Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Florida: The Finale and Denoument

Good-bye fancy hotel and convention center.


Hello husband!


Wait for it...


Wait for it...


Wait for it...


We made it!


All week I had been striving for a glimpse of Disney World. Remember how I even drove there trying to find it? Disney is cleverly hidden amongst acres and acres of forest so that you are suddenly surprised by it's presence when you are THERE. The reason I could not see Cinderella's Castle from any vantage point outside of the park is because it is TINY. I remembered it being SO much bigger.

So Todd and I, Disney novices, embarked upon a day at the Magic Kingdom. We weren't sure if we could bring in food and drinks, so I left my bag in the car. We could have used all the waters and snacks, but it was also nice to be unencumbered. We knew that food was expensive in the park and just expected to pay for it. Disney is not cheap.

This is one of the first things we saw...


Jesus 4 gives me for going to Disney World? OK. Since there are no sinister activities and no alcohol I guess I don't mind the blanket forgiveness.

It was VERY hot. 93 degrees + all the people + the highly reflective pavement. We embraced the sweating.

It seemed very crowded to me, but what do I know? There were a lot of school groups there, and thousands of people who had the day off like us, but the lines were never that long. The longest we waited was MAYBE 10 or 15 minutes. The only fast pass we needed was for the Peter Pan ride which is mysteriously crowded all day long. Maybe there were sinister activities going on in the line which we missed out on.

Although this photo just looks like Todd is smiling really big, we are going REALLY fast on Thunder Mountain...


I LOVED the Swiss Family Robinson House. I loved the movie growing up, and I was always jealous of their fine tropical wilderness contraptions. I wonder what a fiberglass tree house is going for in this economy?

Why do Americans throw money on everything?


We rode everything... except Splash Mountain. We really didn't feel like getting wet even though it was so hot. Besides, my shorts were really dark denim and they would have turned my legs blue. Most of the rides are kiddie rides, but we had a good time anyway.


My steering wheel was covered in glitter... only at Disney...


We stood in line for this mysterious ride called the Astro Orbiter. It was a glorified Dumbo ride except it was rockets. Maybe the ride operators, or cast members, want to be validating, but they never should have let both of us ride together. We delayed the beginning of the ride as the cast member came over and tried to help us better squeeze ourselves into the same rocket. He called me princess, as in "stand up there, Princess, and let him get his legs in there first." I wanted to punch him (the cast member). We are smiling even though this ride hurt more than my pride.


By lunch time, I was in need of some serious food. From the second I looked at the map I knew I wanted to eat at the Liberty Square Inn. I just hoped the food was as good as the Colonial decor. The menu was small and kind of had really heavy dishes like pot roast (who wants pot roast on a 93 degree Friday afternoon?). But our cheerful server suggested the Pilgrim's Feast (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy) and I said, "Bring it..." I was not sorry. It was really delicious, and even though it was a huge not-light lunch it kept me going for the rest of the day. I was SO happy with my cold root beer.


I had really bad sweaty-hat-hair all day long. It's better than nose cancer.

Cinderella's Castle is more like a tunnel from Main Street to Fantasy Land, but in that tunnel are some really well done and beautiful glass mosaics. They weren't too Disney... they looked like the mille flore tapetries of medieval Brussels.


I love the little girl looking up at the story. She reminded me of Mathilde. Sorry it's blurry.



I was amazed at how many people are employed at Disney. This guy's job was to play in a marching band a couple times a day. How sweet is that. And everyone was so friendly. It was just me standing there on the side walk, and he still waved.


This set up might become a series.


Remember this one time when Todd was riding a giant rainbow shrimp and was a little motion-sick?


Luckily for us, Todd was not motion sick the whole day. Maybe it was because his horse was so tiny...


I love that handsome face!

By about 4pm the heat had taken a serious toll, so we rode out to Tom Sawyer's Island on the Huck Finn raft and had a little relaxing time.


This was my favorite part of the day. Holding hands with Todd, sitting in our rocking chairs watching Old Man River flow on by...


Then the Liberty Belle steam paddler blocked our view, and we went in search of a cold drink.


It got more and more pleasant the further the sun went down, and pretty soon it was time for the nightly fireworks.


It was really fun to sit on the sidewalk with all the other families and wait for the show. It was just like the 4th of July or something. The anticipation had a pleasant feel. I couldn't wait for Tinker Bell to do her fly-by...


There she goes... She's hard to photograph.

I love fireworks. They make me cry, so do parades and choirs.


It was such a fun day spent with my favorite person in the whole wide world! This picture pretty much sums up the day...


It's interesting that by the end of the day, the Castle had grown HUGE! I guess the magic worked!


The next day we were WORN OUT. Our feet hurt and we were weary. We had some time to kill and Todd really wanted to see some of the sites I saw, so we made a stop by the Mary, Queen of the Universe shrine/church, and I stopped by the Catholic store and bought myself a St. Martha figure (Patron Saint of Cooks). The cashier reminded me to go to the priest and have it blessed... I just said, "OK." Todd wanted me to, but I didn't.

Next we drove the 54 miles out to see if we could see the space shuttle. It was further out than we thought so we settled for the beach at Cape Canaveral.


This is all the beach Todd got. I felt bad seeing his wistful look at the seashore. He had worked SO HARD all week long. I hardly saw him, and I went out everyday and did fun things while he made sure everything was going smoothly. I am grateful he brought me with him. I love to see Todd in action, he is amazing. He is really smart and his clients and his co-workers think he is funny. They really like him.

It was a fun 9 days, but if felt good to come home again. This was a vacation that left me feeling rested and happy. What more could I ask for?


Theresa said...

lovely...i'm so jealous you got to go to disney world. i've always wanted to go... incidentally I dreamed I was in california last night and i got a little lost on the freeway so I was trying to find out which freeway to take to disneyland so I could meet up with whoever it was I'd lost... hahaha. speak of coincidences. oh and the people in my dream = not helpful at all I never got very far with them.

the wrath of khandrea said...

disney totally copied the church. you know. i mean how the dc temple is just hidden in the woods, and pops up at you out of nowhere when you're driving on the highway?
yeah. seriously.

you should vacation more. it's good for your blog.

katyvee said...

That is so EXACTLY just what I saw!!It made me feel close to you! We even ate at the Liberty Inn.. and I had the same feelings.. "Could I be any LESS in the mood for heavy meat?" but it pleased me how they called our party with a "Hear ye, hear ye.." intro-- and how all the ladies act like it's NOT wierd that they are all wearing poofy bonnets. I love how "theme commited" they are no matter what the restaurant or ride.
So glad you made it to the magic.

Amy Lynn said...

What a fabulous conclusion to an amazing vacation! Ah, the magic of Disney. I kind of feel about Disney the way I feel about the church...from a physical facilities standpoint. Everything is always clean and top notch...and sometimes I do get warm fuzzy feelings and want to cry when Tinkerbell flies on a wire during the fireworks. I think the rest of my family missed that part because they were all staring at me with funny looks on their faces. I can't help it..."it's just so beautiful".

Beth said...

I'm glad you looked on the sunny side of everything. You could have complained the whole time about how you were by yourself and stuff. But instead you painted (pictured) a dream vacation for all of us. You ARE lucky to go on a long vacation to Florida, even if you hardly saw your husband. Thanks for sharing with everyone. It was fun to see it all.
especially the food part. :)

Svenska said...

Thank you for taking us all with you on vacation. It was lovely.

emma jo said...

Oh fun fun fun fun fun! I especially like the look on Todd's horse's face in the last one, kind of a cock eyed "huh?"
Wish we could have come to play with you, really and truly.

Angie said...

I have loved reading about your vacation! You are such a talented writer. Thanks for sharing all of it!

mo said...

I love that you captured the magic of the place. You have to put your brain into "childlike gear" and not think about how much it costs etc. Glad you and the hard working man could do it. Wish I could have been there!

Abby said...

I think I laughed hardest at the "Americans throwing money on everything" comment. What a hoot! It does look magical, and Todd looking wistful makes me so sad. But then I see him on that carousel and I laugh at him again. Good times.

Things' Mommy said...

Oooohhhh! What a fun trip! Like another honeymoon, almost, for just a little bit! Looks like you guys had so much fun.

It was great to catch up today! You're fabulous. I look forward to seeing you in our neck of the woods!

Julienne said...

Oh how fun. What I would give for a vacation to a theme park with Richard.