Monday, March 21, 2011

Adventures in Orlando: Day Three

Had a bit of a rough start this morning. Last night, I had taken Chlor-Trimeton to help me get to sleep. It used to be in my routine years ago until it vanished from drugstores. When I went to Duane Reade on Thursday to prepare for the trip, I found one box on the shelf. Well, I think it might have turned me into a zombie for a few hours. I felt like I could use a nap . . . or a coma. Five comas, back-to-back. Add that to eating lots of rich food, including African cuisine, I didn't feel my best going to my final destination in Orlando: Magic Kingdom.

Yes, there I was, along with my mother, at the place which is about 180 degrees removed from my mindset. And seriously, every employee (sorry . . . "character"; that's what they're called) had been super-nice to me and Mom all weekend. I'm not used to it. I think it's a mix of my neuroses, my mental condition, my past with interaction, and the fact that I've live within the boroughs of New York my entire life. Somebody tells me to have a great (or "magical") day, it takes a lot for me not to respond with "Go fuck yourself."

It turned out the Magic Kingdom wasn't that big of a deal. All right, I think that's because I'm not a kid and it was the off-peak schedule. I reckon March is a great time to head to Orlando, when it's warm even in the final official days of winter, but not Southwest America warm, where local birds burst into flame in midair on a regular basis. The lines that I went on weren't too long., and I didn't feel that much like a fish out of water. Also, I have to admire a place where the first place you walk into ("Main Street, U.S.A.") has no rides, but lots of places to shop and eat. I think Plan B would've involved burly men grabbing patrons by the ankles and shaking money loose.

I went solo to Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland. This was an exhibit shipped direct from the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing, N.Y., with lots of improvements. Basically, it's the story of an eternally-young family watching the times bring improvements to their lives. They're young on account that they're audio-animatronic (had to copy the phrase from the map), meaning they move around like humans, but they're not real and just a little creepy. Even the dog is a little unnerving to watch as he lifts his head and barks at the right time. In the end, we're about ten minutes into the future, where the boy is teaching Grandma the art of virtual reality video games, and Father keeps repeating game scores, prompting the voice-recognizing oven to ruin Christmas dinner. It's hokey in general, but it's cute to watch, with the stands rotating like a wheel, given the allusion that the stages are moving.

Me and Mom also visited a show based on Monsters, Inc. This one had the Pixar visuals, but the key was that the characters reacted to audience members. Also unnerving, and I was ready to duck out of view if my face had come up on screen.

We did a lot of walking, though looking back at the map, we didn't do much in Fantasyland. Once again: I'm not into rides. Mom made me go to the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square, which was a bit lame. I'm probably not alone . . . only kids that were never exposed to the likes of Scream, Saw, and their sequels would get frightened, even with the nice effects. Also, the ride stopped for about a minute, which was annoying. We took a riverboat around Tom Sawyer Island, which had audio-animatronic sites near the water ("Indian" village, shack with rowdies, etc.) And then there was the Hall of Presidents, featuring Audio-Animatronic Abraham Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address (I think), and 44 presidents that mostly nodded when their names were announced. A more cynical mind would've added more, like having William Henry Harrison cough violently, William Taft chewing on a turkey leg as big as his thigh, Gerald Ford falling apart, a robotic Hillary Clinton grabbing her husband by the ear, and George W. Bush . . . ah, screw it. You come up with something. In the end, the audio-animatronic Barack Obama gave a speech, and I half-expected audio-animatronic (yes, I hit CTRL-V yet again) Fox pundits to barge in and yell at the President for indoctrinating the audience. Disney engineers can make an eight- or nine-foot Hopper . . . why not Bill O'Reilly's big head?

We bounced around a bit. I wound up eating a hummus sandwich with strawberry yogurt for lunch. Happily, the bad feeling in my stomach was mostly gone. We wandered around Adventureland and Frontierland for the rest of the day. Tom Sawyer's Island was a bit of a waste, though watching my mother try to navigate a "barrel bridge" was pretty funny. That was very unstable; all it would take is one extra from Wall-E to break the thing. The Country Bear Jamboree was up my alley, though my mother thought I was nuts for liking (wait for it) audio-animatronic bears that seemed inbred (or "in-bear-ed") playing on funny instruments. Oh, and the animals with their heads mounted on the wall were enjoying it as well. She got at me by making me go to Pirates of the Caribbean. As you'd expect, a lot of the visuals are based off the movies which were inspired by the original ride, including several appearances by everyone's favorite metrosexual swashbuckler, Captain Jack Sparrow.

And that's about it. We tried to get into a few restaurants on Main Street U.S.A., but they were full up. Mom got her quota of shopping done while I watched (as I occasionally tried to find a snack that would be guaranteed not to send me to the hospital from an allergic reaction), and we went back "home." I managed to catch The Amazing Race (Jaime & Cara getting eliminated = satisfactory conclusion), and we got dinner at the cafeteria afterward. Tomorrow, we head for home. I know there's a lot I left out . . . like Mom looking for places to smoke, and how non-flash photography and moving objects aren't a great mix . . . but I think I covered the basic stuff well enough. I have to say it: I had a good time. While I wouldn't rush to sink a few grand coming back here anytime soon (or fall backwards into an ALL. EXPENSES. PAID. vacation), I can now see the appeal. Even if we had a week, there would be far too much to do. We never even got to explore the parks thoroughly at night or touch base at Hollywood Studios. One day, I might get a chance to come back, and now I wouldn't hesitate at the thought of going. Just don't expect me to wear the mouse ears.

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