For the First Time in Forever….

My mental health demanded that I take a day off from my stressful and frustrating job to play hooky at the Magic Kingdom. This was my first time back since COVID changed the world. Delaney and her mom joined me a bit later in the day.

You have to make a park reservation now, in addition to having a ticket or pass. It’s Disney’s way of managing crowds, and it makes sense, BUT we made our park reservation when we were having a break in the heat and humidity, and foolishly imagined we might actually be past the brutal weather.

We were wrong. It was very, very hot. It was still wonderful.

Cinderella’s Castle – the new color scheme is a source of great controversy.
No Halloween events this year, but the decor and treats were top notch.

You went to a theme park during a pandemic??? Are you nuts??

Honestly, I felt safer at Disney than I did at Target. Everyone gets a temp check at the entrance, masks and social distancing are mandatory. 99+% of the guests wore their masks and wore them properly, and the very few who tried to defy the rules were swiftly dealt with by Cast Members. They have CMs who just walk around with paddle signs reminding guests of the mask requirement, and they don’t hesitate to enforce the rule: you comply or Security will throw your ass out.

We witnessed this in one of the shops on Main Street when some Instabimbo types removed their masks for selfies. A CM was on them in seconds, and she was not at all Fairy Godmother about it. Mickey ain’t playing.

There were also touch-free hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere, at the entrance and exit of every ride, shop, and quick-serve food establishment, and we availed ourselves of all of them.

My only mild unhappy about the way Disney is handling this bizarre situation is that they are no longer offering Fast Passes for rides. A Fast Pass, for the uninitiated, is like a reservation for a ride; you pick a window of available time and get in a shorter queue. You do not have to get a Fast Pass to ride, but it certainly saves time and makes life easier.

I’m assuming that trying to manage the park reservation system plus the Fast Passes was deemed too much. For now it’s like the Olden Days when my kids were small and every ride was a 45 minute wait. We did ONE long wait, for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It was a long, hot, boring wait, but I felt all my tension just fall away when the ride began. My soul needed a roller coaster. I hadn’t realized how much I needed it.

My soul also needed at least one Halloween treat.

We opted for a special Halloween treat: Constance’s Wedding Cake. Constance is The Bride of The Haunted Mansion, and her wedding cake comes with a tiny chocolate axe. It’s both really pretty and seriously delicious.

The filling is a citrus-y sponge cake surrounded by a raspberry cream, and topped with a fondant-looking frosting that tasted far better than actual fondant. Truly excellent.

The weather cooperated all day, but I drove through an end-of-the-world level thunderstorm on my way home. I also lost a hubcap somewhere on the highway. I’m fairly certain that’s where it happened, because last weekend I’d gotten an oil change and tire rotation and other long overdue TLC for my poor vehicle, and I suspect the nice young men at Jiffy Lube didn’t put the hubcap back properly.

When I say I don’t go anywhere, I mean it. I work from home and venture to Publix a couple of times a week. Disney was the first time my car had been on an actual highway since March, and obviously the excitement was too much for it.

This was Delaney’s birthday weekend (she turns 9 on Monday) and it has been quite the extravaganza. In addition to Disney on Friday, her parents took her and her BFF for an overnight trip to the beach.

I need an overnight trip to the beach. Unfortunately, I can’t afford an overnight trip to anywhere for a long while. I walked into the kitchen last week to find a puddle of dishwasher detergent on the floor – it appears that the seal on the dishwasher door needs replacing. At least I hope that’s all it is.

For now I’ve opted to do dishes by hand, while I try to decide whether it’s worth repairing a dishwasher that is nearing the end of its lifespan anyway.

The dishwasher leak occurred after TWO vet visits for Sophie’s anal gland issue, which flared up suddenly two weeks ago, and now the antibiotic she was given has triggered firehose diarrhea, and the car lost a hubcap, and, and, and…

It could be worse, it could be raining.

Oh, wait, it IS raining. Nevermind.

Disney was delightful. I needed that day. I’ve already booked a play-hooky Friday at Epcot next month.

And Poof! Summer’s Over.

Not the godawful heat, of course. The threat of hurricanes will continue for months, as will the huge thunderstorms. The electric bill will remain an obscenity. That part of summer goes on forever in Florida. But tomorrow Delaney starts second grade.

We sort of stumbled into a family tradition in the last couple of years. My daughter and son-in-law work for two different nearby school systems, and they have to be at their schools when Delaney’s school does “Meet the Teacher,” which is inexplicably scheduled for a weekday morning, so parents have to take off work. Because they work for schools, however, it’s difficult for them to take off. My daughter thought she could make it this year, then a meeting/training that had been scheduled for the afternoon was switched to morning, so…Grandma to the rescue. I took Friday off; Delaney talked me into a sleepover on Thursday, and we spent all of Friday together.

It had been quite a while since she’d slept over; between dance, more dance, still more dance, sleepovers with friends, and endless rounds of birthday parties, she’s the busiest 7 year old on earth. The last time she slept over she was a little girl, now she’s most definitely a tween.

After we met her new teacher (I think she’s going to have a good year) we went to the mall. I’d offered a trip to Bath and Body Works, her new favorite store, and lunch in the food court. She got some lovely smelly stuff (buy 2, get 1 free) and had bourbon chicken for the first time (loved it). Then we stopped at Target, where she talked me into a Frappuccino at Starbucks, and got a shower poof to use with her new body wash. Then it was home to watch The Avengers – don’t ask me which one; she talked through the entire movie and I’ll have to watch it again in peace.

And tomorrow school starts again.

Our Disney passes were blocked out for much of summer; the blockout ended on Friday, and I need a Disney Fix, BAD. I need to stay for the fireworks at Magic Kingdom; I haven’t done that in far too long.

My Happy Place

It says something (something awful) that I had to go way back into my photos to find a picture of the castle. No filters – the setting sun did the lighting effects.