Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Five Days in Orlando

There’s heat and then there’s Florida heat. Hailing from the West Coast, where I’ve sweated out triple digits at Anaheim’s Disneyland, I thought I could handle Orlando’s theme parks in the summer. After all, I’d lived in Japan and toured Tokyo’s Magic Kingdom in horribly humid July. Boy was I wrong. California’s heat is like a dry rock sauna, but Florida’s heat is like a steam sauna.

We arrived at the Doubletree Castle in Orlando, where we enjoyed a roomy junior suite. The hotel’s location on International Drive made it easy for BassMan to hop on the shuttle to the Convention Center where he was attending the Airborne Law Enforcement Association Conference and Expo. That location also allowed easy transport via the hotel shuttle to the Disney parks and Universal.

Before I yak about our theme park adventures, I have to shout out congratulations to my son, Jonathan. The ALEA gives out a handful of scholarships annually and Jonathan won a $1500 award sponsored by MD Helicopters. ALEA presented Jonathan the scholarship at the organization’s annual membership meeting. Pictured here is Dale Christman, Law Enforcement Sales Manager at MD Helicopters, presenting the scholarship to Jonathan. Special thanks for the photo to Jack Sykes, Art Director/Chief Photographer for Professional Pilot Magazine.

Disney’s Magic Kingdom was our first stop. This is where I learned how much I’d forgotten about heated humidity. Halfway through the day I was ready to score some magic to disappear from the Magic Kingdom. Highlight of our visit was the spectacular thunder and lightning storm that passed directly overhead while we were about to ride Splash Mountain. Thunder exploded overhead, echoing through the labyrinthine ride queues and shaking the fiberglass mountain like an earthquake. The light and sound show was more exciting than the ride. Can you tell it’s been way too long since we Californians had seen a storm like this?

Epcot was interesting, but now that I’ve been there, I can’t say it was worth the exhorbitant entry fees. One thing Disney got right at Epcot was putting the attraction lines inside huge biospheric buildings with air conditioning.

Jonathan was sick the day Elisabeth and I went to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. This meant I had to go the next day with him. The last time I’d ridden a roller coaster with Jonathan was when he was eight, barely tall enough to have snuck past the height line at the Desperado coaster at Buffalo Bill’s Casino near the stateline at Primm, Nevada. BassMan held on so tightly to Jonathan on Desperado, we had to pry his fingers off Jonathan’s arm when the ride was done.

Eighteen-year-old Jonathan is old enough to have gone to Universal and conquered any ride by himself, but how fun is that? When you’re a tourist in a town 3,000 miles from home, trekking around a theme park with your mom is better than going by yourself. I guess. I rode all the big coasters and other amusements all over again with Jonathan. Surprisingly, this Mama’s still got the curve when it comes to coasters.


bellevoce said...

You are missing a period in the second to last paragraph between "day" and "Elisabeth." And the last two paragraphs need an extra line break between them. ;)

It was a GREAT time! Thanks Mom!

Carolyn Burns Bass said...

Thanks for the comment, Elisabeth. I know you're an English major and all, but read that sentence again. (No, I didn't go back and correct anything.) But I will add a space in between those grafs. Thanks!