Sunday, February 5, 2012

Disney - A way of life

I wanted to do a blog about Disney people and non-Disney people, because in my world, other than my family, I am pretty much the only "Disney" person I know.

I have a note card on my bulletin board at work that says "Disney World, for those that get it, no explanation needed, for those that don't, no explanation possible". This is the truest statement if there ever was one. Disney, for me, is a spiritual journey. Having Asperger's I don't feel much. But at Disney, I laugh, I cry, I feel happy, I feel mucho pain (mainly in my feet!), but, the point is, I FEEL. That's major for me.

I've known people who have gone to Disney and come back totally not impressed, complaining that the food was too expensive, couldn't get into any restaurants, the rides weren't thrilling enough, the lines were too long, it was too hot, it rained everyday, everything was just too expensive, the roads were too congested, blaa, blaa, blaa. I'm about to address these points, probably out of order, but bear with me to the bear end (Country Bears reference, told you I'm in the Disney zone!).

My first thought when I hear this? "You obviously didn't plan". You wouldn't take a trip to Europe and not plan would you? And yet you would be surprised how many times when I ask them, "well, did you plan ahead?", I always get the answer back "why no, it's just an amusement park!". First off...Disney World is NOT an amusement park, it's a THEME park...four of them to be precise, spread out over what used to be 47 square miles (but this has changed since the recent land sales, so the current figures are unknown). This means Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan!!

This the official property map from Disney:
official property map

And this is a screenshot from Bing of the Wilderness Lodge from the air (a good size itself as you can tell from the cars):
WL map

And here is the entire property - the little itty bitty purple arrow points to the Lodge to give you perspective on the property's size:
Disney map

The best point of reference that I can give is this one - the purple is Disney, the pink is Universal Studios, and the green is Sea World (which are huge parks in and of themselves):
Disney map 2

OK, I think I've made my point about the sheer massive size of Disney World, now onto the other points. Point two I think was food and prices. Here again, planning. Every single Disney website, official or fan, screams from it's four mountain tops...Splash, Space, Big Thunder, and Everest (ha! inside Disney joke!), to MAKE DINING RESERVATIONS! There are also numerous sites that not only have current menus, but also have menu pricing! Yes, you may pay $10 for a burger at Cosmic Rays in Tomorrowland In the Magic Kingdom, but the burger is HUGE! You get what you pay for at Disney (just don't drink the water! It smells like swamp water and tastes like pure chlorine! I'll happily pay $2.50 for a bottle of water!). Disney dining reservations are made at 120 days before your trip and some restaurants book fast. For my time zone, I have to be online at 3 am at the 120 point and still can't manage to get into certain restaurants. But you can keep trying and trying and hopefully someone will cancel and you can get in.

And while I'm on the subject of dining...luckily this is a mute point now because the new booking system doesn't allow double-booking (but some people still do it under different reservations if they are traveling with others), I do want to address the subject. When people double-book a restaurant, usually because they don't know where they will want to eat on a particular night, it keeps other people from being able to book that's selfish and rude and I'm glad they fixed it where not only will it cancel your second booking, but it will also cancel your first booking as well so you loose both reservations! I've always thought of it as, "on Wednesday we're eating Le Cellier" and I gear myself up to eat it", not, "hmmm, wonder if I'll want steak tonight?". You can't think like that in WDW. Off rant (for now).

Next Come on! It's central Florida! It's hot and muggy and it rains! Duh! There are certain times of the year you can go, however, when it has it's cooler days and doesn't rain as much. Here again...PLAN! And a lot of these softer weather times have the best entertainment...Flower and Garden Festival in March and April, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in Sept/Oct (my personal fave), and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in Nov/Dec.

Nowadays, people take their children out of school to go on vacation instead of waiting until the summer time (a sore spot with me, but apparently Am and I disagree on this point...I think education is more important, she thinks family time say tomato). That argument is as mute as religion, it's a matter of personal preference, but needless to say, no matter what time of year you go, there are kids there, so for those (like me) who don't particularly care for the little ones, be prepared, they are always there! Plus, other countries have different school let out times, so, depending when you go, there might be an influx of foreigners (which I mind less, unless it's tour groups and that's a whole other ballgame...stay far far away when they are there!).

OK, moving on...rides not being thrilling...Disney is a family park, not a teen park or an adult park or a kid park. It's made for all ages! I'm a roller coaster person and have been on a "real" roller coaster and Disney's coasters aren't the "real" thing, but some come close. The point is, all rides can be ridden with all family members (well, most rides providing you meet the height requirement - another sore spot with me - if you kid isn't tall enough, don't force it, it's a safety issue! I wish I had a dime for everytime I saw a parent fighting with a CM over their kid not being tall enough to ride a ride! Would you want your kid to get hurt because they were too small for the safety equipment to adequately contain them? Idiots! Which brings up another idiot parent move - forcing your child to ride something they don't want to...ugh! It's bad enough having to watch the episode play out, but to have to sit in a car behind a screaming child ruins the ride for other people! Then, having to listen to the kid go, "that wasn't so bad, can we do it again?" and the parent going "I told you so!", only my ride was completely ruined listening to the the entire scream-fest! Off topic again, sorry!).

Another side note, as a "large" person, or "pooh-sized" as we are referred to via Disney speak, Disney World is the first park I have ever been to that caters to pooh-sized people!! There is not a ride I can't ride or a place I can't go! Back when I was married and quite a bit larger than I am now, I had a very embarrassing episode at Six Flags St. Louis where I was asked to leave a ride because the safety bar wouldn't go down over my stomach! Can you imagine how horrible that was?! It was a long time before I went to another park after that (as a matter of fact, Disney was the next park I went to). I can't go to Universal Studios because most rides there I can't fit into (plus, I wouldn't go anyway as a matter of loyalty to Disney, but I would like to see the Harry Potter stuff, but I'm not going until I can fit on the rides, which will probably be never).

I'm not even gonna get into the roads being too congested discussion because I've already made my point about that in a previous blog...stay on property! That way you can use Disney transportation (don't use it if you're not staying on property BTW...see aforementioned blog) and get around without having to drive and you don't worry about the road congestion! Yes, there are times where you get a bad bus driver who doesn't know where he's going and end up trapped on a bus with a bunch of drunks from Downtown Disney at 1 am for over an hour, but that's only happened once and hopefully never again! But if you have to stay off property, prepare for the toll roads! Florida doesn't have state taxes, so they have to collect money somehow! And living in a state that has taxes, I'd much rather have toll roads instead! Plus, if you have reservations at Animal Kingdom and you are staying in a Magic Kingdom resort, don't wait until 20 minutes before your reservations to get a bus! It might take an hour to get there since they are all the way across property from one another! Plan appropriately!

And finally, the money issue. I only go to Disney once a year because it takes an entire year to save up enough money to go. And, if Am didn't pay for the actual trip, I probably wouldn't be able to do that! Why, you ask? My Disney obsession stems from my love for the duck! Remember the infamous duck room I keep mentioning? Here's a teaser of it's contents:



And I wish I could say that was all I had...that's only part of the room and a wide shot. I also have a Mickey bathroom, my bedroom is princesses and villains and there are numerous other thing spread throughout the house. If it wasn't so cool, it would be just sad! I'm what one would call an "organized hoarder"! A hoarder with OCD might be better?

But anyhoo...just because I shop like a total maniac, doesn't mean you have to too! Donald merchandise is rare, so I buy it up like crazy! Even Aurora merch is limited. I always choose the least liked characters, I guess! And yes, everytime you exit a ride, you are pretty much gonna exit through a gift shop, but hey, if it wasn't that way, then when you left Mickey's Philharmagic (which should be called Donald's Philharmagic, BTW), there wouldn't be a completely Donald themed gift shop, so there you go! Here's a pic of it:

Oh, and before you ask, no, there is nothing I won't take a picture of in WDW. Don't believe me? One of my favorite tile designs, can you guess where it's at?
Did you guess? It's the bathroom outside of Lights Motor Action at the end of Streets Of America in the Disney Hollywood Studios! Yep, that's right folks, a bathroom! But hey, it's a rarely used bathroom, so good tip there!

As another side note, our favorite thing to take pictures of? People that dress like total idiots! So be careful what you wear to Disney, or you just might end up in our collection! You'd be surprised what people will wear in public! Off topic again, I know!

Let me just shut up here because I have pics to work on, but in conclusion, I don't get the non-getters of Disney. I think it says a lot about a person's character if Disney doesn't affect you. If it can take a closed off person like me and open me up, even if only for a little while, than what kind of person must they be that have no reaction whatsoever? I know people who have been and didn't like it, and I do group them into two categories: those who didn't plan but could have a good time; and those who are hopeless. The hopeless people I stay away from because, like I said, it says a lot about their character, at least from my point of view. They have a distinct type of aura anyway and I can tell those people from a mile off. They wouldn't be the type I would associate with anyway. I'm an excellent judge of character (a few notable exceptions excluding) and Disney is definitely a good measure of character!

I've helped a lot of people plan their Disney trips and I'm always surprised when people first tell me that they are going to WDW and ask me questions, how little they know, and would not have known had they not have asked me! I do tend to overwhelm them at first, but once I load them up with the necessary tools, I haven't had one unsatisfied customer yet!

My Disney motto is: "If you have a bad time at Walt Disney World, it's your fault, not theirs!". It's one I stand by!

Soapbox dismount!


Vickie said...

TOTALLY AGREE!!!! I have helped so many people plan their Disney trip that it isn't even funny!!! I am known as the Disney Queen at my school.
Love your Donald room!! It is just awesome!!

Keebles said...

I'm known as the Disney girl by the tech reps and a few others that come thru the lab! They don't know my name, but it's "hey Disney!" or if they are talking about me it's, "you know, the Disney girl", and what's worse is everyone knows who they are talking about!

Thanks for the comments on Duck Central (think that ought to be it's new name!). I've got some software for cataloging collectibles, but after spending a month doing it and I only did one wall of my bedroom, I gave up! It would take me years! Most of it isn't worth bumpkiss though, which is good from a burglary standpoint, it's all sentimental. I figure once the burglars got a good look around at all the Disney stuff and books, they would probably walk back out anyway... crazy lady lives here nothing to steal! Plus, I'm a fan boy's nightmare! I like to buy NIB just so I can take it out of it's box!

Abbybeth said...

You are spot on with your Disney-people/non-Disney-people observations. I love Duck Central!

My favorite character is Belle and she's not always on merch either - at least not by herself. I try to snap up BATB stuff when I can, particularly if it's on the nicer/more sophisticated end. I was able to get a beautiful wood jewelry box from Disney Movie Rewards with a tile on the top that was an image from the stained glass window at the close of the movie - I wish there would be more stuff like that!

Keebles said...

Abby - that's so funny! I dont' have the box from DMR, but I got the one from DMC! I did get the Sleeping Beauty and Snow White ones from DMR though and I'm trying to get the Rapunzel one, but I have so many Disney movies, It's getting harder and harder to get reward points!

Mangogirl said...

I have some stuff I bought at disneyland the last time I went there but I wish that I had bought more. I was too young and had to fit it in my suitcase to fly it home.