Walt Disney World
I arose at 7:00 am on the dot! I just don’t get my sleep patterns, sometimes. I was IN the Magic Kingdom by 9:30 am – what’s wrong with me!
Alan had pointed out in his trip report that the castle medallion changes every few minutes. It depicts the various castles at Disney parks around the world with the year the park opened. So I made a beeline up Main Street to see if I could capture some of the changes. There was a lot of activity going on, as kick-off day for the Happiest Celebration on Earth was rapidly approaching. Everywhere, there were little white tents set up and signs that said if you hung out in that area, that constituted permission for Disney to photograph or video you and use your image for promotional purposes, or some such (I took a picture of the sign).
I speed walked over to Splash Mountain, copped a Fast Pass, and then got on the regular queue, which was a walk-on – so I did it again. By time I came out the second time, my FP was due and I was able to get another one. In this way, I would have two in the wings in case it got hot and I wanted to cool off a bit.
Not that I had to worry about getting super wet – the CM controlling the queue consistently had me wait to the side while loading, and then consistently put me in the back seat! I asked why, and got some bullshit reason about waiting to load me with any other single rider that might happen along. Which might have made sense, if there was a long queue, but the ride was a walk-on! Also, if they had found another single rider with whom to load me, why the back seat? Why not the first or second or even third seat?
The same thing happened to me at Pirates of the Caribbean. The CM there gave me a different reason – the last seat is the smallest one in the boat, so it makes for maximum loading. But again, the ride was a walk-on, and I objected. The CM looked uncomfortable - she was really young, and I didn’t pursue it with her, because I suddenly realized that they are probably only following training. And I suspect that their training instructs them to marginalize single riders, and favor the families.
Yes, folks, it’s true – if you are single, your money is apparently not as green as that of families, so move to the back of the bus.
I just don’t understand this. I’m an AP holder. I go to WDW twice a year, and stay onsite. I have no debts, no dependent expenses, and FIVE nieceling Princesses on which to spend my discretionary income when I go to Disney. I don’t get why I can’t have the same quality experience, just because I’m a single rider.
I started to get really pissed off and depressed about this. I browsed the shops, but nothing would console me. Then, I started to get hungry, and remembered the newly opened Noodle Bowl at the Terrace, so I headed over there for lunch.
I got the chicken and cashew salad. It was served in a typical Chinese food carton, overflowing, and they ask you if you want chop sticks, which I did. There was an ok amount of chicken, a surprising amount of cashews, and about 2.5 fists of “salad”, including crunchy water chestnut slices. It was very cold, crisp, and refreshing. The fixin’s bar had all manner of mustard, duck sauce, soy sauce, and even some bottles of hot sauce. I give the place a thumbs up (not two thumbs up, cause I’m a single rider after all – yes, I’m being sarcastic) for a tasty, healthy midday meal in the parks. Also, it is very pleasant to sit on the terrace and look out over the lagoon and the Rose Garden, which is where I headed when I’d finished eating.
They moved my trash can that I was planning on using for the tripod during Wishes. Rats! That only contributed toward my rapidly fouling mood. I took some pictures in the Rose Garden and then walked over and got a Fast Pass for Peter Pan. I stopped to watch the Wizard do his Sword In The Stone routine, then cut through Stroller Hell to get to the Haunted Mansion. At this point, there was practically no air in the park, as fat storm clouds were stalled overhead. Not a wisp of wind to be had. In spite of the cloud cover, it was still very hot, and I headed back to Splash Mountain to use one of my stockpiled Fast Passes and get cooled off, before the roping off for the parade blocked access to that section of the park. Again, I was asked to wait to the side, and then assigned row 8, the very last row – grrrr!
I exited Splash just in time to watch the parade go by, then speed-walked through Adventureland and came out alongside Casey’s to watch it again! As soon as it was finished, I darted across Main Street to get me a root beer float at the ice cream parlor, taking it down to the terrace to enjoy. Finishing that, it was time to cash in the Fast Pass for a ride on Peter Pan, which is one of the rides that you don’t have to worry about being relegated to the rear – separate pirate ships, hah!
I’d had about enough of Magic Kingdom and this day by now, so I shopped my way down Main Street on my way out of the park. In the Emporium, I went to the CD/DVD rack to search for the Happiest Celebration CD. There was a middle aged couple looking at what apparently was the only copy left in the store. She complained that It’s A Small World wasn’t on the CD, and was walking away, when he asked, “So, what do you want me to do with it?” and I said, “Well, you could give it to me!”. They both laughed and handed it over. I bought it, and it DOES have Small World on it!
I stopped into the Exhibition Hall, thinking that cartoons would perk me up, but the little theater was dark, and the films weren’t running. Rats! I was going to leave, but I came out just in time to see the start of the flag ceremony, which is something I’ve never seen before, so I sat on a bench to watch. The honor guard was comprised of both CMs and “civilians”, probably Guests of the park. After reeling in the flag, there was some sort of presentation going on, but since the guy wasn’t mic-ed, it was hard to hear why he was giving these other guys awards. I’m going to guess that it had something to do with having served in the military. After that, I left, thinking that the unthinkable might have happened – I just might finally be all Disneyed out. I was wishing that I had my boarding pass in my hand and my luggage was all checked and that I was on my way back to Long Island that very minute!
Being in Florida when it’s hot like this, you run around being grateful a lot of the time. At the end of a long, hot day, you are really thankful to board a frigidly air conditioned bus, but after about 10 minutes of that, you are equally as thankful to disembark into the warmth again. I must have gotten back to the room at about 5:30 PM, and was casting about in my mind for some sort of indulgence to make me feel better when I hit upon the old tried but true “breakfast for dinner” routine. So I had honey nut shredded wheat, yogurt, and fruit for dinner. “Breakfast for dinner” always makes me feel like a little kid getting away with something. Sometimes, you just have to do “breakfast for dinner” to help get yourself out of a rut!
I showered off Splash Mountain, backed up the photos of the day, surfed a while, and watched Bridget Jones 2 on DVD. I then packed up everything that would not be needed in the morning. Around 11:30 PM, I poured out the last glass of wine and went outside to sit by the fountain for a while.
Apparently, it had rained buckets while I was having my night in – the air conditioning units in the rooms at POFQ are pretty loud and tend to drown out what’s going on outside, so I had been unaware. But everything outside was soaking wet, the drainage systems in the streets sounded like rushing waterfalls, and the air was significantly cooler. I wandered the resort a bit – out back, the docks were silent, and the pool was deserted.
As I sat by the fountain, I started to think about all that I must do between now and August, in order to be ready for the big changes looming in my near future. Incredible opportunities are fraught with a good deal of uncertainty and risk, but it’s kind of like the stock market – the greater the risk, the greater the rewards. The opportunity in question is work-related, and it will have a big impact on how and where I live my life. It would be foolish not to take it, even though my “single rider” life status would make it harder and riskier.
I then realized that what had put me in a down mood today could not merely be filed under being “Disneyed out”. The real thing that was bugging me was the metaphoric aspect of today’s single rider experiences in the park. Most of the time, I’m quite pleased with being a single rider through life – it is, after all, the result of some very deliberate choices on my part, choices that I do not regret when I think about the alternatives. There are, however, those rare days where the disadvantages of being a solitary are glaringly and depressingly evident. And they pass. Really, they do. I just have to be patient (not my strong suit).
I also have to check in with all my married-with-children friends, have them tell me a few horror stories regarding domestic life, and I’ll be back on track in no time!
I finished my wine, ambled back to my room and drifted off to sleep.
Back to Spring Break 2005