Land of the Free – Chapter 2: My Magical Week

Disney World.  Every child’s dream.  A place where dreams come true … unless of course you are that child’s parents.  In which case, your dreams of having a quiet, relaxing week of rest and tranquility will become your worst nightmare!

You will queue for everything.  You will stand in line for an hour to ride something that will last 30 seconds.  Between each queue, you will walk a mile and a half, through a swarm of people, wheelchairs, strollers and tourists trying to take photos of everything, including wheelchairs and strollers.

To rub in a bit more salt, all the park attendants look at you with big cheesy smiles and say, “Have a magical day!” I sure will, but only after I get over this incredibly strong urge to stuff this large pair of mouse ears down your throat.

In fairness, our travel agent did book us for Disney on the week that coincided with the US Spring Break, in which three quarters of the US population descend on Florida, with most of them going to Disney World.

After three days of leisurely mornings, arriving at the park by 10am, only to discover that 500,000 people had beaten us to it, we figured that we would turn up at park opening.  This meant very long days.  But it was the only way to get the jump on the 500,000 people.  We got more done in the first two hours before the crowds arrived that we did the rest of the day.  Consequently, our last three days was much more enjoyable than our first.

I don’t have the space to give you a blow-by-blow description of everything we did.  But the highlights … They had a few shows that used a technology that allowed the animated characters on the movie screen to interact live with the audience.  Like “Crush the Turtle, Under The Sea” show at Epcot, where Crush, the turtle from Finding Nemo, had conversations with the kids in the front section, answered questions from the audience, and even produced fart bubbles on cue (the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor at the Magic Kingdom was very similar).

Mr 7 really enjoyed the Buzz Lightyear ride, and when he went back on it the second time, managed to max out the score somehow.  Future sniper.  Mr 5, on the other hand, has discovered his love of roller coasters.  “Star Tours” is a ride at Hollywood Studios.  It is a virtual reality 3D ride which simulates an out-of-control galactic shuttle, which flies through battles, planets, and cityscapes.
Mr 5: “Woo Hoo! That was fun!  I want to do that again.”
Me: “Oohh, that was nauseating.  You can go back on that with Mummy.”

On one of our days at Magic Kingdom, S made us go on the “It’s a Small World” ride.  In summary, it was five minutes of intense psychological suffering.  Imagine a slow boat ride through a warehouse through of tacky robotic puppets (like the puppets that did the “Welcome to Duloc” song in Shrek 1) all singing “It’s a small world after all”.  You can understand my anguish.

The “Nemo, Live on Stage Musical” at the Animal Kingdom was brilliant, 45 minute, full musical production, which was a clever combination of the human actors singing and dancing with the Nemo character puppets.

Our last stop in Florida was Legoland.  Legoland is another theme park, but filled with Lego sculptures.  Some of them are enormous.  Most of them are very creative and well done.  They have an entire section of the park dedicated to Lego replicas of famous International cityscapes that are significant to Americans (ie: cityscapes only from America).  At the end of the day, the boys bought as many Lego sets as we could fit into our suitcases.  Overall, not as well run as the Disney theme parks, but still good, and when they add the water park in May 2012, it will make Legoland worth the 45 minute trip from Orlando.

So, having done 7 theme parks in 7 days, I have lived to tell the tale, and I am not planning on going anywhere near another one for about 7 years.

I will hopefully update before leaving Hawaii, but for now, God bless America.

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