I finally got to get my happy butt to the original Disney property this year. It was pretty cool to see finally, especially with the Disney craze that has been this house the past few years. It got even better when I had company, who happened to be an experienced Land-goer. Honestly, Disney World is still tops for me, mostly because it’s my first Disney memories, where I’ve taken my kids…but Disneyland most definitely now holds a special place in my heart. Disneyland: Walt walked these streets. He lived in the apartment above the fire station when he did. He mingled with guests. His light is still on, always on, to show that he’s there. Always there. Disney World: Walt inspired the concept of the parks, he was in the minds of the designers, and remains so, as they expand and change. He never walked the streets, he unfortunately passed away before it was built. Disneyland: California Adventure Park. Once a bit of an embarrassment, it is pretty awesome these days. (Let’s just not talk about what they did to the Tower of Terror, ‘kay?). Cars land was really neat to see, as immersive as Hogsmeade at Universal…so, so cool. I spent a bit of time in Cars Land. The pier with the fair themed games and rides really made me happy. I loved every ride I went on here, pretty much. Disney World: Epcot. Animal Kingdom. Hollywood Studios. Three parks to one. It’s sort of tough to beat. I have always been a huge fan of Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. Not so much Animal Kingdom, but it hasn’t really managed to get a good, thorough visitation from me for many reasons. Although, Mt. Everest is way, way at the top of my favorite rides. We’ll talk about the construction downsides soon. Disneyland Magic Kingdom: Cramped. Nostalgic, yes…but cramped. Dead ends everywhere. Weird rides bundled together in a loosely-tied theming…just to keep ‘up to date’. Really liked my guided tour with my buddy learning the facts and one word: Matterhorn. I don’t know, it just felt like a cramped mishmash. I did really enjoy going on several classic rides and the Matterhorn, though. Single Rider is a lifesaver there, though. Do it, even if you’re in a group. You’ll save a TON of time. Disney World Magic Kingdom: More open, less confusing, and really, I just prefer it, even if they don’t have the Matterhorn. 😉 The lands make more sense with the theme tie-ins, and the rides feel like they haven’t been shoved in because there’s no room to grow. Downtown Disney vs. Disney Springs: No comparison. Disney Springs (although at times seems too big) wins. The end. Construction in the midst of magic: We all know Disney has to innovate. I was fortunate enough to not see too much construction in Disneyland (I didn’t approach the SW or GotG construction areas), but scuttlebutt going around is there is about to be some pretty hefty work going down in DCA in 2018. Disney World has been overrun with construction. Last time I went I didn’t even venture into Hollywood Studios but for about two hours to do Star Tours and have lunch because there was so much closed. In the coming years, Epcot will be seeing a ton as well. Although, that needs it…but still. It’s a lot. A lot, a lot. Clearly, going as an adult has its downside. You’re an adult and you notice these things. My kids? Not so much. Still, I love both parks in their own way. I can now say I’ve been to Disneyland, enjoyed myself, and it will hold a special place in my heart. I’m not in a huge rush to return, though. Disney World, on the other hand…I’m going later this month, and I just went in September…so, I think it’s still a winner, winner chicken dinner in my book. Read more »
Around 18 years ago, I was a young single mom. I worked, I cared for my kid, I had no social life. Right around that time I got into the internet. And I mean OG internet. AOL login and chat. Old school all the way. At the time I happened to also be obsessed with the musical CATS. Seriously. I went and saw it about 11 times on Broadway before it closed when I lived in Maryland for a couple of years. Those two things came together, and I found myself on a forum for musical lovers (musicals.net I think it’s still there, maybe?), and in their CATs forum some of the actors participated (how I got to meet them), and many, many fans. There were even a couple of RPG’s (yup) that I was involved in. In this crazy world, I found Heather. We met in an RPG, and on the forums. She was funny, a little bit bonkers, a lot dramatic, and we formed an instant friendship. Our characters interacted in the RPG, we talked on the forum, and then we began to chat outside of the forum. We talked on the phone, sent actual letters in the mail (I know, RIGHT?). We never met. A few years later, I had moved, she had moved, I was being stubborn about not joining Facebook (seriously, I held off for YEARS). We sort of lost touch, but I was always aware in the periphery. We’d find each other on twitter, or through email and a general “how are you?” type of communication. Then I finally joined Facebook and we reconnected…again, on a periphery. Every time we’d chat it would be like no time had passed at all. She went on grand adventures. Moved to NYC to try her hand at Broadway. Appeared in movies (she can be seen in Bedtime Stories). Worked on cruise ships, Moved to Australia to be a nanny. I became a wife. I became a mom (again. and again). Then, finally, this year I managed to find my way to Anaheim for the first time ever, right near where she happened to live. I knew this well in advance of it happening (like over a year) and started nudging her that we needed to FINALLY meet. So, after 18 years we finally met. In person. It was so amazing. Turns out that despite our age difference (did I mention we’re like 8 years apart?), we had a ton in common. We met at Disneyland, because that is what you do when you’re in Anaheim with free passes, and pretty much everyone in SoCal has annual passes (seriously. I’ve never been asked so often if I was an annual passholder on any other Disney trip. It IS a thing…but I’m digressing here. Waiting nearly 20 years after our first online meeting meant that when we met, we could drink. At Disney. Drink. Sure, I mean, we’re not animals. Our morning was spent riding rides, walking around the park while she told me some really cool facts and history about different parts of the park. We found out that we are basically the same person leading two crazily different lives. She told me about the TV show she’d been working on (which I’ve now seen..it’s The Orville, BTW. She’s one of the medical officers, an alien. I’ve seen her. Several times. Yup.). About her auditions at Universal (which she got hired for). We talked for hours, walked the parks, rode favorite rides like Pirates and Haunted Mansion. The conversation never slowed or felt awkward. I swear, it felt like we’d just seen each other last week, when we’d never met ever. Then, she knew “just the right place” to head…Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. We found something we didn’t have in common…liquor. I like the fruity stuff (like the Piranha Pool shown above)…she goes for the kick you in the balls hard liquor. Still, that didn’t stop us from ponying right up to that bar and chatting away, downing several drinks before we went back to the parks and spent the rest of the day. It’s funny…once upon a time, Erik used to call the people I knew on the internet my “fake friends”. He didn’t get it. He didn’t understand how I could form a bond with people like you, who I interacted with. Even thought I’d met several in person. Had them come to my house, be in my wedding, I’d gone on trips with them to NYC, to Florida. One of them (a former Cats cast member) worked at Disney World and went with me to an audition…for Cats (as moral support, not to audition himself). Now, I didn’t connect with everyone this way…but people like Heather? I’ll definitely meet them when I can. They are real. You are real. And though the connection may start out virtual…sometimes you just know…and when you meet, you know instantly why you knew. Read more »
by Sarah CassMulti-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.
Florida. Sun. Sand. Palm Trees. Oh, and those little places called Disney & Universal. My son is down there now, and I have every intention of packing up to follow him as soon as is possible. (Unfortunately I’m no longer 19 and packing up to take off is a bit more complicated than it was for him). Now, before you go saying, “it’s your vacations that make it so relaxing.” It’s not about that. It’s about a sensation. An instinct. I’ve been there for other purposes. I’ve worked my ass off there for a week & never saw a single vacation destination. Never saw anything beyond the convention center. I still felt it. Recently Erik and I got to go down for his 50th birthday (for my 40th we took a trip around the state & visited a haunted spot. He got to drink around the world for 50 😉 ). We got to spend some time with our son after not seeing him for six months. Within minutes of seeing him, he was already annoying us with his antics, his puns, and snark. I loved every annoying minute. He planned surprises for hubby. He planned out our perfect spot for the fireworks shows. He showed us where he lived, where he worked, and in general spent a lot of time with us. It was fabulous. Erik and I got to lay out in the sun. Go on a date. Relax. Talk about moving. Or not. When, or how. Enjoy the sun. Enjoy the parks. Discuss our next trip. Next time we go back will be at Christmas. This trip will be about a lot more than Disney. Of course, we will go for a couple of days…but we’ll do more. We’re going to take the girls to see more of Florida. Take Erik to see more of Florida. Because there’s more to life than the theme parks (though they are awesome). And if I ever hope to move there, I want to see it all. Read more »