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Heartwarming Small-Town Romances and Thrilling Mysteries

This past week, I was privileged to spend two days at Disney World in Florida with my daughter. Time with my daughter is very precious to me since I live in Idaho and she lives in Texas. And spending it in a magical place was the best time ever!

We stayed at a Disney resort hotel, the Pop Century.   It’s on the lower price end of their resorts, comparable to a nice Motel 6, but with five separate, large, four-story buildings. Must be several thousand rooms there. Small rooms, but clean facilities. Daughter and I didn’t care how small the rooms were since we spent so little time there. We just needed clean beds and bathroom.

Cinderella’s castle and Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park.
Cinderella’s castle and Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park.

The week before Thanksgiving is a good time to go to Disney World. Although there were tens of thousands of people there, it wasn’t all that crowded because it’s so big. We didn’t wait for more than 20 minutes on any ride or show. In fact, the longest waiting-in-line time was for the buses to get to and from the parks. Some of those waits lasted for 45 minutes or so, but we met some interesting people while waiting. When you’re headed for a fun place, people are generally happy. This setting is conducive for getting to know each other.

We visited the Magic Kingdom park on our first day. Daughter and I have enough “little girl” left in us that we felt the magic. Little girls were everywhere in their princess dresses and little crowns. We looked for grownup princess gowns, but no luck. I guess they are only for children. We saw several shows and rode some of the rides—no roller coasters. Plus the weather was too cold for the water rides. Something interesting was around every corner so we kept on move all day long. Probably walked 100 miles or so. If not, it felt like it.

We made one mistake that evening: we went to Frontiertown to watch the electric parade instead of staying near the castle to watch it. The park presents a laser show on the castle immediately following the parade and we missed it because we didn’t get back there quickly enough. And the crowd was so large that we couldn’t see the fireworks show from the best vantage point. Neither incident dampened our wonderful time there. It was still very magical.

The next day we visited Epcot, arriving about 9:30 or so. The international village didn’t open until 11:00, but the Space exhibit was open so we looked around there for a while. Epcot is vastly different from the Magic Kingdom. Epcot is more cerebral and less magical. And everything is spread out so there’s a lot of space between the sights. We walked another 100 miles that day. The best part of Epcot was seeing the different countries’ pavilions, constructed in the style of their cultures. The people who work there are from those countries and are happy to talk to you about their homes. We enjoyed French food for lunch and British food for supper.

If you plan a trip to Disney World, here are a few suggestions. Stay at a Disney resort hotel. Before we left, they sent us tags for our luggage. At the airport, they picked up our luggage and delivered it to our rooms. They provided a shuttle ride from the airport and back again. Disney World provided buses to and from all its parks and hotels and to downtown Disney. At the end of my visit, I checked my bags and picked up my boarding passes at the hotel before I boarded the bus to the airport. So they really took care of getting my luggage where it needed to be without me having to lug it around myself.

Top left, Japanese building with Zen garden.  Top, German pavilion.  Bottom left, Chinese building.
Top left, Japanese building with Zen garden. Top, German pavilion. Bottom left, Chinese building.

At the hotel, we were given wrist bands that functioned as our room key and held information on our food plan. With the food plan, we ate very well. We got one sit-down meal, one quick grab meal, and one snack per day. This plan cut down on the amount of cash we had to carry since we had prepaid for food. You can include a credit card number on the wrist band and make purchases at the park without having to carry credit cards or money. They make it very easy to spend more than you intend. We opted out of that part of the wrist bands.

The only drawback was the weather. It poured rain our first night there, but it was warm. The rain didn’t bother us. The next day, the wind was blowing and it was cold! Humidity and wind cut right through our fleece coats. Both Daughter and I bought new sweatshirt hoodies to stay warm. A lot of other people there did the same.

I came home with one blister and a heart full of great memories. Daughter and I had so much fun that we are talking about going back next year to see the other parks. We will start saving now and see if we can make it happen. I want to feel the magic again.   And next time, I’ll take along a sweatshirt.

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