Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Disney day 1: Epcot

Going to Disneyworld is obviously meant to be one of the most anticipated and enormously joyful times in anyone's life, especially when that person is an 8-year-old boy who has been eagerly, but patiently, awaiting the trip since he was, well, zero. Such was the case for my son.

As soon as he was able to talk, around 10 months, but after reciting the order of sequential presidents from George (Washington) to George (W. Bush), he's been talking of going to Disneyworld. We had promised him way back then that we would go when he was . . . Eight . . . an age that then seemed would be WAY ahead in the future, an age that we figure would give us ample time to plan and save for the trip, or perhaps, would be so far in the future that he would forget. Well, the day came, and it came much faster than either my wife and I anticipated, even when you throw in another child along the way (yet another voice to chant "Dis-ney, Dis-ney . . .")

So it was with this build-up and these expectations that we ventured off over a week ago to Orlando, Florida. It was hard to figure out who was more excited, the kids or the adults. My wife had spent the last few months planning out the trip to the smallest detail, making reservations at each of the four parks, researching eateries, gift shops, even bathrooms, and had an impressive itinerary mapped out for us that would maximize our fun while minimizing our wait time at shows and rides. With a planning card for each day laminated, suitcases packed, and plenty of cash in the wallet, we hopped into the brand new 2008 Pathfinder we had purchased just days before, and headed down IH-10 toward the Magic Kingdom.

With Nintendo DSs for each kid, unlimited supply of Disney animated films on DVD, and plenty of reading and coloring material for the 18 hour drive, my wife and I wondered at times if we had actually forgotten the kids since we heard less than a mouse squeak from the back seat. If wasn't too long (relatively speaking) that we arrived at our destination: Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. After checking in and having my kids calm me down as I yelled in jubillance, (I was happy just to stretch my legs), we dropped off our bags in the room and hit our first park: Epcot. It was just after high noon.

Our first order of business was to marvel and the magnificent icon of one of Disney's celebrated parks, the massive, mathematically efficient, Buckminster Fuller-designed, geodesic dome that contains the "Spaceship Earth" ride. Us in front of the Buckyball

It was the first scheduled thing to do on my wife's laminated card. Looking at the enormously long line and anticipating a hour wait, we immediately deviated from the plan and headed to Innoventions, where we all participated in a virtual, interactive trip where we had to use our own trash to create energy and to build an wildlife sanctuary. It was quite ambitious, amazing, and fun at the same time. I could tell this trip was going to be filled with many, many more unplanned, spontaneous moments.

After that, we headed towards the "World Showcase." With 11 countries packed in around a giant lake (which Disney downplays as merely a "lagoon"), one can travel the world without leaving the ground, or the Disney Premises. Being a math teacher, we traveled around the showcase in typical counterclockwise fashion, going from Canada, to the United Kingdom, to France, then finally to Morocco. Taking hundreds of pictures along the way, we soaked up the cultures and purchased the first of what would be too many collectible trading pins. Believe it or not, that alone consumed the entire afternoon and evening.
Us in Moracco

As the sun set and 8:15pm approached, we claimed our spot for the evening firework spectacular which was scheduled for 9pm. It was at this point that we realized that my son's eye was very red beneath a seemingly swollen eye-lid. Until then, we attributed his sluggishness and sporadic lethargy to the long trip, the humidy and heat, and his innate proclivity to turn red in the face, but we feared it was something more. My wife, being a mother AND a nurse deliberated contacting a doctor. I told her that he simply needed to "suck it up" and "be happy, damnit!"
Waiting for fireworks with swollen right eye

After the fireworks, I had to carry my sleeping daughter out on my shoulder while my wife had to practically drag out my son. While waiting in the uncomfortably long line at the shuttle bus line to get back to our room, my son was sitting down, drenched in sweat and tears, with his head in his hands. It was almost 10:30 and even I was getting tired. The multitude of people standing in the line couldn't help but take notice of the boy who was loudly proclaiming his misery. I felt embarrassed, helpless, and frustrated at the same time. I hoped that a good-night's sleep would be all that my anemic boy needed.

He somehow managed to lumber into the room at the resort where he crashed on the twin bed with his sister. There, he and she slept having experienced a half day of car travel and a "full" day of their first dose of Disney. Staring at them in their bed amongst the cleverly designed, themed room, my heart swelled like a proud father who was able to be with his wife and kids at Disneyworld.
Tuckered out (notice my daughter wears the same clothes to bed. My son mustered the energy to change into his Mickey Underoos.)

I hit my own bed that night, quite unable to sleep (the room smelled of festive rodents) as I relived the entire day in my head, interrupted only by the prospective bliss I was to experience in the 5 days to come.


Anonymous said...

That's unfortunate that your son was sick on such a monumentous occasion. I imagine that would be a joke around the water cooler . . . "We went to Disney and my son got sick . . ."

Glad to hear you still made the best of it.

Anonymous said...

HA HA! very funny! I DON'T HAVE MICKEY "UNDERDOOS"! You should of told them about the "morocco meatballs!" I mean,they were made out of lamb! and 15$ dollars! Talk about EXPENSIVE $$$!



Anonymous said...

I love the pictures!! LC

Anonymous said...

What great memories. The beginning of an amazing trip...

Brenda said...

I thought Disney World was in Florida?