For my 21st birthday, my friend Rose and I took a road trip from Tennessee all the way down to Disney World in Florida. Arriving late Sunday night, we tossed our things into the hotel room and rushed off to see the castle in Magic Kingdom by the light of huge spotlights situated strategically around it the stars.It was Rose’s first time at Disney World and I willingly swear that half of my excitement was for how much fun I knew she was set to have.
The universe agreed with me. The parking attendant let us into the park without the usual $15 parking fee, and soon we were in line for Space Mountain. It was a mere twenty minute wait before we sat in the front two cars of the futuristic-themed coaster.
I’ll have you know, my history with roller coasters is less hands-in-the-air screaming and more hands-clutching-the-person-next-to-me-for-dear-life screaming. You might be able to imagine the strings of words coming out of my mouth as I sat agitated yet excited in the second car. People say that you discover new things about yourself every time you leave home and a truer statement has not been spoken. One of the things that I discovered over this week plucked from paradise is that I love roller coasters. More on that later. I survived the jerking scream-fest that was Space Mountain. Little did I know, Space Mountain would feel like child’s play by the end of the week.
The usually long wait lines for popular Disney classics like Aladdin’s Carpets, Peter Pan, and Winnie the Pooh weren’t more than five brief minutes. At the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, we walked straight through the beautiful archways and cool stone to board our ship and sail through Tortuga. We dodged pirates and emerged from the ride safe but for wet socks and holding all our treasure close far from Jack Sparrow’s sticky fingers.
We got caught in the late night parade in our quest to get to the Haunted Mansion before the ride closed for the night. Unlike the people camped out along the streets who may have only seen bits and pieces of the parade, we were able to see each of the floats as we sprinted walked toward the terrors that awaited us. We made it just in time to hop onto a tall black chair that curved over our heads and took us on a tour through ghost infested halls.
After our conquest over the ghouls that haunt Magic Kingdom, we were able to enjoy the exquisitely detailed mosaics that walled the pathway through Cinderella’s Castle.
By the time we got back to the hotel around 2am, we were exhausted. Unknown to us, we switched time zones in our twelve hour drive and our excitement had kept us awake until 3am central time. We had plans to be at Hollywood studios in six hours. Little did we realize that sleep was going to be as hot of a commodity as ice cream in the sweltering Florida sun.