Disney World for the Uninitiated

November 8, 2011 at 10:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Actually, we almost didn’t go. We’d spent the morning at the dentist (Liam only watched again), and after a brief lunch at home, we went back out to the DMV for James’ new driver’s license, then to the AAA office to pick up our discounted Disney World Annual Passes. Included with these passes is free parking, entrance to any of the four parks any day of the year, and discounts at various restaurants (lunch only, bah!) and shops. It was a hard sell for Liam. He’d been whining for more than an hour, “I just want to go to the paaaark!” But then James mentioned the monorail, and all was good. Sort of. The whining changed to, “We take the train to the NEW house! We go home!”

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After squaring things away at the ticket booth, we hopped on the monorail to appease our harshest critic. Then it was time to sell it again. “Liam, we’re going to go see daddy’s castle!” See, whenever Liam sees the Disney logo, or any castles in any cartoons, for that matter, he exclaims, “That’s daddy’s castle!” We thought this would really float his boat. But the best we got was the silent treatment while we pushed him in the stroller. Whatever.

I could tell James was totally in heaven. He acted as my own personal tour guide, pointing out his favorite rides as a kid (Pirates of the Caribbean, of course! And Space Mountain) and marveling at how small everything looked to him now. The crowds were moderate, though still more people than I cared to bump into with the stroller. I actually liked the Tomorrowland section best, with all the kitchy 60’s future tech stuff. Liam had a snack and seemed to perk up a bit, requesting to get out of the stroller. Truth be told, I didn’t really feel like Magic Kingdom lived up to the hype. But, having bypassed all of the rides and shops, I wouldn’t say we experienced it the way we should have. What I did see was a lot of potential fun, both for date night and for when Liam gets a little older. On our way out we saw a steam engine train that circles the park, and Liam got very excited. We didn’t have time to ride it (tummies grumbling, time for dinner!), but we’re thinking of heading back next weekend to give it a try.

Back on the monorail we headed over to Epcot to get some dinner. They feature restaurants with themes from all over the world. We also caught the tail end of Taste of Epcot, so there were gobs of small kiosks offering food from additional countries on small plates for a small fee. If we hadn’t had Liam in tow, refusing to sit in the stroller and insisting he be carried, we probably would have just sampled that stuff for dinner. Instead we bookmarked that for date night same time next year, and headed to the German Beirgarten for their dinner buffet. The food was decent, though not spectacular. But the entertainment was a hoot – polka, chicken dance, Oktoberfest revelry, hoy hoy hoy! We sat at a table with two other groups, and when my huge beer arrived, it started an amusing conversation. Liam was in rare form, totally showing off for our new friends. When asked how old he was, he exclaimed, “I’m eight!” Then he kept repeating whatever they’d ask him to say. One of the gals asked if he wanted to go home with her to New Jersey. The look he gave, first to me, then to her, set our whole table into fits.

With a little help from James I finished an entire liter of beer. Then I was feeling the Disney magic!

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We left the restaurant in high spirits, and with Liam sleeping soundly in his stroller, we took a little tour of the rest of Epcot. I told James I want to try a different one of these restaurants whenever we’re here for dinner. Or better yet, lunch, since we get a discount and the dinner prices are on the high side. The Japanese pavilion looked promising, as did the Italian restaurant, complete with replica of the Venetian bell tower. The Epcot ball was quite a sight to see all lit up at night. There’s also a Nemo-themed aquarium we had planned to see after dinner, but with Liam sacked out, we decided to save it for next time.

And that’s the wonderful thing about these annual passes. We can explore the Disney complex at our leisure. If Liam’s in a bad mood, we can go home without feeling guilty we didn’t get our money’s worth. We don’t have to attend every day for a week, packing in all the fun, feeling exhausted and homesick near the end. We can sleep in our own beds. Or, someday when we have older kids, we can do a stay-cation at one of the resorts. James says he’s always wanted to stay at the Contemporary, which the monorail passes right through on the way to Magic Kingdom. I’d say these passes will have paid for themselves in four or five visits. At the rate we’re going, we’ll hit that by Christmas!

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