Walt Disney World
I was at the bus stop by 8:20 am – what’s wrong with me? I’d already had my coffee and showered and all that. I went to turn on the TV to check the weather and found that the batteries in the remote were dead. I would have to call Mousekeeping later on to remedy that. I stuffed an apple in my bag and walked to the bus stop eating a peach yogurt – yum!
Had I been bound for the Animal Kingdom, I would have been awash in a glut of buses headed in that direction. Bus number 4 was the winner that took me to Epcot. But in the meantime, there was fine entertainment in the form of the Bus Nazi. She is short, she waddles, her hair is completely silver, and she is laden with fanny pack, water bottle, radio, and clip board, upon which she makes, no doubt, terribly important notes, mouth set, brows knitted together in ferocious concentration. She also patrols up and down, making sure you are standing behind the yellow line, barking out the names on the buses – “MGM, comin’ up!”, etc. The Bus Nazi – I just love her!
I was seated on the bus opposite an extraordinarily petite woman. She was fifty-odd years old, impeccably groomed with neat coif and painted finger and toe nails. One tiny hand rested in that of her husband. And her feet did not touch the ground while she was seated. I remembered reading that this is the reason why young children seem restless at the dinner table, and don’t sit still – it is uncomfortable because their feet have nothing to rest on. I contemplated what it might be like to go through life sitting without one’s feet ever touching the ground.
Upon entering the park, I started snapping away at the “vintage” character topiaries waiting to greet the Guests at the entry, and found my first set of “hidden” Mickeys on the collar around Pluto’s neck. The sign over in the Future World plaza said that some would be more obvious than others, so “hidden” is a relative term here. There was a character meet going on in the plaza. I wandered over and toured the butterfly garden properly, figuring out why more than one butterfly “escapee” from Minnie’s little tent was somewhat less than whole – there are bird houses on tall posts directly in the center of the butterfly garden, and I bet what I was seeing was the result of some sort of thwarted snacking attempt. The dooryard gardens are always cute to look at, and I found another hidden Mickey in the water garden at Mission Space, in the form of three smooth, round stones at the bottom of the pond.
I waited patiently over by Universe of Energy and managed to catch that attraction’s icon, plus the Spaceship Earth and the monorail, all in one photo. I did the Test Track single rider line, where I was a fill-in at the last row of one of the cars, and then doubled back to sit at a table at the Fountainview to munch on my apple and enjoy the light mist from the fountain show. Made a mental note to come back one night and photograph the fountain in action with all the pretty colored lights.
I then took a stroll over to The Land, noting along the way with satisfaction that the magnolias all over the property were just about popping! I took in Circle of Life, copped a Fast Pass to Living With The Land, and then walked on to Soarin’. A CM came down the line asking for single riders, but when I got in there, I was a fill-in at the very last row. Harumph! I should have waited the ten minutes and taken my chances on a better seat, maybe one without feet hanging nearly in my face. Soarin’ was still great, however – golfers, you’re gonna love this one! It was essentially the same as the one at Disney’s California Adventure.
By now, it was 12:20, time for my Fast Pass to mature, and we had an incident with FP line jumpers. The woman just would not stop when told her FP had not come due yet, just kept walking, with her embarrassed children in tow. The CM excused himself, and we all waited while he walked over and got back-up, then escorted her and her kids off the line. The attraction proceeded with no further incidents, and I enjoyed it as always – especially seeing how they create Mickey-shaped pumpkins in the greenhouse!
After The Land, I walked directly up the center of the park, between Future World and Showcase Plaza, examining all the character topiaries. A lot of them are in different spots than last year, and some of them have been redesigned to add color (i.e., Rafiki’s face). I found a hidden Mickey on the back of one of Tinkerbell’s wings.
I then got a Mickey head ice cream sammich and strolled the Rose Walk back and forth, wandering into the maze – this year, it’s Farmer Mickey’s maze. There was a pack of teenaged girls harassing a baby bunny, and I yelled at them – I told them harassing the local wildlife could get them ejected from the park. They walked away muttering. Tee hee, I’m going to just LOVE becoming a crotchety old womern! heh heh heh… Once finished with my ice cream, I did the Rose Walk again, snapping pictures of some of the beautiful blooms I found there, and proceeded into World Showcase.
By now, it was blazing hot, and I needed somewhere to park in the shade and reapply my sunscreen. I figured the benches in the little town square in the UK would be just the thing, but they were having a character meet, right there in the smoking section! I don’t get how they can justify a character meet with little kids in the smoking section! Needing some shade, I followed my nose back a bit to the International Gateway, where I parked on a bench, reapplied my sunscreen, and breathed deeply the delicious scent of the massive quantities of Arabian jasmine just spilling over the banks of the canal. It’s just heaven to sit there this time of year!
I wandered over to France, sniffing my way through all the displays of flowers that go into the Guerlain line of perfumes (my favorites!). Went into the patisserie and got a turkey sandwich on whole wheat. Came out and sat down on a bench to make some notes, where I met some lovely people named Shirley and Bill. Bill guessed that I was working on a trip diary, and I offered to email them when it was ready. So I took down their email address and we chatted a while about what the weather was doing back home – we’d heard that parts of the Midwest had gotten snow again, just a few days ago! It’s so hard to reconcile the concept of snow with the beautiful, sunny blue skies of Florida. Finally, I took my leave of Shirley and Bill, and continued to walk the World Showcase.
My next stop was the Ultimate Backyard Garden. It was arranged in much the same layout as last year, with some differences in the accessories. This is a lovely, quiet, shady pit-stop on the World Showcase circuit. Lots of places to sit in the shade and chat, just like on your own patio. Found a tiny Mickey topiary in there, and counted it as a hidden Mickey.
Passing through Morocco, I stopped to enjoy the sounds of Mo’ Rockin’, but there’s fierce competition for the few shreds of shade over there, and I didn’t want to start right off the bat on my first full day of vacation getting all red and crispy. I also determined that I need to find someone who has some of their CDs, and beg a copy! Hmmm, maybe I can find them on iTunes?
I found a few Mickeys in the koi pond in Japan, too, where I also discovered that a 24 oz. bottle of Dasani water is $2.50 – but next door, at the American Adventure, it is only $2.00! The CM I asked in America didn’t know why that was. It’s just like the churros – they are different prices in Epcot and in the Magic Kingdom. Huh!?
In China, there weren’t quite so many frogs and water lilies in evidence as there had been during the Fall trip, but the frogs I did see are now HUGE! In Norway and Mexico, the lines for the boat rides were ridiculously long. It was, by now, time for dinner, and I stopped in Mexico at the San Angel by the water to get a child size burrito, and a churro – I only ate half of that, and wrapped the other half up tight in napkins for a treat the next day. By now, it was 6:30 PM, and the camera battery had fizzled again. I had taken a massive amount of pictures, filling one card of 256 MB and nearly filling another of the same size. Set on “fine”, I can fit 172 pictures on each card, so I had apparently done quite a bit of snapping! Also, I was wearing the step counter, and it showed that since I’d exited the hotel room, I’d taken 10,551 steps. I figured I’d been in the park since just about opening, and it was time to head back to the room and do a little studying – I’d be facing finals when I returned, and I needed to get started.
I browsed my way out of Epcot that night, dutifully turning my face away from The Art of Disney as I passed, and proceeded to the bus stop. The bus driver told all of us that EPCOT stands for “Every Person Comes Out Tired”! By time I entered the room, I’d taken close to 15,000 steps that day!
I plugged in the camera for a recharge, and broke out the laptop. The plan was to get online and do some reference research for a short paper, and organize my lecture notes into something that made sense. Well, I plugged it in, and the battery indicator started blinking orange, and it would not boot! I hoped it would charge overnight with the camera, but I had a feeling that something was really wrong with a laptop battery that loses its charge unplugged for only two days. So I whipped out my cell phone to call IBM, and that battery was dead, too!
Oh gawd, I’m in electromagnetic hell!
First my alarm at home, then the alarm clock in the room, then the camera, now the laptop and the cell phone. Oh yeah, and the remote for the TV. It’s an electromagnetic conspiracy, I’m tellin’ ya!
The phone works when you plug it in, though. IBM said to replace the power cord, the C-MOS battery, and the Li-Ion battery. I had replacements for all of them – back home on Long Island.
I called the front desk of the resort, and got their snail mail address for packages. I also called Mousekeeping while I was at it, and asked for a new remote.
Oh, favorite SIL? Can you please Fed-X me the following items? I’m in dire straights, here!
What I was really fretting about was not being able to back up my pictures to my hard drive, off-loading them from the cards. Then I remembered that I had not done any dud deletion all day, so I did that to both cards and made room for the next day’s pictures. After that, there was nothing to do but read my text book, which I did until midnight, falling into a fitful, worried sleep.
Back to Spring Break 2005