Been a bit quiet on here for a while but there’s a lot of backfilling necessary so I’ll start in Florida and work backwards to Tenerife and throw in a couple of walks on the North Yorkshire Moors with the Team!
Today, we don’t have a plan! Well nearly. There is an imperative to go to Denny’s who are renowned for cheep and substantial breakfasts and that’s about as much as is necessary on the first day of a three week holiday.
It’s blue skies but a little chilly as we leave the car and the two superheroes are quick to get into the building. It’s not the cold of course, they’re checking the place for marauding bad guys. Red Skull and Dr. Doom have been reported in these parts and Dennys Cafe needs ‘cleaning’ by a pair of professionals.
Rainbow Six has nothing on these guys and within a heartbeat we’re safely seated and ready for a Dennys breakfast apiece. I’m picking and choosing to ensure that what I end up with is savoury. The Yanks have a tendency to put honey, sugar, maple syrup or anything else that is sweet on their bacon whilst I prefer it as it comes and cooked to a degree where, when bitten, the other occupants of the room suffer from shrapnel wounds – I do like it crispy!
We leave half an hour later with the two excited superheroes and a plan. We go to Magic Kingdom until early afternoon then return to the villa for some pool work and a bit of climbing practice for BatZak and SuperHarry who need to keep their skills honed to protect us through the rest of this holiday.
The parks are only 20 minutes from the villa so we can come and go at will although the carpark charges are eye-watering at $22 (on top of your park ticket price). They do cover you for the day and you can come and go as you please. Anyone who comes here needs to budget for these charges, if you’re here for 10 days it’s an extra $220 (£200).
We’re picked up in Princess Mulan car park and the guy on the road train goes into repeat mode telling us that this is our stop and that we MUST remember it and looking around, it’s easy to see why, the car parks stretch in every direction as far as we can see. They’re delineated by drainage channels and exotic palms and other sub-tropical plants so it’s not all tarmac but there really is a lot of car park and I look around to see people typing the details into their mobile phones and tattooing the details onto their children’s forehead’s.
We’re dropped off at the security station where anyone with a bag has to ‘stand in line’ to have it searched. If you’re in a group you’re also encouraged to give all the bags to a single person and the rest of the group should walk through the scanner and wait on the other side. It all sounds very scary and obtrusive but it’s not. All of the staff are in good spirit and we’re moved along with jokes and smiles aplenty.
At the other side we go into serious mode, but it’s only for a short time.
We explain to the superheroes that if they get lost they must approach only the people dressed in the Disney uniform and point to some of them to illustrate then Vicky come up with the best idea of all and I suggest that if you’re going into the parks or any other crowded, unfamiliar places adopt her wonderfully simple advice…
“Write your mobile phone number on each of your superheroes arms”
We’re through security but not yet in the park but the fun has already begun. We can go by monorail or by steamboat. Sadly, they’re not driven by steam anymore but they are tremendous replicas. We opt for the monorail in and the boat back out but that’ll be later.
The monorail journey teases us with glimpses of the Magic Kingdom and the lake where the boats are transporting the other groups of people that have opted for the ‘sea’ route.
We’re at the gates now and all that is necessary is to offer our entry cards to the reader and press our finger on the pad to register our fingerprint.
We’re on Main Street, USA with Cinderella’s Castle in the distance. It’s iconic; anyone seeing this sight will recognise where it is even if they’ve never been here. The weather has warmed up and the blue skies and sunshine coupled with cartoon characters and 19th century costumed people create a surreal fantasy as we make our way through the comfortably busy Main Street to the ‘Circular’ Square that is the epicentre of the park. It’s directly in front of Cinderella’s Castle and enables direct access to Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantacyland and Adventureland.
We head for Tomorrowland and a gentle introduction for the Superheroes to The People Mover. This is not the most exciting ride but it does allow a bit of orientation to take place as you’re transported above the park where the Superheroes spot the go-cart cars and decide that they’d like to go on them. They’re leaning against an open door on this one as their mum remembers this from her visit to the park many moons ago when she was a child.
We leave the People Mover and walk towards Space Mountain where the intention is to ensure that the littlest Superhero will be allowed on when we exercise our ‘fast pass’ later in the week; however, on the way, we pass the Astro Orbiter. Now you must accept that any superhero of substance is going to need to go ‘galactic’ and, after a brief check on the littlest superhero’s height (positive result) they’re in the queue.
A little while later following their interplanetary experience around the solar system they return via an elevator with smiles that would power the national grid.
We go to check BatZak will be allowed to go on Space Mountain without being stretched. It’s another positive result and the rack is returned to the dungeon, the smiles are even broader.
The cars are next on the list and the superheroes mum is beside herself as she recalls her first adventure here many moons ago. The queue is significant but it’s possible to see the cars as we zig and zag along to the loading ramp where six cars at a time stop and swap occupants.
These cars are interesting in as much as they’re powered by small single cylinder motors that stink of exhaust fumes and make a noise such that it fakes a sensation of speed that is all but real. There is no link between the steering wheel and the front wheels as the steerage is totally through a track that the car follows slavishly. The occupants don’t feel cheated; however, and they turn the wheel left and right in response to what they’re seeing regardless of the fact that the car is doing its own thing and the children are ecstatic.
The accelerator of the car is quite interesting. If you put your foot on it the engine revs up and the clutch grabs. There is no subtlety, the signs say that if you have neck issues then this ride is not for you. There is no brake as such. When you take your foot off the accelerator the car stops like you’ve just hit a brick wall and a small putty knife is activated to scrape you off the dash of the car and everyone loves it.
There’s only one lap but it’s a good one and it’s entertaining as we approach the ‘pits’. There’s a mass of people taking their foot off the accelerator and numerous people armed with cameras on the bridge capturing the result. Not everyone ends up with a bloody nose and we reestablish contact with solid ground ready for the next adventure.
A Wonderful Outdoor Disco with Special People
As we make our way to The Magic Carpets of Aladdin we happen on a disco; however, this one is a Disney Disco with Goofy, Minnie, The Big Bad Wolfe and numerous other characters on floats with more people in character together with brave young men and women on fifteen-foot high stilts.
My Dad once made me some stilts and I would perform around the living room to the music of Richard Chamberlin singing “Hi Lili Hi Lili Ho Lo” and Harry Belafonte singing “This is My Island in the Sun”. These guys are twice as high and wearing hard helmets whereas I hit my head on the kitchen table quite a few times before I mastered dancing on stilts.
The memory makes me a little bit emotional and I’m tipped over the edge when I see the Superheroes waving enthusiastically to Goofy and Mini Mouse. SuperZak is sitting on his Dad’s shoulders with one hand on his forehead and BatHarry pointing, dancing and waving at all of the passing floats from his excellent clear-view position in front of the crowd.
As I look around I note that everyone is dancing to varying degrees. Some, like Lewis, with children on their shoulders. Others are free form and technically complex but all are enthusiastic and as good as John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. I’ve never been that good but what I lack in rhythm I more than make up for in enthusiasm. An impromptu performance like this, especially in the sun, no matter how contrived (I know that’s a confliction of terms in a Disney resort) is a highlight that defies description and there are several hundred people here that would concur.
I’m feeling slightly drained from this wonderful treat and the Superheroes’ Mum is also struggling with the emotions of the moment as the cavalcade makes its way into the distance and leaves us to make our way to Adventureland. Sublime!
We’re in Adventureland and almost fall over Aladdin’s little machine. It’s smooth acceleration coupled with some control over elevation with a small lever at the front of our ‘carpet’ ensures the superheroes enjoy it, it’s not a thrill-seekers ride but it’s gentle undulations are satisfying and give us the opportunity to see the facilities that surround the ride.
Onwards and upwards so to speak; we’re passing a large tree with lots of wooden stairways and a lot of tree (I mean a LOT of tree). If you’re in the parks it’s definitely worth a look but it’s not a ride; however, at the top there are some exceptional views over the park and it’s at this point that I appreciate the amount of sub-tropical vegetation and water.
It’s about two o’clock now and we make our way back to the gate to leave via the ferry over the lake. The superheroes love this and the amazing thing is that they don’t complain about leaving.
At the entrance area we’re picked up by one of the trains to take us back to Princess Mulan car park. It’s all very slick and within minutes we’re deposited within a couple of hundred metres of the car and thirty minutes later we’re back at the villa.
The rest of the day is spent in the communal pool and in the play area where there are slides and swings to ensure that superheroes can hone their swimming, diving, climbing, sliding, swinging and running skills in preparation for future encounters with Red Skull, Dr. Doom and the rest of the bad guys. As they say over here, “We got you covered!”
A great opener. Enjoy the snaps…G..x