[Spoiler alert. This entire post is a Disney Digression.]
To celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, Jeff and I spent a week in Walt Disney World. Jeff is Señor Scrupulous—detail-driven, strategy-happy. And he gets a little twitchy when we’re not on time. So, when we decided that we wanted to go to all four theme parks in one day, he went into a spreadsheet stratosphere.
People—we had a plan. We had a back-up plan. We had T-shirts.
We also set a few magical mandatories. Number 1: We had to experience at least 3 attractions in each park for the park to count. Number 2: We had to take picture proof with each park’s icon. Number 3: We were not going to let any rain, literal or temperamental, fall on our parade.
Because we were there smack in the middle of summer, deciding where to start was tricky. We were staying on property, so we could’ve taken advantage of Extra Magic Hours. I argued that everyone else would be starting their day at the park that opened early, so we should avoid that park. I was fraying Jeff’s logic fibers, but he agreed.
And our Grand Slam began.
We walked from our hotel, the Swan, to Hollywood Studios.
Our giddy feet were booking it and we got there at 8:45am—15 minutes before the official opening. First stop? Fastpass for Toy Story Mania.
The stand-by line wasn’t awful, so we hopped in. But after a few minutes, we got right back out. Silly rabbits. We didn’t have time to ride anything twice. We ran to Rockin Rollercoaster—which was not running yet. Doh.
But, 35 minutes later, we were in the back row of a super stretch limo, blasting through the dark, screaming Aerosmith like we’d just discovered our outdoor voice.
We had plenty of time before our Fastpass was up, so we headed to Star Tours, got right on and snuck on the speeder afterward for a photo. Cheese.
It was back to Toy Story Mania at 10:17 and we watched the clock until our 10:25 Fastpass time.
I can’t remember ever riding through that midway without a squirming youngin’ next to me. Jeff still dominated.
And we were out of the Studios @ 10:50am.
We went to see about a bus to Animal Kingdom. One finally rolled up at 11. We pulled in to AK at 11:15.
Ran. Galloped. Straight. To. Expedition. Everest. Our only chance was the single rider line. After a quick switcharoo in the holding zone, we ended up together. (Can we pause to discuss how the train’s backward fastness flops the tum tum in the best kind of awesome?)
Then it was running feet to DinoLand USA. We nabbed a Fastpass to Primeval Whirl and walked over to ride Dinosaur, but the wait was too long. So, we waited on our ride time with a fruit plate and front row seat to live African jams. Rump shaking required.
We rode Primeval Whirl, which flings you into a silly stupor.
Dark clouds tumbled in. Facing long wait times, with no Fastpass on hand, our 3rd attraction was the Dawa Bar.
With Safari Amber and Sangria, we watched the sun shower from beneath the shade of a thatched roof. Le sigh.
A teense reluctant, we left Animal Kingdom at 2:20pm, boarding a bus to the Contemporary resort. The drop off plunks you directly on the walking path to The Magic Kingdom. We were in by 3 and ran, in the rain, to get a Fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain.
After that, we found a sunlit table for two by the window in Pecos Bill’s, where we demolished a late lunch. Clutch.
Then we broke a personal rule. We stood through a 90-minute wait for Space Mountain. But the two 13-year-old kids who chattered easily with us and told the cast member that we were a “party of four” so we could all hop on together made every minute worth it.
We made it to Big Thunder just in time for our Fastpass. In Frontierland, we boarded another train, hitching a ride back to Main Street. I love that old train—the swaying cars, the white steam, the warm narration along the way.
We left the Magic Kingdom at 6:50pm. It was the monorail to the Transportation & Ticket Center and another monorail to EPCOT. We arrived, triumphant, at 7:10pm.
And we walked right on Mission Space. Okay. The “less intense” persuasion. Next, it was just a quick skip over to Test Track where we wound round through the single rider line.
Then, in a beguiling twilight, we stepped in to the World Showcase at 8:15pm for a celebratory drink.
My hopes were locked on Tutto Gusto, the wine cellar neatly tucked into Italy. If you’ve been there, you understand why I consider this old-world nook an attraction. It was an elegant-reds wine flight for me, Moretti for the boy, breads, meats, cheeses, an Italian love song sung table-side and a surprise dessert in the candlelight.
We left the torch-lined showcase at 9:45pm, spellbound, happy, full. It all made sense, then, that we floated back to the Boardwalk on the good ship Friendship.
Grand Slam Dunk.