Walt Disney 2020
Day 3: We're off to see the mouse! Walt Disney World
I really loved the location we picked to stay at. It was so close to everything and easy to access all the parks and freeway. Our rental company had ask us when we picked up the car if we wanted to purchase the fast pass, but we declined. There were 2 tolls on the way from the airport to the house @ $1.75 each, which wasn't bad compared to the $40+ pass they wanted us to buy. However, our map had us get on a freeway/highway type of road down the street and there was a booth that said to stop at (on the on ramp) and pay $1.00 to enter. We stopped, I rolled down the window, no one was there and I didn't know what to do. There was a big cup area that it said to throw in $1 in change ONLY. Um, I don't have change on me! What was I to do? There were cars lining up behind me so....I just went. I looked in my rear view mirror to see if home land security or the swat team was coming after me and noticed that the cars behind me were not even stopping. Hmmm. Well, I'm sure to get a nice big ticket once I return home I'm sure.
Pulling into the parking lot at Disney, I was glad that I had
brought my handicapped placard with me and they
instructed us where to park up front. It was a very short
walk to the area they had wheelchairs waiting at. The hubby
grabbed me one and off we went toward the monorail.
Safely on the monorail and my wheelchair was with us.
We had our first glimpse at Space Mountain, which we had
plans to head there first after we entered the park. Sakari has
been on an extreme thrill roller coaster kick for a few years
now and I knew this was going to be a highlight for her.
Then we had our first glimpse of the Cinderella Castle standing in all her glory.
It wasn't long before we pulled up to the monorail landing area and the lines didn't seem too long. I hate to say it, but this pandemic we are in is rocking when it comes to going places and reduced crowds. Disney is only operating at a 35% capacity. Tell me how awesome that sounds!
We had purchased our 3 day pass online using our Southwest card for points (how we manage to travel for free) and I wasn't quite sure how this whole system works with not having actual "passes" (meaning paper). Times have changed so much since I was here last (which was actually for me and the hubby's honeymoon many years ago).
I approached a worker and asked if we needed to stand in the ticket line or go on to the entrance. He ask if we had already purchased tickets and my reply was "yes". Of course we did...didn't everyone where my thoughts. I mean you have to purchase tickets AND go online to reserve your spot for that day or you can't go in. During COVID there are no walk ins allowed and everyone needed a reservation. That left me confused but I went on in. Then something stopped me. It was just this feeling. I was looking around and seeing people with cards in their hands the shape and size of a credit card. Hmmm, I think we should go back.
I stopped a helper again and ask if we needed these "cards" and was told yes. Back to the ticket line we went. So how this all works now is new to me. You go to the ticket counter (of any of the Disney parks you are visiting during your stay) and they get the confirmation number from your purchase and they give you cards to use that is good for all the parks you purchased. You have to make sure you hold on to them for each park. So the next park, we wouldn't have to stand in line at the ticket counter.
We had made it into the park. We headed over to the wheelchair rental area where we had to turn in our parking lot wheelchair for an electric wheelchair people mover. To rent the people mover at any of the parks, it was $70 with $20 of that being returnable at the end of the day when you brought it back. A quick lesson on how to not run over people when driving, no piggyback riding while on the scooter, no one without a license (children) on the chair, a "get outta my way" button, and the convenience of having a smaller than small shopping cart attached to the front. Then we were off.
After entering the park on Main
Street, there was the barbershop
quartet riding a trolley being pulled
by a large horse and singing songs.
As they headed down Main Street...they left a mess for the crowd to maneuver. No worries, one of the workers made sure to block the accident from the crowd. I would have thought they would have one of those poopy pouches on the rear of the horse to catch the droppings.
Main Street was VERY crowded. There was absolutely no social distancing here and no way to do so because of everyone coming in. I guess that's just a given in this area. But, things did get better as everyone spread out once inside the park.
Now I can tell you that I studied the maps of all the theme parks we were visiting like if I was back in nursing school studying for an exam. I looked up all the rides, watched videos, printed out a map, highlighted the "must dos" on it and planned how to get there. (Everyone knows I'm a planner) But I tell you what, looking at it on a map and actually being there are 2 different things.
I knew that Space Mountain was located in Tomorrow Land and that was to the right. Once we hit the castle area, we were gonna head right and hopefully find it.
Coming up on the castle was just WOW! I mean really WOW! I honestly don't remember it being that color and bright the last time we were here or any times before that. I had to stop for some pictures.
Actually I decided to look up my old pictures from when we went last time and yes, it has definitely had a makeover done.
Wow what a difference!
We headed right and found Tomorrow Land.
Sakari could not wait to get to Space Mountain and ride the roller coaster in the dark.
Here's a little history and info on Space Mountain:
It originally opened on January 15, 1975 and is the oldest operating roller coaster in the state of Florida. It has been replicated at all but 1 of the Disney theme parks. This coaster is located inside a building and you are riding in total darkness not knowing which way you will turn at any given moment. One interesting fact is, everyone thinks that the coaster is going extremely fast. However, the speed of this coaster is only 28 mph and topping out sometimes at 30 mph! I remember growing up and everyone telling me it goes 70 mph in the dark! I honestly believed it up until I just read up on the history of it! I would have never believed it. I did notice all the remodel changes inside as well. It used to be all open inside and when you were standing in line you could look up and see the people in the coasters with the carts glowing in the dark. Now, you can no longer see them. Everything had changed. But I liked the change!
So me being in a wheelchair, we went up to the line and was directed to go to the person standing in the front helping others at a desk. There they would have us sign in and they would give us a time to return. They told us (I think) a 40 minute wait. Hmmm, I figured we could go do the Astro Orbiter, right in front of Space Mountain, and get back in time. Our Disney app said there was a 15 minute wait. We went and got in line, making sure to social distance and they have the walkway marked off at every ride. However, there are just some that don't pay attention to any of it. We had a guy behind us that was right up on my wheelchair the entire time. I would look at him, look down at the markers, look back at him, give a little eh-hem, a little stank eye, and he would still stand there. Remember the wheelchair people said "NO PIGGYBACK RIDING" and he was pretty darn close to doing that!
We waited in line for 30 minutes and still had a way to go. So much for that 15 minute wait. I looked at the app again and it said 45 minutes now. I figured we wouldn't make it on the ride in time and I didn't want to lose my place in line for the Space Mountain, so we decided to get the heck away from the wanna be piggyback rider and reclaim my own personal zone space and we left the line. When we made it back to Space Mountain, we went up, they scanned our cards, then we had to park the people mover and walk in. They will provide you with another wheelchair if needed but I knew "I got this!" We had a line that passed everyone else standing in line and went straight into the part of the line that goes right onto the ride. Hey, I'm liking this!
Sakari absolutely LOVED the ride and so did I of course. She said she just knew it was going to be her favorite ride there.
Then we were off to find the next roller coaster. The next
thing on my map was either the 7 Dwarfs mine or
Barnstormer coaster. We headed in the direction of
Fantasy Land, but the line for the Dwarfs was crazy long
so we bypassed it and headed for the Little Mermaid.
I was abled to take my people mover in the actual line at this
attraction. This would put my maneuverability to the test.
Twisting and turning in all the lines. It ended up being
quite interesting. I'm pretty sure I only ran into the
barriers a couple of dozen times but hey...I can proudly
say that I hit 0 people! Go me!
This ride is a slow and relaxing ride and very cute. Since
it's a "mermaid" Sakari thought it was an acceptable ride.
At one point, it actually felt like you were going into the water and "under the sea". I held my breath but soon discovered I could still breath. Maybe I'm part mermaid too.
Make sure you ♪ Kiss the Girl ♪
♫ ♪ ♪ Sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Kiss the Girl ♪ ♫ ♫ ♪
The hand drawn animations and special effects made this a pretty awesome ride to get you out of any heat and save you legs for awhile.
We were now making our way over to the Barnstormer roller coaster. It is located in the Circus section of Fantasyland. It would be our second roller coaster and Sakari was excited again. Now I honestly didn't remember this "circus" section the last time I was at Disney so I looked up the history.
*This are was originally opened as Mickey's Birthdayland on June 18, 1988. It became Mickey's Starland on May 26, 1990, and was briefly renamed Mickey's Toyland in late 1995. The land was closed in early 1996 for an extensive refurbishment, and on October 1, 1996, it reopened as Mickey's Toontown Fair and had their vacation home there. I remember this part very well and the house and area was so darn adorable.
*Mickey's Toontown Fair was closed on February 11, 2011 and it has become the Storybook Circus. I have to admit, I liked the Toontown Fair a lot better. It was a lot cuter. I remember Minnie's house so well. Here's a picture I took from back then:
The line was a little long, but it was moving fairly quickly. I got my second chance at maneuverability in this line as well. This time I think I only ran into the corner line post maybe a dozen times. Hey, I've managed to cut my accidents in half and only on my second try! There were some areas that had shade, so that was a plus.
We finally made it to the ride and away we went. Hmmm, it was a VERY VERY SHORT RIDE! I would also find out it was made for the "littles" and not really a roller coaster to write home about for adults and older children who were thrill seekers. It was definitely a "go ahead and pass next time" type of coaster for us. Such a let down. Had the ride been a little longer, it might have been worth it.
I did notice, while standing in line for the Barnstormer, they were doing some building next door. I don't know what they are making, but it looked like one heck of a roller coaster and tall!
After these rides, we were getting hungry. The hubby decided to stop at (I believe) Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. I have to say the food and drinks here are SO EXPENSIVE...especially the pop. I'm a huge pop drinker and when it's hot out and your pop gets warm, it just isn't good anymore and all you can do is crave an ice cold new one. The pop here cost $4.25 each and Sakari likes the Poweraid, which would cost $4.69. Our total each time we purchased drinks was around $14!!! YIKES! But the food here at this place was AMAZING! The hamburger and fries were absolutely perfect and so yummy. There's a HUGE area to eat in and you can be entertained by a piano playing monster which I think had a previous job at Chuck E Cheese's playing the piano. There's also plenty of seating outside. Yes, they do have all the tables marked off for social distancing.
We ended up passing back through the castle and found the characters out on a balcony waving and singing to everyone.
More beautiful castle pics
The Seven Dwarfs was still an incredibly long line so I looked at my app and it said that it's a small world was about a 30 minute wait. I think we should head there. This has always been one of my favorite rides since I was a kid. From the meaning of it to getting out of the heat and into the a/c for awhile to it being a pretty long ride. It's also filled with so much animation and cute things that there's just so much eye sensory overload during the entire ride.
*it opened on October 1, 1971.
*The name for this distinctive attraction was originally going to be “Children of the World”, it was changed to “it’s a small world” to better fit the theme. The name in lower case was the way the attraction was trademarked. It is to convey smallness.
*Lyrics: “It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears. It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears. There’s so much that we share that it’s time we’re aware. It’s a small world after all.” This theme song is performed in English, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish. The title song for the attraction that will get stuck in your head for hours after you hear it. I happen to think that it gets stuck in my head for days after. There are rooms representing 29 different countries and areas of the world. In the very last scene of the attraction are colorful signs announcing the Good Bye in many languages.
We approached the person at the entrance about being in a people mover. They immediately walked us over to a door and took us inside and put us on the ride. Wow! There was no waiting involved.