The heat and humidity in Florida this week late in September has been really tough on all of us. Those from Arizona (Carissa and Jaime) where the air is dry were really feeling the oppressive humidity. Still being relatively young they survived the experience of being sweaty and air soaked at the same time. Those from Colorado (Loreli, Chad, Tiffany, Kari, and Simon) had to deal with the lower altitude and the humidity they are not used to. And as with the young they, too, weathered the heat and humidity better than Joe and I did. We were a bit sick on this last day of our Disney World adventure.
The day was spent at Magic Kingdom where most of the rides are tamer in comparison to the rest of the park. I, for one, was looking forward to the more sedate rides. The Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. Longer rides in dark and air conditioned comfort to ease my aching head and cool my over heated body.
The storm clouds were building around the Magic Kingdom.
Jann had made a comment before we arrived at Disney World that this would be like herding cats. Let me tell you….that is a correct assessment. Trying to keep track of our kids and stick together as a family unit was nigh on to impossible. Joe and I gave up on this last day and decided to leave them to their fun and enjoyment.
While we wended through the throng of Disney goers on our way to the Pirates of the Caribbean the rain started. We found shelter in a portico entrance to the public restrooms….along with a host of other people.
The rain didn’t last very long. It was quite surprising how much it did rain in just a matter of 5 minutes. When the rain quit we left the shelter and made our way to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride where it would be cold and dark.
I’ve got to say this about Disney Imagineers. Every one of the parks is amazing. The details on every building façade is spectacular. The food court at our resort is true to the real experience of the Caribbean. Carissa and Jaime have been on cruises to the Caribbean and Carissa said the place looked exactly as it does in real life.
Johnny Depp, or his likeness, as Jack Sparrow eerily pops up in several locations in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I mean, you see Captain Jack Sparrow in three of the scenes on the ride and you actually see the face of Johnny Depp from the movies. It is so lifelike that it is spooky.
Our kids joined us for a second trip through the Pirates ride and next on their agenda was Splash Mountain. We all headed over to that ride and found it to be closed temporarily. Disney takes the well being of their guests into consideration. ALL outdoor rides were closed temporarily because of lightning strikes near the park. When the storm finally passed the rides were open once again.
Joe and I had enough of the heat and humidity. We were whipped. Time to head back to our resort room to be in air conditioned comfort with the lights off and the drapes drawn. Dark and cool is what we needed. On our way out of the park we were graced by a rainbow.
During our time at Walt Disney World we went to four of the theme parks. We had a map of Disney mailed to our home before we left, just to give us all an idea of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see.
Walt Disney World is 40 square MILES of information overload. There is so much to see and do there. Six days is not long enough to see it all, nor to hit every ride or mode of transportation Disney offers its guests.
Each park has their own map. Parade routes and times are listed on the maps. The parade routes are marked in red dots. All the rides are noted on the map, food courts, public restrooms, first aid stations, smoking areas, and even areas where the Disney characters are stationed for photo opportunities. There are photographers everywhere that are specifically there to document your Disney adventure.
We made it to each of the parks. Probably experienced 1/4 of everything in each of them. The Pedometer App on our iPod tried to keep up with me but gave out I think. Most days we walked about 7 miles around each of the parks. Taking in one for about half the day then going to another park for several more hours.
By our last full day at Disney both Joe and I had sore feet and ankles, our backs hurt, my thighs and hip joints were sore, and my upper arms were screaming at me from holding on for dear life on the wild rides I went on.
This 6 night and 7 day Disney Resort package cost us $2,600 for Joe and I. For six months we did a sort of “Payment Plan” until we had it totally paid for before we arrived.
One thing not everyone knows is that you can get your Disney Vacation started with $200. You will need a credit card or a debit card to start your plan. The full package price has to be paid, in full, 45 days before your vacation begins. You can make your payments monthly or weekly, depending on your finances.
Your package can include flight reservations if you will not be driving. You can make your flight plans separate if you can find them cheaper. You can choose to stay at hotels not on the Disney property or you can stay at one of the numerous resorts.
I have nothing to share about staying off Disney property so I can’t tell you about transportation to the parks and back via the massive Disney bus system.
I can tell you about staying at a Disney Resort. Each of the many resorts have bus stops located at each resort section. We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort. This resort has building sections named Jamaica, Aruba, Martinique, Trinidad North, Trinidad South, Old Port Royale. Each section has a bus stop for the area you will be staying in. We were in North Trinidad while Tiffany, Kari, and Simon were at Trinidad South.
At the bus stops you get on a bus to the destination you wish. Each bus has the name of the park you want to go to. Catch the “Animal Kingdom” bus to go to the Animal Kingdom or Blizzard Beach. When you arrive at your destination you will be told what section number you will go to catch the bus back to your resort. At Epcot our bus section number was 13. When the bus arrived we would get on it to go back to the Caribbean Beach resort.
The bus rides are from 7 to 12 minutes in length. The bus travels around the resort to each of the stops before it goes to the theme park. The bus transport is free and runs all day long. They are fully air conditioned to help a hot and tired body cool off after a long day in the heat and humidity.
The food at the Disney resorts is nothing spectacular. It is quite over priced. A breakfast for two can be up to $30. It is ridiculous.
I would recommend adding the “Disney Dining Plan” to your package. For the “Quick Meals” you get an entree, desert, and a bottled beverage of your choice. The food is plentiful. Way too much for one person to eat. For the “Snack” portion you can have a bowl of fruit, a single piece of fresh fruit, a bottled drink, or any of the cookies or pastries all over the place. For a “Sit Down Meal” which is usually in the evening includes and entree, desert, and a beverage of your choice. The cost of the sit down dinner is anywhere from $75 to $100 for two.
To get “normal” food you will have to get to Downtown Disney where there are regular restaurants with normal food. You have to pay out of pocket for those meals because they are not included in the Disney Dining Plan.
The Disney Resorts are clean, the grounds are taken care of daily, repairs to the buildings are done. The gutters on the building we stayed in were replaced on one morning beginning just after sun up. There was some banging going on but it wasn’t over the top.
There is a laundry facility at each complex. The cost is $2 per load of wash and dry.
When you do vacation at Disney World be prepared for the screaming and crying little ones. They can get a wail on like you won’t believe. In the confines of the bus it can be quite irritating to be stuck with a screaming over tired child.
The crowds of people are staggering. Unlike the highways you travel by car, traffic going in separate directions, the crowds at Disney walk everywhere. You have to dodge strollers, scooters, and people in a constant maze just to get going in the direction you are aiming for. Sometimes you have to let the teeming masses pass for a while to get a hole in the crowd and head in the right direction.
By the last full day of our Disney trip both Joe and I were looking forward to getting back to work and away from the masses. I have a problem with sustained loud noises. My nerves get frayed and I get snappy. Keeping my inner monster at bay on the last day was a challenge for me.
Would I do this again? Heck yes. During a time of year that is cooler and less humid. I’m told that the end of November and the first part of December is less crowded and a lot cooler. So maybe next year we can get ALL of our kids to come and do this in 2013. One can always hope 😀
We are leaving Monday for Spartanburg, South Carolina to get trucks going to Windsor, Wisconsin. Time to get some rest from this vacation.
Have a fantastic weekend everyone.