This week I went on the pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Disney in the Promised Land. I run the risk of the equivalent of Salmon Rushdie’s fatwa being placed on my head by speaking as I find. I am painfully aware that my next few blogs run the risk of deeply offending some of my readership! I say next few blogs... I could write a book! I know that when you question and ultimately take the piss out of someone’s faith they might not be too impressed. So be it!
This is true – I have two sets of friends, both called D & R – which is weird in itself! (I have to protect their real identity – they are Disney extremists!) who have spent vacations, BY CHOICE, WITHOUT CHILDREN in the Mecca of America MORE THAN ONCE. In fact both spent their honeymoons there. They don't know each other but have parallel Disney lives! I apologise to them but no one else! I think people fall into two categories – A: those who love Disney and the very idea of it if they haven't been and B: those who vow never to go cos they know they will hate it. From the latter are those who end up succumbing, even though they know they will hate it cos they think they should take the kids! That’s me!
The long and arduous journey began before the long and arduous journey began. By that I mean booking the trip was a nightmare before we even started out on the trip! The choice of accommodation, park pass etc. is bewildering. They ought to run familiarisation courses before you book. It is really hard to know what you want if you have never been! I did discover, quite by accident, that if you swear at their automated telephone system you get put through to a real person. After failing to recognize my query several times it recognized an exasperated ‘Oh for F**ks sake’ quick enough! (Top tip number one!). The next time I called i just swore to save time! For our accommodation I settled for a room in the ‘All-star Disney Resort’ at the Movie hotel. A neighbour, not knowing I had already booked, told me she avoided the riff raff by staying away from the All-star resort. .. (Top Tip no 2!). Me in Bucket Class class again!
I have to confess, even I was excited when we gave the kiddies Disney watches and luggage tags on Christmas day and told them it was 'time’ for Disney the next day. I was less excited when we woke to an overnight snow fall of 6” with a 600 mile journey ahead of us. It took us 3 hours to drive the first 75 miles! We saw a lot of cars off the road. We even saw a large SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) do a 180 degree spin on the opposite carriage way. Luckily no one was hurt but the Americans drive like nutters in the snow. They aren't used to it but worse still they think it will make no difference to them. They have these large cars - sheep in wolves' clothing. They look like 4X4s but they aren't and they are truly hazardous in the snow. They spin! Not a great start to our adventure. Still, we were heading for the sunshine state! I had my sun cream and shorts packed and if I could get back from
in adverse weather I sure was gonna get to Britain Disney world! Snow has been the bane of my travel plans this Christmas. I can hear you Brits ask why didn’t I fly? I know my ears are big but… Seriously – the cost of internal flights in is high and it needed a change of plane at America or Miami so in theory (yes – I know theory is all well and good, as is hindsight) it is quicker and loads cheaper to drive! Also - they shut Atlanta Airport at the first hint of snow on Christmas day... and you should have heard the Yanks moaning in Heathrow last week claiming it would never happen in the states.... Atlanta
We arrived the next day after very long drive and a stopover in
looked like a very pretty city built on a river. Maybe we should have made that the destination. We met more mental people at the hotel, just like our friends (D & R x2) who were grown adults on their way to Disney… I offered them my five year old son as a kind of ‘rent a kid’ option but they had clearly been there before and refused him. He was under 48” and therefore unable to share the full magic of Disney. Disney is no place for Kids! Jacksonville-
Check in at our resort hotel was great as I had done it on line and the queue was only small – relatively for Disney. It was my first experience of what I have since named the 'Disneyworld shuffle'. It is the only way to travel in Disney world! I overheard a man ask if his daughter was excited. She was. I said ‘At least that makes one person!’ He faced in the other direction and took a few steps away. He was Category A …and he looked at me like I was weird! We got given huge badges stating it was our first time at DisneyWorld. They didn't offer a badge saying 'First, last and only time!'
We were in the ‘Toy story’ blocks. Room 9906 gives you a scale of it. The rooms were basic. Too basic. No coffee making facilities. I have learned to improvise with whatever coffee making contraption American hotels offer to use to make tea but when there is no way to make anything hot that is bad news! My son was unimpressed too. ‘Mommy, these rooms are for Toy Story 1 not Toy Story 3’. There was no time to worry about that. It was our first day and our magic pass started that day. I was eager but concerned. It was not quite the weather I had expected in the Promised Land – Barely above freezing. Surely the land of milk and honey should be warmer? That aside I decided to bury my prejudices and let the Magic begin....