About Me

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Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Monday, February 24, 2014

36 Hours with Mickey Mouse

We decided it would be a ladies-only excursion: two grandmas, two granddaughters, one daughter-in-law. No dad or grandpas.  My daughter-in-law was the Troop Leader but forgot to order missing matching tees with our names and a number...thankfully!

The three-hour drive from Delray Beach was uneventful, until shortly after Troop Leader took the wheel at a rest stop.  "I've got to go to the bathroom," the nine-year-old said to her mother.  

"We just stopped," my daughter-in-law said.

"I really have to go," the older girl continued, holding herself in a strategic place in the back seat.

"I'll look for an exit," her mother said.

Twenty miles later, we still hadn't passed an exit.  Nor had we passed another rest stop. "I can't hold it," we heard.

Her mother pulled onto the shoulder as eight-wheelers whizzed by. I opened the front and back doors closest to a grass strip where a deer peered at us and cows grazed.  My granddaughter squatted on the asphalt between the two doors, splashing her sneakers. Her seven-year-old sister laughed in her booster seat.  "Next time use the rest stop, even if you don't think you have to," my daughter-in-law said.  We climbed back in.

The trip had been thoroughly researched. The best deal for our 36 hours was a resort inside the park, and Troop Leader (hereafter known as TL) had chosen The Polynesian - beautiful! The monorail would be closed for unknown repairs during certain peak hours, but the boat ride from the Polynesian to the Magic Kingdom was supposed to be fifteen minutes. 

TL received our arm bands, each with our names, prior to departure. These were the keys to the Kingdom!  They held computer chips for three pre-selected "fast passes" a day, as well as electronic entry to our rooms, and charges for purchases with a swipe of a wrist.  Also one lunch, a prepaid buffet dinner in the Crystal Palace with a character (we got Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Egor), and one snack each. First we had to check in.

We arrived at 10 a.m. and stowed the luggage.  The rooms weren't ready but the electronic armbands had to be activated.  "It'll just take a second. Take them off, please," the receptionist said. Getting them on two wrists that measured three inches around had not been easy!  Two receptionists and twenty minutes later, the computers powered up our armbands.  We went down to the snack bar for cold drinks before grabbing the commuter boat. 

We got in line to test the arm bands at the cashier, but nothing happened. "You have to activate these with a pin number at the front desk," the cashier said.  Back to the lobby, then back to the snack bar one floor below. Electronics were supposed to make our lives easier!

Eventually we made it into the Magic Kingdom.  The park opens at nine a.m., but by 8:30 attendants close access because of the crowds jamming to see the first character show of the day high above at the railroad station.  We caught it the second morning.  In fact, there wasn't much we missed in the Magic Kindgom in two days, including four parades, fifteen attractions or rides/day, innumerable shows going on at any hour, and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. TL had downloaded an app on her phone so we knew the wait-time at any attraction at any moment. We zigzagged our way to whatever had a wait less than thirty minutes, crossing and recrossing our path. That didn't include shopping detours for magnets and pens, place mats, mugs, princess dolls, stuffed animals, tee shirts, sweat shirts, personalized parasols, Mickey earrings, Mickey purses, Mickey ears, Mickey charm, and an artist's kit.  

We began to get hungry, as did 60,000 others that day.  An attendant told us the visitors were counted daily, and on a scale of 1-10, that Tuesday was a "7." Thousands passed our shoulders without touching us or our belongings. Fortunately, nobody pushed or ran.  Attendants inside the park were few and far between.  We didn't see any arguments over the HUNDREDS of strollers parked outside each attraction.  Everyone was smiling, at least in the morning.

The fast food choices where we stopped for lunch included macaroni and cheese, macaroni and blue cheese with bacon, hot dog, vegetables with dip, chips, apple slices, cookie, carrot cake.  After at least forty-five minutes in line, anything tasted good! We plunked ourselves on a cement ledge in the sun and gulped our lunch. That meal (including drinks) cost us $58 for five. We had to get to "Pirates of the Caribbean" within our chosen time frame to use the "fast passes."

My back ached carrying a cross-body bag, a plastic bag with purchases, and refillable drink mugs. Around three o'clock we passed kids sleeping in their parents' arms.  Around four p.m we heard the first complaint about the girls' aching feet.  By then the sisters had shared six hours of hugs and giggles meeting Cinderella, riding Dumbo, floating through Ariel's sea, twirling through "Small World," and ducking pirates.

TL led the way up front, and the grandmas took turns following, encouraging the girls to keep up. When the sisters had their only shouting/pushing match, we separated them in line.  We noticed that the number of tattoos on visitors seemed to correlate to their weight.  We passed five-year-old princesses in costume with tiaras on their lacquered beehives and makeup running down their faces.  Their mothers reminded me of Honey Boo Boo in short shorts and rubber flip flops, pulling their princesses by the hand. Each makeover had cost the family $250.

After dinner in the Crystal Palace and trips through Swiss Family Robinson's tree and the Hall of Presidents, we found a spot to stand on Main Street for the nightly parade. Spectators were five-deep. Behind us an eighteen-year-old attendant tried to keep the sidewalk clear for shoppers. That didn't meet with the approval of the guy standing behind us.  "Sir, you're going to have to move inside the rope," the attendant said in a squeak, afraid he might be faced with an altercation.

The spectator's liquor breath fired my already-overheated neck.  "F___ you!  I've waited four years and paid $1,000 to see this!  I ain't movin!  Call security if you want."

"Sir, I'm afraid I'll have to, if you don't step between the rope and the curb.  There's room right beside this lady" (meaning me).  I prayed the guy wouldn't step under the rope.

"Forget it!  I'll go somewhere else."  The mustached redhead moved on and I relaxed.  His wife waddled behind, her bleached hair swaying with the movement of each haunch.

After the electric light parade and fireworks, we caught the monorail back to our hotel, watching the finale fizzle through the windows.  A classmate of one granddaughter waited at one of the stops, the second person we bumped into that we knew.                                  

The next day we managed to get two little girls out of bed, into the shower, and down to breakfast by 8:00 a.m.  We made it off the boat by 8:30 to see the opening "Good Morning,""Wish Upon a Star,""M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E" show. By the end of the day, TL wanted to abdicate.

Her mother and I had tried to take the younger granddaughter to meet Belle, while TL took the older one to ride Space Mt.  The three of us met the two of them around a bend before we'd found Belle. "You're going in circles," our leader told the geriatric set (us).  "You have to go left past the circus!"   I'm sure TL was wishing she could lock us in the stocks for the rest of the afternoon!
By 5:00 p.m. the soles of my feet were burning in my sneakers. "No problem," I thought.  "We'll have a relaxing boat ride back to The Polynesian, retrieve our luggage, and head home.

An hour later we were still standing among hundreds of others waiting to cross the lake. The monorail had closed for unknown repairs.  That hour gave us a chance to list the princesses we'd met, the rivers we'd sailed, the roller coasters some of us refused to ride, and the tunnels where we'd screamed. Priceless!