random thoughts on visiting Mickey Mouse

https://i2.wp.com/www.laughingplacestore.com/images/products/8222L.jpgSome day I want to visit Disney World in the off season — say, September or October — when we won’t spend the entire time feeling as though we’re about to melt into the pavement.

Despite the heat and crowds, Disney is still a cool vacation spot, where everyone is friendly and everything is colorful, clean, and fun.

The Disney Dining Plan is one of the niftiest ideas since sliced bread. We paid up front for all our meals, and (given the high cost of Disney food) spent a lot less overall than we would have if we’d paid as we went. Our total savings were something like $400.

If we go on vacation, one of our kids will get injured or sick. (Spring break, last March, was the first exception in years.) This year, our son has strep. Fortunately, the fever didn’t hit until we were on the way home. Unfortunately, that means we’ll probably all get it.

According to my husband’s pedometer, we were walking probably 6 to 8 miles per day for four days. This would explain why on our morning walk with the dogs today, the hills were easier to climb.

If you’re on a walk-intensive vacation with your 75-year-old mother, and she develops a mysterious back ailment, renting an electric scooter is an outstanding solution. The lovely folks at Walker delivered the scooter to our hotel; and for a very reasonable charge, my mother was able to accompany us throughout the parks, into shows, and onto rides.

If you’re going to Disney, it’s worth the price to stay in a hotel on the monorail system, which saves you a whole lot of driving and time. It’s also lovely to ride the little launch boats across the lagoon to and from the parks.

If I could have had one wish while touring the parks, it would have been for all the poor cast members dressed as Goofy, Mickey, Pooh, et al to be able to stand in the shade to greet hordes of fans. Dozens of kids and parents line up for hugs, autographs, and photos, and in almost all cases, the costume-entombed characters were standing in direct sun for long stretches of time. Ditto all the spritely folks singing and dancing in the streets wearing full cowperson regalia or turn-of-the-previous-century garb. My enjoyment of the entertainment was severely limited by my awareness of how incredibly hot they must have been, and my curiosity about how they avoid heatstroke.

Disney’s 3D technology is awesome. The glasses are sturdy and comfortable, and they aren’t red and green — the lenses appear clear. The Muppets and Mickey’s Philharmagic leap off the screen in full-bodied humor. Why can’t regular movie theaters use the same technology and glasses, instead of the extremely inferior version that gets tried every few years?

I can’t deal with rollercoasters because of the way the hills make my stomach feel. But I love speed and curves and dips. Thus my favorite ride is Thunder Mountain Railroad. This year I also went on Test Track at Epcot, which was wonderful; the high-speed outdoor track got going exactly the maximum speed at which I started to think “OK, I’d really rather it didn’t go any faster than this,” and then slowed down.

People who voluntarily submit to dropping 13 stories in the Tower of Terror are nuts.

The Haunted Mansion was closed for renovation, which made me sad. I hope they don’t mess too much with a good thing.

If you’re staying on the first floor and have a patio near the lagoon, and you make it clear that you have crackers available, you can attract as many as 21 ducks at a time, some of which will eat right out of your hand and others of which will nibble your toes in a tickly sort of way.

Most of all, it’s great to go to Disney with kids who have reached the age of reason (15 and 12) — meaning they don’t melt down from fatigue and hunger and start kicking and crying at random intervals. We saw a lot of kicking, crying, and other symptoms of worn-out kid syndrome. People had little babies with them, not to mention the zillions of toddlers who have an extremely limited capacity for heat and walking and won’t remember much of the trip anyway. I can’t recommend strongly enough waiting to visit Disney until your kids are old enough to more or less take care of themselves; able to communicate their needs and wants clearly; and ready to fully experience, appreciate, and remember the trip.

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11 responses to “random thoughts on visiting Mickey Mouse

  1. Hooray! You’re back! It’s great to see you in print again.

  2. Welcome Back! It wasn’t the same without you here.

    I know the heat stroke answer! For the full costumes, there are chill paks that are inserted into the costumes to keep the staffers from having server problems from the heat. By-the-bye, the last I knew the Cardinal Bird did not have this luxury.

  3. Jo Ann, it’s good to be back. I’m always glad to go on vacation, but then I’m always glad to be home.

    Dragon — thank you for the tip on the full-body costumes! I feel much better knowing that some effort is going into making Tigger and Pooh more comfortable as they work so hard to make children happy. 🙂

  4. Incidentally, I think I should wait until I am more mature before I go visit Mickey. I think it likely that I would melt down from fatigue and heat and hunger and start kicking and crying at random intervals. It would be so embarassing to my daughter.

  5. I never did get to go to Disney World, and it never really bothered me until now with hearing just how cool it really is. Still, my disliking of children would probably somewhat limit my enjoyment.

    Florida weather just plain old sucks. I went to Florida in May one year, and it was STILL deathly hot. As a person who can’t stand to be in temperatures above 75, I may have to postpone that Disney World trip for the rest of my life.

  6. One of my trips as a child to Disney World was in September…I highly recommend it. (Other times we went in June).

    I met some folks a couple of years ago who worked for Disney in the Summer as characters. They had the option of wearing a contraption that cooled them within the suit, but it made it twice as heavy. If they opted not to wear the cooling device, they only had to work 20 minute shifts at a time, then went underground to cool off for 30 and back out. I found it all intriguing.

  7. S, if you went in the fall, you’d be around fewer children, and the heat would be much less, so you could enjoy the parks on your own terms. I do recommend that people go at least once — to see Muppetvision 3D at MGM, if nothing else. 🙂

    Rose, that’s interesting about the cooling option. Some of the characters we saw were in the sun for much longer than 20 minutes at a stretch, so I assume they were wearing cool packs in the suits. At least, I hope so!

  8. Wish I could grab the kids for this adventure, Tiffany – just a bit expensive from here. Each weekend we buy Lotto together with the catch cry “Disney World next week!”

  9. Haunted Mansion was great ~28 years ago when I was there.

    We are heading for Orlando week after next. I hope we can stay indoors as much as possible.

  10. The 75-year-old mother vows that even w/o any ailments (and I hope this was my first and last bout of sciatica), she’ll always rent a power chair for future Disney trips. Not only does it save all those exhausting hot miles’ walking, you and your whole party get in via special gates and are seated in reserved areas. While we were on rides or in shows, Disney “cast members” kept an eye on the chair. (We saw dozens of other chair-users in all areas of the park.)

    An unfortunate footnote about the dining plan: it’s being tweaked, removing appetizers and tips from the included items — and those two things can add significantly to the cost of meals.

  11. Just FYI, while I am SURE that it must be extremely hot for all performers no matter what their costume, the character suits are made with a built in air conditioning unit. The characters and their handlers also have hand/body signals to let them know when something is wrong or they need a break. Frequently, the places that characters are stationed are close to hidden secret passageways for them to “escape” into if ever necessary (illness, uncontrollable crowds, etc.). I’m sure none of these are perfect solutions to the heat and stress of being a live performer in Florida, but Disney does make efforts to improve their working environments. Just thought you might find that interesting.

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