Disney World Trip Report – Day 1

Backposted because who the hell has time to blog at DISNEYWORLD!?!!??!ONE!?!?!?!??!!

Cut in separate sections for LENGTH!!! So very long…

So the night before I left, with my stuff packed into my little red pilot case, and a collapsible trunk I borrowed from my Jake () and the cats in the trusted hands of my roomate Rachel (), I hauled the luggage down to my car and headed out for dinner at my folks place, to stay there overnight and get up in time for my 6am flight. There I discovered that the trip when I was 14 (forced to pretend I was 12) was the FIRST trip, not the second as I believed, and the second was when I was 16 in 2000, based on the pretty 2000 world hopper my mum handed me, which still had one day world hopper and 3 days waterparks and more left on it. I also obtained from them one of the handy garbage bag thin ponchos we had used on previous trips, and borrowed a fanny pack, since mine could not be found.

4:15 am trip day, I woke up, pulled on pre-selected travel clothing, and rolled into the car by 4:30 for the 30 minute trip to the Albany International airport. Calling it an International Airport is a bad joke, because the only plane out of the country is the weekly to Canada, so even though it was the day after Thanksgiving, bag check and security was no hassle at all… apparently Delta are now charging to check even one bag, but I booked before that rule went into effect so there was no charge for me. Mom took my winter coat back with my father and her to the car on the grounds that I wouldn’t need it in Florida. After security, I got McDs for breakfast on the terminal, realized my phone was out of batteries, and wound up witting in a corridor eating my breakfast near the only available outlet (I had the charger in my carry on thank goodness.)

Turns out the plane to JFK was on the tarmac, and me with no coat.

So I ran out to the puddle jumper, and they took my carry on because the pilot bag needs to be planeside checked on such a small plane, and we were off for NYC. In NYC I had to loiter about outside the plane and wait for my bag back. Brrrr… NYC to Orlando was a delightful trip though, with those lovely covered hallway things that mean you don’t have to go outside to get on and off the plane…

So… Orlando international. Great Fun. It’s HUGENORMUS as I’m sure many of you know. Pulled out my map to ask a train-thingy security man “Does this dotted line on my map represent your train?” but I only got as far as “Does this-” before he said “Take the train and go down to the ground floor, on side B.” I guess he recognized the map as the one that comes in your Disney Magical Express vouchers. He must see them a zillion times a day.

On the train I encountered a fleet of people on the train-thingy in embroidered Year of a Million Dreams ears. I joked “If I follow you, will I find the Magical Express?” and they laughed… when the train stopped I found out why. They must have ordered the ears off the web or something, because they got out and filed up behind a man with a tour flag. Guess they were part of a group. If they really thought year of a Million Dreams ears were going to going to be a good way to keep track of each other in the park during the Year of a Million Dreams… They had another thought coming.

So I pulled out my map again, and found my way down to the Magical Express and waited on the longest line I waited in my whole Disney Trip. Finally got on the bus, and flopped into a lovely cushy seat. Really the magic started for me as they started to play that video where Mickey and the gang ride the Magical Express, having flown in from Disneyland, and check in at their hotels. I was ever so excited. I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.

I was dropped off at my hotel, the Pop Century, in front of a red carpet to the doors, where I believe I met the first authentic Disney CM (Cast Member) of my trip… (the Magical Express folks are contractors) who smiled and handed me some stickers and told me right where to go inside to check in. To my surprise, even though I’d arrived earlier than check in time, my room was ready for me, so I could drop off my carry on instead of toting it around the parks for the day. (Magical Express was taking care of getting my checked bag to my room… it’s a GREAT service.) I was in the 1950’s, facing the 1960’s building, and the room was quite nice. I’m sure the rooms at the Grand Floridian are 10 times cushier (more on the Grand Floridian later) but it was just my speed: brightly colored, and I got the king sized bed I asked for. I think I was in a disabled enabled suite, because I had an extra peephole, further down the door, and adjustable bathroom accouterments.

So, after a drop off at the room, and a swap out of stuff in my fanny pouch (Locked my wallet and iPod in the safe and took only my ‘Key to the World’ card, poncho, cell phone and little pack of tissues in the fanny pouch, and my Cannon Elp on the belt in it’s case. Took the stickers too… figuring I could give them to a little girl who might appreciate them more. Beauty and the Beast are not really my thing.

So… off into the ‘World, feeling extremely light on my feet and excited about being in FREAKING DISNEY WORLD!!!! I hopped the buss to EPCOT, on the grounds that I wanted my first easily recollect-able memory of to the Magical Kingdom to be arriving for opening. It’s only been 8 years, but I really don’t remember much of the trip I had last time. Mostly I just remembered the Sorcerer’s apprentice bit of Fantasmic, that we watched Illuminations in a torrential downpour, and the the pure swelling joy I had walking up to the park for the first time (I’m pretty sure it was Epcot that day), right before I tripped over a 2 foot tall cement station in the parking lot, that the rest of the family stepped over no problem and scraped my knee wide open and bled everywhere… Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyhow…

I hopped off the buss in EPCOT and went directly thru to the Imagination Pavilion, to Ride Journey into Imagination… but it went 101 (that’s Disney speak for “it broke down” I’ve spent too much time reading Stupid Guest Tricks, herafter referred to as SGT) while I was in the queue. So I headed over to the World Showcase, taking the boat over to Morocco and working my way toward Mexico. Two hours into my Disney adventure… I had my first, and most personally irritating encounter with an SG (That’s SGT speak for STUPID GUEST.) Walking along between Germany and Italy, minding my own business, I felt something clip my left foot… it startled me and I changed trajectory moving to the right and turned to look over my shoulder, and caught an ECV (Electric Convenience Vehicle… i.e. Mobility Scooter) bumper to the back of my right ankle. My foot was bent forward far further than it’s really meant to go, and the back of my sneaker was caught under the bumper making it impossible for me to pull free as the ECV continued it’s forward motion. Now my recollection may not be the best since I was in pain at the time, but I remember being relived as it felt like the pressure from the EVC was letting up, and then hearing a whirring and feeling the pressure return. Like he’d eased off the accelerator, and then HIT IT AGAIN. At that point, I basically screamed bloody murder, (I thought I was about to loose my achilles tendon) and he put the ECV in reverse and backed up off me. He started muttering about people stopping to fast in front of him. I hadn’t stopped until my shoe caught under his bumper… and he had to know he was coming up close on someone when he clipped my left foot and I turned my head, so I’m not buying it. I probably slowed some out of instinct when I looked over my shoulder, to avoid running into anyone, but yea… aaaaaaaaaaaaanyhow…

I hobbled over to the side of the road, crying by that point, and sat down on the curb. Another guest, a motherly lady, told me to sit right there, she was going to get a CM. About a half a dozen people asked me where my party was… surprised I guess that no one was assisting me. I had to tell them I was there alone. A lot of people were very surprised at that. I guess I probably looked even younger than usual, crying my eyes out… but it HURT. A CM from Italy arrived and gave me some ice for my ankle, and asked me the customary 3 times if I’d like to go to first aide. I could tell, by that point, with the ice, that my tendon was intact. I was just going to have a huge bruise on the back of my ankle, so I declined, and after a few minutes sitting down, hobbled back off toward Germany.

Since I can’t do Circlevision (makes me motion sick) I got thru most of the countries kind of quick, and found myself in Mexico, where I decided to avail myself of the Gran Fiesta, having previously only rode the Rio Del Tiempo. I hobbled inside and got on line… where I was promptly kicked in the arm by a woman who got in line behind me and then jumped over the ropes to meet her party. I became a bit discouraged at that point… having been injured twice in a few hours upon arriving in Disney… both by SGs. The idiots taking flash pictures all the way thru the ride didn’t help… half the stuff is rear projected in that ride, so their pictures won’t come out anyhow.

Sooooooo… Then I headed out back towards Japan for my dinner. On the way thru China, I saw Mushu and Mulan taking pictures with kids. I had time left once I got to Japan, so I poked around in the store, and spent far too much money. There’s a reason I selected Japan for my first meal in Disney. I’m a huge Japanophile. Big on both their traditional and pop culture, and their FOOD. Bought myself three pair of chopsticks and some Pockey, and Jake a Christmas present… Had them sent to my hotel. I’m disappointed at the Pockey selection there. I was hoping for some of the rarer flavors, but the only had chocolate, strawberry and one rare. That’s the one I bought: Brazilian Pudding. Then I watched some people get pearls from oysters, a little girl got two from one oyster. I considered buying a pocket watch, but it was made in China. Silly to buy something in Japan that was made in China, so I headed upstairs and checked in for my meal. The stairs gave my ankle some trouble, so after I checked in, I sat down at the top of them with my coaster and just people watched for a while to avoid having to walk back up them.

I was seated at a table alone, and helped rather promptly. Enjoyed the atmosphere and looked forward to my food. A table of four older women next to me saw me eating alone and assimilated me. They insisted I slide my table the two feet over to join up with theirs. They were very nice and seemed to think I was very funny. I get that reaction sometimes. It’s inconsistent tho… and I can never make it happen at will. While I was eating I looked out at the lagoon, and noticed a light emerging from a rock and giggled to myself. The Sushi was really good. I ate it with gusto, and had soft serve for desert.

After dinner I headed back over to over to future world to ride Journey into Imagination. I came out the other end much more pleased with it than I had been with the middle version. It’s not the original, but it was better than the middle one and it had Figment. A lady near the picture pick up in the gift shop it lets off into, said I looked very cheerful and slapped a Mickey sticker on my shirt. I explained about the versions and stuff, and how happy I was to see Figment back, and she said “Then you should go around again!” So I did. Then dropped some more dough on a Figment pin and an 11 inch plush, which I also had sent back to my room.

I headed off back toward the World Showcase to stake out a rail spot for Illuminations. The archways over the bridge were twinkling in time to David Foster’s Carrol of the Bells. I got a little misty from that, because at the time I thought it was Manheim Steamroller. Manheim is Christmas in our family. Doesn’t matter if you have a single decoration up, the moment Papa loads the Manheim into the stereo and cranks up the volume… it’s Christmastime. Right… Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyhow…

I turned left toward’s Mexico. The spieller on the boat to Morroco had mentioned how everyone tries to see Illuminations from between Canada and Norway… so I decided to see it from Mexico to avoid the crowds… except there was a restaurant on the water… so I stayed near the tree, and staked out a place on the fence. I called home to let my mom know how things were going, and then called my grandparents, who love to get calls from me in neat places (like Times Square on new years eve, and Santa Monica Pier.)

Illuminations was pretty nifty, but I have to say, from a young adult POV it’s the more boring of the night shows… also I was freezing because I had left my hooded sweatshirt in the room. Once the torches came on though it was much much warmer. After illuminations, I headed back out… and hopped the bus back to Pop Century…


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