Some things in life are just worth waiting for.
Seinfeld’s Season 7 DVD set.
A warm slice of Friendship bread. With butter. The real kind.
True love’s first kiss. True love’s 4,831st kiss ain’t so bad either. As long as you got the right guy. And he’s recently gargled.
Being surrounded by good friends and good food while witnessing history being made as the Saints win the DADGUM SUPERBOWL. WHO DAT BABY?!
Battle For My Wallet 18.….is it? I tend to lose count.
And…a ride aboard the newly (to us) refurbished Space Mountain.
Or, at least, that’s what we told ourselves as we stood in a kingdom that seemed pretty magical on our very first day of Vacation. As we crossed from yesterday into Tomorrow, we stopped short (NOFrankCostanza) when we saw that the wait time for Space Mountain was 60 minutes and that all Fastpasses had been distributed for the day.
Houston, we have a problem.
Now, we are not normally ‘stand in line for 60 minutes’ kind of people. We are normally the people throwing the big fat Loser sign to the ‘stand in line for 60 minutes’ kind of people as we pass them on up. Grinning. And taunting. Because we’ve gotten quite good at working the Fastpass system and knowing when to go and when NOT to go, we haven’t stood in a long line at Disney since Battle For My Wallet -5 was penned. Since county wasn’t cool. Since Victoria had no secrets.
But we were doing something we’d never done before. Going into a park on arrival day. In the middle of the day. In the height of summer. We knew things wouldn’t follow our normal pattern. So we called an audible and hopped in line. Because we really, really wanted a ticket to ride. Bad. And we were still on that ‘just arrived in Disney and we’ve got the rest of the week ahead of us’ high.
So as my husband ushered us in the door with a big, goofy, spaced out grin, I turned and asked one more time. Just to be sure he understood what he was suggesting.
“You realize the wait time for this is 60 minutes right? And you still want to stand in line? For 60 minutes?”
“Sure, it’ll be fun. And I bet it won’t take that long anyway.”
Cut to the end of the week.
We’re still in line.
At least, that’s what it felt like. Sure, they refurbished the queue area for our present enjoyment and it was VERY cool to be able to play interactive video games while we stood still. And didn’t move. One inch. In fact, we loved the additions and felt they really made the time waiting in line go by pretty fast.
Oh, who am I kidding? It went by slow. Extremely slow. Despite the cooler than cool video game screens lining the walls. Perhaps it was because we ran into a group of Brazilians along the way.
Well. Truth be told, they ran into us.
Danced into us is a much more accurate description.
As we were standing there, waiting and talking, we heard an extremely loud, high pitched sound assault our ears and the ears of everyone around us. We quickly located the source and I heard my husband groan, “Not again”.
We’d run into billions of Brazilians the year before and among other bad experiences, had a scary run in involving two different groups, two different ear splitting whistles, a whole lot of yelling and mosh pit style dancing, and an angry mob who had all had enough of the whistles and the yelling and the mosh pit style dancing. All while waiting for Fantasmic and standing shoulder to shoulder with half the world’s population, it seemed. In all the years that we’ve been vacationing there, it was the only time I’ve ever felt unsafe. Or feared for the safety of my children. It was such a strange feeling, and a complete oxymoron. Considering we were in the happiest place on Earth. The experience, unfortunately, capped our trip off on a very low note, and it was something we’d hoped against hope to avoid this time around.
But as we stood there having our ears assaulted and having men literally shimmy into us from the next line over, regardless of the steel bar separating us (and he was WORKIN’ that shimmy… homeboy put Shakira to shame!) and listening to groups alternate the chanting and ear splitting whistle blasts between themselves with no regard for anyone else around them, our mood grew sour.
I understand Disney is all about making money. And those groups bring in a lot of money. Obviously. But IMO, something has to be done to curb that type of behavior from large groups in the parks/attractions or else families will eventually get tired of putting up with it and find other places to vacation. You could see it in the eyes of every family around us. There was no magic to be found anywhere in that line that day.
Unless ’magic’ is code word for ’just waitin’ for an opportunity to pop somebody in the mouth’.
So it was this mood that hovered over us as we inched our way to the front of the line and tried to distract ourselves from Rico Suave and his crew by pointing out the differences in the attraction since the last time we’d ridden it. Our mood seemed to lift as we got closer and closer to the loading dock. Things were starting to look up. We finally made it to the front and excitedly gave our CM the number in our party and were told which numbers were ours.
We had numbers! Finally! We were given numbers! To stand on!
Stand back cause we ‘bout to get our ride on!
As we excitedly stood there on our numbers singing “I Made it Through the Rain” in our (my) head, we began to notice things. Things that told us something was amiss. The CMs were casting confused looks at each other and they weren’t loading the newly refurbished spaceships anymore.
Surely it’s not what I think it is.
We waited for a few seconds, knowing full well it WAS what we thought it was. And then came the confirmation. In the form of an announcement that informed us that due to technical difficulty, Space Mountain was temporarily closed and would no longer be boarding.
Funny dressed man with a microphone say what?
We’d already waited long enough to allow Barry Manilow’s career to come back around. Twice. But now it was over. We’d made it through the rain. For nothing. We slowly ventured off our little numbers, looking back over our shoulders longingly, and were given a set of Fastpasses on the way out. As a consolation prize.
But it was still the first day. We were still pumped to be there. So what if the inaugural ride was a big fat, freakin’ bust? We had the rest of the park to explore.
We explained to the kids what happened, told them we had ALL WEEK to come back and ride it, and then asked them where they wanted to head next. We’d do whatever they wanted. Because it was still the first day and we were just happy to be there.
The kids were calling the shots, and they picked Thunder Mountain.
We, as a family, LOVE us some Thunder Mountain. It really is the wildest ride in the wilderness, you know. So we quickly agreed. So what if it’s all the way on the other side of the park? A ride on Thunder Mountain and a little “hang onto your hats and glasses folks’ action is JUST what we need to get this vacation back on track.
So we walked. And as we walked, we stumbled upon an ironic reminder that it's possible for even Walt to have an 'off' day.
We laughed a little bit and made immature jokes amongst ourselves along the way. Most of them involved the word 'poop'. Before we knew it, we found ourselves at the foot of the big orange mountain.
The posted wait time wasn’t very long so we high fived each other and high stepped it on over. Time to get our ride on.
And then it happened. Just like before.
The CMs. Again with the confused looks. Sure enough, as we got closer, we were told they were experiencing technical difficulty. Thunder Mountain was down for the count.
This trip wasn’t starting off exactly the way we’d planned. So far we were 0-2, and like Mick Jagger, we couldn’t get no satisfaction.
It was at this point that the love of my life, seeing distress on the faces of his family and knowing he had to get us on a ride and get us on a ride now, dug deep into his bag of tricks and set about amazing the rest of us with his mad skillz.
You may remember me mentioning the fact that he was wearing The Birthday Pin. Loudly and proudly. Well, suddenly Birthday Boy turns to us and says, “Follow me and let me do all the talking.” I had no idea what he was up to, but when he gets that look in his eye, it’s best to just follow him and let him do all the talking.
We follow him straight to the Splash Mountain Fastpass line where he digs into his pocket and proceeds to pull out four Fastpasses for Splash Mountain.
From last year.
He makes sure the CM working the Fastpass line has an unobstructed view of The Birthday Pin and proceeds to tell our story. He fills her in on how we got the Fastpasses on our trip last year but were never able to use them because the ride was broken down both times we tried to ride it. He explains that we’ve just tried to ride two different rides that were also broken down and wonders if there’s ANY WAY possible we might be able to use said Fastpasses to ride Splash Mountain.
Then he dips her all the way back and lays one on her. After he just gargled.
Just in case she needs a little extra persuasion.
I’m kidding. Of course.
Or am I?
Actually, instead of laying one on her, he pulls out his weapon of choice: the big puppy dog eyes. Those big brown eyes that no woman in her right mind could resist. The same ones that have had me swimming from the moment I first gazed into them.
That and The Birthday Pin. Which he shoved in her face with an overly dramatic twist of his shoulder. Just in case she missed it the first time.
I guess you know how it all went down.
She laughed in amazement at us.
It wasn’t so much the gall of the whole thing that got her. It was the fact that we held onto a set of Fastpasses for a year that had her speechless. Without speech. Once she recovered, she even said that. “YOU HELD ONTO THEM FOR A WHOLE YEAR?!” As she quickly waved us on through. After picking her jaw up off the floor and shoving her eyeballs back into their sockets. A little worse for wear. They were rolling around on that germ ridden Disney concrete, after all. I would’ve offered her a squirt of anti-bac but I didn’t want to push my luck.
I suppose we won her over with our idiocy. Or maybe it was the honesty.
Either way, we didn't care. Daddy had hit a HOME RUN and we were about to get our ride on!
We were PUMPED and immediately high fived each other. After roughly an hour and a half trying to get our butts on something, we were finally about to experience our first ride of the trip. Right after we tossed everyone the big fat Loser sign as we passed them on up. Grinning. And taunting.
Cause that’s how we roll.
I never get tired of riding Splash Mountain. Never. Part of it is the music, part of it is the drop, part of it is hearing my husband tell the kids the story of Brer Rabbit and watching them listen intently. Even though he tells them the story each year as we make our way through the ride, they always act just as enthralled as they did the very first time they heard it. But mostly I just enjoy watching my kids’ faces as they squeal with anticipation. As we inch closer and closer to the big drop.
And I never, ever get tired of hearing the laughter of my children and husband intermingled afterwards as we float along and sing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Da. I remember so many other times we’ve done the same thing, and that feeling, that unbridled and contagious joy, always feels like coming home to me.
It did on that day as well.
That was all it took to completely override the sour mood that had been plaguing us before, experiencing that first ride together as a family and looking forward to all the fun and excitement the week ahead would bring. With no interruptions or distractions.
That morning we had been at home. Making sure we’d packed everything in the van and getting settled for the long drive down. But that one ride on Splash Mountain, the one we’d waited all year for (literally) had kicked off our vacation in a big way. And as we passed by the beautiful castle and took in all the sights and sounds and smells, we looked around and pinched ourselves to make sure we weren‘t really dreaming.
As is necessary when you realize you’re in Disneyworld, according to our daughter.
My, oh, my what a wonderful day indeed.