I have returned from an exhausting, but incredibly enjoyable, spring break vacation with my family.
My oldest daughter is in the marching band at her high school (head drum major, actually). Each year the band makes an end of the year trip somewhere to march in a parade and have some fun. Every four years they go to Florida to march in the end of the day parade at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. This takes place just before Disney’s Electrical Parade comes through and marks the end of the park’s day. This was the year for the Disney trip so my wife and I volunteered to be chaperones for the band and, along with my youngest daughter, made the trip via charter bus from Central Texas to Florida.
We left on Friday 3/9 at about 10:00 a.m. We drove all through the day and night and arrived at Disney’s Epcot Center Saturday morning. We went straight into the park with no stop at the hotel, unpacking, rest, etc. We closed the park down that night before finally checking into our hotel. We slept for about 5 hours and were up and on our way to the Magic Kingdom. We spent the day in the park before the kids dressed up in their uniforms and marched in the parade. The parade started near the entrance and came right down Main Street to finish up at Cinderella’s castle. It was extremely cool to see my little girl leading a band of 214 kids down the middle of Disney World. Pretty proud Papa, to say the least. After that, it was back to the hotel for a few hours of rest before getting up and hitting Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios the next day. We split the day between these two parks. I really would have liked to have stayed at the Animal Kingdom park longer but it was not to be on this trip. We finished up the tour of parks by spending the next day at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. We stayed until the park closed at 9:00 p.m. and boarded the buses and headed home. We drove 22 straight hours and arrived home about 7:00 p.m. For those of you counting, that is 5 parks in 4 days. Obviously, it was a trip meant for the young.
One of the highlights of the trip for this crypto-nerd was the Expedition Everest roller-coaster in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The ride’s theme is firmly centered around the yeti legend. The area around the “mountain” is created to look like a Himalayan village. While waiting in line you are treated to several glass cases featuring copies (I guess they are copies) of yeti artifacts. Track cast reproductions, photos, hair samples, etc. are featured prominently. There is even a small yeti museum you can tour on the way out after finishing the ride. The ride itself starts with a yeti roar and a menacing silhouette that darts across the wall in front of you as you begin to make the ascent up the mountain. The ride is a fairly typical coaster until it comes to the highest point on the mountain. The track abruptly ends there and just for a moment you have the illusion that you are about to fly off the mountain into space. What is really cool is that the coaster briefly stops there and you see the track has been “ripped up” by the yeti. The footprints in the “snow” tell the whole story. The coaster then goes into reverse briefly before you resume your journey down the mountain. The yeti himself menaces the coaster riders at the very end of the ride as you make the steepest drop. You have to look quick, however, as, just like real-life sightings, you only get a quick glance of the beast before the moment is gone. I rode the ride twice and totally missed the yeti the first time.
The last couple of days have been spent catching up on much needed sleep.
It was a great time and I appreciate your humoring me by reading my vacation notes. I will stop now before this becomes something akin to having to sit and look at some obscure relative's slides of their trip to Branson. The real reason I started this post was to let you all know that my schedule should be getting back to normal shortly. This will afford me the opportunity to get back to posting regularly.
So, I’ll be back soon with something more along the lines of what you all are used to seeing here.