Vacation.

I can add another state to this year’s tally—Florida! Mom and Dad have booked a week-long vacation for the family at Disney World. We’ll be heading down to Orlando on the 4th of July and spending the week at Disney (and seeing the new Harry Potter park at Universal Studios, of course) before Maggie and Dad fly back to Chicago. From there, Mags goes to a three-week engineering program at Notre Dame. Mom and I will fly back to NC and I’ll get ready to leave for India.

My family loves Disney World. When I was little, we went to the theme park quite a few times and vacationed at Disney properties often. My dear sister is perhaps the biggest Disney geek of all–she has been known to cry while watching the free promotional DVDs that WDW sends out. My favorite part of Disney trips is the planning. Visiting 4 parks (plus Harry Potter) in 5 days necessitates a significant amount of coordination. Maggie and I have decided to make this trip a Disney-commando visit. We found a website with “touring plans”, which are guides to see/ride all of the attractions in each park in one day. I’m not sure how closely we’ll stick to the plans, but they provide some good inspiration.

For example…this is the Magic Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Adults.
1. Arrive at entrance to Magic Kingdom 50 minutes prior to opening. Get guide maps and daily entertainment schedule.
2. In Tomorrowland, ride Space Mountain.
3. Ride Buzz Lightyear.
4. In Fantasyland, ride Winnie the Pooh.
5. Ride Snow White’s Scary Adventures. (DEFINITELY passing on this one)
6. Ride Peter Pan’s Flight.
7. Ride It’s a Small World. (And have that incessant song stuck in your head for the rest of the vacation.)
8. In Liberty Square, see The Haunted Mansion.
9. In Frontierland, ride Splash Mountain if wait is 20 minutes or less. If not, obtain FASTPASS. (I’m not a big fan of water rides, but I kind of want to do Splash Mountain just to see the conspicuous absence of the Uncle Remus character from “Song of the South”, the incredibly racist 1943 Disney film that inspired Splash Mountain. One character, a crow, is named Jim. As in Jim Crow. Dear God. How cringe-worthy is this?)
10. Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
11. In Adventureland, ride Pirates of the Caribbean.
12. If you missed it earlier, ride Splash Mountain using FASTPASS.
13. Eat lunch.
14. Take the train from Frontierland to Mickey’s Toontown Fair.
15. Tour Mickey’s Toontown Fair.
16. Take the train back to Frontierland.
17. In Adventureland, ride the Jungle Cruise if wait is 20 minutes or less. If not, obtain FASTPASS. (In all my years of visiting Disney, I have never been on the Jungle Cruise. Go figure.)
18. See Enchanted Tiki Room.
19. In Frontierland, see Country Bear Jamboree. (Ick, no thanks. Creepy.)
20. If you missed it earlier, take the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland using FASTPASS.
21. Explore the Swiss Family Treehouse. (I’ve never done this either.)
22. In Liberty Square, ride the Liberty Belle Riverboat.
23. Experience The Hall of Presidents (YES! Love it. Can’t wait to see Barack!)
24. In Fantasyland, see Mickey’s PhilharMagic.
25. Eat dinner.
26. In Tomorrowland, see Monsters, Inc. Comedy Club.
27. Experience Stich’s Great Escape. Or don’t, if you’re running late or you just don’t feel up to it. (Passing on this one too. A weak attempt at redo-ing the Alien Encounter attraction.)
28. Ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. (Maggie is psyched for this one. “It moves at a stately 7 miles per hour! The Wedway people mover!)
29. See Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.
30. See the evening parade on Main Street.
31. See the evening fireworks on Main Street.

Like I said, Disney for Type-A commandos. This totally appeals to my sense of order, but I’m also looking forward to exercising my nerdy American Studies self at Disney. Main Street USA? Frontierland? Come on, that’s where I live. That’s my zone. My American West class this spring had readings and class sessions devoted to the Frontierland section of the Magic Kingdom and it’s portrayal of the West. I love this stuff. Notre Dame kids, especially American Studies students, get grant funding yearly for independent research/senior thesis projects that involve going to Disney World.

Maggie and I are trying to come up with Disney bingo, too. Some of the squares will probably include things like: Bride & Groom with Corresponding Mickey Ears, Morbidly Obese Person Riding Walmart Scooter, Family in Fanny Packs and White Tennis Shoes, Newlywed Stepparents Trying to Convince Newly-Blended Families to Like Each Other, Japanese Tourists with 8 Cameras Each. Any other suggestions?

I’m so excited about the Disney trip. It will be a great vacation to spend time having fun with my family. I’m curious about how the comparison will be, going from Disney World on Friday to India on Wednesday. How am I going to feel about spending 9 bucks for a hot dog in Epcot when that same amount of money will get me a couple nights worth of lodging in Kolkata? It should be an interesting dichotomy to explore and experience in such a short time period.

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