In last week's column I shared with my readers a few challenges I encountered on our drive to Orlando and Disney World back in May; a few of the issues being miss-communication, scorching heat, uncooperative seat belts, and granddaughters with over-active bladders. All resulted in my falling behind in our caravan of 3 motor vehicles.
But, alas, there are advantages in falling behind. By the time I arrived at the Art of Animation Resort at Disney World; our boys, J. Brim and Jonathan had checked in, unloaded their vehicles, and were waiting for me in the parking lot with one of those over-sized luggage carts. As soon as I parked, they began to unload my vehicle. I let them.
While I was checking in, the boys delivered everything to our room. Then, when I arrived with the room key, they carefully unloaded the cart and placed its contents in our room. I didn't have to lift a finger!
"This is good!" I thought.
A good night's sleep was in order because, for the next 5 days, we would "do" Disney.
We did Epcot, The Magic Kingdom, The Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and then, we did The Magic Kingdom again.
Thanks to our daughters-in-law, Emily and Katie, we were well prepared. I am not into using apps, but I am glad they were. They used Fast Passes to take advantage of every benefit available. On most rides, the grandchildren were allowed to use their Fast Passes to ride back to back.
And as soon as we finished one ride we were off to the next. One sight I shall never forget is the back side of son, Jonathan, in the distance, as he resolutely pushed an over-sized stroller on to the next stop. He was unrelenting. The message was clear. "We have a schedule to keep. Keep up or go back to the room." For the most part, my wife, Kathy, and I did keep up. Although, after a couple of days, Kathy chose to stay back at the room and recuperate until mid-day.
One morning, I left the group to pull away and catch my breath. I took in the Country Bear Jamboree. It hasn't changed in 30 years. The show is a bit hokey, and certainly outdated. But then, again, I'm becoming a bit outdated myself. I enjoyed the show. Besides, it was not crowded and the temperature inside was around 70 degrees. That sure beat the 96 degrees outside.
Next, I took in The Haunted Mansion. It has become my favorite ride in The Magic Kingdom. There is just something about The Haunted Mansion that appeals to me. Over the years I have probably experienced it a dozen time. Nothing has changed. Well, maybe one thing.
I am always amused by the inscriptions on the gravestones outside the mansion.
"Beneath this stone lies Joseph Bender,
Went to glory on a fender."
"Beneath this sod lies Cousin Dave,
Chased a bear into a cave."
This year, one of my favorites was conspicuously missing.
"Here lies Les Moore.
Took three slugs from a Forty-four.
No Less. No More."
The anti-gun lobby must have deemed it politically incorrect.
When I visit The Haunted Mansion and see the gravestones, I am always inspired to come up with a few of my own inscriptions.
"Beneath this sod lies Brother Yul.
Kicked in the head by a cross-eyed mule."
"Bill E. Jones has left this life.
Died at the hands of a jealous wife."
After enjoying another strawberry fruit bar, I rejoined our group.
The 4-D Avatar ride in the Animal Kingdom is something to experience. It is nothing short of breathtaking. It left my head spinning, and caused me to stop and consider how the lines between fantasy and reality are becoming more and more blurred with the passing of time. Just a thought.
Disney World truly is a magical experience. The people at Disney have customer service down to a science. I always come away deeply impressed by how the Disney folks take care of their "guests." The responses you constantly hear are "my pleasure" and "perfect!"
Those wrist bands they send out a few weeks before your visit are magical within themselves, and prove to be "as handy as a pocket on a shirt." And if there is a problem with a wrist band, someone "shows up out of nowhere" with an iPad and corrects the situation pronto.
After a week filled with great rides, good food, and lasting memories we packed up on Saturday morning and headed back to Tennessee. We were a weary, but happy band.
Upon our return home, a friend asked "Have you recovered from your trip to Disney World?"
"We are still in recovery." I answered.
Three weeks have passed. I'm ready to go back!