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July 10, 2011 / milesandhisfavorites

Live Magic: Well, Almost

Okay, let me start out by saying, due to unforeseen circumstances (aka, Mom not splurging on Internet access and then our laptop died), our one-week trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, could not be blogged live.  But, however, I will not be irresponsible and not tell you all about it!  Let’s start out with our awakening.  Warning: I may go into overexcited kid mode.

Okay, Orlando is about (cue fact check via mother) two and a half hours from the Lehigh Valley by plane.  And that’s going at about four hundred miles per hour, though it feels like twenty.  No points of reference when you’re seven thousand feet up.  Anyway, the international airport that services the area’s first flight to Orlando took off at about seven or so.  AM.  That means that you need to get there early.  And to get there early, you have to wake up early.  So THAT’S how I was sitting in an airport terminal at six-thirty sharp reading my copy of The Red Pyramid.  Thank you, Mr. Riordan.

Finally, after taking an anti-anxiety pill that nearly made me vomit, we boarded.  If you’ve never been in an AirTran business class cabin with blue leather seats and a radio built into the armrest, it’s different than you might think.  In may case, I was only thinking “What did I get myself into?”.  Orlando was my first (and second, acting logically) airplane flight.  The nervousness is to be expected.  But you’d be surprised how fun the actual takeoff is, even though you’re near vertical a thousand feet in the air, mistaking the wing for land.

Finally, we touched down, which is likely the more exhilarating bit of flying.  And probably the closest thing to a thrill ride I would actually go on during our vacation.  Don’t call me a wimp!  I went on Star Tours!  Twice!  More on that in a later entry.  Anyway, after touching down at Orlando International Airport, which is a totally epic place with a monorail just to get to the main terminal, we had to wait for AT LEAST a half hour for our Magical Express (the Disney airport-to-Resort hotel transportation service) bus to pull out, but by then we were all pumped up and ready to go!

I suppose you might not have an idea of how unspeakably massive the Walt Disney World Resort is.  And it ain’t just the Magic Kingdom, either.  There are four theme parks, two water parks, the Downtown Disney complex, which is the Disney nightlife hotspot, and over twenty Resort hotels with varying themes and prices.  We stayed in Trinidad South, part of the Caribbean Beach Resort, which is probably Disney’s pool party capital.  There are six pools!  But we couldn’t visit our room until three, so until then, we did the natural thing: went to the Magic Kingdom!

The Perfect Magic Kingdom Greeting

The Magic Kingdom isn’t all too different from Disneyland in Anaheim, California, except for two major differences: there are only six main lands, and it’s not one of two parks: it’s one of four.  When you walk into the Magic Kingdom at some time around elevenish, it’s exactly what they all say-it’s magical.  I’m serious.  The one message that kept repeating in my brain the whole time we were there was “I can’t believe we actually made it.”  As it turned out, we made it-and then I chickened out.  At least, I chickened out of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which, according to mother and brother, was actually quite tame-no real drops, some banks, but not too many.  But that doesn’t mean that I was into the Magic Kingdom just for the scenery-that was just most of it.

Against my normal nature, but because it was for Dad, I did something crazy-I went on the Haunted Mansion.  Okay, so I didn’t look up in the Stretching Room, which made my brother cry, and I had my eyes closed for about half of the time, but the ride is actually pretty neat.  I mean, I have no idea how Disney pulled off Madam Leota, or the ballroom scene (okay, I do know the trick behind that one, but I’m keeping a secret)!  Plus, I got to see some cool Kingdom Keepers locations, like the invisible horse, and the chicken door (didn’t use it!).  Liberty Square, home to the Haunted Mansion and the Hall Of Presidents, was actually a pretty nice town.  There are some photo ops where you can take photos of your kids in the stocks.  They had a similar thing going at Hollywood Studios, but that’s for later.  We also had lunch at a place called the Columbia Harbor House, which I recommend based on the theming alone.

After that, the ol’ family and I did what any brave jungle explorer would do-conquer Adventureland!  The whole place is basically a mish-mosh (but a GOOD mish-mosh) of the Caribbean and equatorial Africa.  The first thing-the Jungle Cruise, home to giant cobras, crashed planes, and really bad puns.  I’m not kidding.  All in all, the Jungle Cruise is actually a pretty good ride, especially if you have seven or eight-year-olds in the family.  But then, my friends, we accomplished one of the coolest, if the one with the longest line, Disney “Rides” Of Passage, Pirates Of The Caribbean!  I personally think that the ride is totally worth the long line, and the drop in the dark isn’t bad at all!  Plus, the gift shop was pretty neat, too!

Anyway, it’s possible that we did more at MK, but if we did, I don’t remember it.  Right about then, our room became ready, so we headed back via the complimentary transportation bus service to the Caribbean Beach Resort!  And let me tell you, it was SOMETHING!  It was all Pirates Of The Caribbean (my favorite Disney franchise, next to Hercules and Tron) themed, with pirate ship-shaped beds, crate-shaped drawers, and even a barrel for a bedside table!  It was heaven for me, but we weren’t sticking around for long.  Remember how I said that the resort had six pools?  We went to the main one, in the part of the resort known as Old Port Royale, which was also home to a food court, an arcade, and several gift shops!  Unfortunately, due to a carry on mixup, it took a while for the towels and goggles to arrive via mother, so I, being the only one in this family who hates getting wet without proper eye protection, basically kept my head above water at all times.  But, we got cool reusable mugs that we could get as many refills from the main resort building as we wanted!  Score!

Anyway, after a few hours in the pool, and a delightful dinner at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Mom convinced us to head back to the Magic Kingdom for some late-night fun!  And by that, she means stand there for half an hour, watching the Cinderella Castle change colors and wait for the Main Street Electrical Parade to start.  But, it was totally worth it, considering that there were dwarves, caterpillars, and a tiny-winged dragon named Elliot.  And after that, the highlight of any WDW stay-the fireworks!

Imagine The Electrical Bills.....

And that pretty much ended our first day in the most magical place on Earth.  Tune in soon to see how we zapped a colo claw fish, next time on Live Magic!

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