I begin to get twitchy. Any time I'm going some place where every one exclaims, "Oh! You're going to love it," I begin to obsess. I hate feeling like a party-pooper. I don't want to be the only one in the entire known universe who dislikes a spot that everyone else adores. It's too much pressure!
So, yeah, here I am at 56 years old, looking at my first trip to Disney and praying, "Please let me like it...please let me like it....please!" But, I know I hate rides and I don't find amusement parks at all amusing. And crowds?! OMG, I detest crowds. It's not looking too good...
Michael says, "It's early in the year so it shouldn't be too hot or too crowded. And, there's lots to see and do there besides the rides. You'll be all right; we'll have fun. I'm looking forward to seeing it with you. I haven't been in years."
I begin my research and figure I'd really like to see Epcot and the Animal Kingdom. Michael says, "Great, but we'll begin with the Magic Kingdom because that's where it all started." We set off on our big adventure. Right away Michael surprises me by upgrading our flight to Business Class. I've never flown First Class before, so even though it was only two hours, wow, what a difference being in a seat that was built for an adult and being offered a complimentary cookie can do to cheer up a ride, huh?!
We get there and right away we have lots to do because we have to meet and greet the company guests and connect with all the folks you need to/want to see. We have a great time catching up with everyone at the opening reception. Then we turn in early to get ready for my first time in Disney.
On the advice of our daughter who is a major Disney fan, we got me a, "It's My First Visit," button so that I could get free treats along the way and be fussed over by the crew members. We set of into the hot morning. Yeah, no winter anywhere in the United States this year means that Florida is way hotter, earlier...but hey, it's Disney, right?!
Regardless of any worries I had about being there, that morning when I got my first glimpse of the Castle, well, I admit I began to smile big and look forward to my day for the first time.
A short time later, the whole experience turned as dark and menacing as Maleficent turning into the fire breathing dragon in Sleeping Beauty. (By the way, she is my all time favorite bad girl!)
There were people rushing and pushing EVERYWHERE! Did I tell you I hate crowds? I wanted to stop in the tunnel through the castle to enjoy the beautiful wall mosaics but you simply couldn't...it was like being caught in a white water rapid....you get carried along and if you want to stop to look at anything, you get bumped into, or sighed at, and stepped on, and.....holy crap!!! The people were rushing and running like the whole place was going to dissolve at any moment!
Once inside the park, the lines of people waiting to do anything including use the bathrooms were unbelievable! I got momentarily excited when I saw Pluto, who is my favorite old Disney character and said to My Lion, "Oh, I want to get my picture taken with him!" Only to see that it would take about 45 minutes to make it up there to have my 30 seconds of fame with the mutt! SIGH...
I never did see that damned mouse! Not once! Oh, I'm sure he was there some place cowering, or buried in the masses of people, mangled, maimed, twisted in the wreckage, but I can't say that for certain. This topiary of the beloved rodent was the only version I saw! If I had seen The Mouse, I would have held him hostage in front of me as I screamed, "Back off and step back, or I swear on Walt Disney, I'll hurt him! One more shove and the Mouse gets it!!!!!"
Even though I didn't get my photo op with Pluto, this topiary by HGTV allowed me to at least take a picture of the pooch of my dreams.
When we dragged back to the hotel, we ran into one of the guys who reports to Michael. His four year old had her face buried in his chest, in that grumpy sleep you can sense from a kid post melt-down. His nine year old was standing quietly next to him with a vacant look on her sweet face. We asked how their day had gone, Adam replied, "This is supposed to be the happiest place on earth and I asked my wife, 'Does it look like there is one happy parent in this whole place?!' the lines were unbelievable and most of the things the girls wanted to do, the wait times were just way too long. We're going go take a bit of a rest." He limped off...
Yeah, that's how it was for the entire time, because as it turns out, our company trip to Disney happened to be, get ready for it, during SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Are you freaking kidding me?!!!!!
So no one could have cared less about my first time button...well, that's a bit of a fib, two Disney members welcomed me which I really appreciated. But for the most part, my being there for the first time wasn't a priority because any employee of the parks was simply happy if they got through their shift alive!
I finished my first day, exceedingly frustrated and not very happy with the Happiest Place On Earth and then I got to thinking, "Shame on me! We're here because of all of Michael's hard work. He's here to congratulate those people who work for and with him for all they've done to contribute to a successful year. We're on our vacation thanks to things he's done and the generosity of his company. I need to snap the hell out of it!"
And that's when I decided to stop acting like a three year old whose balloon had just popped. Instead, I started to search out things that were worth remembering and experiencing about my first visit to Disney World. Things like:
This view from our balcony that I got to see each morning. Beautiful, huh?
The Swan And Dolphin really are quite lovely and the staff welcoming and accommodating. The restaurants and amenities are top notch. We had some fabulous dinners and totally laughed with and enjoyed the company who joined us.
We took in some night life and walked around in the cool and pleasant evenings that were a welcome change from the hot temps of the days in the parks.
I had a great time laughing with Rebecca and Hilary. Becky works with Michael and her BFF, Hilary, is starting with the company in a few days. It was great to be able to give her the 411 on some of the people and tell her some of my experiences. And, it was fabulous to see her realize that, while she did take a risk to change her employers, she chose a great company as her new adventure. Having the chance to see what great people make up FDLIC, was a terrific first impression.
And thanks to those long wait times in the parks, we had lots of time reconnecting with friends who we don't get to see as often as we'd like, like Shaun who is Michael's boss and his wife, Kelly. Oh, and if you're ever going on vacation, you need to take Kelly as she's one of those women who does thorough research prior to going any place and knows so much stuff that will make you trip easier, more fun, and informed! I'm certain she was a Sherpa Guide in a previous life or two.
So yeah, I didn't get to see everything I hoped in terms of classic Disney, and I couldn't find souvenirs of characters I like...but I did get the chance to see sites like these orchids dangling like confetti from the trees.
And, see flowers I've not seen before growing in profusion.... tell me, aren't they more beautiful than any Disney Princess you may see?
And, where else than Disney can you find a street performer who hundreds must have walked past as she clung to a tree, moving sloth-like. I was thoroughly mesmerized...
...when this 'vine' began moving off the tree and then slowly onto the path where people began to gather.
I think she is the thing I will remember most about my trip. Isn't she beautiful and look at that makeup!!!!
I also learned that Disney, thank goodness hasn't completely gone over to the dark side of Political Correctness...
...and just had to have a photo with Brer Rabbit! Yep, we don't even allow children to know those old folk tales any longer...no longer considered correct...but I love him and the Tar Baby and all the lessons we learned from that fable. It's a shame we've stopped allowing fairy tales and fables to teach as well as entertain.
I enjoyed Epcot and the International Village. The views were glorious and the crowds much less thick.
Thanks to Disney, I got to visit England once more...
And, visited romantic Italy with my beloved...
I enjoyed beautiful animals, real...
...and beautifully imagined.
And, although I looked high and low for a Jock to take home, I didn't find him as he's only a 'minor' character and well, I guess the old Scot isn't in high demand. FASH!
But, I did find this great Scot in the topiary garden and the trip wasn't a complete loss!
Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Has Seen Disney World And Came Home To These Scotties!