Music Trip to Orlando, Visiting Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom

A Dream…

The choir was set, standing on a stage in a rather large auditorium. Four bright lights shone on us, one on Paul and Dave Kaye on one side, a sixth light on Shawn and Andy on the other. The audience was immense, and deathly quiet. Stothart walked to the front of the stage, stood on her podium and faced the audience, saying something we couldn’t hear. Then she turned to us, raised her arms, and the music began.

Paul and Dave strummed off a few chords on their guitars, echoing into the black depths of the room. They held the last note for a few seconds, before Shawn let off a blast on the drums. Paul was a solo from that point for a while, blaring away at a tune I knew, but did not remember practicing for the choir. Then James, Chris and myself began to sing, or rather, shout:

She was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean!
She was the best damn woman that I’ve ever seen!
She had a-thankless eyes, tellin’ me no lies!
Knockin’ me out with those American thighs!

(Then Dave kicked in with his guitar, playing the same notes as Paul. The rest of the basses and tenors also picked up at this point to assist us. Stothart was going wild, as was the audience.)

Take a moment to share, had me fightin’ for air!
She told me to come, but I was already there!
‘Cause the wall start shakin’, the Earth was quakin’,
My mind was achin’, and we were makin’ with you!

(Now the sopranos and the altos came in for the chorus.)

SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG!

Yeah you!

SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG!

(Beep, beep, beep, beep…)
I realized with a start that the audience was exiting the building quickly, the fire alarm had gone off. The choir took that moment to also vacant the premises. But I couldn’t move, my feet were stuck to the bench, I was immobile. The doors on either side of me suddenly burst in, fire leaping across the stage. It came closer and closer, I could feel the intense heat; I could still hear the fire alarm. But it didn’t sound like a fire alarm.

It wasn’t a fire alarm, it was a dream. What I was hearing was J’s stupid alarm clock at 6:30 in the morning. J wanted to go jogging with a couple of the chaperones. To put it bluntly, we wanted to kill him for that stupid clock, it was too loud. If you want an approximate level of noise, think of a foghorn built into an alarm clock, and you’re getting close.

J was the only one who really moved at all, the other four of us were too worn out to move at any speed at all. Even though I had gone to bed long before the others, I was still tired. So we waited for James’ alarm to go off. We had two clocks in our room, the women had my clock (though I don’t know if they ever used it – I assume they did, as they did ask for it).

When James’ clock went off, we began to move, though not very quickly. It was now only 7:30, we had to be back for the buses at 9:00. One by one, we hauled ourselves from the beds. J’s mattress was in between the double beds. James and Stuart were the first to rise after J, they still had to have showers. Chris had one the night before, I wasn’t going to have one until later (I like to conserve water).

J never returned, and if he did, he made his entry very brief. James, Chris and I were the first ones ready to head out for breakfast (which I really, really needed), Stuart was taking his time. So we told Stuart that we were heading out ahead of him. When we checked in with the ladies, only Linda and Therese were left, and they weren’t ready yet either. So we headed out without them, but we told them where we were going.

We soon arrived at the Friendly’s Restaurant across the street, noticing their $2.22 special: two eggs (any style), two pancakes, two sausages (or bacon). The three of us decided that this was a good deal. We had a seat in almost no time at all. And we found out where the rest of our missing females and J were, eating at the table behind us.

James, Chris and I all ordered the special, but with slightly different variations. James wanted his eggs fried sunny side up, Chris and I wanted them scrambled. James had apple juice, Chris grapefruit juice, and I orange. And let me tell you, the waitress that we had serving us was by far the most pleasurable person I had ever met first thing in the morning. She had to have been a morning person.

Stuart, Therese and Linda showed up not long after that, but they didn’t stay. Instead, they booted off to another restaurant (Sizzlers, I think). James and Chris entertained themselves with Triangle Solitaire. To put it simply, it’s a wooden board with a triangle superimposed on the surface, with three small triangles at each of the three corners. The area enclosed by the triangles have a bunch of holes drilled in them (can’t remember how many, somewhere around twenty or so) where white pegs go. There is one more hole than there are pegs. The whole idea is to be able to jump all the pegs until there is just one left. Neither Chris or James could do better than three. I couldn’t even do that well, I could only end up with five.

After we were finished, we booted back to the hotel to get our load of stuff that we were going to need to survive the day. This included money, shades (a necessity due to the light – Chris had left his in his locker at school), cameras (those of us who had them) and for me, tunes (gotta have those!). By that time, it was quarter to nine, the time we had been asked to arrive at the buses so we wouldn’t waste any time. No-one in our room moved with any great expediency.

From our room on the third floor, overlooking the parking lot where the buses were parked, I could see that only Warren had returned. Much to our misfortune, Dick had not arrived that day to drive us around. I was dismayed, but reminded that this was life, and the expected never happens (at least not always). Soon, we booted down, and checked in with Stothart. Next, it was onto our bus.

At first, I aimed for the back of the bus (I always loved riding back there, it was almost my home when I traveled through the Soviet Union ). But before I had barely even taken my seat, I was beckoned by Chris to come forward. However, he had neglected to tell me that there were any seats available. Kathryn (bless her soul) was kind enough to let me sit with her. Before the bus even moved anywhere though, she asked to shift to the aisle seat, as she was prone to motion sickness. No arguments from me!

Then our new driver got the ol’ bus in motion, heading for the same road that we had come up the day before. After we cut off a couple lanes of traffic, we headed on down, following much the same route that we had followed the day before, except when we arrived at the intersection where I had received that wicked case of deja vu, we did turn left (into the direction had we gone straight through) and headed for Disney World.

It didn’t take too long to spot some of the larger exhibits, the first ones came from what we thought to be MGM Studios, but we couldn’t tell (I don’t think it was, we passed it later on that day on the way out). Soon, we passed by Epcot Center (one of our two destinations) and continued along the Disney Highway System.

Before long, we arrived at a large parking lot, solely for buses. This was one of several Disney Bus stops (where people could take buses to the separate divisions of Disney World), but also where the buses from coach lines stopped for unloading into Disney World. This is where our group pulled in. Then we had to wait for about forty-five minutes for our tour guide to finally get all the flippin’ tickets. At least the Epcot people would get in quickly (the bastards!).

Somewhere around 11:30 or so, we entered the world that Walt built (though he never saw it completed before his death), and headed right for the monorail. The ride was one that brought back memories for me, especially when the train traveled right through the middle of the Contemporary Resort Hotel. It was where my family had stayed eleven years ago, the feeling was somewhat overwhelming.

Soon, we arrived at the station for the Magic Kingdom, and we couldn’t wait to get inside. However, a little voice which had been nagging me since before we left kept repeating: “The place is jammed, we should have come earlier!” Of course, that damn voice was right, the place was jammed. We didn’t care, we were in the land where the dreams of millions of little children come true every year, where people of all ages can live out their childhood stories by traveling through the many rides and displays that encompassed the realm of Disney. And if you weren’t into that, you could always go around mauling the people in the character suits.

Halfway up Main Street USA, our group split in two, there were too many people to do anything productive. James, Linda, Therese, Stuart and Kathryn took off in one direction; Chris, Ali Etherington, Emily Patrick and myself in the other. I wanted to be with Kathryn, but that was the way things were going to be until at least 14:00, when Roser wanted us to be at Cinderella’s Castle for check-in with the chaperones.

(Anyone wondering why I haven’t yet mentioned J, Ali or Hil? They didn’t go with us. We had three choices for spending the day. One was, obviously, Disney World (Magic Kingdom), the second was Epcot Center, and finally Universal Studios. Hil, Ali and J went to Universal. When I found out about the Star Trek adventure, I wished I had gone there instead. Oh well, maybe next time!)

At first we weren’t sure where to go. Finally, we decided to head to World Of Tomorrow. Why? Don’t ask me, I ain’t got a clue. Anyway, fewer that ten feet into the subdivision of Disney World, we headed into the line for the first of our rides. This one was called Mission To Mars. It looked interesting, and not touched since it was built in the fifties or sixties.

When you do finally enter the building, you have to wait in a lounge with three doors at one end, watching a clock count down to zero before you enter. This gave Ali, Emily and Chris time to chat. Sitting at the far end of a line of four people makes talking rather difficult. Finally, the doors swung open and we progressed into the hallway beyond.

In there was a mock-up of Mission Control, kept behind a glass wall. At the far end was one of the employees, someone who sounded like he had practiced his lines too much. Inside the Mission Control area were eight or nine Animatronics robots, who acted out the tasks their human counterparts actually did.

One of them was the narrator, who gave us a general idea of what we were in for. I’ll give it to Disney, they certainly know how to make a dummy look awful real. The motions were a bit mechanical, but I had seen worse. Once, the narrator stopped when an alarm went off, and all the screens changed to show an Albatross landing (I think it was an Albatross, whichever bird it is that can never land smoothly, and usually crashes), which set off all the alarms.

Once that little skit was over, we were hustled into another room around the corner at the end of the hall. There were two of these rooms, we were hustled into the room on the left of the hallway. At first I thought it was going to be like the Tour Of The Universe at the CN Tower back in Toronto. Unfortunately, this one was the forerunner of the CN Tower’s by at least fifteen years.

There were four screens in the room (which looked a bit like the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise), two circular ones at the top and bottom of the room, and two rectangular ones on the walls. One we could not see, we were sitting right under it. Through the bottom one, we could “see” ourselves leaving the ground. To accompany this, all the seats sank a bit (you could hear the hydraulic systems kicking in). It felt weird to have your ass sink into the seat like that.

Once we were in orbit, we were given a quick low down of the flight, then sent through hyperspace (ooh!). I’m sorry, but Disney makes enough every year to upgrade that ride into a state of the art exhibit. The hyperspace effect is the cheesiest one I have ever seen. As an avid fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, that was too much to take without comment.

When we arrived at Mars, probes were launched and we got glimpses of Mars from those cameras. I think Tour Of The Universe should try something like that, that was well done. Then we ran into danger (not unexpected), a meteor shower. So we hyperspaced back to Earth and landed back in Florida. Then the ride was over, and we left.

Once we were back outside, we progressed our way towards Space Mountain. Chris and I wanted to go in right then, but Ali absolutely refused to go. Chris and I were determined to get her on it, but decided to wait until later that afternoon for the others, especially when we saw the lineup to get on. So we turned to our left and continued up the walkway, right into a gift shop.

There was some neat stuff in there (an $80 embroidered jean jacket with Mickey Mouse and stuff on the back) and a rather large rack o’ sunglasses. Chris spent about ten minutes going through them all before finally choosing a pair with purple frames and clear arms (mostly on the approval of Ali and Emily). Once we had purchased them, we headed back out into the outside world, where it promptly got cloudy.

“Wouldn’t ya know it! As soon as I get sunglasses, it gets dark out!” cried Chris, rather annoyed at the lack of light.

We headed right up to 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, and were about to get into line when I happened to notice a sign that read:

Approximately 40 Minutes Wait From This Point

So we avoided that one, even though I really wanted to go on it (it was closed the last time I was there), but we didn’t want to wait 40 minutes (it turned out to be one of the shorter lines we would wait in that day). I then argued the fact that the chances of us hitting a ride without lines were nil, and we agreed to go on the Mad Hatters Tea Party, which was right next to 20,000 Leagues.

So we hopped in line and waited for about twenty minutes before our turn came up. All the while Chris and I were trying to convince Ali to come on Space Mountain. Then Ali (maybe it was Emily) asked us:

“If you knew that you only had one day left to live, what would you do?”

I hate those questions, I absolutely can’t stand them. Chris tried to answer it, but then protested that he hated the question too, that there was no real way to answer it. We kept whipping through the line, it went very quickly compared to the others that we would stand in. Then, our turn finally came.

The four of us whipped onto the platform and jumped into one of the cups. We barely fit into it. In the centre was “the wheel”, that devilish contraption that allows one to make themselves so fast that they hurl in a beautiful arc onto other patrons of the ride.

When the ride started, we tried to see how fast we could get that thing to turn, letting out heads dangle out when we hit the low parts. About five minutes later (and four chances to puke our guts out), the ride came to a halt and we disembarked, nearly tripping over our own feet we were so dizzy. It only took my body a couple moments to get its bearings, I don’t know about the other three.

Chris and I really wanted to go to the Haunted House, but first we had to find it. So out came the trusty map that we were given. We followed the route over to the Merry-Go-Round from hell (the thing is huge!) and had to look at the map again, just to make sure. Then we headed for fun.

The transition between one land to another within the Magic Kingdom is subtle in some cases, in others they do an awesome job of hiding it through tunnels or underpasses. But we were quickly in Frontier Land, and just up from us was the Haunted House, and a long lineup. We jumped in before it was too late.

By then, the sun had come out again, and in full force. It was not only very bright out, but also quite warm. Before we went any further, I wanted to take a picture of Emily and Ali. However, they wouldn’t let me. So I took a photo of the back of their heads (I like strange and unusual shots). The line didn’t take too long to get under the awning that runs for a fairly long distance up to the front door.

When we arrived at the front door, we were greeted by a rather strange woman who talked in a nice and creepy voice (I think Chris fell in love), telling us to get inside. I couldn’t help but get into the act by acting rather morbid. For example, when she told us to get inside one particular room before the door closed and crushed our bodies into a pulp, I responded:

“COOL! That sounds like fun!”

That particular room was really strange. At first, it looked like any normal room, six walls (the only strange thing, at first), a couple paintings and a ceiling. Then things got stranger. Another strange voice (this one male) came over speakers, reminding us that there were no doors (of course we all checked, and there weren’t). Then it asked us whether we were sinking, or the room was getting bigger. That was a neat effect. We could tell the room was rising, but you felt like you were sinking.

Then the voice asked us how we were going to get out, as there were no doors. Then it suggested his way, at which point, all the lights went off, and we could see through the ceiling (a simple effect, the ceiling was made from fine mesh, painted to look like the ceiling). The ceiling above was much higher, with a single window, through which came flashes of lightning. Hanging from the very top was a dead body. Couple people screamed, several gasped, Chris and I went:

“Wicked! This is gonna be cool!”

At this point, part of the wall slid away, revealing a hallway full of people. Ali and Emily made sure that Chris and I stayed near the wall. Understandable, I was getting the jitters, wondering what lay ahead for us. I love that feeling, fear. It’s neat sometimes, others it’s a pain in the ass.

I had thought that the house was a walk through type, but what we found was a continuous train of cars which sat two people each. Em and Ali went in the first one, Chris and I in the second. Then we began our trek into fear! (Yeah, right!)

Chris and I had a blast in there, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how they did some of the effects (most were fairly simple), and constantly babbling about how we wanted to move into the place. The train stopped a couple of times, probably due to people falling out of the cars at the other end.

My biggest surprise was when we arrived at this one room, which was full of ghosts. At first, all you saw were thousands of ghosts flying up to the ceiling. The effect is fairly easy to do, but it looked sooooooooo cool! That was my favorite part. There were ghosts everywhere, it’s the place I want to be buried!

When we finally got to the end, I wanted to go back. But first we wanted to see what else there was. So it was back into Frontier Land. We came up on the Hall Of Presidents, and we almost went in, until I informed them that you had to sit down in this, there was no ride as such. Chris informed me that “we have to move!” I had to agree with this, I hate just sitting myself.

Down a little further, and we came upon the Sleepy Hollow Inn (I believe that was the name), and were about to get lunch, until we saw the prices and the limited choices. So we exited the establishment and aimed towards Main Street. Before we got too far, I nailed the others for a photo, with Cinderella’s Castle in the background. This time, Ali and Em didn’t turn away.

We strolled down Main Street, checking out the available munchies, until we decided on a cafeteria that was right next door to World Of Tomorrow. The prices were high here too, but we were more interested in the selection. Chris indulged in an iced tea (which was real, not Nestea), and Ali, Em and myself all had an order of fries (each).

We then snagged a table down by the balcony that over looked the “river” that ran from the castle, and tried to eat (and drink) without the wind blowing everything away. We weren’t always successful, but we didn’t lose any food. Almost. Emily was a little surprised when Chris ate the lemon that had come with his tea. This was the birth of “Lemon Woman”.

Let me explain! A few minutes afterwards, Emily had Chris’ lemon on the end of a toothpick, and was lightly flinging it from side to side. The three of us watched her carefully, to see what she would do. Unfortunately, Chris sat across from Em, and she was winging the lemon slice in his direction.

“Go ahead, I know you want to do it!” said Chris, challenging Emily to toss the lemon slice.

Whip! SPLAT!

Yeah, she did it. Em nailed Chris square in the face with that lemon slice. All of us burst out laughing, and Emily became very apologetic. Chris countered her however, stating that he had told her to do it, and she did. Em kept saying that she was sorry several times through the day, and Chris kept trying to get her to not say it.

After our lunch, Em and Ali made a quick pit stop in the washroom, Chris and I waited down by the table we had eaten at. We didn’t sit down, just stood at waited. I took a picture of Cinderella’s Castle (which from that distance looked really cool) and of a bush Dragon. If you’re wondering what a bush Dragon is, the Disney gardeners take bushes and turn them into sculptures.

When Ali and Em returned, we head back towards Main Street. We stopped at the Ice Cream parlour though, so Chris, Emily and Ali could get something cool ï ¿ ½n’ creamy. I abstained, the last thing I needed was a blast of sugar and be bouncing off the walls for the next hour or two.

When they emerged a few minutes later, it was almost 14:00, the time we had to meet at the Castle. So we began the short jaunt up to the gates. We didn’t get too far though, before Emily’s ice cream cone began to melt. Chris doubled back for some napkins, returning a couple minutes later.

When we first arrived at the walkway up to the castle, we couldn’t see anyone. I was about to check the other side when I noticed almost the entire group just off to one side of the walkway. So we joined them, taking pictures of the group while we were at it, waiting for Roser to show up. Chris and I whipped around the corner for a moment, to get a picture of ourselves. No, we aren’t secret lovers, it’s ritual. We did the same thing at Canada’s Wonderland, after we had successfully made our first ride on a roller coaster.

Shortly after we returned to the group, Roser appeared at the top of the walkway that ran through the castle. He caught a hold of us, came down and took roll call. Then he reminded us of our return time, 18:30. We had to be back at the bus by 19:00, but it would take us about a half hour to get back with all the people.

So again we divided back into our original groups (again, Kathryn went with Therese, Stuart, Linda and James) and went our separate ways. We headed back into Frontier Land (after taking directions from James to a store to find belts and wristbands – subsequently screwing the directions up a bit) to scout more fun. We continued along the main road in Frontier Land that bordered the river until we got to the end, which was in an elbow. At this corner, Disney was erecting a new ride, a Flume ride (can’t remember what they called it though).

When we looked down the road from the corner, we saw our destination. Once we got there, we found the wristbands that Therese, Stuart, Linda, James and Kathryn and purchased earlier. Emily was the only one who bought one though. The store had some interesting things that I wouldn’t have minded owning, but it wasn’t the time, nor the place.

We were on our way over to the other side, when Emily was called back by the salesperson. She forgot her change. To Chris and I, Ali mumbled a rather nasty blond joke. Ali is a strange girl. She loves to tell blond jokes, even though she’s blond too.

Emily then got sidetracked at a small cart, where one could find small articles made from glass. Emily was caught there for at least five minutes before she finally bought a little glass alligator. That’s when we learnt about Emily’s passion for alligators. The three of us then crossed the courtyard to the shops in the other side to find Ali, who had disappeared into it. Those stores did rather well, both Ali and Emily forked over a lot of cash (about $20) in gifts and whatnot.

Right next to us was Pirates Of The Caribbean, we immediately hit the line, we wanted to go on it. It was ironic for me, as eleven years earlier, I had run out of the line petrified to go on the ride. I know feel sorry for my father, as he really did want to go on that ride. Anyway, it was a good forty-five minutes before we got anywhere. After the allotted time had passed, we found ourselves at the loading dock, from which we would hop into boats for the trip. The loading area was made to look like a fort bordering on a river, or ocean. It looked real enough.

We took our turn and loaded in, waiting for the controllers to let us go. The locks released and our boat was set free. For about a minute we drifted along, seeing nothing aside from cavern. Then, ahead in the distance, our first view of pirates. Then we rounded a corner and went down a very small hill, we didn’t even get splashed. BORING!

What we ended up in was a huge room with a pirate ship on one side, and a Spanish fort on the other, both firing cannons (and missing most terribly). The effects were cool. We drifted along, under bridges, by more pirates plundering and lighting afire, basically creating pure havoc. The ride could have been slightly longer, but I liked it (considering I chickened out of it eleven years earlier, now I feel really stupid for doing that too!).

After that, we had about fifteen minutes before we had to go to Space Mountain (where we had agreed to meet the others at the rendezvous point), so we checked out a few of the stores in the area. There were a few really cool articles of clothing in some of the stores (not to mention one very expensive leather jacket), handbags, jewelry, etc.

We hopped down a store to one that sold things made exclusively from sea shells. Three guesses who the only one was who bought something. Yeah, it was Emily again. I can’t remember what she bought, but I think it was either a necklace or a bracelet. We hit one last store, which was dedicated to surf apparel and accessories. Chris purchased a new shirt there, a Bubble Gum Surf Board Wax brand t-shirt.

By that time, we were late by about two minutes. So we hauled our asses over to Space Mountain where we found the rest. They had to have been there a while, they were quite some distance into the line. They let us in (no-one behind us made any verbal objection, fortunately) and we proceeded with the longest wait we would have that day. By the time we reached the main entrance, the sign said that we had at least forty-five minutes to wait before we would get to ride the scariest roller coaster I had ever been on. By this time, both Ali and Yvonne Harrop (who had been with Therese, Stuart, Kathryn, Linda and James) went over to one side to wait.

This was a nasty wait for me in particular, I had to wait behind two couples who were deeply in love. This entire trip was a great benefit to those couples, and others on the trip, bringing both sides very close together. But for those of us who wished they were in one, it wasn’t so good. I tried to keep myself preoccupied, and not look in Stuart and Therese’s direction, else I would have wanted to leave (nothing against them personally, they had every right to do what they did).

Unfortunately for me, this left me in a less than agreeable state. So I did my best to hide it. If there’s one thing I hate doing, it’s showing my moody states to my friends (though I have done too many times in the past). When we finally entered the loading area for the ride, I realized that in order to keep from feeling shitty, I was going to have to look up a lot.

This gave me time to try and figure out the ride. That coaster was immense, though I couldn’t see most of it. The lights were virtually all off, and seeing anything in that light is next to impossible. The waiting area was well lit, it had to be or people would be tripping over everyone.

Then Chris began his services as a tattooist, drawing pictures on Therese’s arm and Linda’s shoulder. I believe Stuart got one too, but I can’t remember if it was in Space Mountain or later, when we got back outside.

Anyway, about a half hour after entering the loading zone (and having Emily point out that the meteors that were projected on the ceiling looked like chocolate chip cookies), we reached the cars. The train was made up of two three-seat cars linked together. Emily, Chris and I got in the first car; Kathryn, Linda and James in the second. Therese and Stuart had to wait for the next train. I was forced to sit at the very front.

Then ride-from-hell began. The car was released down a long tunnel with flashing lights (that was cool, it was indescribably wild), then rounding a corner and latching onto the chain that would drag us to the top of the coaster, letting us loose. I could hear Chris from behind me, wondering why we had even got on the ride in the first place. I was hyped up beyond belief. That was a wrong move.

The cars then took a downward plunge and for the next two to five minutes (it felt like an eternity), we hit slopes, curves, turns, hills and every conceivable thing that one can put on a roller coaster. I’m surprised that we didn’t hit any jumps. For some of the turns, there was enough light to see when the turn was coming. But for others, just darkness. I saw them coming, and I didn’t like it one bit.

When I got off that hellish contraption, I was almost frozen in my seat. I was surprised that I hadn’t pissed in my pants. We got out and waited for Stuart and Therese to get in, then we hopped on the moving walkway to the outside world. Once we got out, we rejoined Yvonne and Ali off to one side. Then Chris resumed his tattooing, promptly drawing Wolverine slashes on James’ arm. He drew on a couple people too, but I don’t remember who. A passerby watched with intrigue, for a moment I thought he was going to ask Chris to draw one on him!

I did not get a tattoo, I didn’t want pen on my arm. Instead, I listened to The Rolling Stones on my walkman, until the others finally decided to leave (which happened to coincide with the return of Stuart and Therese from a very short shopping spree). With that, we headed for Main Street. Along our way out, just across the bridge that led from World Of Tomorrow to the Main Street area, we paused to view a rabbit as it bounced around, munching on the flowers. By this time I was too damn depressed to care.

We hit the ice cream parlour again, the rest of the group who hadn’t been there earlier wanted to indulge themselves. Once again, I abstained. But this time, it was because I just didn’t feel like it. Instead, Chris and I went over to check out the Magic Store. Eleven years ago, they had some of the neatest things. But I didn’t find the trick light bulb that had intrigued me as a child.

I let Chris know that I was going off on my own, I didn’t want to really hang around the group right then, and I wanted to check out the stores for myself without have to be waited on or wait for anyone else. So I hopped from boutique to crowded boutique. Hundreds of visitors all cramming for those little souvenirs. Memories and photos are all I need, material things just don’t seem to cut it anymore.

By the time I had finished, it was rapidly approaching 18:00. I could have gone up after the rest of my group, but the chances of me finding them were slim. So I remained at the bottom of Main Street, near the entrance / exit, awaiting their arrival. By 18:20, I thought that they had gone through, somehow gotten by me. So I booted through to the other side, under the railway station, to see if they were by the monorail station. They weren’t.

I waited on that side for a while, hoping that I could still catch them. Then it began to rain. At first it wasn’t too bad, but it did get a lot harder. Standing under a tree keeps one drier than if one were to stand out in the open, but I wasn’t about to go stand in the railway underpass, there were too many people crammed in there.

At 18:30, I made a quick check of Main Street, from the lower end. Still nothing. Remembering our tour guide’s warning, I waited no longer than twenty minutes to 19:00 before heading for the monorail. I had to wait for two trains to come before I got my chance on, but the ride was short and quick. When the monorail arrived at the Transportation Center, I still had five minutes to get back to our bus, in slip 41.

Sure enough, our bus driver was there, waiting for everyone’s arrival. I was the first to return, at exactly one minute to 19:00. I thought I had timed myself rather well, yet I felt uneasy about leaving the others behind. I hoped that they didn’t decide to wait for me, else they would miss the bus (though there was a slim chance of that).

Eventually, my abandoned group came into view. None of them said anything to me when they came on the bus, I wasn’t surprised. I was expecting them to be furious with me, their reactions were not unjustly founded. When the entire group had finally returned from the Magic Kingdom, we left the parking lot and headed for Epcot Center, to retrieve the rest of our bus.

The drive took about five to ten minutes, but we found them virtually waiting for us. Two minutes later, we were back on the road on our way out of Disney World. I don’t know when I’ll get another chance to return.

Somewhere around 20:00, we made a triumphant return to our hotel. The Universal people had not yet returned from their excursion, so we waited. Let me rephrase that. They waited. I did not care. I didn’t care about a lot of things right then. The Universal bus appeared about fifteen minutes after we returned, which meant that most people were heading out to dinner very shortly, all except me.

Yes, for the second night in a row, I was forgoing with dinner. Why? I was not feeling sociable right then, I really wanted to be alone. Once the population of my room (and most of our section of the hotel) had dispersed for at least a half hour, I dragged one of the chairs into the walkway just out our door, put in my Sting Soul Cages tape (taken from my CD) and relaxed for the duration of the side (which was about fifty minutes).

When the others returned about an hour later, we were left with about an hour to lights out. This gave us time to do what we pleased. The tape hadn’t quite finished the one side when I noticed Hil all by herself in the grassy area about ten metres from the hotel, between parking lots.

So I went down to see what Hil was up to. She was trying to read The Bonfire Of The Vanities, for her English class. She could hardly get past the first page. We talked for a while, mainly on the subject about how miserable our lives were because we had no-one to share them with. This was one of the few times that I could agree with my partner in conversation, I actually knew what they felt like. Then Hil told me not to expect anything in the way of a relationship, as the unexpected always happens. I hate phrases like that!

I returned to the comfort of our room after that, and took a shower (you could say that I was beginning to emanate an odour that was less than pleasurable). Then, after my hair had managed to dry to the point where I could get into bed without soaking my pillow, I settled down for a long spring’s nap.

Observer’s Log: Traveldate 40391.23

Day 2

This has been a rather hellish day! For starters, J’s f’in alarm clock went of at 6:30 for his jogging – he had to pick the loudest one too! James, Chris and I ventured to Friendly’s for some breakfast – damn good too!

By 9:00, it was on the bus to DW. If our hotel had about fifteen floors, we could probably see the place we were so close. Despite a rather long wait, we finally got our day passes and were on our way. Chris, Emily, Ali Etherington and I took off from the rest to scout things out. At 2, we regrouped with the others momentarily, then we took off again.

At 4, it was Space Mountain. This is the true definition of fear – I had to be at the front! By the time we got out, my brains were scrambled. It only got worse. Problems within me arose their ugly heads once more. I ended up taking off from the others. I think I pissed them off. That wouldn’t be too surprising. I must be the only person who could have gotten depressed at DW.

Once again, I abstained from dinner (bad move), and sat on a chair outside our door listnin’ to Sting. Hil and I seem to have landed in similar situations – both of us are sick of this trip – too much caring. But even though I want to slash my wrists, I admit it is necessary for couples that exist. Do I have a chance with anyone in particular? I’m not expecting anything – but I am going to give it a shot anyway.

After note: I wasn’t the only person to get depressed. So did Jessica Wallace. She can’t stand all the capitalism. Neither can I for that matter.

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