Monday, May 11, 2020

Disney 2019 day 1- 18-Aug-2019

Magic Increased ala Beast

The shifted flight time meant we gathered in the late summer complete darkness on Grandma’s driveway well before Stupid O’clock in the morning.  A mini-bus / maxi-van initiated the Disney magic by fitting down her tiny street.We, and our luggage, were all piled in. It is possible this was all one pile, as it was very early and details are fuzzy.

No one else was crazy enough to be on the road that early on a Sunday, assuring us a clear shot to Newark Airport without delays.  Yay! The flight was on schedule and we unloaded, ready to continue without delays.

Then someone asked, “Veronica, where’s your MagicBand?” 

And there was a minor delay. 

Luckily, the near Disney awesome level limo guy hadn’t gotten far, and brought the giant vehicle back next to us immediately. Veronica fished out her band, and then ALL bands were backpack stowed until we hit Orlando.

One advantage of being mob sized was qualifying for the Group Check In and getting us to the gate in record time, meaning even with the minor delay, odd security issues and multiple required bathroom stops for our squad along the way, we were nicely early. 

The security issues were…interesting.  I’m used to odd shaped belt buckles being reviewed multiple times, and having my pirate skull shaped one get an extended dance mix through the scanner was nothing to ruffle me.  Morgan’s bag also got reviewed by the central scrutinizer.  The reason?  Crayons!

Maybe they thought he was going to draw a gun?
(Badum – Tchhhh!  If you think that was bad, wait till the traditional corny Disney World influence hits!)

Rosa used the pass to the Elite Airline Club she and Anabelle couldn’t take advantage of due to our family Colorado flight home curse.  She grabbed some blueberry muffins for the kids on the way out.  Before we knew it, Kim handed over the chocolate bars for the flight crew during boarding, we were buckled up and were quickly and smoothly airborne.  (always take the early flight to Disney, kids.) 

The kids had three ever building moments of excitement on the way down.
1) When they were thanked by name over the P.A. system for the candy. (Thanx Auntie Kim!)
2) When we passed through the clouds on the descent and one of them yelled, “YOU CAN SEE THE GROUND!”
3) When we landed and the pilot said, “Enjoy the rest of your stay in Orlando and Disney World.”

I think even we adults joined with the kids yelling, “WOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOO!!!” on that last one.

Knowing it would happen somewhere on the trip, I saved time by standing up way too fast (and way too close to the window) to help Grandma before she pulled the bags out of the overhead. This smashed my head into the roof of the plane, sending me bouncing back into my seat in short order.
We’re so fun in public.

Morgan showed he was related to Anabelle by getting hit with aftershock airsickness once we were walking on our way to the Magic Express station.

Anabelle then showed she was related to Grandma by being prepared for this possibility in herself and having a Dramamine and a barf bag to give him, allowing progress to continue.

Obviously, there was another bathroom stop. They’re frequent enough to generally assume there’s one between every location transition. I’ll only point them out if they affect the narrative stream.

Safely heading toward the Disney owned portion of the airport we donned our MagicBands.


Rosa’s unveiling of her home decorated, custom one was delayed until this proper moment.

Following some confusion that we were put on a cruise line bus, Kim Dave, Morgan and Grandma tied for the first unconscious moments on the trip as we approached the Happiest Signs on Earth.

We came directly in to the All Star Sports. Naturally we were checked in on-line, meaning text messages would alert us to our room’s statuses. 

Even more naturally, we went straight up to the desk in order to receive a proper Awesome Happy Disney person greeting, be handed maps showing where our rooms would be, and get a birthday button for Grandma plus celebration ones for the rest of us.

They dropped the “Family Reunion” buttons we got in the past; netting Anabelle a new job of using her practiced autograph mimicking handwriting to scribe “Family” on all of our buttons.

The magic of Stupid O’clock flights meant we were starving, yet early enough to have lunch without impinging on dinner time.  The End Zone Food Court’s vast selection served as a fine proving ground for getting into the groove of the new meal plan rules. We split to find edibles, Rosa, Anabelle and I got an Alfredo dish, a vegetarian quesadilla and a turkey Panini which were all excellent. They all also all vanished from the menus for the rest of the trip.  It’s kind of odd that the menus expand at lunch when most people are in the parks.

Then again, it may just be that the menus contracted at our wicked late, post park adventure arrival times at night.

There were some weird and inconsistent questions about pin numbers and room numbers when we got our food, leading us to parade to the front desk again after eating. The parade continued into the gift shop to allow us to try out the updates. Considering none of us changed our pin numbers since the last trip, it’s possible an Awesome but confused Happy Disney person Earning their Ears at the food court asked for the wrong information.

For a change, the Magic Kingdom bus was there and ready as soon as we exited the main building. For anyone that knows us, it’s obvious this triggered part of our group to run back into the bathroom to hurry up another part of our group.

We took the Awesome Happy bus up the Awesome Happy road, stepped off, saw a character art bus we couldn't ride on, navigated security and let out the collective Awesome Happy Main Street sigh.


Then Crowd Navigation 101 was demanded to locate a decent parade location. We ended up next to the Castle (Yay!) at the connection point to Liberty Square. It didn’t look like an ideal spot at first, but it being a combination of a choke point and a bend led to some stellar character interactions.

Chip in his Prince Charming get up kissed Rosa’s hand.  When Naveen and Tiana’s platform rotated around to face us, Naveen copied the kid’s dance moves and then blew a kiss to Anabelle.
There was much Yaying!

It also gave us a different angle view than we’d gotten before. I never noticed Pinocchio’s float is Monstro the Whale in clown makeup.  (There’s a film I need to see.)

I also never noticed Pinocchio is chained to the float. Still serving time from Pleasure Island I guess.

When the parade ended, we practically had a foot in Liberty Square. The draw of the Haunted Mansion cannot be denied.

It was far too early to hazard any estimate as to what a normal wait times would be.
A) We hadn’t just arrived,
B) It wasn't the Haunted Mansion,
C) It wasn’t us,

There’s no way we would have gotten on a posted forty-five minute wait without any kind of scouting, alternate evaluation or review.

Again, the draw of the Haunted Mansion cannot be denied.

The kids had a good time playing on the interactive line, the wait was significantly shorter than posted, and it was, in fact, us.

Therefore we had an awesome ride on the Haunted Mansion to kick off our trip. YAAAAAAAY!
And Grandma got the little chubby ghost to follow her home again.

Done with waiting for the day, it was time for the Four-D musical Donald filled fun in Fillmore’s Magic over in Fantasyland.  Crowd indications were showed clearly by the theater being completely filled.

We were also contending with August levels of humidity for the first time.  Florida is always humid, but this was insane. All of our glasses fogged, and there was a great deal of rapid wiping to get the 3D effects to work for this family favorite film.

Checking on our follow up location, I realized I had lost the Grid.  A NEW RECORD! Luckily I had handed out a bunch of them to the gang, preventing me from having to use the MyDisneyExperience App like some normal person.

The crowd size slowed our exit, prompting the first rush of the trip to a FastPass. (Way to start off there, Where Will We Go Next Guy.) It also prompted learning there is a grace period after the FastPass window that is longer than the five minute one I’d already known about before it begins.
We made it in time to the Town Square theater to see Mickey and Minnie together in their loud and silly (and this is me saying this) confetti outfits for Mickey’s birthday. There was a huge pile of fun and goofing around with them. When they learned it was Grandma’s birthday too, they immediately pulled her in for a photo.
Ha Ha!

Some minor hurrying was needed to go a couple of blocks up Main Street (aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. – only slightly diminished after the first one.)  for meal time at the Plaza.  Instead of handing out beepers, which Stone Age folks like myself expect, text messaging was used.  Naturally the text came sooner than expected and someone was in the bathroom.

Really, with our group, the text could have come the next day, as several did before I stopped giving them my crusty old flip phone number, and someone would be in the bathroom.

The Move It Shake It Celebrate It Suck Up The Crowd With It mini parade/ mobile show came by as we went in. We got a quick peek at the Three Caballeros, Clarabelle, and Goofy Spawn much to Anabelle and the gang’s thrill, before sitting.

The meal was slightly later than my original target, and I failed to realize that meant a switch between the lunch and dinner menu.  Given that it was the first meal, most of the gang had figured out what they wanted from my nearly completely inaccurate menu list.  Given that we were all exhausted, no one knew what they wanted to eat at all.

(Note- since we returned home the Plaza has combined to one single menu.  Nice to know Disney occasionally tries to make my insane self assigned tasks easier.)

The aftershocks of Stupid O’clock continued…
Anabelle wanted to ask what cheese was on the burger and instead asked the waiter, “What’s cheese?” leading to all kinds of confusion.

In fact, our family hadn't confused a Disney server that badly since my Dad forgot the word for knife eating at Tony's on one of our old family trips, called the waiter, and pointed next to his plate while grunting.

Being exhausted in Disney World is a long standing family tradition.

There were some strawberry shake shenanigans that I’m not sure I can describe, Grandma ate her birthday sundae before anyone could snap a picture of it, and Morgan went out cold, face first on the table for a majority of the meal.
We’re so fun in public.

Full and happy (and rested in Morgan’s case) we took our third walk around the castle (YAY!) to get back into Fantasyland. Tinker Bell’s tinkling greeted us on the Peter Pan FastPass entrance, as did the angry glares of the normal wait time people the Cast Member let us cut in front of. There has to be a better way to do that.

As we joyously soared into magical flight on the Jolly Roger (yes, I still love this ride, that’s why we FastPass it on the first day) I looked for the crosses my cousin saw on the boy’s bed to commemorate Lent, and asked me to check if they remained after the season.

They were there all right.

They were not crosses; they were the swords the boys used to play pirates with.

Sometimes there is an advantage to being a lot worse at the Catholic thing than other parts of my family.

Hey, you know what’s right across the way from Peter Pan?

The small world!!!!

We went on!

It’s still fun and there’s still stuff I don’t remember seeing before.

Although, conferring with saner members of my family afterwards confirmed the jungle room had been reconfigured with new additions. That means there really was stuff I didn’t see before.

Including a new lion, which was just a copy of the old tiger with a mop on his head.

The monitors at the end only displayed “good bye” in multiple languages, no names. This made me
1) Sad.
2) Determined to change the FastPass on “the classics” day since its whole reason was making the names pop up.

The Grid is a living document.  Maintaining it often makes me less of a living document, however.

Our second two FastPasses were somewhat adjacent prompting us to cross through Liberty Square once more to reach Adventureland.  We took a short cut under across a colonial porch which led to the waking up of the Stupid O’clock conditioned children into an outcry of, “Why are we going to the Hall of Presidents?”

By the time I explained and calmed them all down, we were at the Jungle Cruise.

Skipper Taylor hit us with a rapid fire cascade of jokes (and the cascade of the Back Side of Water YAY!) ending up with: 
“If you enjoyed yourself this was the world’s famous Jungle Cruise and I’ll see you on the next tour, and if you didn't, This was the Great Movie Ride and I’ll see you in the movies…because I’ll be fired.”

Stupid O’clock aftershocks do make the first night perfect for evening show or parade viewing. (Or it would be perfect if Disney didn't dump all the night parades because dealing with stupid people isn't worth their effort anymore. foo.)  We got in position in the Castle forecourt circle where Anabelle scouted a good spot for the Happily Ever After Castle projection show on her band trip.

Because it’s us, being early was not in our favor. Cast Members sardined us all in towards the Out Infidel statue, compressing our location, and making rest room runs problematic.

Fortunately, the combination of projection, fireworks and music was above and beyond the usual awesome and amazing Disney standards. YAAAAY!
Dave had Morgan perched atop himself and Kim and I alternated taking pictures and hoisting other children high enough to see the full scale of amazing scenes from a huge time span of Disney animated classics.

The show went as far as including characters and bits from underrated classics from the “dark” periods that only my family likes.
What a nice welcome!

Being sardined in made accordioning out not only a crappy combination of metaphors but a difficult to execute task.  All of us were limping for one reason or another as we shuffled our way to the exit. Having the park remain open after the show prevented the mob from thinning, or moving for that matter.  Somehow we made it through the gates and onto the huge double bus queued up to handle said mob. (Because, Disney. YAY!)

Our New Jersey bus driver got us back to the All Star Sports where were picked out our newly diverse choices for this trip's refillable RF mugs, and divvied up the carry on pile they graciously held for us.

Our checked bags were all in the rooms, allowing zombie like unpacking to combine with preparation for the upcoming first full day.
(Yes, running and travelling full speed from four in the morning until ten at night doesn't count as a “full day” for us, since we didn’t start it in a park.  We’re awesome like that.)

Anabelle immediately found the Immortal Happy Disney Stacy channel!

I went on the first mug run of the trip, and found all the hot chocolate machines empty.  The Cast Member apologized and provided some instant mix for that beverage. I created a concoction with the mix, hot water and coffee creamer that not only became an addiction for my daughter, but ruined her for real hot chocolate, possibly forever.

Sleep was deep, powerful, and likely insufficient.

6.2 miles 
13,023 steps 
4 floors

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