Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

In the carols, the most wonderful time of the year is Christmas but all good Disney fanatics know that it's actually early September. Right after Labor Day it's the best time to visit the theme parks because the lines will be virtually non-existent.

Several factors go into creating this welcome lull from the crowds. First, Mom and Dad don't want to pull Junior out of school so soon after the start. He's just getting settled in; he can always get yanked for a visit to the Mouse a few months down the road. Second, the Brazilian tour groups have all but disappeared since their holiday time is over. Third, this is prime time for a hurricane and tropical disturbances in the news tend to scare off some of the tourists.

Today hubby and I enjoyed this wonderful time of year with a jaunt to the Animal Kingdom. Hubby was lobbying to go to Universal, but I couldn't see the point. With our Premier Passes, we get to use the Express Lines no matter what time of year it is. Who wants to use 'em when the standby line is only 5 minutes anyway? At Disney, we're relegated to the regular Fastpass system with the rest of the hoi polloi, so we have to make the best of those few precious weeks when Fastpasses aren't even needed.

We made dinner reservations at Jiko and headed off to AK a couple of hours before closing. We figured we could to the safari, Dinosaur, and maybe one or two on Expedition Everest before park closing. Little did we know that we were vastly underestimating what we would be able to accomplish.

On the way into the park, I stopped at the little coffee kiosk to get a frozen mocha. I had skipped breakfast and lunch in anticipatipon of our Jiko meal, so I knew I had to get some concentrated sugar into my bloodstream. Otherwise I'd end up with a whanging headache from the backwards part of Expedition Everest. Usually I'm immune to any ill effects from roller coasters, but going in reverse in the dark seems to give me vertigo if I'm not all sugared up.

I felt a bit like an ad for Disney; the sight of my yummy, whipped cream-crested drink attracted another family to the stand, and as I was walking away, yet another person asked me where I had bought it. They should hire someone to stand in front of the kiosk brandished a cold and yummy looking beverage...I'll bet sales would triple.

We trooped into the park to decide on our ride strategy. Last time we did the safari right before closing and saw almost no animals. I'm sure they were off by the doors or gates of their enclosures, clamoring to escape the tourists and to go in for the night. Thus hubby suggested that we right the safari first, and it turned out to be an excellent idea.

There was no line, so we were on within minutes. I was utterly amazed, as we saw every animal from the hippos and elephants to the rhinos and warthog to the lion and even the elusive cheetah. There were crocs and cattle, giraffes and gazelles, and even an ostrich that appeared to want to climb into the truck with us.

Next up we headed to Dinoland, where I had to waste a few bucks on one of the games before riding Dinosaur. Of course I lost and hubby cleaned up, so I was stuck carrying around a couple of stuffed toys for the rest of the day. We did Tricerotops spin before heading to Dinosaur, and both of those were walk on just like the safari.

We hustled off the Asia, where Expedition Everest was also amazingly line-free. We did a couple of regular rides, then realized that the wait for the front seat was minimal. We ended up riding in the front repetitively until the park finally closed. I still couldn't believe the absence of people as memories of the July peak season were still firmly entrenched in my mind. I made a mental note to get to Epcot soon so I could rack up some quality Soarin' time.

As we joined the herd of sheeple and headed out of the park, I reminded myself that this was one of the reasons we moved to Florida. Every year we would come down for a week in December, but then we had to reluctantly return home. Now, we can come every day of the off-season that we want to, slacking off only when the crowds start to rise again. In the meantime, we can take full advantage of the most wonderful time of the year.

1 comment:

Bob@thenest said...

We went to Citricos for our anniversary tonight. The manager on duty was there for the floor show you had special tickets for. Heh. She's either read your blog about it or someone told her about it in good detail.

We had a wonderful time -- on my blog (part 2).

Good to hear the liners are down. When the temperature follows just a bit we'll be out there again. Got to burn some Universals by end of month, but no rush on anything else.