In any case, we got to ride on several neat rides; our favorite was “The Sum of All Thrills”, which is a simulator made by the defense company Raytheon, probably to serve as a test of stomach vitality prior to putting a pilot in a high performance jet. We survived our first jet ride, and would have ridden it again at the end of the day except that three of the four simulators were broken, and the wait would have had us there for another four hours.
My Loving Bride has a psychological condition. This condition is very rare, and is not found in any medical text or data base. But I have known it “up close and personal”, so to speak, for the past 16 years. Ruthie, Suzanne’s mom, has been aware of it for much longer, but since Suzanne went off to the Navy at age 22, Ruthie has not suffered the consequences of it. This condition is not harmful, unless you are 14 years older than she, and trying to keep up with her when she is “On a Mission”.
The non-scientific name of this condition is “Ensuzyasm”… It recurred this morning at oh-dark-thirty when the alarm went off. I was in deep REM sleep, with Rudy and Gretchen tucked in close, probably dreaming of catching huge redfish, when My Lovely Bride leaped out of bed for her daily meditation. I can’t remember whether she said “Enjoy a few more minutes of slumber, My Dear” or “You’d better have your butt ready to roll in 20 minutes when I’m done or you’re in trouble.” (I hesitate to suggest it was the latter…). In any case, my fishing odyssey ended abruptly and we got moving much earlier than a senior citizen should have to endure. Disney called…. after a quick breakfast of gruel, we were on our way shortly after the sun broke the horizon. (Eureka… the sign read… “Where Dreams Come True”… was there fishing here?)
It’s a good thing I’m a runner, because we parked about 12 miles from the ticket booths (okay, maybe 12 rows, but they were wide rows!). After enduring a long wait to get to the ticket taker, we found that of course, we had to trade our Florida Residents Passes for real tickets at the booth, in another galaxy, far, far away. After doing that, we got back in line, along with several hundred of our best new friends. My wife was no longer Suzanne, the Happy Medium. She was now Suzy, the reincarnation of the 10 year old who had visited Disneyworld in 1971 shortly after it opened. When we got our tickets, I got Donald Duck and she got Goofy. (I commented that the assignments were very apropos… Smack!)
The major difference between 1971 and 2012 was that now she had “The Guidebook”, which after 40 years of data collection, gave her the tools needed to produce “The Disney Plan of the Day”. For anyone who had ever served in the US Navy, the Plan of the Day, or P.O.D., is what every naval unit uses to plan and execute the various activities required to complete its mission. The Guidebook advised which attractions at EPCOT were the most desirable for our age group, and what we could expect for waiting times for the most popular rides/movies.
Suzy was now on her two-part “Mission”… (a) completing her checklist of Most Desirable Attractions, and (b) not totally exhausting Her Loving Husband (me) along the way. She achieved part (a) but was soon to prove somewhat lacking in part (b). Do you parents remember what it was like when you first brought the family to Disney? Unbridled energy from the young-uns, and “Where is the beer tent?” from the adult males… it was like that today, except that at $8.50 for a beer, you needed a second mortgage to adequately slake your thirst… guess that’s why she had me carry a couple of gallons of water and Gatorade.
I also really enjoyed the aquarium. Watching the loggerhead turtles in the main tank made me want to renew my scuba diving certification, which lapsed a couple of decades ago. Suzanne is still certified, so we may have to plan a trip to the Keys one of these days for some time on the reef with scuba tanks. We also liked the manatees (sea cows); there were two very large adults (1,300-1,500 lbs each) being fed Caesar salad sans the dressing.
One of the unusual sights at Disney is the large number of very short people there. Suzanne said they are called “children”. Unlike people in The Villages, very few walked at adult speed or spoke with hushed voices. “Running” and “screaming” seem to be the accepted means of locomotion and communication with this group. They even have their own parking lot, seen in the picture at right. Suzanne called these devices “strollers”; I believe that the name derives from the reduced speed (“strolling”, as it were) that parents are able to maintain while the children are handcuffed, gagged and bound in said devices, thereby preventing their escape.
While walking through the world section of EPCOT, we visited the Norwegian Stave Church, which had some great Viking displays, including this figure of a pretty nasty-looking, hirsute gent with an axe, obviously bent on murder, mayhem, and pillaging. It reminded Suzanne of a friend (who shall go nameless) who had believed she was descended from American Cherokee Indians, but after having her family’s DNA analyzed, found she was indeed descended from some Viking warrior who had pillaged (and perhaps worse) some village in Czechoslovakia or Hungary….
A neat stop at the Japanese pavilion brought back many fond memories of both of our assignments there, and also revealed an excellent gift shop with many of the items seen in Japanese department stores (Hello Kitty backpacks, beautiful porcelainware, and Mikimoto pearls) and some really cool katana (samurai swords). (I may have to take a kendo course, which is the martial art that uses bamboo or wooden swords to simulate duels with swords… leather armor is worn to protect the competitors. Sounds like great fun, but it can be a bit bruising…). Our EPCOT tour ended with an excellent Taiko drum concert by this Japanese trio. (These drums are usually made out of a single hollowed-out piece of wood).
Our last stop was in Canada for the “O Canada” 360 degree movie. It reminded us of many places in that lovely, friendly country we have already visited, including the tiny Newfoundland outport of Petites, which we had sailed to in 2003. At that time the town had only 13 residents, but it has since been closed and the residents “encouraged” to relocate by the Canadian government because it was too expensive to keep the electricity on. Here is My Lovely Tour Guide (AKA Suzy the Slave Driver) relaxing for a moment in front of the gardens which resemble those at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. (As an aside, we hope to visit Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory next summer.)
We will be returning to Disney on the morrow; the Animal Kingdom is on the P.O.D., and I hope to be able to write again, assuming I am not pulled from the car and eaten by an angry lion or rhinoceros. (I am reminded that rhinos are indeed not man-eaters, but like the Viking noted above, they do have terrible dispositions…).