I have been away most of the week. Rosemarie and I went to Orlando, Florida to be kids again. We visited almost all of the major theme parks. We suffered terrible downpours while checking out Harry Potter at Universal Studios, although that did not dampen the spirit of the fire-breathing dragon (above). Then, for the next three days we fought the crowds at Epcot, Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom. The rain, once we saw the forecast, was expected; the incredible crowds featuring a gazillion kids were not. Why weren’t they in school?
Florida residents get a discount this time of year at Disney—it’s off-season supposedly. We were told it was “winter break” for many schools (whatever that is!) and also primo vacation time for many South Americans. So what had been carefully plotted to be a great time with the least crowds went amiss. Instead, it turned out to be no different from mid-summer’s massive attendance. Consequently, we did not get to see everything we wanted to, partly because of the crowds and partly due to age.
Yep, I said age. It seems as much as we wanted to act like kids, the bodies were not going along with the ruse. Nah-ah, the bodies were saying, “Hey you old fools, how much more walking around do you want from these legs and hips?” So unlike previous trips to the funnest place on earth, we did not have the stamina to roam the theme parks all day and all night. In fact, we were pretty much done by five each afternoon and there were no return trips after dinner despite how much we wanted to see the daily fireworks displays which are pretty good. Nope, instead, we grabbed take-out and had dinner in our hotel room and spent the rest of each evening in a horizontal position watching TV and moaning every now and then when we had to move a body part.
Still, I was quite proud of ourselves. We went on most rollercoaster rides, among them some of the most terrifying…well, at least to me. That’s Expedition Everest in the picture. You don’t turn upside down on this ride, but you do free-fall backwards. I made a point of keeping my eyes wide open throughout every one of them, although I did maintain a vice-like grip on the bar at all times—none of that flailing of arms up in the air and screaming like a banshee. Uh-Uh, it was enough of a challenge for me not to burry my head and shut my eyes. I was determined to witness every blood curdling twist and turn and stomach-ripping drop. I figured it was probably the last time I’d be riding roller coasters so I may as well face my fears and get the most out of each ride. I was even going to tackle the “Hulk” at Universal. This is one of those rides that diabolical people design to challenge how much g-force the human body can withstand in addition to testing whether or not one’s insides will rip apart as the body is cork-screwed and torqued into all kinds of sudden positions that pretty much cover every geometrical configuration. The only reason we bypassed this thrilling experience with near-death was because it poured most the of the time we were there and when it came time to take on Hulk, we were soaked through all our clothes despite spending $8 bucks a pop for plastic parkas, freezing our wet patooties off and feeling at least a 12 on the 1-to-10 exhaustion scale.
The other challenge of visiting Disney World at our age is trying not to totally drain your retirement funds. Indeed, this is perhaps more of a challenge than surviving some of the rides. The cost of everything is….well, it’s astronomical. After a while you have to numb yourself and stop thinking about the cost of things or it’ll ruin having any fun at all. I just sort of adopted a blind eye to the prices and figured I’d have the heart attack later, after I returned home and calculated the final tally.
And so, now it’s back to normal life again. I’ve got mulch to spread around the bushes and trees this week. I know that must sound weird to you northerners who are still coping with snow and ice. The painters are finishing up the outside of the house and I suppose I will be hearing from the homeowners’ association about not painting my garage door the dark non-matching color they were insisting I must. And oh yeah, I’ve got a murder to commit should I ever get back to writing the next chapter in the new novel I am busy birthing. Life is good…you just need a little Mickey Mouse fix every once in a while to help get over the stuff that’s not so good.