Walt Disney World

"Spring Break"

Orlando, Florida

April-May, 2005


Wednesday 27 April 2005

Day 1

“Get up.”


There’s something on my foot.


“Get UP!”


It’s not only on my foot, it’s yelling at me.




I spring alive to find that a) it is still dark outside, and b) my SIL has grabbed both my feet in the darkness and is shaking them vigorously, and c) it is 5:15 am.




I’m out of my mind grateful to SIL as I race around trying to concentrate on washing face, brushing teeth and hair, getting dressed, and getting more coffee in me than on me, all at once.  And I’m pushing aside the ugly and insidious thought that the last time this particular alarm clock failed me was the morning of September 11th, 2001.  That time, I didn’t mind at all, since it quite probably had saved my life – I awoke WAY too late to make a train to a scheduled meeting on Wall Street, which would have put me within spitting distance of Ground Zero.  The train I did make terminated early at the railroad hub in Jamaica, and just in time for me to switch to the very last train headed back east toward home.  It has been more than three and a half years since that last failure, and I never figured out why it failed.  Just now, though, I don’t have time to troubleshoot it – I gotta get outta here!


I had actually packed the car the night before, and only needed to grab the knapsack with the laptop in it and bolt out the door (my beloved StinkPad does NOT do overnights in the car – steal my clothes, steal my blow dryer, but don’t even LOOK at my StinkPad!)   And so I bolted, still guzzling out of the hated Pop Century commuter fug (freaking ugly mug).  It was raining in epic proportions, which prevented me from speeding on the way to the airport.  While I drove, SIL recounted how she came to be awake enough to awaken me.  Bro owns a landscaping business, and he’d arisen at his usual ungodly hour and determined that it was raining too hard to send out the crews, so she lay dozing while listening to him call all the employees to tell them not to report today.  While she lay dozing, she thought she heard me blow drying my hair, and assumed I was awake.  But the sound of the “blow dryer” droned on, and on, and on, and she knows it doesn’t take me THAT long to dry my hair, so she stumbled up the stairs in the dark to The Suite @ Chez Bro, where she found more darkness, and no signs of life.  She somehow made it into the bedroom and grabbed the first thing she could find, flailing around in the dark – my feet – and that’s how it happened.


I suspect I will be a very long time in living this down.


Anyhow, I did the curbside check-in and went inside, where I dined on a lovely repast of rubbery bagel-and-egg sandwich, sitting cross-legged in the queue for those holding “A” boarding passes.  Yes, I stayed up till midnight to print my boarding pass from southwest.com, and yes, I tossed and turned for a while afterward, and yes, that is probably why I was so comatose-dead-to-the-world when SIL was trying to awaken me.


I forgot to ask her if I’d been snoring, but I bet if I had been, she would have mentioned it (see trip report from November 2002 – I’ll never live that one down, either).


The weather on Long Island produced a 10 minute delay in taking off.  Once I got to Orlando, I made a beeline for the closest Starbucks and got a mocha frappucino – double shot!  As I came down the escalator, my driver from Quicksilver was waiting for me with a smile.  We waited only a bit for the bags, and off we went.


One grocery stop later (Publix), and we were pulling into the resort.  Ah, Port Orleans French Quarter – my bestest favorite resort I’ve stayed at in Walt Disney World!  Why, the trees – they’re GREEN!  And there’s the smell of fresh cut grass and – oh, wow, is that Arabian jasmine blooming over there?  Yippeee!  I’m here!


I dropped the bags in the luggage room and proceeded to check in.  Although the line was sluggish, my room was ready – surprise!  I snagged 2220, just two doors down from where I had stayed during the 2004 Food & Wine Festival.  I could not have been more pleased, as I remembered sitting by the fountain in the square at night with hot chocolate, watching the moon rise over the river.


When I let myself into the room, I noticed that the alarm clock on the nightstand was blinking, as though it had lost power and needed a reboot.  Huh, what’s up with me and alarm clocks today?  I had my bags delivered, then I unpacked, and headed out for a stroll around the grounds.  The river seemed a bit high to me.  As much as I love this resort, I didn’t linger – I heard the call of Epcot, and so to the bus stop I sped.


The Magical Gatherings medallions on the sides of the buses have been replaced by Happiest Celebration medallions.  Once at the park, I immediately started taking pictures of the various Happiest Celebration banners (I miss cute little Tinkerbell on the Magical Gatherings banners!), but wouldn’t you know it, the camera battery chose to die after only about three shots!  Oh well – I’m here for a week, I can recharge it over night and come back in the morning.  Right now I’m hungry, but I cannot resist going for a whirl on Spaceship Earth before finding something to eat.  As I exited the attraction, horrors!  I came face to face with The Art of Disney shop, but I was firm with myself and passed it by.  We simply cannot have a repeat of the last trip, where I somehow found myself the proud, if befuddled owner of Diana, Mistress of the Hunt, as well as about $250 poorer!


I forged ahead to the Electric Umbrella and got the turkey sandwich.  After putting lettuce and tomato on it, it became one of those sandwiches that squishes when you bite into it, so I ended up using a knife and fork, and not eating half the bread.  There was an Orthodox family at the next table over – the next two tables, actually – who were making themselves a snack with a box of matzo and a jar of Smucker’s grape jam.  It never occurred to me before, but Orthodox families must have to haul their own food into the parks.  I’ve never seen a menu with any kosher items on it in any of the restaurants.


After lunch, I began wandering around Future World, roaming through the butterfly garden and stopping to enjoy the water garden in front of Mission Space.  It suddenly became windy and chilly, and I knew it was time to head into Mouse Gear for the memorial sweatshirt.  Once I’d found the one that jumped off the rack and called my name, I was suddenly feeling very tired, and started to head out of the park.  Unfortunately, being tired meant my defenses were down, and I wandered into, instead of past, The Art of Disney, where I saw and fell in love with the Mulan & Kahn bronze.  This thing is GORGEOUS!  And I love Mulan, a very under-appreciated character, if you ask me.  She was not only brave enough to take on the hordes of invaders in her country – she was brave enough to chop off all her hair with a sword!  The price tag was simply off-putting - $395, add tax and shipping (no way would I schlep it home myself).  I left the store, and took the bus back to POFQ.


I napped immediately, with the vague intention of going back later for Illuminations.  I wrote down in my notes that I had a number of strange dreams while napping, but I only remember one of them.  In this one dream, I was RUNNING in the WDW Half Marathon!  Well, I am, after all, in Walt Disney World, home of Fantasyland…  By time I awoke, I was hungry again, and instead of going back to the park, I went to the Sassagoula Floatworks, where I had the chicken Caesar salad with only one ladle of dressing, instead of the requisite three or so in which the CMs usually manage to drown it. 


I ended up watching Illuminations from the railing outside my room, chatting on the phone with a friend for a few minutes, and going back to bed.  Epcot is early entry tomorrow!  Well, early is a relative term in my world, when it comes to waking up.


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