And here we are, finally – “FINALLY!” they all cried – at the end of my Disney World travelogue (Editor’s note: Lies!) a tale that has taken longer to tell than it did to experience all that excitement and wonder in the first place. Ah, but half the joy (or at least a solid one-third of the joy) is in the storytelling after the fact – and there’s still tons of fun fuel in that particular tank. 🙂
So, baby baby, it’s ride time! Let’s get down to this thing. Day two was largely spoken for by our 13 rides through the Haunted Mansion. But on day one we worked it like the rent was due, or at least like we had 14 hours in the world’s most popular theme park – no time for dilly-dallying, we’re here to DISNEY! And here are the attractions we enjoyed, roughly in the order in which we experienced them.
A fairly hard and fast rule among my little flamly growing up was if your weirdo kid didn’t drag you on the Haunted Mansion as the first run of the day, then that inaugural ride had better well be Peter Pan’s Flight. A 1971 original (that has gone through precious few updates over the decades) Peter Pan’s Flight is a sweet, gentle lark; my mom always clapped with joy when we’d burst through the Darlings’ bedroom window and set sail over London. And my favourite part of the ride is technically not even part of the ride – just a little table set for teddy tea tucked in a tiny nook just outside the Darlings’ bedroom. I sighed with contentment when I glimpsed it after a 13 year hiatus.
The easy joke about It’s a Small World, another ’71 original, is that it’s insanity-inducing, although I’ve never found it 1/1000th as annoying as everyone says it is. And neither did Mr. Finger Candy, on his first It’s a Small World voyage – it was closed for refurbishments when we were last down on our honeymoon. He actually said he found it pretty tolerable. See, that’s what happens when you get old and you cherish each and every moment you can spend sitting on your butt in a theme park, even if you have to endure thousands of vaguely demonic-looking animatronic figurines singing the world’s most relentlessly cheerful song at you in 89 different languages in order to do so.
Out of focus? Or did I accidentally drink the It’s a Small World Water? No, definitely out of focus – I wasn’t arrested after tearing off all my clothes and declaring myself the Lizard Queen. 😉
Straight chillin’ in front of my dream home, the Haunted Mansion. And I got as close to actually living there this time as I have any other visit – 13 rides (actually 16 over two days) took a not-insubstantial amount of time. Gave me plenty of opportunity to choose a room, though, should the Mansion break down and, in the most likely of scenarios, I’m forced to live there until the end of time. It’s actually behind the last door on the left as you climb the hallway of M.C. Escher-esque infinity staircases.
I’m a Pirate, wikid! Pirates of the Caribbean is never not a good time, not even when the ride breaks down and you spend 35 minutes watching the pirates yo-ho, yo-ho in static silence. But more on that awesome experience in a bit. Otherwise, the day’s first ride on Pirates went off without a hitch. Unless you count the fact that Mr. Finger Candy did NOT buy that awesome tri-cornered hat, even though I begged him to because he’s wanted one his entire life. Hey, I shouldn’t be the only one fulfilling my childhood dreams here!
I really liked the new-ish Jack Sparrow update to the end of the ride, and I was pleased as punch to see that Disney has not yet removed The Redhead (as in “We wants the redhead!”) Pirates is long overdue for a pretty major tonal shift – the multiple references to physical and sexual violence (the pirates “wants” The Redhead because she’s the hottest piece being sold at auction) cast a perplexing, momentarily unwelcome pall across an otherwise goofily enjoyable ride. Anyhow, I was glad to get one last glimpse of The Redhead in her native, 1973 state before she and her auction-mates are rightfully retrofitted into a girl pirate gang. I can’t wait until they round up all the men and then sit around drunkenly speculating on their price per pound – “Shift yer cargo, dearie, show ’em your larboard side!” Squid pro roe, pirate dudes, it’s your time to be objectified for the next 40 or so years!
Journey of the Little Mermaid was a new ride for both of us, and oh, what fun! I’ve never been the biggest Little Mermaid fan (Prince Eric is a stone cold moron, easily the dumbest guy in the Disney canon) but I love, love, LOVED this attraction, classic Disney dark ride styles. The gigantic Under the Sea set piece was fantastic, and the even gigantic-er Ursula animatronic? Ca c’est encroyable! She’s mended all her ways, you know – repented, sympathized and made a switch. True? Yes.
I loved Journey of the Little Mermaid so much, I even liked the lineup, which winds below Ariel and Eric’s castle in a series of underwater caves at “low tide.” And my husband liked it so much, he…oh my. And it’s not even Hug a Merman Day! Well, I’ll try not to be too jealous, though they do make a pretty fetching couple.
Jungle River Cruise! And I have no cute on-ride photo from this attraction, because we were too busy guffawing like a couple of hyenas at the guide’s round-the-jungle boat trip of sad trombone jokes. I also guarantee you that on any given ride, we will be the only people laughing; nobody gets this ride! I also think it’s one of those ones that’s totally lost in language translation – not sure how much non-English speakers would get out of “Eating zebra would be like white meat, dark meat, white meat, dark meat…” jokes. My favourite bit, though, is when animatronic hippos attack the boat and the guide drives them off by leaning over the side and shouting things like, “I love you! I’m ready for a commitment! Could you possibly dress more like my mother?!” Heh. Also, who’s not laughing at THE BACKSIDE OF WATER? Everybody but us, that’s who.
We hit up Big Thunder Mountain, a zippy coaster, twice our first day, including one incredible end-of-night ride that’s remarkable both for being unbelievably gorgeous (what a sight to see the first stars of the night just begin to pop into existence over the fake buttes of Big Thunder as all of Disney lay glittering beneath us) and also for being the straw that totally broke these camels’ backs – hot on the heels of two other pretty intense coasters (the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain) this is the ride that did. us. in. Not so for the little girl who plowed into us as we exited the ride, bellowing, “Sorry, sorry, but I’m on a mission!” as she entered the lineup for her seventh straight run. I feel nauseous just typing that.
Right, so how much would you all hate me if I said it looks like I may have to split this final ride post into…two posts? Because – everybody sing it with me now! – IT’S THE STORY THAT NEVER ENDS! Really, by the time I finish up this tale, we’ll be due for another trip to Disney (this is an actual possibility; we are looking at another visit, and soon.) But this only encompasses about half of the rides we rode the first day, and there’s so much more to show and tell. So I hope to see you back here for more Disney fun, next time with the added bonus of a conclusion!