Our Disney debacle: The longest day ever.

A while ago, I mentioned that A and I had volunteered with Disney's "Give a Day, Get a Day" program. We hung out with kids at the Special Olympics Basketball Tournament, and in return, each got a pass to a Disney park of our choice. Deciding we'd do the quintessential Disney experience, we used them at Magic Kingdom on Thursday.

It is NOT the happiest place on Earth.

Another myth we heard: That it never rains at Disney.

Lie. It definitely does.

We got up Thursday in Orlando after a long and busy, but good, few days at the SBC. We packed our bags, planning to drive to halfway back that night.

We got to the park, parked in the Daisy lot, and took the ferry boat over to the park entrance. Once inside, I have to confess, I just didn't see what all the fuss was about. We had fun, but mostly because we just wandered and did our own thing and did all the stupid little rides/attractions with little to no lines, i.e., climbing the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. Not exactly the most thrilling of activities, but oh well.

We were one our way to Space Mountain (the only "real" ride we were going to do) for our FastPass time at 3, when we saw that the ride wasn't running, because of "technical difficulties" we were told. So, we decided to just head out and get on the road. There were storm clouds gathering, and we didn't see any point in hanging around, hoping Space Mountain would open again soon.

As soon as we started walking toward the exit, we heard the announcement that they canceled the parade for the afternoon, due to inclement weather and not wanting to harm the actors. It wasn't ten seconds later that the skies opened and a flood rained down. We sprinted out of the park and tried to decide how to get back to the parking lot: ferry boat or monorail? Apparently Magic Kingdom is surrounded by a moat, thus rendering it impossible to return to your car if neither of those options is available.

In fact, that was the case Thursday. The monsoon that forced us and about 200 other people into a small compact line for the monorail rained down on us for about 35 minutes before we EVER heard from anyone at Disney. As we stood under the barely-there lean-to, lightning struck the roof, thunder was booming and we were all getting wet. Meanwhile, the monorail wasn't running. At all. That means no movement in the line, just waiting for something. Finally, someone came on and told us operations would be back up in a few minutes.

Lies. A few minutes later, said person came back on the PA and announced that buses (to the resorts, not the parking lots) were running and the monorail was down indefinitely.

We took off toward the ferry, which, although stationary, had at least left once since we had been sitting at the monorail, taking people to the Magic Parking Lot of Dry Cars. Although standing in the line we got wet, it was manageable. When we were forced to switch to the ferry option we. got. soaked. The rain was still unbelievably strong, and the whole area was flooding, so our tennis shoes and everything else became drenched almost immediately.

I probably don't need to mention it, but I will. Aunt Flo was in town, so when I say everything became drenched, I mean EVERYTHING. It was miserable. To make things worse, the only option on the ferry was the completely open top deck, where A tried to shield me from the rain, but we only got more wet (was that possible?) After about 40 minutes of sitting on the boat, trying to get warm and out of the elements, the boat took off to the parking lot - hallelujah.

We were so excited to get to our car, that when the attendant told us all the trams to the lots were shut down for at least 45 more minutes (lie) and we were parked in the farthest-away lot, we didn't even care. We walked. In the downpour. Saturated already, so why not? No sooner did we get to the car and start stripping off wet clothing than the tram pulled up with a cartload of people.

If this seems like the longest story I ever told, imagine it in real life. It took us over 2 hours from the time we left the front entrance until when we got to our car. TWO HOURS.

Does this seem crazy to anyone else? In Florida, a state that gets rained on pretty much daily, why does Disney have no contingency plan for storms? Just shutting down all forms of transportation does not seem like the wisest option. Then again, building a theme park that is accessible only by boat or monorail doesn't seem like the wisest option either, but nobody asked me.

I don't even know what to say, except that it was laughably horrible. We will NEVER take our children to Disney, nor do either of us have any desire to ever go again. I know some people LOVE Disney, but to us, it was a great analogy for hell: Seems like a great idea when you're making the plans to get there, but when you're trapped with no escape and miserable, you wish you had made different decisions.

Little did we know what was to come....

The line in front of us to the monorail.

The line behind us for the monorail.

A's sad face...before the dash to the ferry. Still relatively dry here.

....On the ferry boat, completely saturated. I was disgusting, but it's an accurate portrayal of how bad it was.



Matt and Lindsay Bledsoe said...

hahaha I laugh at that last picture but I feel bad for you too! That is awful. I should have told you...we went with my girls freshman year of college and the magical kingdom wasn't magical anymore. If I had a ticket I would go to MGM with the more exciting rides but I guess you still would have got rained on... At least you didn't pay big bucks for a crappy experience. :)

Ginny Alley McCullough said...

Oh man. Yea, I am not a disney fan either. I really hope my kids don't ever hear about it. ;)

Tiffany Ann said...

Oh, Lauren! This is crazy! I am so sorry :( I don't think we'll ever go to Disney either......hope you're all dried out by now :)


Kimberly said...

I am sorry you had a really bad experience. (we are not like huge Disney fans and might not go again) We went in Sept for 8 days and only had a little rain 1 time. We stayed on sight and could ride the buses so I guess that made it easier. There were NO lines for anything and it was wonderful. We all had a great time so don't say never. To see the look on your children's faces when they are there is priceless.

The Castles said...

Well I am sad to hear about your tragic Disney story, but it was quite entertaining to read! :) Hope you are all dry now!

Michelle said...

Oh, you poor thing! But I will say that your story is hilarious, since it didn't happen to me!

And I agree with Kimberly, don't say never. Children love it...it's so magical for them. You do it for them, not for you. Any park is better than the Magic Kingdom for adults! :-)

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