The Wonderful World of Disney – Or Not!

If you read our last post, you’ll know that this particular post is mostly about our visit to Disney!

But first, we thought it would be good to let you know about the condition of the RV. Laurie’s aunt and uncle lived very close to her grandparents (same town), and they told us of their mechanic. Laurie’s uncle said he was very good, and he was! He fixed the clutch. He also told us that he didn’t think we were having any overheating problems, but that the dummy light was defective or overly sensitive. He installed a new gadget (that’s what Laurie called it) to the dashboard that gave a read out of the exact temperature that the engine was running at. With the new “gadget” we could tell if the engine was overheating or not. What a relief!

On July 2, 1985, we planned to visit Disney.  We got up early.  We left at 7:45 a.m. on the motorcycle and traveled  over 70 miles up the highway.  The day was hot, hot, hot AND humid. The ride up to Disney wasn’t too bad. One has a tendency to generate their own wind chill factor while riding a motorcycle, don’t you know!  We hadn’t started to feel the heat yet!

Upon entering the park, we were a bit overwhelmed by all that there was to do.  What to do first?  What to do next?  What would we enjoy the most?  All the typical questions that a first timer has while visiting Disney.

First, we went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  This was before the days of Jack Sparrow, but that was the name of the ride!  In fact, we found this ride to be a very good run, and we only waited 45 minutes to get on!

This was before Disney had implemented RideMax or FASTPASS.  Basically, RideMax and FASTPASS estimate how long your wait for a particular ride will be through a computerized system.  Instead of wasting time in line, the system enables you to go enjoy different areas of the park while you’re “waiting.”  In 1985 the World of the Magic Kingdom hadn’t dreamt up this wonderful feature, so you had to do it the old-fashioned way – wait in line!  Wait, then wait some more, then fall asleep on your feet in the heat, then wake up to wait more before you could actually go through the magical turnstile to the ride.

But we felt the 45 minute wait was well worth it for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  Unfortunately, we were so excited to actually be experiencing a ride, that we really forgot about taking out the camera and getting pictures.  In fact, we only got this one of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Next on the agenda was to head over to the African Safari exhibit ride.  Do they even have these rides anymore at Disney World?  We don’t know, we only made one visit to the Magical Kingdom ever!  And we don’t believe we’ll ever go back again!

The African Safari exhibit was quite interesting as we got to ride in a rather sturdy float boat through the entire exhibit.  It was all water generated, and we really didn’t mind being on the water as it was already starting to get unbearably hot!  Bill remembered to pull out the camera and he snapped lots of pictures!

Then suddenly the reedy branches parted and out popped this creature with a mighty trumpeting roar!

Near the end of our boat ride we got to see this mighty beast yawning his large jaw open and shut.

After the African Safari ride, we ventured over to a sight seeing area of Disney World.  There was a rather large grotto-type formation that you could walk by, get your picture taken near, or ride a riverboat past.

We quickly thought what a wonderful place to rest out of the hot sun and scorching heat.  We practically ran to the nearest cave opening, burst in through the cave entryway to be suddenly confronted with the most horrible stench of human urine that anyone could imagine.  Apparently there weren’t many public bathrooms in that area of the park, because many had decided to use the cool, dark enclosure of the cave as a bathroom.

But Bill urged Laurie to stand in the entryway without plugging her nose, and snapped a picture.

To this day Laurie insists that whenever she  looks at this particular photo, she’s sure she’s smelling a dirty, sweaty toilet!

Next we had lunch.  It was very expensive.  We ended up paying over $20 for a scanty meal.  You have to remember $20 would most likely feed us both for a whole week back in 1985.  We each had a burger only, then we bought a drink from a different stand, because the stand where we bought burgers didn’t sell drinks.  The drink stand offered chintzy ice-type drinks with blueberry, strawberry, or grape flavorings, but they did put a little toothpick umbrella thingy in the cup.  Perhaps that’s why they cost $5 each!

There were two people in front of us in line for the food, but they appeared to be together.  It seemed like a very long wait, when suddenly the servers started putting up mountains of food onto the counter.  Out of nowhere people were coming up to the booth to collect their food.  That’s when we realized that the two people in front of us had ordered about 20 meals!  We didn’t notice how much their bill was, but we bet it was humongous!

Meanwhile there was a man who noticed the almost 20 people randomly grabbing food off the counter, and he assumed they were budging ahead in line.  He had on a cute little wide-brimmed straw hat with his rather large ears sticking out from underneath.  He had large coke-bottle type glasses (don’t laugh, Laurie’s eyeglass prescription is of the coke-bottle type too), and he was utilizing his high-pitched nasally screech to pr0claim, “Hey, Hey, Hey!”  We really wish you could hear us imitating this man.  Twenty five years later,  whenever we hear someone yell, “Hey, Hey Hey!” we smile and  think of this man!  He’s imprinted upon our minds forever!

After almost an hour of waiting for our food, then 5 minutes of actual eating, we were back in the crowds looking for a great ride to go on.

Since most rides had lines of 2 hours or more, we had decided to find Space Mountain, which was the newest and greatest attraction that year at Disney.  We would ride it, then head on back to our home on wheels.  Once we located Space Mountain, we realized the line looked to be about a 3 hours wait!  What was a person to do!  We stood in line for over 3 hours!  In great anticipation we had edged our way up to the front of the line!  There were exactly 3 people in line ahead of us!  We knew we were going to be on the very next run of the biggest and best attraction!

But unexpectedly an attendant came to the front of the line that we were standing in, and stated, “Sorry folks, the ride has broken down, and we’re shutting it down for the day.”

By this time, we were exhausted from the heat.  We were fed up with the fact that we had been at Disney for a good 10 hour day, and had accomplished a total of 3 rides, and a crappy, expensive meal!  So we looked for a cool spot to rest our weary feet.  We found a small patio with umbrellas to shield us from the hot sun.  We rested for a little bit, when we got the really bright idea to go visit the castle.  The castle has four large awnings going into it (or at least it did then).  Upon entering you found yourself in a wide open space beneath the concave roof of the castle.  Or at least that was the way it was supposed to be.

We walked swiftly over to the castle, and it seemed as if we were sucked into it like a big vacuum.  It just sucked us and about 300 other people into a space that truly looked to be about 10 feet by 20 feet.  A lady with a stroller ran over Bill’s foot about 15 times on the way into the building.  We were unable to turn around to try to exit the castle due to the crowd behind us.  Plus the lady with the stroller was one determined lady!  She was going to get into that castle with her twins (yeah, it was a double stroller) if it was the last thing she did.

Being pushed into the dark, dreary castle by the crowd was not a fun thing, because we could sense that all four entryways were experiencing the same thing.  What happened was a huge human traffic jam of great proportions!  Now you may be thinking that we’re just exaggerating this piece of history to make it more interesting, but honest injun!  It happened just this way!  We could see that all four entryways had been entered by such a large crowd at the exact same moment that everyone met in the middle!  No one could move forward due to looking someone square in the eye who had entered from one of the other entryways.  There was no going backwards as there were people pushing, pushing us all forward trying to get into the middle of the traffic jam!

Finally, a Disney employee came along with a bull horn and started directing the human traffic out.  Bill’s foot was run over another 15 times by the stroller lady as we all inched our way backwards out of the castle!

By this time, we were whupped, tired and not very impressed with Disney.  It was around 8 p.m. and we had seriously discussed heading on back to Sebring, when……suddenly, Florida did it’s favorite thing!  It poured buckets from the sky!  Thunder was roaring, and lightening was putting on a pretty good show shooting across the sky!  Buckets and buckets later, we were starting to become concerned if we would be able to leave this nightmare at all!  Remember we were riding a motorcycle.  One thing you never do (if you want to live) is ride a motorcycle in the rain!

So a few hours later, and a few very expensive , plastic, rain ponchos later, we headed on back to our RV.  We arrived back at 1:00 a.m and we happily plopped ourselves into bed!

We realize that Disney World is not the same place that we visited 25 years ago, but in explaining to our son our impression of Disney World, Bill stated, “It was….it was…Mickey Mouse!”  Yes, it was very much a Mickey Mouse kind of outfit back then.

Come visit again soon as we tell you of our adventures at Panama City (which was a much more happier time than Disney – we promise!), and beyond!

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