Back to my childhood with Mickey Mouse

2 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 2
Orlando, Fla
Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Getting off the monorail and setting foot into Magic Kingdom immediately put me in a childlike euphoria. I hadn’t been to Disney World since I was eight, 12 years ago. I could not believe how much time had passed. The minute my friends and I walked through the turnstile a smile appeared on our faces that remained for the rest of the day.

The first ride that came to my mind was Space Mountain. I ran to the ride to discover an amazing Disney addition since my 1990 visit, a program called “Fast Pass” designed for patrons to avoid lines and allow them to go on other rides in the meantime. I placed my Magic Kingdom ticket into the machine and out popped a pass that allotted an hour time slot to go on the ride without waiting. We ventured over to the Grand Prix Race Cars.

I remember driving on this ride with my dad as a child and actually thinking I was really driving. This time I knew I wasn’t, but it didn’t mean I was good at it either. By the time I got the hang of the steering the ride was over. Despite the sign that read don’t bump other cars my friend behind me kept hitting me every chance he got.

Whip lashed, I got out of the car. We headed back to Space Mountain where we flaunted our passes and proceeded to the front of the line. When I was within sight where we would get on, the lights went on and the ride stopped for what they told us were “technical difficulties.”

After about 20 minutes the ride started up again and I cautiously got into the roller coaster. The room was so dark it added to my scare factor because I kept thinking I would hit my head on a bar, but luckily I didn’t.

We walked into the light and strolled to Frontierland to get a fast pass for Splash Mountain and then headed over to Thunder Moutain. Although the rush of Thunder Mountain was not as solid as Six Flag’s Batman and Robin, I enjoyed it for the Disney ride it was.

Despite some rides breaking down for a short period of time the magic of Disney prevailed. The next thing on my agenda was meeting the characters. We tried to find a restaurant where we could dine with Donald Duck and Pluto, but unfortunately they were all booked. We set off to Mickey’s Toontown Fair to find characters. On the way we saw Mary Poppins. The line was too long to take a picture with her; yes, you have to wait in line to get an autograph or take a picture with a character, but standing next to her was a penguin.

At first Billy Madison came to mind, but then I thought that’s not Disney; I didn’t know where he fit. We took a picture with him anyway and as we were walking away we were discussing which Disney movie he came from. He poked me in the back and pointed to Ms. Poppins and I asked him, “which scene?” He started dancing. Now I remembered, the scene in the Park where she dances with Dick Van Dyke.

When we got to Toontown the line for Goofy was absurd, and we needed grab dinner before our time for Splash Mountain.

On my way back to Frontierland I snapped a quick photo with Captain Hook, but he got feisty when I tried to put my arms around him.

“This is Disney,” I thought, even the evil characters should be nice. I guess he’s not an affectionate guy or maybe he was too into his role-playing. Before heading over to the Splash Mountain, I stopped at Cinderella’s Castle for Disney’s firework show with a huge performance including most of characters. And when Cinderella’s fairy godmother tried to save the day in their skit, she asked the crowd to complete her spell . “Bibbity Bobbity . ” We all screamed out “BOO!”

We met up with the rest of the group at Splash Mountain and proceeded to the front of the line again. I hopped into the front of the log flume hoping for a big tummy funny. The ride was on the trippy side with lots of bears and animals swinging from trees dodging alligators, foxes chasing hares and right before the drop a fox had a hare tied up with obvious intention to kill. The huge drop left me absolutely drenched. More wet than anyone else, I wished I had not chosen the front.

Now that it was dark, it was time for the haunted house. Even with this being Disney, I expected a huge fright because as a child, it scared the crap out of me. Even the map warned this ride could be too scary for children and adults. The haunted ride was fun, but didn’t give me the spook I was expecting. I guess I may have matured a bit since third grade.

Stopping in shops along the way to buy Disney memorabilia for friends at home I headed toward “It’s a Small World,” which no Disney trip is complete without. I stepped into the boat while memories of my family filled my head. I looked at my friends laughing hysterically at the puppets from different parts of the world. As we boated on we saw models of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Taj Mahal and puppets swinging from parachutes. I can’t imagine the creators of this ride or Splash Mountain were sober when designing it.

It was approaching 8 p.m. and I went on the last ride for the day, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It was another cute ride with interesting visuals of was Snow White in the dwarves’ house and the witch feeding her the poisonous apple. My time in the happiest place on earth was up so I followed the huge crowd of Disney fans leaving the park. I said goodbye to Minnie and Mickey and told them I might be back again in 12 years.

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