In my little notebook that I took to jot down notes, however, all I wrote was something Heather said the first night we got to Florida and were getting ready to go to bed before we headed off to Disney the next day: “I have to check the bed for snakes.”
And then I never closed my eyes again. Fuck you, Florida.
Which brings me to my list of favorite things about my trip to Disneyworld.
1. There were no snakes in my bed.
2. Heather. This chick is cool, y’all.
You know how when you travel with someone for the first time, you never know how it’s going to go? Well, fortunately Heather is a delight to travel with. Plus she let me be a little bit crazy (she smiled in all the photos I made her take with Algernon). It helps that she is also a little bit crazy.
3. My first-timer button. Who’s never been to Disneyworld, has two thumbs, and likes the extra attention a first-timer button is obviously begging for?
4. The incredible details on everything. Disneyworld is this giant land of not letting any object go to waste as set decoration. Everywhere you look, there are incredible details built into everything. This is the case on the rides, in the Christmas decorations, and even on the benches. (Which were something I sought out at every possible opportunity. Disneyworld is GIANT, folks.)
5. Not having to plan anything. Heather is one of those people. You know who you are. She had a list of what attractions we were going to when, and God forbid we deviate from the list. (Like that time I tried to stop and take a photo when we were supposed to be speed walking to the Toy Story ride.) Sure, I got yelled at a couple of times, but I didn’t have to make any decisions either. In her defense, Heather was even willing to go completely off-itinerary on day two so I could go to the Animal Kingdom, which wasn’t on the original plan. I know. Reckless almost.
6. Vinylmation Alex. Evidently there are these little vinyl mouse-shaped things that are decorated a gajillion different ways and you are supposed to fall in love with them, want to start collecting them, and pay $13.95 a pop to have them in your home. Or you can take a photo of the one that looks like your husband and laugh really, really hard every time you look at it.
7. Mickey Motherfucking Mouse. I have never been a Mickey fan. I mean, he’s okay and all, but whatever, right? Not any more. I met Mickey, and he rocked my world. Whoever it was in that Mickey suit (and the adjacent Minnie suit) WON ME OVER. I asked him if he would hold Algernon for a photo and that mouse hammed it up like nobody’s business. I was sold. I’ll now empty my bank account and offer it up to Disney. Thank you Mickey; you converted me.
8. Embarrassing myself in the Norway section at Epcot by trying to pretend I actually knew something about Norway. Me: “Oh yeah, I’ve been to Norway a couple of times. My mom used to live in [brutally mispronounce name of town my mom lived in] and we used to visit [the only place I can think of in Norway—oh, and also probably mispronounced]. It’s beautiful there. I love Norway! Norway is great!” Dude behind the register who is actually from Norway: “Uh huh.”
9. The wacky hotel we stayed at. We stayed at the Pop Century Resort, which is packed full of giant replicas of things from the various decades of the last half of the last century. That first photo up top? Taken inside a giant Rubik’s Cube. (We were in an 80’s building.)
10. The look on Heather’s face when I asked her if there was any place I could get an apple. See, Star Tours did me in. Too much shaking, 3D, and bad driving by C3PO. We were sitting on the curb, waiting for me to pull it together, and I asked Heather if there was a place I could get an apple because those often make me feel better if I am nauseated. She determined that she would have to walk approximately 6.8 miles to get me one, but that there was a cotton candy stand just over there. Fortunately, I was distracted by a shiny object and ended up not needing the apple.
11. The shiny object.
We had to wait in line behind kids to get this photo. They all sat on the thing and smiled and said cheese. Puh-lease. That’s not how you sit on a speeder. I was just sad that there wasn’t a wind machine in front of me.
12. Lunch at the drive-in. Heather had made reservations for us for lunch, but refused to tell me where we were going because she wanted it to be a surprise. Good call. It was awesome. The restaurant was set up like a drive-in with sci-fi clips on the movie screen. It was so much fun.
13. Disney topiary. There are elaborate topiary creations all over Disneyworld of various Disney characters. I loved every single one of them.
14. My incompetence. Heather left me alone exactly once, to run off to get a fast pass. We had explicit plans on where to meet and I even had a map. I ended up walking in a complete circle and ending up back where we had split up. By the time Heather found me, I was shuffling back and forth in one place trying to figure out how to find a cart to buy a soda. Clearly if you ever want to get rid of me, I won’t be that hard to shake.
15. Roller coasters. I hadn’t been on a roller coaster in a long time. Turns out they are really, really, really fun.
16. The safari ride at Animal Kingdom. I don’t remember what it was called, but we got to see all kinds of awesome animals and it was one of my favorite things. Loved it.
17. Tigger. ‘Nuff said.
18. Cinderella’s castle at night during Christmas. So pretty. Even to someone with a heart as cold and black as mine.
19. OMFG FIREWORKS.
20. The realization that not everyone talks to animals. I saw this fish that I really liked, so I said, “Hey, buddy,” and then Heather mocked me mercilessly for the rest of the afternoon.
21. That they were out of the gross soda. There is this place where you can taste Coke products from around the world, but they were out of one of the types, which upset Heather because, and I quote, “I was looking forward to taking a photo of you tasting that soda.” Evidently it is THAT bad. I’m quite relieved that they did not have any.
22. Lunch in France. We ate lunch in France at Epcot. Doing so is maybe the best decision either of us has ever made in our lives. Melted cheese and ham on a croissant? Sooo good.
23. “Street” performers. There were some fantastic performances scattered about Epcot, including Christmas-specific stories from the various countries. I loved them all.
24. Stupid photos with Algernon. Algernon had an excellent time at Disney. I’m hoping to post details from his trip soon. There is a never ending multitude of places to take fun photos with a small stuffed mouse at Disneyworld and its affiliated resorts. Heather jumped right on board too, scouting out locations for shots and occasionally shouting, “Quick! Give me the mouse!” and running off to pose.
25. Kinder Chocolate.
26. It gave me my Christmas spirit back. I was all Grinchy before I left for Disneyworld. But it’s hard to stay that way when you’re standing in the middle of five million lights. Literally. Five million.
27. Now, when I take my kids to Disneyworld, I will know how to do it. My kids would love Disneyworld. They would lose their minds from joy. We’re definitely taking them someday, and now I know how to make it amazing for them. (Answer: Take Heather with us.)