Thursday, February 9, 2012

We're going to Disney World (Vacation 1982, part 2)

(Click here for the Part One of our trip to Florida 30 years ago.)

The centerpiece of our first vacation was obviously Disney World. In 1982, Epcot hadn't open, the Disney World was still big enough, with the Magic Kingdom, the monorail and a few resorts. Though we were staying in Orlando, we still explored Disney World a little. I remember visiting the Contemporary Hotel, through which the monorail intersected. I know we visited one other resort because I remember the arcade there (first time I ever saw Sky Raider). But who are we kidding: The Magic Kingdom was the highlight of our trip to Disney World. And it was as good as advertised.

I don't remember too many specifics from that trip to the Magic Kingdom (we would go again in 1984). We hit all the major rides: Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, It's a Small World, the teacups. We enjoyed attractions such as Bear Country Jamboree and the World of Tomorrow (and I remember thinking to myself that nobody aged very much, including the dog, in 80 animatronic years). We at dinner in Cinderella's castle.

We had so much fun.

But the one story from the Magic Kingdom I tell over and over through the years is Space Mountain.

I'm not sure if this is the case now (and it wasn't at Disneyland's Space Mountain two years ago when we took the boys), but 30 years ago, you could walk through the entire line for the ride and not actually get on the roller coaster -- thus, you could enjoy the pre-ride spectacle and duck out before you got in. My mother, who can't handle a merry-go-round, walked through with us until we were ready to board. This may have changed too (again, it did at Disneyland, thought Disney World's Space Mountain was much more intense and visually appealing than Disneyland's), but Space Mountain sent you off in cars in which one person sat in front of the other (kind of like the Whizzer at Great America, as well as JetStar II at Lagoon, on which I think I cracked a rib last summer) with no seat belts. My mom, who never got to the station of any other roller coaster when the rest of us when on, saw this and had her maternal instincts kick in. She didn't think I could hold Julie in the car well enough, so she decided she would go with Julie and I would ride by myself (Dad was with Jenny as usual).

The cars left the station. "60 seconds to takeoff" a light flashed as we climbed the lift hill. The whole beginning of the indoor ride was strobe lights and special effects. But once you were done with the hill and started swerving through the roller coaster, you were in total darkness, save for artificial stars. Essentially, you didn't know where you would suddenly turn, go sideways or drop. It was awesome! Near the end, you take a really big drop that you never see coming, subsequently surprising the rider who was used to small drops. I'm not sure after coming out of that drop if I thought that Mom was might be head for Barfsville. I think I liked the ride so much that I selfishly didn't think of how it affected others.

Needless to say, Mom was not well after the ride was ovehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifr. She never threw up, but I never had seen her so disoriented. The other thing about Space Mountain: Once you get off the roller coaster, it's still about 10 minutes before you get outside. Luckily (or maybe not, I hope this didn't make her feel worse), conveyor belts carried people out, so Mom didn't have to walk much. We got outside, and she had to sit down -- for a while. I doubt Mom has gone on any carnival, amusement park or swervy ride since. I would honestly be surprised if she could handle a playground swing since that day.

One thing I don't remember from our Magic Kingdome trip -- did we get Mickey ears? I probably was too old to want them, and that's too bad. That would have made the day all the more memorable.

(Click here for part three.)

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