So the family just got back from Disney World. Maybe you knew we were going. Maybe you didn't. If you did know, though, I can assure you it wasn't because of any Facebook status updates or Twitter "tweets" while we were there. That's because there weren't any. I was under strict orders to refrain from referring to our trip in the world of social media. This is probably because my neurotic tendency to do so annoys my wife. It may also be because of her fear that making reference to our family vacation on Facebook and Twitter lets any yahoo with an internet connection (read: potential burglar) know we are not at our home. I'm going to assume it's a little of both.
So I swore off Facebook and Twitter for a week. I know some of you think this was a hard thing for me to do. But seriously - this is Disney World we're talking about! I went a few times when my brother and I were kids; and the wife and I have been dreaming about letting our own kids in on the fun. So I really didn't miss Facebook/Twitter at all. Okay, maybe a little. But only a little.
Anyway, now that we're back into the groove of life at home, I feel the need to re-engage. And so I present to you our trip to Walt Disney World in tweets - the good, the better, and the really good. This is close to what I would've actually tweeted when I was there, if I had been permitted to do so:***************
DAY ONE - TRAVEL DAY
Sunday, May 2, 2010, 1:07 pm - the Lindsley family departs for Charlotte airport and Disney World, whoo-hoo!
1:17pm - wife has forgotten our resort passes and itinerary. We go back home to get them.
Younger throws up in the car before we leave Mount Airy. He's prone to car-sickness. His shorts are unsalvageable. We've got extras.
On the plane. I'm sitting with Younger. He is WAY excited. Practically levitating out of his seat! First flight for the boys. Lots of firsts coming this week.
Ah, terra firma! We land in Orlando. Pilot tells us its 90 degrees & humid. I'm loving it already.
On the Disney Magical Express Bus in airport, driver says over PA that you could fit entire Disneyland theme park in Disney World parking lot. Wow.
We arrive at Wilderness Lodge. Unbelievable! Think Robinson Crusoe's tree house on major steroids. Not very Disney, I know, but still...
Love how the staff at Wilderness Lodge (and I imagine all over Disney) are called "cast members"
Our room is like any ordinary hotel room. Except for the Mickey Mouse ears on the bed w/the boys' names stitched in. And the voice mail from Goofy welcoming the first-timers.
I'd really like a beer, but I just can't bring myself to buy one Bud Light for $5.25. ONE.
We take a stroll to check out the place and go back to the room. Lights out at 11:30. The boys don't put up a fight; fatigue has won out over excitement.
DAY TWO - MAGIC KINGDOM
The Wilderness Lodge lives up to its name - while we were getting ready this morning, a crow flies in our room off the back porch & grabs a bite of pop-tart.
Hello, Magic Kingdom. It's been 30+ years. Good to see you again.
First stop - The Haunted Mansion. Brought back memories. About halfway through Younger sheepishly asks, "is it almost over?"
Space Mountain. Wow. Line wasn't long. Elder rode in front. Both boys did great. I still remember this at 8 years old or so. Thankfully, breakfast is still in our stomachs.
Still see doors marked "Cast Members Only" instead of "Staff." Walt Disney ingenuity at its finest.
When I was a kid the castle seemed friggin' huge. You know what? It still does.
Lunch was the most efficient serving of chicken nuggets & fries to hundreds of people at a time that I've ever seen.
WHAT?!? No more Mr. Toad's Wild Ride??? You gotta be kidding me! I feel like I've been cheated out of a childhood memory.
Me to Elder: "Your Mom & I have always wanted to take you guys to Disney World." Elder to me: "Yeah, cause you all are nice that way."
I feel like I've sweated off about ten pounds today. HOT.
Every inch of this park has a specific purpose, mapped out, unwasted. There is no dead space. Amazing.
Dinner at the Crystal Palace, buffet-style. Spoon cornbread is to die for. Boys got autographs, pics & hugs from Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore & Tigger.
It's 7:50 and we're reserving a spot on Main Street for the parade because everyone else is. Know what time the parade starts? Over an hour from now.
Parade was fun, but not the same as I remember. Oh well. Too wiped out to care. We head back to our boat to the Lodge. Great first day!
DAY THREE - EPCOT
We start the day with a boat to the Contemporary and then the Monorail to Epcot. Reliving childhood!
Now waiting in a very long line for pics & autographs with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy & Donald Duck. Worth every second. #characterscore
After Circle Of Life Environmental program, elder turns to me and says, "Everyone should see this." Words of wisdom from a 7-year old.
I've never seen so many parked strollers before. I mean, they're everywhere. There can't be that many kids here, can there?
Lunch at the Coral Reef Restaurant. Some of the best salmon I've ever had. The walls are huge fish tanks. There are sand sharks swimming by. My foot twitches.
Just did Mission: Space. Awesome simulation ride to Mars. Always wanted to be an astronaut.
Beatles cover band in Epcot's England playing "From Me to You." They've got it all down, including the head bop and Paul's left-handed Hofner bass.
The monorail that keeps coming through the park is all decked out with "Tron: Legacy." These folks don't miss a chance to promo a new Disney flick, do they?
All these countries & their great food, & we're eating chicken nuggets at Liberty Inn in America. This is called "Epcot dinner with schoolaged-kids"
Walking back to the Monorail. Great day at Epcot, although I seriously feel like I've walked through all the actual countries.
Pool time at the Lodge! Elder's been talking about the slide since the first night we got here.
DAY FOUR - HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
At breakfast there was a "cast member" & all he did was walk around & recognize folks with anniversaries & b-days. Continue to be amazed by people who work here.
Whoa. Wife is actually drinking coffee. She only does this when she's really tired.
Boys are getting ready to fight Darth Maul at Star Wars Jedi training academy. Definitely one of those "live-vicariously-through-your-kids" moments. #seriouslyenvious
I am now the proud parent of two young Jedis, having been properly trained at Hollywood Studio's Star Wars academy. May the force be with them. And us.
"Honey I Shrunk the Kids" playground came very close to turning turned into, "Honey I LOST the kids." Seriously. Scariest attraction by far. Seriously.
An attraction was closed, but rather than have a sign out front there was a real live "cast member" to relay the news. So impressed with the Disney Way.
Love the fact that the random street rock band is totally wireless & has in-ear monitors. And that Younger got to play air guitar w/them.
Lunch today in a makeshift 50's drive-in theater where we eat in classic-style cars entertained by cheesy black & white sci-fi flicks. Freakin' amazing.
Pixar's Block party parade. So incredibly choreographed. And colorful. With trampolines.
American Idol Experience was much enjoyed by Elder. As with so much in life, I'm doing it for the kids.
Another thing I'm amazed about - the way Disney uses sound. Speakers hidden everywhere constantly playing music, transitioning you from one venue to another. Everything is a production.
If there's a gift shop, there must be an attraction nearby. It's a certainty, like gravity.
I like the Narnia movies, but the 10 minutes I spent at the Prince Caspian "journey" are 10 minutes of my life I'll never get back.
Fastpasses freakin' rock. A 100-minute wait for the Toy Story ride becomes just 5.
Dinner at Pizza Planet. Just like the movie. And yes, they have the Claw #ivebeenchosen
Boys are getting their own light sabers made. Both double red. We're in trouble.
DAY FIVE - ANIMAL KINGDOM
Man. Is it 7am already?
First order of business today at Animal Kingdom - an African safari! Very cool. Two rhinos crossed the road in front of us.
Kali River Rapids ride = my second shower of the day. And we didn't get it half as bad as the two teenage girls in front of us.
Here's another Disney observation - if a real human voice can speak it, like something scripted on a ride, they do. Very little recorded voice.
Looking at a bunch of snakes & other amphibians. After each one, Younger always says "Wow!" Every time.
Here's the hard-core truth: the gift shops are not following the attractions, the gift shops ARE the attractions.
Cutting out of the park a little early. Four solid days are catching up to us. A short rest and then a character barbecue tonight.
Our first rain of the week. It didn't hit until we were back in our room. Couldn't have planned it better.
Watching a duck swim in the swimming pool while it rains.
Oops. Took the wrong bus to Mickey's BBQ & wound up walking a mile or so in light rain, only to catch another bus #lifeslittleadventures
FINALLY, a beer! It's included in the meal ;-)
Country Western band was doing well but lost me when they kicked into Kid Rock's "Sweet Home Alabama." Not entirely kid-appropriate. Plus the song sucks.
Character dance. So hilarious seeing parents shove their kids on the dance floor with Mickey. Not sure who's more excited.
Had to go up to the front of the stage b/c Elder wanted to see drummer up close to check out his set. #thatsmyboy
Walked back to the Lodge on a trail that was supposedly lit. It wasn't. Another accidental adventure!
DAY SIX - MAGIC KINGDOM REVISITED
We begin our last full day at Disney with breakfast at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary. Tasty buffet. And all the coffee we want.
Autograph & pics with Daisy Duck on our entry to Magic Kingdom completes our characters. Now waiting in ride for Flying Dumbo.
Just went on "It's a Small World." Classic ride. Song is sufficiently drilled in my head now.
We did Splash Mountain again, this time as a family affair. Younger asked me to "hold him tighter" multiple times.
Haunted Mansion again. Love it.
Being the devoted family man, I set off on my own to secure the heralded FastPasses on the other side of the park. Walking around, I feel naked without my family.
Thank you, Walt, for sticking the Mad Tea Party ride in a semi-hidden location. Don't know that my lunch would've survived that.
Tom Sawyer Island is the most un-crowded part of the park. I'm enjoying this.
Wife called an audible & we went to Country Bear Jamboree. I remember bits & pieces of this from way back when. Younger couldn't stop laughing.
Splash Mountain AGAIN! This makes three times. Younger & I are in front row. We'll get soaked!!
Trying to leave park. We are in gift shop hell. We may never get out.
We got out. Nice dinner at the lodge and then a quick swim in the pool. This time Younger went down the water slide. Big deal for him and for Dad.
DAY SEVEN - HOMEWARD BOUND
Last day! Flight is not until 5pm, so we're gonna hang out at the Lodge. Not sure what we'll do...
Cast members, a.k.a. "staff," are so cordial. Everyone, from hotel to guy picking up trash. They make you wanna be nice. Can someone send Congress down here??
Packing up the raincoat I didn't have to use all week.
With time to kill, we hop on the boat to the Contemporary hotel to check out - you guessed it - a gift shop.
Back at the lodge to......wait some more. Lunch in a bit. Looks like everybody either arrives or leaves on Saturday.
We've successfully killed five hours. Now boarding the bus to the airport.
As we head back home it's weird thinking I've still got eleven weeks left until I really return to the "real world" #sabbatical
Re-entry observation #1: walking around airport w/lots of people feels like Disney World with one exception - not as many people smiling.
Re-entry observation #2: There's a long line at the airport Starbucks. Sure wish I could get a FastPass for this...
Re-entry observation #3: If I see an obvious Disney family in the airport concourse, I feel like I know them, even though I don't.
Re-entry observation #4: Back in Charlotte, I am having to consciously remember how to drive a car.
We arrive home to a laundry room full of smeared cat poo. Takes us an hour to clean it. I have to give the cat a bath. Welcome home!