So, in about 9 days, I've got a trip to Walt Disney World. Now since this is a new blog, and you all know next to nothing about me, I feel obligated to fill you all in on my obsession with WDW, and my history with that great place. So sit back, get comfortable, and I'll take you through my long and winding past, and how Disney World has played such a starring role in it.
Nov. 1987 - In Which Things Don't Go As Planned
It all started in 1987. Well, it probably started a little before that, when I first heard of a place called Walt Disney World, and that my family was going to be taking me there. The trip actually coincided with my birthday, in a nice coincidence, and would be getting me out of a week of boring 2nd grade, so no complaints there. We were going to be staying in those nifty cabins that they have at Fort Wildnerness, which can sleep like 40 people. Ok, more like 6, but compared to an actual hotel room, it's a lot.
Sadly, the trip itself didn't exactly go as I'd hoped. The fun started shortly after we arrived at Fort Wilderness and had a late dinner. On our way back to our cabin, I got sick and threw up all over the place. Looking back, I'm sure my mother hoped it was a "one and done" deal, and that I'd just eaten something that didn't agree with me. Um, yeah, no. I continued to yakk all over the place through the night. Sigh.
The next day found us at Epcot, then called EPCOT Center. Yeah, I'm glad they changed it too. And guess what? That's right, second verse, same as the first. At least this time, after getting sick, I was able to take advantage of the Disney hopsital facilities, which I can honestly say were very nice, and the people staffing them couldn't have been friendlier.
By the next day I was well enough to start enjoying the trip, although pictures from those days show an extremely pale-faced kid (more so then my usual normal paleness, which let's just say is considerable) who looks like he's been hit by a truck. But, whatever, it wasn't horrible, I survived, and hey, I've got this fun story to tell.
All of this did leave me begging my mother to take me back, since by my own 2nd grade reasoning, having been sick, I was cheated out of what would have been a fuller, more satisfying experience then I would have otherwise had. But why tease you anymore, of couse we went back, or I wouldn't be writing this now.
Dec. 1990 - In Which Certain Family Differences Become Evident
3 years later we did indeed go back. This time the family was off to stay in the Caribbean Beach resort. A very nice place, let me tell you. And hey, no uncontrollable nausea this time, so that's another mark in the plus column. Also, in the intervening three years since our last visit the good people at Disney had been nice enough to put up an entirely new theme park, the Disney-MGM Studios, which had just opened a year before. So there was even more to see and do then there had been the last time.
Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff my brother and I wanted to see and do did not actually coincide with what the adults wanted to see and do. Namely, they wanted to spend a good deal of time checking out World Showcase in EPCOT Center. Now for those of you who don't know (the two or three of you I imagine who have somehow or another never been to Disney World) World Showcase is basically a collection of pavillions, done up to look like different countries. And each country's pavillion acts as a showcase, for lack of a better word (damn you, Imagineers!), of that host country's arts or culture or whathaveyou. There were 10 back in 1990 (Norway having not yet been added), and in clockwise order from left to right they were: Mexico, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada.
Needless to say, touring pavillions of boring foreign countries was not high on my agenda. Not when there were so many exciting rides and shows just begging to be experienced. This caused what many would term "tension" between the kids and the adults on this trip. "Tension" being a more polite codeword for "screaming arguments", of course.
The trip, however, was still fun, and a few months after returning, I was already trying to find out when we'd get to go again. The answer: an excruciatingly long time.
May 1995 - In Which Thrill Rides Are Discovered
By the time 1995 rolled around, I was in 9th grade, and hadn't been to Disney World in almost 5 years. Too long, by my estimation. So we finally got the band back together and headed on down. We stayed at the Caribbean Beach resort for the second time in a row, and it was still just as nice as it had been the last time. The big news, at least to me and my brother, young thrill seekers that we were, was that two new rides had opened which promised a kick-ass experience. Namely they were Splash Mountain and the now-legendary Tower of Terror. Sadly they also still had the stunningly boring World Showcase, which the adults still wanted to drag us to. Luckily, by this time my brother and I were old enough (15 and 16...we were men, man!) and could go off on our own, leaving the adults to the boring stuff so we could do the fun stuff.
Now believe it or not, the temperature in Central Florida can be quite a bit higher in mid-May then it is in November and December. I know, I know...I was shocked too. But it's true, and whereas it had been pleasantly warm in our last two trips, on this particular visit the mercury was pushing into the mid-90s, and it was quite stunningly hot. So the logical thing to do seemed to be to take a day at Blizzard Beach, Disney's new water park. Blizzard Beach, like so much of Disney, has a great story and look to it that makes it better then just your average Wet 'N Wild. Specifically, it's designed to look like a ski resort, built after a freak snowstorm hit Orlando, and then converted into a water park the next day when all the snow started to melt.
Unfortunately, this design consists of a lot of white fiberglass "snow" everywhere, and as any amateur scientist can tell you, the hot noonday sun reflecting off "snow" can cause optimal conditions for sunburn. Which I got a singularly nasty case of. Seriously, I was burned pretty much everywhere you can be burned. My feet were burned, for heaven's sake! Needless to say I spent the last few days of the trip trying, and failing, to find a sleeping position that didn't put any pressure on the 98% of me covered in red.
From all this, you might think "Geez, two out of three trips now something bad has happened to you. Surely you must not want to go back." But that isn't the case. I wanted, nay, I needed to go back. And of course, I would, or I wouldn't still be writing this, and you wouldn't still be reading it.
Jan. 1999 - In Which An Era Ends
1999 was a very unique trip. It was initally supposed to be me, my mother, my brother, his fiancee, and my grandmother. But shortly before we were supposed to leave my grandmother got sick, and thus we ended up making the trip without her. It was also to be the last trip I've made to Disney World with my mother. And as you might imagine, the dynamic was also quite altered by the presence of my brother's then-fiancee.
The biggest highlight of this trip was somehow convincing my mother to ride the Tower of Terror. I'm still not sure how I did it to this day. I guess I got her to believe it wasn't really all that bad, and she bought it. Also, there was no line, so she could just suck it up, go, and get it over with right away. It really was a crowning moment for me.
So, there you go. Four trips, each of them interesting in their own way, to be sure. At some later date I'll fill you in on the trips I've made since then, but this was the family series, and I wanted to keep it to just that. Hope this hasn't been too boring. See you next time.