Friday, August 11, 2006

The Kids Are Away, The Adults Are At Play

Now that the kidlets are back in school, the adults can head off to play at Disney World. Even though it's still fairly early in the month, the crowd density at the theme parks has taken a noticable drop. A friend and I went to the Magic Kingdom this morning, and we didn't wait more than 5 or 10 minutes for anything.

It was a good sign for light crowds when we boaded the ferryboat to take us to the park and only a handful of people joined us. We had arrived around 9:30 a.m., which should have been prime time for the morning droves of tourists. There were no lines at the turnstiles, and Main Street was littered with little knots of scattered bodies but nothing like the inpenetable fall of humanity that had graced the pavement just a month or so before.

We headed directly to "Pirates of the Caribbean," since I hadn't yet seen the addition of Johnny Depp. Johnny...sigh! Swoon! Such a versatile (and sexy) actor. From Ed Wood to Edward Scissorhands to Willy Wonka to Captain Jack Sparrow, he has the adaptability of a chameleon. Even with parts that are polar opposites, he fits them all flawlessly.

I knew there were three Audioanimatronic Johnnies; my friend had already been on the revamped ride, but it was a new life experience for me. "Pirates" was walk-on when we arrived, so soon we were launched off into the coolest waterfall effect that I've ever seen before drifting into the midst of a raging battle with Captain Barbossa.

The first two Johnny additions are subtle; they fit in nicely and don't change the character of the ride. The last one is very obvious, but still quite cool. It's amazing to see just how life-like the new Audioanimatronic characters are. Their movements are uncannily "human." So many people refer to Celebration as "Stepford"...perhaps I should be worried that those new figures are prototypes for new Celebration residents.

The wait was so short that we rode again, then headed off to the Jungle Cruise for a rousing dose of corny humor. Before we left Adventureland, I had to get a fix of twisted orange juice and soft serve vanilla ice cream. It's my favorite treat at theMagic Kingdom; the orange is real frozen juice, not sherbet....mmmmmmm!

After that, we hit "Haunted Mansion," "Small World" and "Wedway People Mover," (I refused to call it by its current name)...there was no line for either. I committed a minor faux pax at the Mansion; a couple with their small boy asked my friend and I whether we had ridden it before. When we said "yes," they asked if it might be too intense for a little one. I shared my opinion ("Oh, no, I don't think so. It's really more cute than scary") just as we passed one of the Cast Member butlers. He gave me a perfectly in-character haughty looked and echoed "Cute?" Oops!

By then, it was nearing lunchtime, so we headed out of the park for a seafood fix at Red Lobster. On the way, I had to stop for some fudge on Main Street to bring home as a late night treat.

It was a great kick-off to the "off-season season." I've missed the parks all summer, but I refuse to go anywhere near them just as any sane person would refuse to jump into a pirannah tank. Even when I can't visit, I'm comforted just by knowing that Disney property is only a mile or two away. I get a small fix by visiting the hotel restaurants, and every night I am soothed by the sounds of Illuminations and Wishes that can always be heard from Duloc Manor.

And now my patience has paid off. I can finally visit the Mouse again without braving the teeming masses and lines that take longer than an average person's lifespan. In Chicago, I would be sad that fall is nearly here; in Florida, it simply means the beginning of my favorite theme park season.

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2 comments:

Two4Disney said...

We've been hiding out at the resorts, too. Didn't realize the parks had quieted down any. We tried to get an ADR at Le Cellier for next weekend and the entire weekend was already booked. What's up with that? :) Maybe we should try sneaking into the MK early one morning - sounds like that'll work. Thanks for the post.

Denise said...

Hi, Glad to hear the crowds have died down. We head for WDW next Tuesday for a few weeks and WE CAN'T WAIT!!!