Now I’ve finally reached the main event of our trip: spending a month in Orlando. On previous trips there, we’ve never quite felt we had enough time, so we booked a condo for four weeks in Kissimmee. We also booked a couple nights at a Disney hotel at the beginning of our stay so that we could get FastPass+ reservations 60 days out for a few days, which was the only way to be sure we could see the most popular attractions without a long wait (or getting up very early, which you know we aren’t into). This was the first time we stayed at a Disney Value Resort (Pop Century), and it was definitely a different experience. We’ve never been woken up by having our room door powerwashed before, for instance. Still, it’s good to try new things.
We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on our second day in Orlando, and yes, I got us some buttons to wear, but we only wore them that day, not the whole trip.
We went to a Disney theme park nearly every day, and often more than one, but without the pressure of only having a week’s vacation, I feel like we didn’t do as much as we could have. We mostly slept in and ambled over to the park around lunchtime, which is not a recipe for efficient touring. I didn’t help any by taking a vacation from my vacation to fly off to a conference in New Orleans for a long weekend at the beginning of November. But that’s okay. We enjoyed what we did get done. And it won’t be the last time we go, most likely.
Because of the time of year we were there, we got to see the parks decorated for both fall/Halloween and winter/Christmas (though Christmas was still going up when we left mid-November). We could have gone to Halloween and Christmas parties at the Magic Kingdom, too, but chose not to take on that extra expense, having been to both in prior years.
Speaking of prior years, the Disney parks are way more crowded than they used to be in the fall. That takes some of the fun out of it, having to deal with the crowds both physically and virtually (trying to make reservations for attractions and restaurants). It’s still enjoyable, but it requires more planning than it used to to get the most out of one’s time there.
Another factor in what we were able to get done this trip was the Cubs being in the World Series. No way were we going to miss watching those games—we’d both grown up Cubs fans in Chicagoland—so we’d leave the parks early to get back to the condo to sit ourselves in front of the tv. Of course the series went to game 7. And of course that game 7 nearly caused me to have a nervous breakdown. When the Cubs won, I couldn’t quite believe it. Finally, something really great happened in 2016.
And then, something really not great happened a week later: the presidential election. That morning, we went to the Hall of Presidents, and I wept to think how great it was going to be when a woman was included in the show the next time we visited. Little did I know that my vision and spirit would be crushed before the day was done. I’m guessing I’ll have more to write about this subject later, but suffice it to say it put a damper on the end of our trip. 2016 giveth, and 2016 taketh away.
Next episode: Heading home, finally.
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