maura @ 10:59 pm
Disneyworld! I think Jonathan and I were more excited than Gus in the days leading up to the trip. We haven’t really done the amusement park thing with him so don’t think he knew what to expect — more than anything I think he was looking forward to seeing his grandparents. And the waterslide in the pool at the resort we stayed at.
Of course that changed on the first day. Not that he wasn’t still happy to be with Grandma + Grandpa, but he bought into the Disney thing whole hog. We rode the Buzz Lightyear ride twice — his favorite ride, and with good reason: you go through the ride sitting in spaceships blasting at targets (that register an actual score!) on Zurg and his cronies. It was pretty cool. We also rode Peter Pan, the Lilo + Stitch thing, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse (not all in the same day). Jonathan and I were thrilled to get him on Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion, both of which Gus was a bit wary of initially but ended up loving. And Big Thunder Mountain was also *awesome* — so fast and fun, with such great details alongside the tracks.
Gus did *not* like the Carousel of Progress or It’s a Small World, but his old parents forced (tricked, really) him to ride them because OMG how can you not?! Too much. We stopped short of the Hall of Presidents because we figured we’d tortured Gus enough, but were sure to drop Bill + Ted references whenever we walked through Liberty Square. The lessons of Disneyworld? You can do a surprising amount with cars on a track, black light, and animatronics.
It was interesting to see Gus’s reaction to the many many many consumer opportunities throughout the parks, too. Since he doesn’t watch TV we don’t get a lot of “buy me this!” from him, but after a few days of being dumped out of the rides right into the character/theme shop that wore off some. We *all* went a little crazy at the store in Liberty Square that’s wall to wall Nightmare Before Christmas stuff, but overall I think we came out okay. (Where okay = Jack Skellington hoodie for J, Jack socks + a mug for me, and a stuffed bat for G. Thanks Grandma + Grandpa!)
We stayed in this campground resort called Fort Wilderness that has RV/tent camping as well as 1 bedroom cabins. The cabins were cute — all of the furniture was made of (pretend?) logs, even the bunk beds. J+I got the Murphy Bed in the living room, a tiny house dream come true! I’ve always wanted to sleep on a Murphy Bed. It’s everything I expected — so fantastic to just shut the bed up into the wall every morning. (Yes, I am simple.) The RV campers were intense — many of them brought their own Christmas lights and decorations, and some seriously had as many decorations as you’d put on a house! To get from the resort to the Magic Kingdom was a short boat ride and on the last day we saw pelicans on the way over, so cool.
Epcot was really, really neato. I wish we’d had more time there — Gus wasn’t that into the World Showcase but J and I could easily have spent an afternoon wandering around. We did go on some good stuff: Spaceship Earth and a fun space simulator called Mission Space. And we rode the Tronorail! (One of the monorails was all kitted out as a Tron ad.) Jonathan and Gus went on Soarin’ which everyone says is amazing, but I had to bail because the line was three (3!!!) hours long. Even reading Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (now how’s that for yr cognitive dissonance) on my phone wasn’t enough to save me in that line.
We also did one day at Animal Kingdom which I guess is new-ish. There was actually a lot more stuff for kids to just *do* there, including a huge climbing space w/tube slides and a giant dinosaur excavating pit that Gus loved. And it was all naturey walking around, very pretty. We tried to go on the roller coaster there but the line was just too dang long. But we did go on this crazy ride called Dinosaur which was of the jarring loud variety and enjoyed more by the littlest member of our party than the adults.
Of course there were a few annoyances. It was incredibly, amazingly crowded, just people everywhere you looked pretty much all the time. I’m usually not too bothered by crowds but I have to admit that they started to get to me by the end of the trip. It was nice to come back to our cabin — while I’m sure that the resort was just as full as others in Disneyworld, because things were all spread out it didn’t seem too crowded.
In fact, it was so crowded on our first day (which was actually xmas) that the “castmembers” let us cut out of the public area of the park to bypass a parade and go right to Tomorrowland. It was freaky to see behind the scenes — castmembers smiled and waved us on, but I caught a glimpse of a banner with an inspirational message for castmembers along the way.
I have to admit that Tomorrowland kind of bugged me, though I loved the rides. There’s a big stage in the middle of everything with a DJ and characters and dancing which kind of ruined the atmosphere for me. And Jonathan was bummed that you can’t walk through Cinderella’s castle anymore — there’s some character meal place in there now. All in all I was surprised that the Magic Kingdom seemed a bit less enveloping than Disneyland felt to me. I guess mostly it was Tomorrowland — when we got over to the other side to Frontierland and Adventureland things were much more immersive.
It was also pretty cold for most of the time we were there. Christmas day it was in the mid-70s, but that was the warmest it got (and hence the only swimming day). On Boxing Day it was about 45 degrees and windy, seriously cold. OTOH, short lines! And no line for Splash Mountain, but we weren’t brave enough.
Most surprising was that there was pretty much no free wifi anywhere. I think the only place I jumped right on was when we were eating dinner at the Contemporary (the hotel that the monorail runs right through). We could buy internet for our cabin but didn’t because we just weren’t there long enough most days to make it worthwhile. I’m sure it would cost a fortune to wifi up the entirety of Disneyworld, including all of the parks and resorts, but it did seem odd given Disney’s attention to detail + service. On the plus side, I felt like it was kind of nice to have an internets break for much of the trip.
Phew, I think that’s most of it! I could write even more, but I think 1000 words is probably enough, don’t you? Gus is already asking when we will go back…again, a few weeks ago I’d have said never, but now I think maybe.