Sunday, October 30, 2005

“Let’s All Sing Happy Birthday to Linda on the Jungle Cruise!”

We arrived in Orlando in the beginning of a hurricane.

Hurricane Wilma was timed to slam into the southern portion of Florida at 6 am the next day. 12 hours earlier, we drove onto International Drive, and immediately went looking for food.

The brochures in the resort told us to expect power outages and water shortages. I hadn’t planned on that, so…

Armed with peanut butter, jelly, and wine and Coke, we holed up in our suite on the 5th floor about 10 miles south of Orlando, and went to sleep.

Hurricane Wilma’s outside winds reached us, as predicted, early in the morning. When we awakened at about 8 am, we saw trees almost doubled over outside. However, the winds didn’t seem that harsh, maybe reaching 60 mph, and the rain not that torrential.

After one power outage, the T.V. came on at 2 pm on Monday to tell us that the Disney parks had opened. By then the rain had quit and the wind died down to a strong breeze. The temperature had dropped about 15 degrees. So we drove over to Epcot to begin our delayed WDW start.

Every day we would start out at a different park but always end up at Epcot for lunch. This period of the year is the scheduled Food and Wine Festival, and we would start at one end of the World Showcase and eat our way to the other. There were approximately 20 small temporary booths placed between Mexico and Canada, with small tastings for about $3 each. There were even more wine booths, and with each tasting would come the eventual pairing. However, some were a bit unusual: Gewurtztraminer with Chinese pot stickers? Don’t the Chinese have their own wines?

This was the continuation of my birthday celebration, my 57th. When we got our annual passes at Epcot, I got my first “happy birthday!” and a badge that said it was my birthday. From then on, I counted the birthday wishes. Most of the birthday greetings were from cast members, who knew what to look for, but a few came from visitors just like us. It became a game, counting the birthday greetings.

For the two days I wore the badge, I received 31. What a wonderful way to celebrate! Plus, I received a Mickey Mouse birthday card, signed by all the restaurant cast members, from the Rose and Crown Pub (located in England, of course, in the World Showcase at Epcot).

I think the best greeting, however, occurred when we were stuck on the Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom. We were waiting to get to the dock (“pier pressure,” claimed our over-zealous cast member, the pilot of the boat), and waiting and waiting. Finally he asked if anyone onboard had a birthday this month. I was the only one who raised her hand, and he asked my name. “Let’s all sing happy birthday to Linda!” And they did, all in the middle of this skanky water in the middle of Adventureland in Walt Disney World. Quite memorable.

I also have a story about being kissed on top of the head by Minnie Mouse, who made smacking noises as she did it, but that’s another story…

No comments: