Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dream a Little Dream With Me

Walt Disney World is currently in the thick of the Year of a Million Dreams (actually, it will be two million since they extended it for another year). People at the theme parks, the hotels, and even Downtown Disney are randomly selected for a variety of prizes. It can be something as simple as a pin lanyard or as fantastic as a DVC membership or a stay overnight in Cinderella's castle (which a family from Celebration actually won recently).

Winning one of the big ones is akin to hitting the lottery, but they're pretty generous with items like lanyards, Mickey ears, and Dream Fast Passes (which allow recipients to ride each FastPass ride in the park once). Still, with all the times I've visited WDW this year, I've never managed to luck out.
I've come very close more than once. One morning at the Animal Kingdom the ride vehicle in front of me won three separate times (Dream Fastpasses twice and ears once, twice on the safari and once on Dinosaur). Other than that, the closest I've come to seeing the Dream Team CMs is seconhand via seeing people wearing their prizes. The fastpasses are big blue rectangles worn around the neck, and the ears are blue with clouds.

I can console myself with the fact that the Dream Fastpasses wouldn't be all that useful to me in any park other than the Magic Kingdom. At Epcot, I focus almost totally on Soarin' and throw in a single rider line or two on Test Track; at Disney-MGM, I only bother with Tower of Terror; and at AK I have a good system down. I get there early, grab a fastpass for the safari and then ride it once stand-by. Then I hightail it to Everest, ride to fulfillment in the single riders line, do my second safari ride, and hit Dinosaur on the way out (it rarely has any line to speak of). The Dream Fastpasses serve a newbie much better than someone like me who knows how to work the system.

Still, I figured that it would be nice to win something, yet months went on and Lady Luck never smiled down on me. Hubby hadn't won anything either, but he tends to go to the parks late at night when the day's giving is done. I am more of a morning person, hitting them shortly after opening and riding my favorites repetitively until the crowd density makes the line too long.

This morning we decided to go to the Animal Kingdom, as we've both been hankering for a ride on Expedition Everest. The skies looked gray and threatening, but we're old hands at tempting fate. We wore waterproof sandals and brought rain ponchos, well prepared for the worst case scenario.

We approached the parking toll booths; I was headed to an empty one when another vehicle suddenly veered over and cut me off. That was rather annoying but not all that uncommon in the world of Me-First theme park goers. We waited until he had gone; then the attendant took care of the person on the other side (they alternate) and retured to our side where I was waving hubby's annual pass.

APs are good for free parking, and normally they only rate a cursory glance to make sure that they are not expired. This time, however, the attendant actually took it into the toll booth with him. Then we noticed him writing something, which was a real puzzle. When he came back out, we discovered that we had won Dream Parking! He handed us the placard below:



Ironically, I have a AAA parking pass, but Dream Parking is so much cooler! Of course, I noticed it was hubby who won rather than unlucky me; he enjoyed pointing out that it was his name on the placard. We drove up to the Peacock lot (closest to the front) and proudly displayed our sign of privilege in the Family Truckster.
The park was fairly dead, so we managed to get in two rides on the safari, four on Expedition Everest, and one on Dinosaur before we called it a day. It was a great day for animal spotting on Kilimanjaro; the white rhinos, giraffes, and zebras were so close to the vehicles that they were practically in the road, and the lioness was showing off on the top of the highest rock in her enclosure. When we first went to Everest, it had had some sort of catastropic failure and was broken down so we rode Dinosaur instead. When we returned, the coaster was up and running once again.
The Dream Team seemed to be rather stingy in the park today. I saw no ears or lanyards and only a couple of Dream Fast Passes. Hubby did see someone getting filmed in the front car of Everest, so hopefully that means they were winning some sort of big prize.
The rain held off for the most part, although we did get briefly sprinkled on. It held the crowds at bay for a while, but when we were leaving we noticed a huge influx. We didn't care, as we had milked the early part of the day for all that it was worth.
We returned to the Family Truckster, waiting patiently in its primo parking spot, and headed off to Cracker Barrel for lunch. Now I could no longer say that I'd never gotten a dream, even though it was by proxy. I know that it must be a huge thrill to win the major dreams, but I also know that the odds are quite miniscule. You have to take your fun where you can get it; even though Dream Parking might be small potatoes compared to winning a DVC membership, it put a little extra magic into the day for hubby and I.
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1 comment:

Nancy said...

Congrats on the primo parking! My brush with dream fulfillment was when my daughter won a free round of shooting in the Frontierland shooting gallery!
A dream come true. . .:)