310am the taxi came and we bee-lined to YVR. In a comatose state, we checked in on the machine, entering and re-entering info, as we made errors. I think I entered Osama bin Laden’s passport number at one point, cuz I dimly remember hearing alarms, being in a dark cell and voices in Turkish. Oh wait that was only the Men’s room. The kids were never more energetic. Well, Raiden was. Gabby had a runner of drool distending from her mouth. That became our first holiday snap haha.
Did I mention my progress through the CATSA screening X-ray machine at YVR went pear-shaped? For some reason (lack of sleep?) I had 5 thousand things in my pocket, and I had to practically unbutton my pants in front of a live audience to prove I didn’t have a weapon or, worse, a tube of Aquafresh toothpaste hidden there. EVERY time I went thru that archway, the alarm went off. I thought of carrying the archway in front of me til I got to Orlando. The screening guard gave me a vapid blank look as if that kind of thing happened all the time. The look disappeared when I started brushing my teeth right in front of him.
Raiden almost soiled himself in glee during the plane trip. He was plastered to the window for the entire flight, which was really impressive since he had an aisle seat. We three sat all together, Jenny sat with some grouchy white person. Oh wait that was me haha. The 4 hours 45 min DRAGGED by. No food was served, no movies, flight attendants handed out nothing for awhile. They just went back and forth pretending to give you something, then laughing and pointing at you. I got a bag of pretzels which they tossed at me from back of the plane, too lazy to bring stuff to your seat at that point. No cash allowed on board, plastic only. Or sexual favours – eeeeeww. H1N1 meant there was no pillows, blankets handed out! I asked for one, anyway, and the flight attendant gave me a look that said ‘You will receive less than stellar service from Alaska Airlines for the remainder of this flight.’
We all pooed our collective pantses with the dramatic entry into Orlando – towering clouds, full o’ rain ‘n’ lightning. Turbulence? The plane shook so much that half the passengers immediately converted. BTW I am now a Buddhist monk – I made this promise. The wind shear attempted to slam the plane upside-down into the tarmac. The pilot, as I said, was a calming influence, with his Skytrain voice: ‘The next station will be purgatory, terminus station.’ When the plane landed, no one clapped. I guess they all thought they could do a better job at somehow missing all those invisible air currents. I think they all really WANTED to die, knowing the high prices of things at Disney World.
BTW, laugh as you picture us getting on and off with our 5 or so carry-on bags. (checked in two) You read correctly, FIVE. Did Jenny pack? Yes. Mostly clothes? Yes again. One bag had only shoes in it. OK stop laughing now. Getting on was like the way that guy in Airplane! bonked everyone on the head with his guitar as he got on the plane. We stowed as much as we could under the seats, the overhead compartments, the flight deck.
We purposely stayed an extra day in Orlando, on our arrival there. I mean, we were within a stone’s throw from Disney World (or, as shall henceforth be called, NSF World). A stone’s throw being 30 minutes. Almost every other bus from the airport has the word ‘Disney’ on it. Those that don’t, go to Seaworld or Port Canaveral. No one EVER just goes to Orlando from the airport, is what it boils down to. Those that do, are termed ‘losers’ or ’employees’ of these places.
It was decided early, that since we would BE in Orlando, might as well see Disney World. (DW) We knew it was humongous – staggeringly so. But, we also knew that the whining and whinging emitting from our kids’ mouths might be even more staggering, if we did NOT go. I mean, we were only going on a Western Caribbean cruise afterwards.
A Haitian (and there are lots in Orlando) guy drove us to D-World for 20 bucks, from our hotel. Taxis are effing expensive – they charge u per person – so you get raped before you even reach the place where you will be even more raped!
BTW our hotel was awesome, it was one of three Marriotts grouped together in one place, ours was called the ‘Courtyard’. Great pool, gas station nearby to buy beer and snax, the kids had a blast in the pool (so easy to please at this point. Later, it would take copious amounts of money and a waterslide down a pyramid to please them) that was at the hotel. The temp was in the 80s, muggy, and there were geckoes like in the phone commercials scurrying around on the sidewalk! You so didn’t see that in Pitt Meadows. The heat, you see. In October. Imagine sweating on Halloween night. You can’t, can you.
They warned us about DW – the high prices, the hugeness of it, the high prices, the utter disregard for reality, oh and did I mention the high prices? We arrived at the gate, which was almost dead, being the time of year. We dropped three hundred something just to get in. To get in! And didn’t include food!!!!!!!!!! I thought for sure we’d get to eat for free all day for that much! (Just thought I’d be mum for a second there)
Like I said though, there would have been hell to pay if we HADN’T gone in. HELL to pay! One day (and it was 10am or so) is simply not enough time to see DW, let alone even one part of FOUR. We chose Magic Kingdom. The other choices being Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Walt’s Garden of Zuchinis. That last is the newest attraction, and is fast becoming the most popular park at DW; everything is in a zuchini theme, plus you get to eat all the zuchinis you want ALL DAY.
Magic Kingdom, as you better know, is where Mickey hangs out, the Disney castle, the spinning teacups, the Dumbo ride, all the stuff that you associate with the great Disney machine. It was overcast at this point and threatening to rain but, unlike Vancouver, temps were in the 80s, as opposed to the negatives, so it was more than tolerable.
There were more than a lot of kids there, obviously playing truant – I can’t imagine what it’s like midsummer, holy crap! To get into DW proper, you either take the monorail, or the ferry boat. We chose a third choice, to go to the handy credit union to negotiate a loan for the duration of the day. OK, we took the boat. 20 minutes later, we were writing our names in colored chalk on the ground at a place especially set aside for that. I wrote an obscene limerick, Raiden his name, Gabby did some math problems (I did ask her to do SOME homework on this trip).
OK, we took the ferry, which was pretty crowded, capacity of about 200 people, or 100 Americans haha. The magic castle loomed in the distance, and we felt a shiver of recognition, after all those Disney programs we had been force fed. We passed buildings that gave us a sense of deja vu – you know, when you’ve seen something so many times thru whatever media, TV, movies, then, actually seeing it. Kinda like parts of NYC or LA that you’ve seen inumerable times.
Once we got to Magic Kingdom (MK) proper, things kinda went hazy – like a sort of nerve gas was released, and we plowed into whatever was going on, and things passed in a blur of Disney-ish frolicking and Technicolor. Parades? There seemed to be one every few minutes, with recognizable characters from Pixar, the classic characters, like Scooby Doo, Fabulous Freak Bros. OK kidding. I mean Mickey, et al of course.
We hired a stroller for Raidenski, as he was getting cranky with the overuse of his legs. We were unsurprised by the high cost of rental. We basically had a full day at MK, so we had at it, walking down Main Street USA, the main thoroughfare. Every employee is in character, even the ones who clean up the horseshit. Should have filmed THAT – u never saw shit disappear so fast, and then disinfected, too! I found THAT more fascinating than the attractions!
No pics of the shows we saw, of course: strictly prohibited. You will be executed Disney-style if caught videoing – trampled by Dumbo, or Goofy will throw acid on your camcorder. We went on the tea cup ride and the flying Dumbo one. Let me make this clear, rides were pretty scary for our kids, due to their elaborate and scary nature – the PNE does not prepare u for this! Gabby froze at Splash Mountain, and had to leave the line-up! Too scary!
There was a show in front of the magic castle every hour, starring practically the whole cast: Cap’n Hook, Snow White, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, etc. U sat down in front of the castle to watch. The show was called ‘Dreams can come true’, which is what it says on the sign as u enter DW: Where dreams come true. I broke down into man-tears as, one by one, my dreams DID come true! One dream did not come true, tho, and our credit card statement still contains a record of our purchases. (audience laughter, then clapping)
BTW line ups were moderate – you can also get a card that holds your place in line and u come back at an allotted time. Still, lotta kids, like it was the height of summer. Tho it showered off and on thruout the day, and was overcast, but the muggy Floridean warmth kept it tolerable. I quipped with passersby about how ‘cold’ it was where we came from. You must be a ‘Canook’, was the rejoinder. Yeah, a Canook, ya hosehead. Then I proceeded to pepper my speech with ‘eh’ and ‘hey’, and say ‘roof’ so it rhymed with ‘aloof’.
We all high-fived characters in the parades (I saw Cap’n Jack Sparrow and touched his pistol!), and weren’t escorted out! Dancing was allowed too – we did that too, myself quite poorly, being of Japanese descent. Of all of us, Jenny is the most accomplished dancer, what with the Spanish heritage, but you guessed that, right? Dance prowess came in handy when we boarded the ship later – poor dancing was OK tho, there was a lot of that. Not dancing resulted in the captain personally escorting you off the ship via the plank – a new nautical law.
Raiden, up til the noon hour point, was quite moody and cranky, as he is when faced with new experiences, sensations. So, he was becoming annoying to Gabby, which set off a chain reaction of bickering and whining which, at the time, was pretty grating. We split up for awhile, not legally, but within the park, in order for them to be separated – they are a volatile mixture, like bleach and baking soda, Janet and Gerry haha.
Me and Gabby walked up and down Main Street USA, talking to the characters, getting autographs. Gabby got Daisy Duck’s. There are HUGE waits to get these autographs BTW, and they do them at assigned times. You start to question the nature of reality when you are lined up for an hour and a half to get Goofy to sign something. But we bought the kids these Disney autograph books and, by gum, we had better fill them up. (and we did, one page, I think)