Saturday, February 10, 2007

Spontaneity is the Spice of Life

One of the pitfalls of living in Celebration, i.e. within spitting distance of Disney World, is that you don't visit the theme parks nearly as much as you'd think. When you move into town, eyes wide with wonder and pixie dust and brain reeling with the fact that Mickey Mouse is your neighbor, you tend to vow, "I'll be at the Magic Kingdom nearly every day!"

But something so close tends to be neglected as the rhythm of everyday life and responsibility takes hold. Now, I'm lucky if I get over to the theme parks once a month (although hubby and I usually make it to the restaurants more frequently).

Last night, inbetween my work, I was perusing a Disney World website. Reading about the parks soon sparked a tugging at my heart. Here I was, sitting eight miles from the Magic Kingdom toll plaza. Unlike most of the people posting on the forum I was reading, I could partake of the magic virtually any time I choose. I began to feel a longing that I knew wasn't going to disappear until I'd had my WDW fix.

I still had plenty of work to do, but one of the advantages of working from home is that you can take a little break (even tho' you pay for it later by working till 1 a.m.). I hollered upstairs to hubby, "Hey, want to go to the Magic Kingdom tonight?" For him, there's only one answer to that question, so shortly thereafter we were piled into the Family Truckster and heading down World Drive.

I wasn't sure how bad the crowds would be, but from the looks of the parking lot, I figured they were relatively minimal. It was already after 7, so a goodly chunk of exhausted guests had already bailed for home. While I enjoy visiting Disney at any time of the day, nighttime is particularly special. There's nothing like the sight of the castle, bathed in colored lights and sillouhetted against the black velvet sky, to spark a sense of wonder and magic.

We took the ferryboat over, and I admired the view of the three monorail resorts (the Polynesian, Contemporary, and Grand Floridian). For me, they will always be the icons of Disney World, no matter how many additional hotels are built. When I made my first trip, they were the only three hotels (not counting Downtown Disney), and the Swan and Dolphin were under construction. Now, in no particular order, there is Boardwalk, the Yacht and Beach Clubs, Port Orleans and PO Riverside, Saratoga Springs, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, the three All-Stars, Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and whatever else I may have forgotten.

Over the years, we've stayed in most of the others, and I dearly love the Wilderness Lodge, but the Contemporary will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my first Disney World hotel. It sparkled like a jewel with pinpoints of light punctuating the A-framed structure in the distance. The Poly and Floridian sat on the banks of the lake, giving off a homey, inviting glow to the boatloads of weary tourists heading back from a long day at the Magic Kingdom.

There were only a handful of stragglers aboard the ferryboat with us, and no lines to get into the park. Despite the moderate crowd, I did cringe at the sudden realization that there was some sort of cheerleading event going on. The majority of the humanity surrounding us was blonde, perky, tall, teenaged, and skinny to the point of bullemia. If you had hollered, "Hey, Buffy!", 100 pony-tailed pom-pom bearers would undoubtedly have yelled, "What?!"

I've read many stories of the Cheerleading Hoardes disrupting pre-shows with cult-like chants and performing spontaneous acrobatics on Main Street, but thankfully we were spared any such antics. Actually, we had to perform some acrobatics of our own, as we arrived just in time for the Spectromagic parade. Trying to make any headway into the park at parade time is like trying to swim backwards through a pit of quicksand while wearing a 50 lb. lead swimsuit.

We managed to make our way to Adventureland, where hubby was eager to gain his first taste of the new and improved Pirates of the Caribbean. I heartily approve of the new ride, since it features three guest appearances by an Audioanimatronic Johnny Depp (and the waterfall effect is very cool, too).

There was no wait, so we breezed through the queue line and right onto a boat for our trip through the pillaged village. Afterwards, we decided to see if the line for Big Thunder Mountain was manageable. It was only 20 minutes...a bit long for my taste, but worth it for a night ride. BTM is fun at any time of the day, but the lighting makes it a special treat after dark.

Little did I know that we were in for a special treat. Just as we boarded the runaway mine train and headed out onto the tracks, the Wishes fireworks display kicked off. It was a little taste of Heaven to barrel around the mountain while the sky above lit up with a panoply of multi-colored explosions.

There was only one small problem...I have hyperacusis, and noises at a certain pitch cause me pain. Unfortunately, fireworks are right at that pitch. I solved the problem as I normally do, by clamping my hands firmly over my ears. But that meant that I wasn't holding on, so I was pitched back and forth like a ship weathering the stormy seas. It added quite an interesting aspect to the ride!

At the end, we hurried to the exit to watch the rest of the fireworks show. Then we headed off to the Jungle Cruise, which was walk-on, and ended our day at the Haunted Mansion after a quick stop for a Dole Whip. We hiked over to Tomorrowland, but we didn't have quite enough time to slip in a ride on Space Mountain. I didn't mind too much, as I love visiting Tomorrowland at night just for the lights and decor. Much of it is a retro-futuristic Art Deco style, and there are multi-colored lights everywhere. It's my favorite area of the park at night; I love to ride Wedway (or whatever they call it these days) just to revel in the scenery below.

As we took the ferryboat back to the parking lot, there was one more piece of magic in store. It was time for the nightly water parade! We hurried up to the top deck and enjoyed the lighted "floats" as they danced and changed to the bubbly music. As I leaned on the rail, watching the light show below, I reminded myself that spontaneity is the spice of life. Sure, it's important to attend to responsibilities, but you have to break free every once in awhile. That little two-hour Disney fix was more energizing than a hundred cups of coffee (and much better for my soul!). I am one of the very lucky people who lives next door to Mickey...I never want to take that for granted. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and spontaneous enjoyment is all the more fun.

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1 comment:

Two4Disney said...

Hey Barb - Do you guys hear the fireworks over there at Celebration? Living practically behind the MK, the fireworks ricochet through the neighborhood and sound like gunfire. I think I'm getting "hyperacusis." And some nights we get the fireworks twice. I'm now quite interested in which neighborhoods are close enough to Disney but far enough not to hear the fireworks, the train whistles, and the boat horns. :)