I love Philharmagic. It's one of my favorite attractions in all of Disney World. I love the music, the effects and the great way one scene segues into the next. I can't believe so few people want to see it. This time I had a great seat, right behind a 6 or 7 year old. I'm kind of short and always seem to end up behind the tallest guy in the room so this was a treat. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
After Philharmagic I mosied over to It's A Small World. The posted wait here was 20 minutes but it didn't look like a 20 minute line to me. It wasn't. I waited maybe 10 minutes before setting off on the happiest cruise on Earth. I'm such a dork that I even enjoy IASW. We've picked out different dolls to represent the family. Scott's the cowboy doll, Sam the horn player and Liz one of the South Seas dancers. (She's not one of the slow hula-type ones either. Our Liz is one of the dolls near the end that are really shaking it. Liz is very talented in the shaking it department. She's participating in some Greek music show next week-end. Because Liz studies harder than she parties her more festive sorority sisters tend to considered her a bit of a wet blanket. That was until they saw her dance to Gloria Estefan. Now she's cool. Cuz she can shake it.)
I did so little waiting in line that I still had 20 minutes before I could use my Peter Pan FastPass. I decided to walk over to Tomorrowland and pick up a FastPass for Buzz Lightyear. While I was there I hopped on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority for a trip through Tomorrowland. I like this ride too. No idea why, except that it never has a line and is kind of Zen. I shared a car with a man riding with his four year old son. They were filling in time while the rest of the family rode Space Mt. We had a nice time comparing our Buzz Lightyear scores. At least the kid and I did. Dad had that dazed numb look you see on so many grown men at Disney.
By now my yogurt parfait had worn off and I was ready for one of my favorite Disney treats: the spicy cheese pretzel. I love these things. Bread and cheese are my two great dietary weaknesses. I could live on them. I can bypass ice cream, chocolate, burgers and fries with no problem but I'm helpless in the face of a grilled cheese sandwich. The problem with bread and cheese is that they are not kind to my hips. Every slice of toast, every morsel of cheese that enters my mouth heads straight south down to my hips which are wide enough as it is. They don't need any help from Disney.
Who cares? I'm on vacation and all by myself. No one will ever know. I ordered a pretzel and a cup of iced water. (BTW, iced water is free at the fast food places. The bottled stuff is something over $2. The free stuff tastes a little funky but $2 is, after all, $2 especially if you tend to be a bit on the cheap side.) I found a table in the sun and people watched while enjoyed my treat. Before I knew it, it was time to get my Buzz FastPass and head back over to Fantasyland.
Fantasyland was crazy busy. Peter Pan had an hour's wait in the stand-by line. Even with my FastPass I waited almost 20 minutes. One of the worst things I found about going alone is standing in line. I'm usually not at all hesitant about talking to strangers when I'm with someone. For some reason I felt shy and uncomfortable in the Peter Pan line, weird.
I love this ride. We went to Disney World when I was a kid and back then I thought it was just so cool. My favorite part was where you fly over London. It doesn't seem like much now, but I grew up in the backwoods and was pretty easy to impress in 1973. These days it's more nostalgia that keeps me riding, although I still think it's lovely.
After Peter Pan I walked over to Liberty Square. I wanted to ride Haunted Mansion but it had a 50 minute wait, too long for me. No matter, Scott likes this ride so I'll save it for later on in the week.
While I was deciding what to do next a parade came by. Very cute. I watched it from the steps of the Hall of Presidents and when it was over I ducked in. The waiting area here is vast and there were about a dozen of us in there. This I understand. I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of the Hall of Presidents. I don't think I'd been since I quit breastfeeding. The Hall of Presidents is wonderful for that. I had a fabulous seat. It was easy since the place was almost empty. The whole production is pretty dull IMHO. I never was good with the Presidents. I can always get the first three or four and the those that came after JFK right. It's pretty much everyone in the middle that I can't tell apart. I know Lincoln but who the heck were Arthur, Pierce and Garfield? I decided I liked Andrew Jackson best. Not only did he rock his outfit, he gossiped with another guy all during Lincoln's speech.
After the wild adventure that is the Hall of Presidents I decided it was time for a real thrill. I went to Frontierland for a ride on Splash Mt. The wait there was forever, ditto with Big Thunder Mt. so I ended up just taking the train around to Mickey's Toontown Fair. This place was a zoo! I suspect it was getting on for nap time because every where you looked toddlers were having massive meltdowns. I had been feeling a bit lonely but five minutes in Mickey's Toontown Fair reconciled me to my solo status quite nicely. I walked into the shop there and exchanged the princess pen I'd bought in Everything Pop the night before for a new one. Mine had quit working. The people in the shop were very nice about it and didn't even ask the question that had to be on their minds. "What in the world is a 47 year old woman doing with a fat, shiny, pink princess pen in the first place?"
Out of Mickey's Toontown and back into Tomorrowland where I rode Buzz Lightyear with my FastPass and scored 89,000 points. It would happen when I'm here all alone with no one to see. I'm usually incredibly bad at this game and 89,000 is an unbelievably fantastic score for me. I'm so bad that back in the day I was regularly creamed by a pre-schooler. Liz and Scott usually score well over 100,000 and son Sam regularly tops out at 999,999. I average somewhere in the 800's. I'm a charter member of the Buzz Lightyear Hall of Shame. This time I'm trying to sneak in a little practice before Scott arrives.
Well, I'd hit my all time, albeit unwitnessed, high score on Buzz. I figured the Magic Kingdom wasn't going to get any better than that and decided to leave on a high note. It was getting super crowded. I walked slowly up Main Street and wondered about all of the people I saw streaming into the park. What were they thinking? When I read reports of people who just hate Disney World because of the crowds I always think, "Yeah, well you must be one of those types who stroll in at 1:30 on an Easter Sunday and are surprised to find long lines." If you want to sleep in on Easter you need to either be prepared for crowds or take your vacation somewhere else. Even the difference between 10:30 and 1:30 was huge. I bet if you asked those who arrived at 7:00 AM those who arrived at noon how their day went you wouldn't believe that they went to the same place.
I had quite a long wait for a bus. There wasn't much of a line at the stop when I got there. The problem was that none of the many, many busses passing by were headed to Pop Century. Busses stopped for other hotels loaded up and moved on with commendable regularity. A few resort busses came by two or even three times but the Pop Century one remained MIA. Behind me the line began to snake through the turnstiles. It was hot. People started to grumble. When the third All Star Movies bus in a row pulled up to collect the four or five people waiting there for it a mini-revolt broke out. A very large and very determined lady stalked off to find someone to complain to. Still we waited.
After about 40 minutes or so the Pop Century bus finally pulled up. Some of us applauded. By now there was a huge line behind me. I grabbed a seat but knew I'd be standing for the ride. That's because I just can't sit while a small child or someone carrying a child tries to stand on those heaving, swaying busses. I ended up giving my seat to a lady who had a baby in her arms and was also trying to hold a toddler by the hand. She was completely floored that anyone would do this for her. I think that's just sad.
Anyway, it was a long trip home. I probably left Main Street somewhere around 1:45 and it was 3:20 before I reached room 367. I know there are those of you who just love letting Disney do the driving but, as for me, I can't wait to pick up my rental car tomorrow.
By the time I arrived housekeeping had been and room 367 was looking nice and clean. I decided on a wonderfuly hot shower and a bit of a rest. The shower felt great. (A few of the people on the Pop Century bus had been a tad less than scrupulous in their morning hygiene regimen.) I put on my slouchy clothes, decided to give Stacey a miss this time and opted to watch Madama Butterfly on the TV. I actually only watched half of M. Butterfly. I was out like a light long before the perfidious Lt. Pinkerton made his heartless return.
It was after seven before I woke up. My original plan was to go back out this evening but I just wasn't feeling it. Here's one of the great things about traveling alone. Instead of dragging my tired and unwilling body out to a theme park I was able to pop over to the food court, grab some vegetarian lasagna for dinner and spend the evening watching Emma on Masterpiece Theater. It was lovely.
Tomorrow: Epcot and Cypress Pointe Grande Villas
A few pix: