The fear of the crowds stumbled out of the monorail with us. We have no happy Pop Century beds to collapse in this time. If we have a long grueling exit, we'll be traveling for an hour and a half. Mr. A, our chauffeur, had been battling the chicken in the toilet all last night. We are older then we used to be. At 23 we could stay up all night and roll right into the next day chipper and fun. Now 10 years later the all nighters will leave me and Mr. A like crying babies the next day .
First thing first, we pile Mr. A with my bags. The kids and I walk unencumbered through security. We wait for him. Why is it so hard to find “your party” after the security break? Truly, Mr. A takes forever to get all our bags inspected. The kids and I wander a bit away. It's Disney for Pete’s sake. Move along man. Finally he drags himself and the bags to where we are.
We have no plans. Well, that's what I told Mr. A and my offspring. Of course, I have a plan . I want fudge. I love fudge from Main Street. I wish I could eat it hands free like a dog. I'd hork it back using just my head, gravity, and tongue. And I would make awful slurping noises. That's not socially acceptable, so I usually suck it off the plastic knife they give you.
That's my secret plan .
I look at my walking children. We need to get a stroller, so we head under the train. There's mass chaos. No cast member at the counter. I can only see a pair of busy feet slinging strollers around behind the stroller curtain. Now, time, for The Anastasias is of the essence. We've yet to see the crowds. I keep hearing the 24 theme music in my head. “Dum dum dum dump” A huge clock is ticking for merry makers in the Kingdom to shuffle out and line up.
My mother gave us a bit o’ warning, telling us the story of the new numbers of allowed guests. They used to cut it off at 25,000 guests but now they are letting in 75,000 before they turn the guests away trying to get into the Kingdom. Is this a true fact? Are we about to face a crowd Unlike Disney has ever seen before?
. Ahhh. Finally. A moment to enjoy. I know Mr. A will be so happy with the view.
Oohh!! Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. Lucky you!! I remembered!
I know it's hard to find your party
I've to take stroller matters into my own hands. I see a frazzled looking man headed for the stroller curtain with a naked double stroller.
Me- “Returning your stroller?”
Him- “Umm, yes, but I don’t know what to do”
Me- “Don’t worry sir; I'll take care of that for you” I say in a soothing voice
He stares at me.
I give him an encouraging smile.
He hands me the stroller.
Me-“Have a great night”
I've commandeered someone else’s stroller. Mr. A likes to follow rules. He wants to stand in his line, give his name card from Epcot. I ignore him and load up GC and shove our name in. He hates when I commandeer naked Disney strollers, but in my defense, I never make them naked, I find them that way, abandoned.
A disapproving Mr. A leads us to Main Street. We are arriving at 8:35pm and people having been lining up for the Spectro Magic 9:00pm parade. Thronging is more like it. The parade crowd is phenomenal. Between the parade and the sheer volume of humans we can hardly recognize the road to my castle. Worst of all, there was no way to get to the candy store. With the FUDGE.
We shuffle slowly with the others trying to make their way down Main Street. We duck off to the side and head towards Future World. I look at the kids and assess their levels (Cranky, tired, hungry, etc) their hunger meter is high. I realize the kids don’t have the Italian bloat Mr. The King and I are enjoying. Their meals were much more lunch-like and reasonable. I've realized even my flatulence at this point has a foreign flair to it. I love Italy. So we head over to Lungering Larry’s or what ever that place with the monster singing is. The name will come to me. Either way, my kids (big surprise) are afraid of Larry. So we usually pick one of the surrounding tables. We're pleasantly surprised by a short line. This adds to our delusion that the crowds are not “that bad." I tell Mr. A to order and the kids and I scope out a table. We get a view of the castle at Ray’s so I try to call Mr. A. Why do I bother? He keeps his phone in his pants and his Happy Mickey ring tone is just too freaking far from his ear. If only I could send a shock, like those evil dog collars.
Just a few years ago, I was eating in Ray’s with Mom, Mr. A, BC and GC. I went for a condiment run. As I was walking back I focused on a little girl about 8 years old. She was running in one balcony door and out another scanning the tables. I stopped and watched her. Tears start streaming down her face. I never let her out of my gaze.
Finally, I approached her, “Sweetheart, are you lost?”
Through her tears, “Yes!”
I put on my best teacher voice, “Okay, the first thing you need to do is look for a cast member” I guide her to a line.
Me -"I have a lost child here.”
Cast Member jumps to work. Comforting the child and explaining that they would find her parents together. I stepped off to the side, but never took my eyes off of her. Within a few minutes a frantic father scoops her up. Hugs and admonishments. My gift that day was sitting not far from them and watching them all have a lunch together. It's funny how things work out. I never go for the condiments. Mr. A does it.
What I didn’t know was Mr. A was reenacting the little girl’s frantic search at that very moment. Although he says it's without the tears, I have my doubts . I get a phone call; Mr. A is given the clue of the balcony. He's wrangling a tray of food and drinks. The trays are apparently greased up just right so that as you move, everything on the tray slides in rhythm. Stop too fast and your whole dinner shifts sliding to the “lip” of the tray and teetering there to see if you are quick enough to counter gravity and send the whole thing sloshing back toward you without tipping all of the barbeque sauce and coke all over you.
I suppose the cast members have long boring days and watching hapless happy guests play the game with their trays passes the time.
So his search includes opening and closing the doors to all the balconies while balancing his waxed up, zero friction tray (wouldn’t automatic doors be really nice here? I guess that would bore the CM’s also). I spot him coming for us saving the precious nuggets and sodas. I generously open the last of four million balcony doors for him. The kids devour their meals and Mr. A and I toast sodas. While he was ordering, he was told that they were all out of chicken. (The only thing my kids eat). Mr. A started to panic, within seconds, a Cast Member appears to tell the service counter person that chicken is in again. Now that's what I like to see. Unlike the “discontinued” almonds, chicken's either out or it's in. There's hope with the chicken.
So while the kids have their in chicken. Mr. A and I start to plan our escape.