Monday, April 28, 2008

Disney Delights and Slight Disappointments

GREAT WEATHER --sunny, slight breeze, 70's and 80's, but lots of shady places to retreat to throughout the week.

First Day was the Wild Animal Kingdom. A Sunday, but the crowds were less than the other two parks. We went on the Jungle Safari --which was really great. Wheel chairs and scooters went through the lines like everyone else, same wait, but were ushered in to the ride separately. With many rides in the older parks, the scooter/wheelchairs are assets, because they do accommodate you in separate and much shorter lines--and they keep your family together.

On the safari, we saw animals "in the wild" --or seemingly so --elephants, giraffe, cheetah (a rare sight the driver told us), gazelle, hippos, rhinos, flamingos and other birds, and many other "wild animals" in the Disney Nature Conservatory --or whatever it was called. Really a fun ride with REAL animals, pretend poachers and nearly disastrous bridge --but not so wild that you needed seat belts in the big lumbering African-style (I assume) safari trucks.

IN that park, we saw a walking vine --really a girl on stilts with two extended stick arms --all green with a green painted face and we thought it was animated at first --as she would lean on a building and then come to life with her long limbs and hug the trees and maneuver steps into the woods --very fun to see.

The scenic Mt. Everest or Kilmanjaro or whatever it was --with the Buddhist temples in the foreground with fruit and vegetable offerings gave us opportunity to have a little Sunday School lesson about man-made idols that can't eat the offerings made to them --this was part of Asian section. They showed the baskets of laundry by the river, too. Africa featured grass thatched roofs and native music, drums for kids to play.

The mountain houses a roller coaster that my daughter did twice with her husband and once with her dad. They are not for me. I feel panicky and want out of those rides.

There was a kids' playground that enabled them to climb up rope net bridges as though from tree to tree, hanging on to a rope fastened at both ends --entirely safe but took some bravery and gave a feeling of "manly" accomplishment --then they'd slide down a chute.

The Lion King musical show was fantastic, a colorful, joyous "must -see", sort of "under the Big-Top." It's not the story as seen in the Broadway version--but a show featuring stilt walkers who were amazing and death-defying --considering all the dancing feet around them and the high speed movements. There were trapeze artists as comedic monkeys who put on a great show. Music and live singing from the movie and musical.

The Nemo musical on a stage with characters duplicating the roles of the fish puppets they maneuvered as they performed the songs --was also delightful. A shorter version of the movie about a father losing his little gold fish son to an aquarium.

We ate in a Rain Forest Restaurant --with furry animated animals about, and starry sky, complete with storm.

There was a 3D bug movie with characters from A Bug's Life? (Correct me, Steph, for the archives!) --I think it was in this park--and it was the first of the 3D experiences for the boys --with their seats activated and water sprinkled on them from these ferocious angry looking bugs and it scared the kids --and not just ours. I think they would have been ok had they seen some of the other 3D events first. So I started to talk to the boys about "it's just pretend --just make believe scarey --not really dangerous." We went on another ride and Jacob closed his eyes and said, "it's just pretend --just pretend!" We got into so many good rides that some of them have run together in my own mind, and I can't tell you which ride that was. They began to feel good about their ability to withstand scary things --and did better the next two days.

Their mom had planned our days and knew about the Fast Pass? tickets you get which tell you to come back to the popular rides at a designated time when you will get on quickly. They give out so many of these tickets in the early part of the day at the rides to spread the crowd out. Without them, you wait a designated amount of time which changes according to the length of the lines (we saw times ranging from 20 to 90 minutes) --though the handicapped scooter was another way to disperse crowds and get in sooner than one might otherwise. I think the newer park features where they made room for it, have the scooter families wait along with others until the end where they are split off --to discourage people from using scooters needlessly. It wasn't needless on my part. I couldn't begin to walk a place like this. It's one time when a disabled family member is a real asset!

This was supposed to be a low attendance time at Disney, but you couldn't tell at the other parks. We know some of the northeastern schools were on spring break --met some Vermont people who were, e.g. There were tons of little kids and strollers --way more strollers than scooters and wheel chairs. I felt sorry for some people who looked like they needed a chair or a scooter but didn't have them. My daughter had an umbroller stroller to carry a little cooler with drinks and treats.

I was amazed at how my family has such stamina --the boys, ages 8 and 6, didn't whine or fuss or ever ask to be carried --or beg to sit and rest at any point --and my daughter said she was doing fine. IN fact, they opted to walk home from Epcot rather than riding the ferry, and stood to watch a magician-entertainer on the way home. There were always these circus-type-clown-magician acts on the boardwalk at the Epcot Resort Area --hired by Disney.

In fact, for all that is said about obese Americans, it seemed that the vast majority at Disney were NOT terribly out of shape --and doing quite well at walking the huge parks all day long. Granted, the events give a sit down respite.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


Yankee Doodle said...

Is it the one in Anaheim? I was there on Mar. 29 and April 19.

Barb said...

Nope --Orlando. Great vacation spot.

Yankee Doodle said...

Interesting, there is a a Rain Forest Cafe in the California Disney too.

Barb said...

I understand there are other Rain Forest restaurants --one in Tennessee, e.g.