When we last left off, I was breaking promises left, right and centre regarding the eventual end to this epic tale of my two-day anniversary blitz trip to Walt Disney World. If you’re at all interested in catching up on the first four installments, in which I blab on endlessly about our resort, food, rides and Gaston’s Tavern, you can find those here, here, here and here.
But last we actually left off, we were discussing Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and how a late night run proved that maybe our stomachs just ain’t what they used to be. More on that in a bit.
But earlier on, following our not-so-nauseous afternoon run of Big Thunder, we swang it across to Fantasyland and hit up two sweeties, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, a cool 4D musical, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Pooh is an absolutely adorable attraction, a classic Disney dark ride, but holy cats, what an uncomfortable ride! You get into these honey pot carts that bob from side to side when the rain, rain, rain comes down, down, down in rushing, rising rivulets, and also sproing up and down when you go bouncing with Tigger, and I never stop feeling like I’m about to just slide off the seat, straight onto the floor. Pooh could stand a bit of grip tape.
“I don’t know what to do with my hands.” Mr. Finger Candy versus the Tomorrowland Speedway, these gas-guzzling little go-carts on rails. Thankfully, unlike Ricky Bobby, he kept his clothes on and didn’t dash about the track in his underpants screaming that he was on fire. Or at least he didn’t on this particular trip.
The People Mover! Also known as the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover, a magnet-powered Walt original. I semi-joke that you know you’ve gotten old(er) when you consider the People Mover a pretty great time. I don’t know, 10 seated minutes of amazing views, great breezes, cool park trivia, bit of air conditioning – that’s 40-year-old pay dirt right there.
An insincere thumbs-up for Astro Orbiter (eh, you go up, you go down, you go fast – it’s fine, but not worth the 25-minute lineup) and yours truly pretending to be that nagging cow Sarah from the Carousel of Progress (an entire rotating stage show filled with animatronic nightmare fuel, and a song that’s somehow more of an ear worm than It’s a Small World. Everybody sing it with me now, “‘Cause it’s a great! big! beautiful tomorrow! Shining at the end of every day!”)
In the midst of all this Tomorrowland fun we took a break to dash back to Liberty Square for another run through the Haunted Mansion, before doubling back to the future for target practice on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Buzz is a hoot, one of those shoot-the-target rides (also an excellent candidate for a FastPass, because its lineup is long, cramped and boring.) A super nice cast member (again, there is really no other variety) snapped this photo of us just outside the ride.
Ah, but inside, actually on the ride, the attraction snapped this photo of us mid-action. I call this one “The Gamer and the Goof.” This is admittedly not the best photo of either one of us, but this is what happens when you put a hardcore gamer on a shoot-the-target ride – intense concentration and laser-like focus. Or at least until your wife suddenly shouts, “This is where they take your picture, SMILE!” and you try to pretend like you’re not SEVERELY committed to ridding the scourge of Evil Emperor Zurg from the galaxy. All the same, he got something like 400,000 points his first run out and I got, oh, 9,600.
After conquering Buzz (or just sitting there making “Pew! Pew!” noises) we thought, “Hey, there’s an hour until the projection light show at Cinderella’s Castle. Let’s hop over to Pirates of the Caribbean for one final boat ride of the day.” Which would have made for some pretty tremendous timing had the ride not broken down, leaving us in semi-darkness for the next 40 minutes.
I say semi, because after 20 or so minutes of the pirates yo-ho, yo-ho-ing in their normal fashion, they turned the sound off, brought the lights up and then began resetting the pumps that push the boats along the tracks. It was very cool to see how much the water line dropped when the pumps were turned off – probably a good three inches. And the water’s only about two and a half feet deep to begin with! At one point I thought we were going to be evac’d off the ride; wondered how that was going to happen when we were all out floating in little boats. And through it all the pirates continued their revelry, albeit now in static silence. Being temporarily stuck on a ride may sound like a nightmare to you, but I loved this unexpected peek behind the Disney magic; it was practically its own attraction!
Following our misadventure in Adventure Land, which did indeed cause us to miss the projection light show, we hightailed it over to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to take advantage of the substantially decreased wait times during late night Extra Magic Hours (another perk that comes with Disney resort life – extra in-park, on-ride hours either before or after regular park open or close. Which is how you sometimes find yourself stumbling out of the Magic Kingdom at one in the morning!)
We snapped this photo in front of the Dwarfs the following morning when we realized we had forgotten to take one the night before. Two somewhat unenthused thumbs up for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, another super zippy roller coaster (this time with individually rocking seats) themed to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was fun, but nothing I’d wait in line any longer than 20 minutes to enjoy (which we did, while we watched the fireworks that now seem to be launched from about six different spots in the park, making for a very fulsome, awesome experience, no matter where you’re standing.)
After exiting the Mine Train, we jaunted on down to Space Mountain. Why not keep the roller coaster love flowing? Oh, because Space Mountain has never not been an exceedingly rough ride, and one in the pitch dark, no less. I was joking the other day that I don’t always enjoy putting up my Christmas tree every year because we have history, and my dad is the same way with Space Mountain – there’s a dark past there I think neither one wishes to acknowledge! My parents were – and are, even as they approach their 70s – super game for any and all theme park fun…so long as it doesn’t involve a roller coaster. Even then, my dad will still go on the zoomers like Big Thunder (but only after thoroughly checking to ensure that the ride absolutely, positively does not go upside down.) But Space Mountain has always been off the menu; she’s just too rough.
And after suffering through our own rough ride on Space Mountain, I’m not sure she’s on the menu for US any more either. Oof, I felt quite unwell as I exited the ride – barely spared a glance at the fun (and so appropriate) mock ad for SPF 3500 sunscreen bearing my screaming, on-ride likeness on some nearby screens (this is also why we have no photo of this attraction!) Mr. Finger Candy actually fared much worse, getting hit with a double dose of first motion sickness and then panic sickness when he thought he had lost his very expensive prescription sunglasses somewhere in the bowels of the ride. A couple of seconds of frantic casting-about in the bottom of his cart thankfully turned up the missing glasses, much to everyone’s relief, but the anxiety-ridden damage was done.
So what better time to ride one more roller coaster of the evening? And preferably one as far away as possible. So to the very back corner of the park for one last ride on Big Thunder! Which is the ride I spoke of before that just completely did us in. I’m a real arms-up kind of roller coaster enthusiast – I love that feeling of gravity pulling you out of your seat. It’s normally a very fun way to enjoy a roller coaster, but not this evening. Should have just enjoyed the stars and the scenery! We were both listing sideways as we made our way toward the front of the park.
But not listing so much that we didn’t stop by the Haunted Mansion for one last close-er-out ride of the night. Which was also maybe a mistake? You know you’ve overdone it when even a Doom Buggy’s slow, stately funeral march through the Mansion is setting you off. And that, my friends, is what you call theme park overload!
Which is what you might be feeling at this point in the tale, which…DRUMROLL, PLEASE!…is finally at an end. What a fun time! Such a fantastic experience, one I hope to recreate very soon. 🙂 And to everyone who was kind enough to like and comment on these posts with their own fun Disney experiences, thank you for coming by and sharing *your* Disney world with me. May we meet up in the parks someday!