Bryon and I first visited Disney in 1996. It was, coincidentally, the year I also went to Japan on a scholarship tour, so it was a good travel year all around. We decided we were going about six months in advance, and in order to count down, I drew little Mickey heads on each day of my calendar.
The Wonderful World of Disney had been a staple of both of our childhoods. Most likely hokey by today’s standards, and to some extent a prolonged infomercial, Disney showed us theme parks and creative, magic vision.
Now, I know. I know that many people dislike Disney. They see Disney as sort of a sell-out, or not so visionary, or corporately evil. It’s not my intent to step up and defend Disney. Disney does questionable things regarding copyright. While they have had low creative ebbs, they’ve also been incredibly innovative at other times. I can see the pluses and minuses to the company.
All that said, no one does theme parks like Disney. I’ve been to a few, and there’s no other experience like it.
When we went in 1996, we did the grand tour. We stayed on property at Caribbean Beach (Disney has moderately priced and value priced resorts, as well as the more expensive and traditional ones).
Because I’m the kind of person who saves what I like best for dinner to eat last, I methodically planned the trip so that the Magic Kingdom was at the end. I also figured that as an adult, I would no longer be as interested in the Magic Kingdom as the child in me was.
We visited Disney Studios first. It was a small park with a few interesting attractions, most obviously the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The evening we arrived, we were hit with a furious thunderstorm. We stood under an umbrella together and watched fireworks. It was really something.
The other park to visit was Epcot. Epcot was very interesting. As someone who enjoys travel, I knew I’d like the World Pavilions. The other features were a little dated, but they were fine.
Coupled with visits to shops and restaurants, Disney was a fine vacation. Before the Magic Kingdom piece, I have to admit I wasn’t finding what four-year old me was looking for.
We should have gone to the Magic Kingdom first.