Sunday, August 13, 2017
When I was younger, a teenager or thereabouts, I had been to Disney World a few times. It was always a big deal and I always enjoyed it.
Of course, back then, they had the tickets (I think they actually called them "coupons") designating different attractions. A ticket, B ticket, up to E ticket. I always spent my E ticket on The Haunted Mansion. Love that attraction.
Note: Here's another link showing different attractions on some of the tickets.
When I took the children in the mid-1990s, that was, I believe, my first experience without the ticket books. That was great in that I didn't have to choose among certain attractions. The downside? Neither did anyone else. That meant the most popular attractions had long lines. That did put a little damper on things, but I focused on making the trip as enjoyable as I could for the children. I'm not sure how successful I was, but they did seem to enjoy it.
When I became a grandparent, I wanted to take the grandchildren to Walt Disney World. There were some catches, though. When the first grandchildren were born, I wasn't living in southeast Georgia where I grew up. The Columbus, Georgia area is a good six hour drive from Walt Disney World. That meant over 12 hours driving on the trip. Two adults, three children, in a single car, for that time and distance? Not comfortable.
Then, the long lines. Yes, Disney had introduced FastPass, but I didn't know much about that. I can be a quick study on some things, but honestly, I didn't do proper research into it. That's changed, as you'll soon see.
Oh, and the cost of driving and eating and hotels, not even counting the price of admission of adults and three grandchildren. All in all, an expensive proposition. And, it was something we never did. But, it was something I wanted to do.
Now, years later, I have more than three grandchildren. And I still wanted to get them to Disney World. Well, the two year old might be a little young to appreciate it. He'd get almost as much fun out of a sprinkler in the yard, but the day is coming soon. However, he has been to Disney World. More on that in a bit.
While I did want to take the grandchildren to Disney World, there were attractions much closer to Columbus than the one in Orlando. Atlanta has Six Flags over Georgia and Stone Mountain Park. We managed to take the grandchildren to each of those a few times. Even bought year passes for each at different times, but ended up not going that often. Work schedules, school schedules, and self-imposed restrictions that I thought were kinda silly (no, I won't elaborate), all contributed to making it not as often as would have been nice.
Still, the occasional trip to Six Flags or Stone Mountain did happen. Six Flags over Georgia and Stone Mountain Park are great places to visit. What they don't have is the "Disney mystique." I mean, you don't hear Super Bowl winners saying "I'm going to Stone Mountain!"
This year, though, I've been to Walt Disney World twice, and am gearing up for a third trip.
I mentioned that my youngest grandson had been to Disney World. His grandmother, my ex-wife, took him. She had also taken my second-youngest grandson, also her grandson, to Disney World. She's taken him more than once. Note: those are the only two grandchildren we share. My other grandchildren are not also her grandchildren.
This year, at the last minute, my daughter asked about our going to Disney World along with her, her son (my grandson), and her mother (my ex-wife). This was like two days before they were scheduled to go. I was open to the idea. Ex-wife and I get along fine. There's not a bunch of tension in the room when we're in the same place. We've had troubles in the past, but I'm not going to dwell on them, and neither is she, it seems. So, I said if I could work it out (that always means funding) we'd be delighted to go.
Actually, it turned out to not be "we." Wife didn't go. That nearly put a damper on things. Ex-wife expressed concern about that, but after talking with my daughter, it came down to my decision, and I went. And I enjoyed it during the time I was there. I didn't stay for the entire time they were there, but did have a blast riding the rides with my grandson. He rode the rides with me most of the time.
Seeing how much fun he was having made me decide to get the other grandchildren to Walt Disney World. Before I left Orlando, I was already setting things in place for a trip with the other five-year-old.
Wife still didn't want to go, so I ended up taking his brother and sister, both 17, a week later. They were great at keeping up with their brother, and had a fun time. Granddaughter in particular really enjoyed it. From my daughter, I had learned how to work the FastPass+ feature using the app for my iPhone, along with another app. That made the visit a lot more enjoyable, as we never waited in line more than 10 minutes for anything. Okay, there was one 20-minute wait for one ride, but only one. Everything else was either FastPass+ or short lines by noting the wait times on the app.
Right now, there's one more grandchild that's still in school (she's also 17) that hasn't been to Disney World. That's being remedied Labor Day weekend. And, this time, I won't be the only adult in the car. Wife is finally going. She went decades ago, before we met, but I don't think she particularly had a good time. Maybe that'll be different this time around. After all, I'm such a delight to be around.
Oh, remember that I mentioned that one granddaughter really enjoyed her trip? Well, she wants to go again. Only, I had to tell her "no." I explained that I wasn't going to take her twice and the others once. And my focus was on getting her cousin there, and that I wasn't going to buy her another ticket just yet. Undaunted, she said she was working and asked what if she bought her own ticket. I told her that, of course, we'd take her along. Which changed my "no" to a "yes." So, she bought her own ticket. This trip will be two adults (Wife and me) and two teenagers (cousins), which will mean the car is as full as it can be, what with luggage and a six hour trip. I am so looking forward to this trip with three of my favorite people.
There are still a grandchild that's in college. I have an idea how to manage getting her to Disney World. And, there's another that's not in college. We've discussed how to deal with that, too. We will work something out.
Anyway, I've been to Disney World twice since last month, and have another trip coming up next month. I'm not sure when I'll get Disney Fever out of my system. Maybe never.