At Walt Disney World, No One Cares

Viking-RaymondThe way we vacation at Walt Disney World is different than anyplace else we visit.  We’re much more inclined to be fun-filled and relaxed.  We feel ageless – we can just be ourselves without worrying what anyone else will think about our antics.  We’re not alone.  We’re among other Disney fans who completely understand our passion!  We can throw off our worries and cares for a bit while we remember what it was like to work hard all day at…playing.

At Walt Disney World, No One Cares

If you eat dessert first.  No problem!  Grab a churro and a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar and call it lunch.  If ever there was a place to relax your diet standards, this is it.  I’ve always wondered what would happen if I asked for that scrumptious banana bread pudding at ‘Ohana to be brought out first?  I think I’m going to try it and see!IMG_3785 DSCN3085

If you cry on Main Street.  Raise your hand if you’ve teared up during Wishes or over that elated feeling when you first see Cinderella Castle.  It’s okay!  You’re not alone.  One time, I sat next to a young woman who cried hysterically during the Festival of Fantasy Parade.

If you geek out over your favorite character.  Yes, grown men and women wait in line for character meet-and-greets all the time.  There’s no judgement here.  My loving Donald does not make me immature or odd.  It makes me happy! RM-Army-man-selfie

If you act your shoe size (not your age).  Wear an Earhat!  Sport your pin-trading lanyard with pride!  Be excited about parades, rides, attractions, and shows.  Search for Hidden Mickeys!  If every member of your group wears matching tee shirts, you’ll fit right in with dozens of other families doing the same thing.  At home, your Goofy hat or Yoda backpack might garner some strange looks, but at Walt Disney World, it makes you look cool.Star Wars Shopping at Disney's Hollywood Studios

If you look a mess.  If there’s one place you don’t have to worry about your appearance, it’s at Disney World.  It’s hot or rainy (or both), you may be soaked from Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids! You can wear shorts and a tee shirt nearly everywhere and fit right in.  Bad hair is practically mandatory.  I particularly enjoy the look I achieve from the Tower of Terror / Rock’n’ Roller Coaster double whammy!PeopleMover

There’s a lesson here for our children.  There will be times in life when we need to be serious, professional, somber, or sedate and there will be times when we can (and should) kick up our heels and embrace the FUN!  What are your favorite ways to have a great time at Disney World?


5 Types of Disney World Dads

RM-Main-Street-USA-Magic-KingdomPeople watching is fun to me!  While I’m at Walt Disney World, I find it especially entertaining.  Watching families having fun, seeing kids bravely try their first major thrill-ride, looking at the cute just-married couples posing in front of Cinderella Castle.  I’ve met some great fellow Disney fans waiting in long lines for rides like Soarin’ and Splash Mountain.  In all this people watching, dads prove to be among the most interesting subjects.  I’ve come to the conclusion that most dads fall into one of five categories. (Thanks to Raymond for being the model for all the dads!)

5 Types of Disney World DadsDad checks his watch at the Grand Floridian

1. Dad of Misery – This dad would rather be anywhere else.  He had no idea what would be required of him on a Disney World vacation and he is not amused.  Unused to and unprepared for standing in line, walking great distances or enduring the heat of a Florida summer, this dad’s cranky and irritable.  Some Dads of Misery suffer silently, but others make their displeasure known – loudly and frequently. #shouldhavestayedhomeRM-Dad-and-Meg

2. Confused Dad – It’s his first visit and mom did all the planning and dealt with all the details.  Confused Dad loves seeing his kids having so much fun, but he doesn’t know the names of all the characters and most of the attractions.  On his own, he’d be completely lost, but he’s married to an exceptionally well-organized woman.  He’s pleasantly surprised and having way more fun than he imagined he would since he had no idea Disney World would be so entertaining for adults.  Before vacation ends, Confused Dad’s eyes have been opened, a Disney park fan has been born, and another trip is in the works.RM-Dad-at-Studios

3. Adventurer Dad – Thrill-ride junkie, this dad loves new experiences and is up for anything exciting.  This is the dad who rides Rock’n’ Roller Coaster multiple times and will try every food booth at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival.  Adventurer Dad is at his best when his kids reach the minimum height requirement for every ride.  He also loves Disney water parks and resort pools – especially ones with big slides.RM-Dad-at-AKL

4.  Boy Scout Dad – This is one über-prepared father!  He’s wearing an enormous, over-stuffed backpack and has carefully arranged every aspect of a gigantic double-stroller to ensure the comfort of his offspring.  “Be Prepared” is his motto and he’s thought of, and is ready for, all possible contingencies.  Sadly, Boy Scout Dad is a worrier and spends most of his time imagining what tragedy or illness may befall the family next, instead of relaxing and having fun.  His stroller navigation skills are unparalleled!RM-Dad-and-Perry

5. All-In Dad – This dad embraces Disney magic in all its forms.  He’ll wear his Disney t-shirt and earhat with pride!  The ultimate Disney fan, All-In Dad needs no park maps or times guides.  Disney World is his happy place.  He’s soaking up the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes while patiently nurturing his children to follow in his Disney-loving footsteps.  All-In Dad is the easiest to spot by his attire and pin-trading lanyard.  He’ll usually be holding a churro or a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar, wearing a happy smile.RM-Dad-and-Joseph

Are you (or do you know) a Disney dad?  Which type?

For Love of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth at Sunset / Epcot / Walt Disney WorldThe iconic heart of Epcot’s Future World, this much-photographed geosphere is a beloved park favorite at Walt Disney World.  Spaceship Earth is both a weenie and an attraction – and adored by legions of Disney fans around the world.  The ride inside Spaceship Earth takes us on a slow and easy journey through time for a peek at various innovations in communications technology and how those discoveries influenced human lives through the ages (and will shape our future, perhaps).

For my family, this 16 minute tour of both past and future never gets old and we’re not alone in our love for this attraction!  We’ve been known to ride Spaceship Earth many times during aRM-SSE5 single vacation – even multiple times in a single day.  Is it the animatronics?  The narration?  The smell of Rome burning?  The peek into our personalized future on Earth?  No!  I believe there’s no single moment of the experience, but the perfection in the combination of all the components, the small details and the expansive scenes.

Once again, I asked and you answered.  Twitter followers and Facebook friends were happy to respond to my request for shout-outs, in Haiku form, expressing feelings for Epcot’s icon.  I’m happy to share these gems of poetic beauty with you now…

For Love of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth

From Facebook, there were only two entries, but both were highly creative!

DSCN2870Submitted by Anastasia:

Golf ball cool and dark
Invites me to sit and rest
I can haz nap now

Gaylin posted her fondness this way:

Bright golf ball of love
Beckons all to ride away
Past to future slow.

On Twitter, the response was overwhelming! (If you’re looking for Disney friends on Twitter, you should follow all of these awesome folks!)

From @BerryMary92, a beautiful poem:RM-SSE1

One of Disney’s icons
beautiful site to behold
stands proud in Epcot

From good friend (and occasional guest writer) @AndrewCfran:

At Epcot Center
Lies a geodesic dome
Called Spaceship Earth

@bscala1986 composed this very touching entry:

Grand and miraculous.
A symbol of immortality.
Tomorrow’s child awaits.

RM-SSE4@WDWParkHopper captured Spaceship Earth’s best moments:

Thank the Phoenicians
I can smell the fire in Rome
Time to head back home

@Bekka_C writes of her own Spaceship Earth memories (Bekka – stay awake & you’ll remember it better!):

Every time I ride.
I swear it is new inside.
What a great sleep ride.

@HLebischak also captured the spirit of Spaceship Earth with:

Time traveling sphere –
in the center of EPCOT –
thank you, Phoenicians.

@scottquaile seems to feel the latest Disney technology has not been good for SSE!RM-Spaceship-Earth

My Magic Plussed
Long lines it has

@TacoMan945 submitted this beautiful piece:

Jeremy Irons
Many think you’re a golf ball
Smell in burning Rome

@GoAwayGreen played along this time with a profound piece of art!

Most fragile transport
Of the knowledge collected,
Analyzed and shared

RM-SSE7In @YoPaulieNJ’s entry, Paulie weighs in on SSE’s most recent updates:

The last ride descent
Once so very inspiring
Now a dumb cartoon

Finally, I am proud to bring you the artistic talents of @AmyBethCombs, who didn’t just compose one poem – Amy’s obvious love for SSE could not be contained in a single Haiku.  Amy is the clear winner of today’s game (Congratulations, Amy) with this Ode to Spaceship Earth composed of several entries…

Spaceship Earth is cool.
Spaceship Earth is really cool.
Wow I love Epcot.

Look at those three guys.RM-Spaceship-Earth-Early-Backup-System
That guy’s hat looks like garlic.
I love Spaceship Earth.

Hey, do you smell smoke?
Oh no! Rome is on fire!
Well, there go the books.

Thank the Phoenicians.
You know what they invented?
The alphabet, chump.

How did they do that?
The cave painting on the wall.
It moves. That is cool.

When it turns backwards
That can be kind of scary
The angle is steep.

RM-SSE6Each entry was awesome – some of their expressions of love, others for their honesty.  How do YOU feel about Spaceship Earth?  Which attraction would you like to see tributes for next?

That Time We Got Stuck on It’s a Small World


RM-Enjoying-Magic-KingdomSometimes I think I’m so cute and clever.  Those are the times I should be most aware of how life can sneak up on you and, well, kick you in the pants.  Not long ago, while Raymond and I were enjoying that blissful week alone at Walt Disney World, I had one of those moments.  In anticipation of our trip, I’d purchased a couple of limited edition Disney tee shirts.  They were the ones commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World – since I was also celebrating being 50 years old in 2014…well, you can see how cute and clever I thought I was being.

On one of the days we’d be spending in the Magic Kingdom, I donned my new It’s a Small World shirt and thought it would be great to ride the ride…you know, wearing the shirt.  How wonderful!  Here’s what happened…

Begin flashback sequence now…..

RM-Main-Street-OctoberWe were having a really terrific day in spite of some bazaar goings-on when we first arrived at the park (an omen, perhaps?).  Main Street was looking gorgeous when we stopped by Starbuck’s for coffee and a bite to eat.RM-Main-Street-StarbucksWe headed over to Adventureland to hit our first attractions of the day.  That’s when we first noticed that Magic Kingdom was experiencing some technical difficulties, as was the My Disney Experience App – many rides were not running and the app actually showed every ride as “closed”.  RM-MDE-GlitchWe’d gone to ride Pirates and it was closed.  PhilharMagic? Closed.  Winnie the Pooh? Nope.  There were a bunch of angry people!  We weren’t among them though.  I have a motto, “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!”

We’d had plenty of Magic Kingdom time already the day before and would be coming back again later in the week, so we decided to jump on the monorail and see what was going on along the loop.  We’d hit the shops, see the sights, and make our way back to the Magic Kingdom later for our dinner at Be Our Guest.  Going with the flow was working great for us!

After we checked out everything at the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian, we decided we should go back and see if we could at least ride It’s a Small World before dinner on account of the special shirt I’d worn that day.  RM-Small-World-TeeWhen we got back, things were somewhat better (still no Pirates) so we found we had time to ride Peter Pan, see PhilharMagic, and YAY! ride It’s a Small World.  The line moved quickly and I was feeling pretty cute in my new tee.

That’s probably what did it – my feeling cute and clever.  We were sailing along in the front seat of our little boat while I was happily snapping pictures here and there.  RM-It's-a-small-world3 RM-It's-a-small-world1We got right to the far side of the blue room and the boat stopped.  Not a pause, the boat was dead in the water – along with all the other boats.  RM-Small-World-Carousel We were sitting with the honking geese directly to our right and that balloon that goes up and down with the clown in the basket on our left.  The automatic announcement came on that tells you that everything’s going to be fine in a moment.

I’m not scared of much – at least not the usual stuff.  Lizards, mice, snakes, bugs – those don’t phase me much.  If you hear me holler about a bug, it’s only because I don’t have anything at hand to squash it with and I don’t want it to get away.RM-Big-SnakeGetting stuck on It’s a Small World seems pretty innocuous, doesn’t it?  I don’t know what started freaking me out first.  It might have been the clown in the balloon going up and down and up and down or the geese that would not stop honking.RM-Small-World-Clown-BalloonIt might have been how the people behind us all started singing along with the ride’s well-know song.  I suspect it was the not automated announcements that did me in, but a cast member instead.  I’m sure she was just trying to help.

After the first auto-announcement, this female cast member’s voice came over the loud speaker and basically repeated the information from the first announcement.  At least in the beginning.  In reality, I’m guessing we were stuck on the ride somewhere between 8 and 10 minutes.  It seemed a lot longer because as that cast member made her announcements, she became increasingly frantic in her bid for guests to stay seated.  By the fourth or fifth time she made the announcement, she was sounding actually panicked, “PLEASE!!!  Remain in your boats!!!!”  Of course this made me suspect that we were never going to be rescued.  That, in fact, we would have to swim for our lives.  Perhaps she sounded so desperate because the exodus had already begun in another room?  RM-Small-World-GeeseThose geese were honking a warning…the clown would be climbing out of that balloon basket to commit unspeakable atrocities upon the unsuspecting passengers of the “Happiest cruise that ever sailed” and I’d be first because I was wearing the SHIRT!!!  This is what happens when you feel cute and clever!!!

Yes, you’re right.  Nothing bad happened.  Aside from my momentary clown-paranoia and homicidal thoughts towards both the announcer-girl and the singing people behind me, the boats finally moved on and we were able to enjoy our dinner at Be Our Guest.  Just in case though, I did not ride the Carousel of Progress on the day I wore that particular shirt.

What rides have YOU been stuck on?