Stuff I Learned on My Disney Vacation

3 Apr

For Spring Break, we took the kids to Disney World, and added a 3 day cruise on the Disney Dream.  Here’s what I learned:

1.  No matter how much time I leave for my connection in Atlanta, it will somehow disappear.  We had 2 hours.  They changed the flights around, and next thing I know we’re running for the gate.  It’s like some sort of time vortex.

2.  Do not attempt to turn in front of a Disney’s Magical Express bus.  Some poor guy tried this and his car got squished between the bus and the curb.  The driver didn’t see him and the intersection was weird.  The real tragedy was that it was midnight and we had to wait for another bus to take us to our hotel.  (Also: I find it offensive when they do retro “remember when” theming on the decade in which I graduated high school).

3.  The Contemporary Resort has a secret built in wind tunnel and slip-n-slide.  We were getting off the bus just as a killer storm whipped through.  I grabbed the boys in one hand and my glasses in the other (my husband was nobly helping another couple with their stroller) and we fought our way through the wind to the lobby.  Once the doors opened, the gale force wind was at our back and a damp marble floor lay in front of us.  Some very heroic cast members had placed themselves in our path to catch us, which I thought was really sweet.  (Also, very glad we had a dryer in our room).

4. I will from now on pack for weather up to 20 degrees below the prediction.  I packed shorts and t-shirts.  The only long pants we had were what we wore on the plane down.  For three days the weather was below 70 (and in the morning, it was in the 40s.  Holy bugmonkeys.)  

5.  I will do really stupid things for my kids.  Like go swimming when it’s 65 degrees out.  (But that was warmer than yesterday.)  (and the pool was heated) (but we didn’t swim long before my 6yo turned blue).

6. The French Toast at the Grand Floridian Cafe is really good.  The cranberry orange pancakes, not so much.  I had the pancakes.

7.  The Mears bus drivers are amateur comedians.  Twice we had drivers who had a crazy spiel.  Neither was the one who squished the car, though, so maybe they had something there.

8.  The pools on the Disney Dream are too small.  One is 5’3″ deep all across, so there’s just a ring of children around the edge at all time.  The other, shallower, one, is just a damp child container.  

9.  The ship’s alarm for the muster drill is a real let down.  My 8yo was curled up in terrified anticipation of what would probably be a boat-shattering wail.  The crew members let us run back to the stateroom to hide.  When the alarm turned out to be 7 beeps, I felt a little silly.

10.  The verandah was totally worth it.  After the Sailing Away party on deck got too overwhelming, my husband and I sat on the verandah (you pay extra for the ‘h’) in our stateroom and watched as Port Canaveral slipped away*.  And I spotted two dolphins, which was super neat.  

11.  Our waiter sounded exactly like Hank Azaria in The Birdcage.

12.  I am done with Yoga on the Beach.  I’ve tried it twice, and both times I just wound up digging little pits for each limb to settle into until I finally fell over.  And this time we were at a good 20 degree angle downwards.  Call me spoiled, but I like a flat surface.

13.  Sunday mornings on a cruise are not relaxing.  Maybe I’m used to Sundays at a con, where you vacillate in the lobby until you muster the motivation to go home.  On the cruise, our welcome expired quickly;  they needed to get ready for the next group coming in that afternoon.  Breakfast was at 6:45 sharp and we were off the boat by 8 am.

14.  Our best day was the cheapest.  For our last day, we decided to skip Typhoon Lagoon.  Instead we swam in the hotel pool, played some putt-putt at Winter Summerland, and took a boat ride.  I rented a bike for my 5yo and he rode around Old Key West, while DH and 8yo went over to Downtown Disney.  The most expensive part was the Mickey Mitts they bought, which cost $20 each.  

In fact, my favorite parts were when we were just relaxing.  Sitting on the verandah, walking back to the hotel from the Magic Kingdom, or when my son and I sat on the ground outside Toy Story Mania and waited for our FastPass to be ready.  The parks were almost a distraction at worst, and a backdrop at best.  

Except for Expedition Everest.  That ride kicks ass.




*it reminded me somewhat of being on the circus train, actually.  Not in terms of the accommodations, which would be like comparing a five course gourmet meal to a dried up fruit treat stuck to the floor of my car, but in terms of sitting in your room and watching the world go by.  


3 Responses to “Stuff I Learned on My Disney Vacation”

  1. Alyse April 4, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    I often find that the “unplanned” portion of any vacation is the part I end up liking best.

  2. Tracy Lunquist (@mousketracy) April 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    The Disney experience is one that evolves constantly. Your favorite thing five years ago, or as a couple (or an individual) vs. as a group or with kids, is not the same as your favorite thing now. These days, I’m more likely to skip the rides than go on them, and my favorite parts usually involve leisurely walks, birdwatching and people-watching. I have at least as much fun hanging out at a Deluxe resort (any of them) as at a park, and have built a whole hobby of finding the thing that nobody else is doing. The roads less traveled on WDW property are some of the best ones.

    • marymascari April 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

      That’s the beauty of being able to visit frequently. You don’t get distracted by the glaring parks. Kind of like life, really.

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