Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Mouse and Me: A Retrospective

With my two upcoming trips to Walt Disney World, making my total three trips in a 9 month period, I've had several people ask me, "So how many times have you BEEN to Disney anyway?" The honest-to-God answer: I have no idea. So, I thought I'd count them up here, and to prevent you from falling asleep, I'll throw in some interesting, if not entertaining, tidbits about each visit... giving you some insight into my life. Mostly the last fifteen years of my life, but my life, all the same.

April, 1977 - Walt Disney World - I was five, my sister was three (although we were closer to 6 and 4 ... birthdays in June and May respectively). The only park there was Magic Kingdom. Oh, and Sea World. I had been begging to go for YEARS and Grandpa (mom's dad) decided that he wanted to play an amateur golf tournament down there, so he took us all. It was my first time on a plane. He flew us first class. Imagine how bummed I was the NEXT time I flew, and discovered that you didn't get a set of headphones every time you got on a plane. I remember very little about this trip. We stayed at the Polynesian, and I remember the pool. I also remember not being able to ride Space Mountain, and dad coming off the ride scared out of his wits.

August, 1987 – DisneyLand – I had just turned sixteen, and we took a family trip to the west coast. DisneyLand was just one day of a two week vacation that included LA, Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, and San Francisco. Star Tours was the newest attraction. I didn’t ride it because the lines were three hours long. I may be crazy about Disney, but I’m not crazy.

August, 1992 – DisneyWorld – This trip was to find employment with the Disney Corporation. I had just graduated from Carolina in May. I had interviews… I was even told to find an apartment… and then I didn’t get the job. The funny part? I chose a traveling companion who I met in college. We went to Pleasure Island one night… he fed me LOTS of alcohol, and then he showed me his letter from his parole officer allowing him to cross state lines with me. I made a drunken mental note to choose my traveling companions more carefully in the future. Only had one day to spend in a park, so I spent it at MGM.

August, 1993 – EuroDisney (now DisneyLand Paris) – went with the amateur theater company I sang and danced with. We got to sing and dance in front of the castle. It was cool. This was my first trip to Europe sans parental units. Good times. Due to my outstanding French, there is a man in Paris who believes that I could not accept his kind offer to make love because I was pregnant with another man’s child. All I intended to say was that I had a boyfriend.

August, 1994 – DisneyWorld – trip number two with amateur theater company. I lost my voice in Charleston on the way down, and had to croak my way through performances on the Tommorrowland stange and on the American Pavilion stage. My one chance to sing at the big park, and I blew it. *sigh* This was my first visit to EPCOT.

January, 1997 – DisneyWorld – Mom and I went down to experience the now defunct Disney Institute. We spent a lot of time at EPCOT and we took lots of cooking classes. I also visited my first dueling piano bar… which started an addiction I still am battling today.

February, 1998 – DisneyWorld – Mom and I had so much fun the year before, we made my sister come along. More cooking classes. I really do miss the Disney Institute. Loved it.

November, 1999 – DisneyWorld and Disney Cruise Line – Honeymoon. This was Chris’ first trip. We liked the cruise more than the parks… but that was mainly because of the food, I think.

January, 2000 – DisneyWorld - Until these two upcoming trips, this marked my shortest wait between visits. Seven weeks after the honeymoon ended, I went to Disney with a girlfriend for a business meeting. I got her addicted to dueling pianos as well.

May, 2001 – DisneyWorld – Our first foray into timeshares. Our friends finally made good on their promise to take us to Disney on their timeshare points, starting the ongoing tradition of trading off every two years. This year, it’s their turn. We bought into our timeshare that September, just after 9/11.

February, 2002 – DisneyLand – We took a hockey trip to the west coast to see our ‘Canes play in LA, Anaheim, and San Jose. We used our brand new timeshare to stay at the Grand Californian. My sister flew down to join us and drive back up to the Bay area with us.

November, 2002 – Disney Cruise Lines – for our third anniversary, we thought we’d try the seven-day cruise since we had liked the three-day cruise so much. Turns out we liked the seven-day cruise even better. We swam with dolphins. I kissed one. It was cool.

September, 2003 – DisneyWorld – Our turn to use our points, we stayed at the Boardwalk Villas and did as much adult stuff as we could. Our friends left their 15-month old at home, and I was ten weeks pregnant. We knew our trips to Disney would never be the same.

October, 2004 – DisneyWorld - Athena was five months old, but we had a friend coming to Disney from England, and how often do you get to see your friends from England? So we took her down there and went to SeaWorld and Universal. I spent one afternoon at EPCOT for the food and wine festival, and to ride Mission: Space, which I couldn’t ride the year before due to my gestating.

November, 2005 – Disney Cruise Lines and DisneyWorld – Pregnant once again, we opted to celebrate our sixth anniversary aboard the Disney Magic. By now, I am blogging, so you can read all about it if you look back in the archives. J

September, 2006 – DisneyWorld – My first solo trip!

April 2007 and June 2007 are in the works. So when all is said and done, I will have been to a Disney Park 18 times… 14 to DisneyWorld, 3 Disney Cruises, 2 to DisneyLand, and 1 to EuroDisney (some trips combined, which is why the numbers don’t add up).

Wow. And to think… you just READ all that! Impressive.


MickeyMouse said...

Good God, this is enough to make Walt himself puke rainbow colors!

Sophie said...

I'm surprised you don't walk around with Mouse ears :)

eaf said...

I hide them... they are folded down and tucked behind my horns. :-)

Staci said...

I wonder how many hours you have waited in line for rides!?

Ive been to Disneyland twice...I wasnt impressed either time. But I did get to dance and act in front of the big castle like you! Altho, not in Paris...and no guy asked to make love to me either.

I think if I had to go to Disney-esque outings 18 times I would spontaneously combust.

I am counting on one more trip tho. My parents are talking about taking the whole fam for Juju's sake.

eaf said...

I actually avoid long lines like the plague, even at Disney. I like the ambiance and the entertainment as much as, if not more than, many of the ride. Although I am sure I've still spent way more time in lines than I'd like to think.

You know, Disney is all about the willingness to believe. I want so badly for there to be a really great place that seems so unreal that it must only exist in dreams, that I buy into it hook, line and sinker.

I will say, Disneyland (CA) isn't nearly as magical. It's a good theme park, but it's right smack in the center of the LA environs, and you can tell the whole time you're there. It's a lot harder to "let go." So when the whole family goes, try to talk them into Florida. :-)

Jason said...

It's funny. I went to EPCOT, MGM, and Disney back in '91 and I can't remember the Magic Kingdom at all from that trip. I really enjoyed Universal Studios much more than any of the Disney stuff.

PS: My word verification was "ccmhsgsm". I never get easy ones.

Bern said...

18 times!!!? You are so Disneyfied !:)

Hey ,even blogger gave me a Disney word verification : goopya (doesnt it rhyme with Goofy's myopia?)

Jessica said...

I've only ever been to DisneyLand, since I grew up in SoCal it was easy to hit the local Magic Kingdom.
If I could, I would spend all my time there going back and forth between the "French Quarter" and Tom Sawyer Island. And Frontierland.
I'm a sucker for history. ;)

Brian said...

Disneyworld has it's own "environs" too, don't forget. Being in Florida make sure you know Spanish and have something to fight the 100% humidity!