Living in Florida, a mere 2.5 hours away from Orlando to be exact, I have been to Walt Disney World too many times to count in my little life. From birthday excursions to French field trips and more, a day at the “happiest place on Earth” can be just what the hypothetical doctor ordered. Of course over all of the trips and memories, the last two adventures are the ones worth mentioning.
Most every high school senior applying for college has some idea of what the fall and winter of their final year has in store for them. That is a lot of, hopefully, acceptance letters, but in reality, there will be some rejections and deferrals mixed in as well. My mom, boyfriend, and I had all planned to go to Disney for my 18th birthday. Unfortunately, around the time we were supposed to leave I was a mess of nerves waiting for what I hoped would be my third acceptance to my then top choice college. However, the college had not specified exactly when the decisions would be released, but the release dates from past years were available on their website so I had some clue. We knew that I might get the email, but we all figured if I didn’t get in there was no better place to cheer yourself up than Disney World. So we went.
I got the rejection email 20 minutes away from the hotel and park. I could sugar coat it and say that it wasn’t that bad, but no matter what anyone says, in the moment, rejection sucks. There is no way around it, but with every rejection there is a silver lining: another door opens. I know that sounds über cliche, and of course, at that moment I didn’t want anyone to tell me that it was for the best. I wanted to cry, go and eat sweets at the park, and see fireworks.That is exactly what we did, and it helped. A lot. Needless to say, it was most certainly one of the more memorable trips.
The other trip to Orlando that is worth mentioning is the one I just returned from this weekend. One of my best friends, her mother, and myself all went for a day to have one full day of fun before things got way too hectic and I needed to legitimately start packing (…. I am yet to start properly packing). While it was all fun, as it turns out, the best stories come from when things either don’t go as planned or something goes comically wrong. Well, pretty much everything went as planned until we used one of our two fastpasses. If you are unfamiliar, fastpasses are limited free reservations that you can make that allow you to pick a time in which you can go to two rides of your choice and skip the line almost completely. Our fastpass was for Pirates of the Caribbean, a water ride with singing pirates, a couple of drops, and a handful of animatronic Johnny Depp cameos. Rides can stop pretty frequently for a couple of minutes at Disney, but normally you’re moving again within a time span of about 5 minutes. Never have I ever been stuck on a ride for more than fifteen.
There is always an exception. We were on Pirates of the Caribbean for approximately an hour. Let me tell you that yes, the theme songs are fun and catchy, but after thirty minutes of the same chorus over and over again, we were pretty sick of it. You can only hear the phrase “Yo Ho!” so many times before you legitimately want to jump ship. Eventually, they did turn all the lights on in the ride and silenced the music. Although, even with the music turned off the animatronics still go through their carefully choreographed motions so their mouths continued to move without any sound… which was the slightest bit creepy if you happened to look at them for too long.
The real fun was the evacuation. Again, I had never been stuck on anything for longer then maybe fifteen minutes let alone going through with an evacuation. They sent in crew members to assist everyone stuck in the boats, but because it was a water ride they had to wear the funniest looking waders, which were essentially waterproof overalls. The man in the waders had to pull the boats back one by one to the designated exit areas. After another twenty minutes we found ourselves walking through the back lots of Disney past pirate boats that were under construction and parade staging areas. It was like an entirely different side of the theme park that you would never really think about. It took a good couple of minutes for us to reach the entrance point back into the actual park, but before we could cross back to the other side, we were given free waters, Mickey-shaped ice cream bars, and an additional 6 fastpasses for whatever times and rides we wanted.
All in all it was a very entertaining day. Sometimes a day at Disney is exactly what you need, and other times a glitch in the plans just makes the day that much better and more memorable.
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
– Walt Disney