Bag Girl Goes to Disney: Day Six 

The big moment finally arrived today. Mom got a Fastpass for the Haunted Mansion, so we went to the Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning. In Main Street USA , we were greeted by a trolley full of singers and dancers in stereotypical gay nineties costumes performing songs from musicals such as Hello Dolly and Meet Me in St. Louis. There were Disney characters as well: we met Pluto who gave us hugs and kisses.

Then we made our way to Liberty Square and the Haunted Mansion. The ride was creepy but in a fun and amusing way. The special effects in the ghost ballroom scene  were incredible. My final thoughts on the ride were that it was enjoyable but I probably would have been scared been scared by it when I was little.


After the Haunted Mansion, Mom decided that we should take a ride on the Liberty Bell steamboat. It went around Tom Sawyer’s Island and we saw Wild West forts and Indian villages. When I was seven, I threw a tantrum about having to go on the rafts to go to Tom Sawyer’s Island, and I felt embarrassed afterwards because the rafts were not scary at all. Being a post 9-11 child, I guess I was paranoid about a lot of things.

It was noon by the time we got on the bus back to the hotel, where we dropped off some of our stuff and got back on the bus to go to EPCOT.  Mom got us a Fastpass for Journey into the Imagination. Even as a seven year old, I hated Figment, the annoying purple dragon and wanted bodily harm to happen to him. Then we made our way to World Showcase and took a boat across the lake from Canada to Morocco. At the border of France and Morocco was Belle; I wanted to meet her and get a picture and autograph but the line was too long and we only had an hour and a half until our dinner reservation.

I did not get to do many of the things I had wanted to do in World Showcase because we did not have the time, so I focused on getting my World Showcase passport stamped. We poked around in shops looking for where each passport stop was. I was able to get Morocco, Japan, United States, Italy, and Germany before 4:30 pm which was when our dinner reservation was. We had to backtrack from Germany to Italy because our dinner reservation was there, at a place called Tutto Italia, where I had the ravioli in cream sauce and the meatballs, which were delicious. Tutto Italia was one of my favorite that we eat at.

After dinner, I got my passport stamped at China (where I got a panda necklace for my friend Jasmine), Norway, Mexico (where I got an embroidered camisa and went on the Grand Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros), and Canada (where we watched a film on a 360 screen called O Canada.)

It was between 7 and 8 in evening when we went back to the hotel and our last full day in Disney ended with us getting ice cream and taking a swim in the pool before going to bed.

Bag Girl Goes to Disney: Day Five

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Mom decided that it would be better to go straight to Animal Kingdom and get breakfast there. We found a Starbucks under the name of Creature Comforts where we got our breakfast before going to our first Fastpass, the Festival of the Lion King show.  This was one of my favorites from back in 2003 and it definitely holds up. The dancing, acrobatics, and special effects are spectacular and it features the amazing music from The Lion King.  The Circle of Life still always gives me chills. My favorite part of the show is still the high wire routine done by the female bird acrobat during Can You Feel The Love Tonight? 

After the show, we went to our next Fastpass, Finding Nemo the Musical. This next show  was very cute and I felt teary at a few moments because of  its touching story about parents and children. There is a song called “The Big Blue World” which I recognized from the Finding Nemo ride at EPCOT. Our third Fastpass was for It’s Tough to be A Bug which takes place in a theater under the Tree of Life.  In the lobby there were posters for plays and musicals redone with bug puns. I appreciated the one which said “Web Side Story”; West Side Story being one of my favorite musicals and movies. It’s Tough to be A Bug scared the crap out of me when I was little but now I found it funny and fun, though I think that some of the effects might be too intense for small children.

We then made our way to Dinoland where there is a ride called Dinosaur, which Aunt Terry recommended. It was a time travel themed ride that had lots of drops and jerking; Mom felt nauseous afterwards. I had also wanted to go on Kilimanjaro Safari, but that wait was over an hour.

This was between one and two in the afternoon and I was tired and overheated and hungry and just wanted to sit down in the shade and have something to eat. I wanted to get lunch in Animal Kingdom but Mom wanted to move on to Hollywood Studios so we could do some of the attractions there before our dinner reservation. To my relief, the first thing we did there was sit down at this outdoor restaurant called the “Dockside Diner” which sold footlong hot dogs; Mom and I split one of these for lunch. After lunch, we went on the Great Movie Ride, which is one of my favorite things I’ve done on this trip. It’s queue area went through what looked like Grauman’s Chinese Theater and had displays of movie costumes. At the end of the queue there was a screen playing trailers for films such as Casablanca and clips from Turner Classic Movies, the ride’s sponsor. The ride had different sections for various film genres such as musicals, gangster movies, westerns, sci-fi, horror, and adventure.  My favorite parts were gangster movie section and the airport scene from Casablanca. 

Nearby is the Star Wars Launch Pad.  Inside, I met Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He asked me if I would join the First Order to which I agreed; in the story I made up in my head, I was really a double agent for the resistance. To prove this, I then met with Chewbacca aboard the Millennium Falcon.

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Mom enjoyed the Buzz Lightyear ride at the Magic Kingdom. There’s a similar ride at Hollywood Studios with a Toy Story theme which we decided to go on. This time, I won. Afterwards, we went to see the Indiana Jones Stunt Show which was something I enjoyed when I was seven. Even now I was impressed by the stunts and effects. When I was little I was too scared to go to the Muppet Vision 3-D show for some reason and I threw a tantrum and my grandfather had to sit outside with me while everyone else went to the show. Seeing Muppet Vision was one of the things I wanted to do during this trip and I thought the show was okay, I’m not that big of a Muppets fan. I probably should not have been afraid of it when I was little.

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After the Muppet show, there was about an hour and a half until our dinner reservation. Between the show and the restaurant was a place where you could meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Minnie wore this lovely sparkly pink dress and I told her that she looked fabulous. Mickey was wearing his Sorcerer’s Apprentice out and gave the best hugs. Our dinner reservation was for 8:3o at the Sci-fi Dine In. This was one of my favorite places from last time and I wanted to go there again. There was not much on the menu that I like, so I got a burger, which was good but if I could have eaten anything I would not have eaten a burger. I recognized some of the cartoons and trailers shown on the screen and asked my mom if people back in the 1950s and 60s were scared by these sci-fi/horror films or did they look as silly as they do now. She said that people were because the special effects did not look so ridiculous back then (Dad would later tell me that no one really found them scary but they were rather the films you took your girlfriend to so you could pretend to be scared and makeout.)

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It was very late by the time we took the bus back to the hotel. As we  were leaving the park, the fireworks show were bidding us goodbye. On the bus, there was this soothing jazz music playing. There was something drowsy and magical about this ride home.

Bag Girl Goes to Disney: Day Four

My shoulders have gotten burnt from being out in the sun so much. I had to put some lotion on them this morning to try to help the sunburns. After a quick breakfast at the hotel cafeteria, Mom and I got on the bus to go to The Magic Kingdom. The partly excited, partly nervous, about to pee your pants feeling that I love overtook me as soon as I arrived. The first stop on our itinerary was supposed to be the Haunted Mansion. This ride fascinated and terrified for most of my life. Thirteen years ago, my seven year old self  was to scared to even go near the place. My older self became intrigued by its gothic creativity. Since the purpose of this trip was to do all of the things I was too afraid to do the last time I was here, The Haunted Mansion was a priority. But in a development worthy of Alanis Morissette’s Ironic,  the several times we tried to go on the ride, they were having technical difficulties  and we not letting people on. Ghosts, what are you going to do with them?

The first thing we were able to do was go to The Hall of Presidents. There was a display in the lobby of dresses and other items belonging to first ladies Dolly Madison, Edith Roosevelt,  and Laura Bush. Dolly Madison was always one of my favorite first ladies and the guide told me something I did not know about her; that she was the only woman to be first lady to two different presidents. She acted as hostess to the widowed Thomas Jefferson before becoming First Lady to her husband, James Madison. The Hall of Presidents was always one of my mother’s favorites and she was disappointed by the lack of people there.

Behind the Christmas shop in Liberty Square, Tiana from The Princess and The Frog was greeting guests. There was jazz trumpet music playing and I asked her if her friend, Louis the Alligator was playing. Tiana said that it was him indeed but she’s shy around humans and if I wanted to see if I would have to go to the restaurant; I could not tell if she was talking about one in the park or the one from the movie.

Mom got us Fastpasses for It’s a Small World, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Adventure, and the Haunted Mansion. It’s a Small World was one of the rides I went on years ago . When I checked into the ride on Facebook,  Dad left a comment saying “how old are you?” My response was that it was Mom’s idea. This time I found the ride as childish and annoying as he did the first time he went on it during the 1964 world’s fair in New York.  Mickey’s Philharmagic, something which has opened since I was last here and I had been wanting to see, had no line so we walked right on. Our next Fastpass was for Buzz Lightyear, which was a game involving these spaceship omni movers which spin where we had to shoot at targets. I did not like it because Mom was better at it than me. On our way back to The Haunted Mansion, we stopped at the Fairytale Garden and met Merida from Brave.  Merida at first thought that the Nala from The Lion King  stuffed animal in my backpack was a bear cub and began to tell me about how her brothers were once turned into bear cubs. We then began to compare notes on the subject of brothers. I told her that was on my way to explore a haunted house, but by the time Mom and I finally got there, we were again told that it was closed.

Our Fastpass for The Haunted Mansion was transferred to  Pirates of the Caribbean.  The big drop at the beginning of this ride scared me that first time I went on it, but this time I thought it was fun. Pirates of the Caribbean is without a doubt one of the best attractions in the Disney Parks. It’s animatronics are almost uncanny and at some points the scenery felt real enough to momentarily take me away from the fact I’m on a ride. By the time we were finished with Pirates of the Caribbean, It was time for our lunch reservation at the Diamond Houseshoe. Our reservation was originally for 1:30 but was changed to 12:50 at the last minutes, so we were a bit late and they did not yet have a table prepared for us. While we were waiting to be seated, Mom got us fast passes for The Journey of the Little Mermaid, which reminded me a lot of the Finding Nemo ride in EPCOT.  After this clamshell omni mover ride through the plot of The Little Mermaid,  I was able to meet Ariel herself in her grotto, after waiting in a long line. Ariel asked me if I was a land princess or a sea princess, I said both because I live near the ocean and love to swim, though the water where I live is often too cold to go swimming. There’s also a lot of fish there, but I did not have the heart to tell her that these fish get eaten.

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The next two characters I got to meet were Gaston from Beauty and The Beast, and Peter Pan. We then waited in a long line for Peter Pan’s Flight. The lines for the attractions in Disney are more often that not very long. They move pretty efficiently but I would recommend getting Fastpasses wchenever possible. Peter Pan’s Flight is one of the rides I went on years ago. There’s now a queue area which takes you through the Darling House and it has some neat special effects of Tinkerbelle and Peter Pan’s Shadow flying around. 

Our last Fastpass was for Enchanted Tales with Belle. It started off at Belle’s cottage and we were transported to the Beast’s castle through a magic mirror which turned in a door into the day Belle and the Beast fell in love. Our job was to help the two fall in love by acting out how they met. The little kids in the group were given the various parts to act out and got to meet Belle. 

After this, we went on the Winnie the Pooh ride and then made our way to Mainstreet USA where our dinner reservation was. Next to Fantasyland, I think Mainstreet USA is my favorite part of the Magic Kingdom because it is done up in the style of the turn of the century, which is one of my favorite time periods and styles of decor and architecture. Our reservation was for Tony’s Town Square Restaurant which was inspired by Lady and The Tramp, one of my new favorite Disney films. I had chicken parmasan which was delicious. I would definetly recommend Tony’s. Next door was where you could meet Tinkerbelle and that was the last thing We did before we left. Tinkerbelle commented on my flower crown and asked if I was a garden talent fairy, which I said yes to. She noticed that the page I wanted her to autograph was next to Peter Pan and she asked me if he was up to any trouble and I said yes he was fighting pirates. Tinkerbelle told me that once Captain Hook threatened to put her in a lantern and use her for a light. “I’m a tinker talent fairy, not a light talent fairy,” she said. I told her that he should use Iridessa, one of the Disney Fairies who’s a light talent fairy, instead. 

As we were leaving the park, the light parade was going by, but we did stay because it was around 9:30 at night and we were exhausted after almost twelve hours in the park. 

Bag Girl Goes to Disney: Day 3

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Jill and Steve left for their cruise to Alaska early this morning. When Mom woke me up, we had to strip the beds and pack up all of our stuff to leave because around ten, Jill and Steve’s friend John and his wife Stacie picked us up to bring us to our hotel in Disney, the Saratoga Springs Resort. Aunt Terry belongs to the Disney Vacation Club and got us rooms there for the next four nights as part of some sort of timeshare deal. When we found out where we are staying, I looked it up on line and it looked like a nice place and when we got there it did not disappoint. Saratoga Springs is named after a nineteenth century racetrack resort and has Victorian/horse themed decor. As a fan of most things Victorian it was right up my alley. We checked in at the main building, which is called the Carriage House, and got our “magic bands” which work as our room keys and park passes.

Since our rooms were not yet ready, Mom and I decided to take the ferry across the lake to Disney Springs. We had to wait at the dock as several ferries passed us until one finally came to take us across. Disney Springs is a very large shopping area which has a lot of the stores one would find at an upscale mall such as Alex and Ani, Ghirardelli Chocolate, and The Art of Shaving, but they also have a bunch of specialty Disney shops. They also have a House of Blues, which had a restaurant where I had originally wanted to go for lunch but Mom insisted that we get something fast and simple. But first we had to go the AMC theater where we got our tickets for the five o’clock  “dine-in” showing of the new live action version of The Jungle Book.  The place we finally decided to go to for lunch was the cheaper cafeteria part of the Wolfgang Puck restaurant.   I had the macaroni and cheese which was very delicious but sat heavily in my stomach on such a hot day. The combination of the heat and my rich and heavy lunch made me feel a bit unwell and I had to sit down again and have some water after only looking in a few shops. When I was feeling a little less wilted, we continued exploring Disney Springs.

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Shop by shop, I crossed off each of the places I had wanted to see, The DisneyQuest Emporium, the Candy Cauldron, the Star Wars Galactic Trading Post, Shop for Ireland,  The Boat Shop, The World of Disney (where I got a Mickey Mouse ice cream pop squeaky toy and some Pirates of the Caribbean bandanas for my dog Tyson), Build a Dino (where I made a stuffed triceratops with the very original name of Dino), the pin trading post and  Disney’s Days of Christmas.

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A little after 3:30, we took another ferry across the lake to the other end of Disney Springs where we had started; this was where the AMC theater was. We still had about a half hour till we had to go to the theater by the time we got there, so we rested in the shade and slowly made our way there. I’ve never been to an AMC  “dine-in” but it was something I have wanted to do since I read that they had it here. I had to do it because it combines two of my favorite things which are watching movies and eating.  The rows of seats in the auditorium are wider and have tables in front of them. Waiters bring you food throughout the movie; I ordered a chicken caesar salad and some popcorn which I shared with Mom. We both enjoyed the movie. I do not think I have ever watched the original animated version of The Jungle Book but now I would like to.

After the show, we took the ferry back to Saratoga Springs. In line, we talked with this nice family from England and on the ship, I sat in front of this adorable baby boy named Neal which smiled when I made faces at him. Our room had been ready for a couple of hours by the time we returned. It is in a part of the resort called “The Grand Stand” and we were brought there by golf cart.  I changed into my bathing suit after we settled in and Mom and I went to the nearest pool area, which has a sprinkler that looks like the starting box of a race course. We did not stay at the pool long because it was getting dark and late. Back in the room when I was trying to settle down and watch a movie, Mom noticed that she had lost her magic band and we had to tear the room apart until we found it. Thankfully that crisis was averted.

Bag Girl Goes to Disney: Day 2

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My mom woke me up around quarter to eight this morning. It took me a few minutes to get out of bed because I was still feeling groggy. After breakfast, we headed off to EPCOT. The first thing we did when we arrive there was buy an autograph and photo album. Then we went to a character spot where we met Baymax from Big Hero 6. I have a sort of connection with that movie and character because last year when I was sick, I went to the movies to see Big Hero 6 on one of my good days and thought how great it would be to have Baymax, a robot designed to look after the sick, to look after me. Jill told me that Baymax has become the superhero associated with nurses. We then tried to see Joy and Sadness from Inside Out but the line was too long.

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Our first Fastpass ride was The Seas With Nemo and Friends, a cute little ride in clamshell omni movers through the world of Finding Nemo, the coral reef, the deepest depths of the ocean, the jellyfish forest, and the East Australian Current or EAC . At the end of the ride, Nemo’s friends found him again. The ride gets off in a sort of aquarium with large fish tanks and exhibits on ocean life. We then watched an interactive show called Turtle Talk With Crush which was a short of Q and A with the Finding Nemo character, Crush. The small children in the audience were invited to sit up front and a couple of them were able to ask Crush questions and answer his questions.

After The Seas, we went to a pavilion called “The Land”, and watched The Circle of Life,  a short film about respecting the environment featuring Simba, Timon, and Pumba from The Lion King which I vaguely remember from when I went to EPCOT thirteen years ago when I was seven.  The cynic in me found it’s environmental message kind of ironic when I thought about how much Florida swampland and it’s ecosystem were destroyed to make Disney World.

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By the time The Circle of Life was finished, it was time for us to go to our next Fastpass ride,  Mission Space. I was a bit nervous about this ride because it is known as one of Disney World’s most intense but Jill got into the least intense level and told me that everything would be fine. Mission Space’s premise is that we are astronauts training for a mission to Mars. Our group was supposed to be a flight crew: Mom was the Commander, I was the Pilot, Jill was the Navigator, and Steve was the Engineer. There were videos of a Captain, played by Gary Sinise (I guess Lieutenant Dan got promoted), giving us instructions on what we were supposed to do for the mission. Jill was pretty much right about the ride, it was not that intense but it did make my heart pound and I do not think I would ever go on it again.

We tried again to see Joy and Sadness but the wait was forty-five minutes long, so we went instead to a shop called Club Cool which sells Coke products and memorabilia.  I enjoyed this because I am a big Coca-Cola fan, some might say addict. Club Cool has dispensers which serve several soda flavors from all over the world. I tried all of them except for the one that I was told tasted horrible. My favorite was a strawberry cream soda from, I think, Zimbabwe. Jill introduced us to her friend Lilly, who works there and I bought a refreshing frozen Coke from her.

A friend of my mom and Jill and her family met us for lunch at the Rose and Crown in World Showcase United Kingdom. On our way there, we walk through a butterfly garden which was part of the EPCOT flower show where I got my EPCOT flower show passport stamped. United Kingdom had a sort of Tudor/Victorian architecture and there was a band playing British Invasion pop. We went into this shop where Greensleeves and later a song by Gilbert and Sullivan were playing. This shop sold Downton Abbey merchandise and I freaked out and had to buy a t-shirt. Outside of the shop, Mary Poppins was signing autographs; she was the first autograph I got. Mary Poppins complimented the flowers growing on my head (I was wearing a flower crown) and asked me how my holiday was going. I told her that it was lovely but very hot and she suggested that I have some raspberry ice which I told her sounded lovely. Steve, who had come with me, told her to give her best to Burt.

Lunch at the Rose and Crown was the highlight of the day for my mom and Jill because they enjoyed catching up with their old friend Kathy. We sat outside under the shade of an awning and there was a nice breeze coming off of the lake. After lunch, I went across to the tea garden to get an autograph from Alice from Alice in Wonderland.  Alice also complemented my flower crown and asked if the flowers sang. I told her that unfortunately they do not. Alice also said that I must be a flower myself because I had such pretty flowers and that I should be careful of other flowers because they can be mean. I responded that I was feeling a bit wilted because of the heat and that I needed to return to the Rose and Crown to be watered.

After saying goodbye to Kathy and her family, we explored more of the United Kingdom and then went on to France. In France, we watched a film called Impressions de France which had beautiful footage of the French countryside and of Paris. At the border of Morocco, we got on a boat which took us across the lake back to Canada and then we walked to our last Fastpass ride, Spaceship Earth.

Spaceship Earth is one of the things I vaguely remember from when I was seven. The ride is a trip through time and explores the progress of technology and one continuity with thirteen years ago was that the ride stopped for awhile in the Renaissance. Towards the end of the ride, there were problems with the computers in the omni movers; nothing says modernity and advancement like technical difficulties. After Spaceship Earth, we tried again to see Joy and Sadness  but this time the wait was forty-five minutes to an hour, so we decided to go back to Jill and Steve’s house.

We had a dinner of last night’s leftovers out by the pool and then I went for a swim and those were the last things of note that I did today.

 

 

 

 

 

Bag Girl Goes to Disney: Day 1

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It first hit me that I was in Florida when we took the monorail from the Jetblue terminal to the main terminal at the Orlando Airport. Outside was sunny and warm and there were tropical plants such as palm trees. The fact that I was in Florida also hit me when I stepped outside and it was hot and humid and as different as possible from Massachusetts, where we’ve been having an unusually cold and rainy May.

I’ve been waiting for this trip to Florida for over a year. I’ve been packed and ready to go for at least a week and this vacation could not have come soon enough. Last night, I sat on the couch eating pizza and watching Titanic with my dog Tyson and stopped the movie right as the ship hit the iceberg. Then I went to bed and slept until somewhere after one in the morning. Knowing that I had to get up at four, I stayed up and did some reading.  At four, Mom told me to get ready. I got dressed and went downstairs and Tom drove us to the Jetblue terminal at Logan Airport. When we went through security, I was chosen for a random search and had to step into this weird scanner machine.

Our plane left at 7:10 in the morning. The time between our arrival and our departure went by pretty quickly. The nearest place to get something to eat was the Starbucks. The line was very long and the baristas were very slow and it took me a while to get my breakfast. When I was done eating I realised that I also needed to get some gum. Starbucks was also the only place nearby which sold gum and I had to wait in an even longer line. By the time I had gotten my breakfast, eaten it, and bought my gum, it was almost time to board the plane.

The reason I had to buy to gum was because I have heard that it stops your ears from popping during airplane takeoff and landing. But it does not work. I do not mind taking an airplane ( it can be exciting at times) but I do not enjoy it.  The inside of an airplane is cramped and loud, the motion makes me feel queasy, and the air-pressure gives me a headache. I felt unwell for the rest of the day.

The plan landed a little bit earlier than expected. My mom’s friend Jill and her husband Steve, who we are staying with, picked us up in the main terminal. Driving away from the airport, I was struck by a feeling of culture shock. I have not been to Florida since I was seven and I’ve forgotten how different it is from Massachusetts. Florida’s palmettos, oleander bushes, and trees hanging with spanish moss are an odd contrast to the pine trees and marsh grass I’m used to looking at. Everything is strip malls and planned and gated communities, “suburban sprawl,” as Jill point it. The South, from what I’ve seen of it, always seems to be in a sunny, dusty, pollen covered haze. I guess it seems this way because I’m used to the the grey, bleak, cold, urban, New England coast.

We had an early lunch at a Cracker Barrel around eleven. I had fried fish with a side of corn and a side of macaroni and cheese. Cracker Barrel food is pretty mediocre and made my queasy stomach feel worse. After lunch, we drove back to Jill and Steve’s home which is one of the planned and gated communities I was talking about. Apparently taxes and property values are lower down here and one can afford a large and beautiful house for comparatively little.   Jill and Steve’s home has several guest rooms; my mom and I each have a bedroom of our own and a bathroom to share. After I put my luggage down, Steve showed me some of these tiny lizards who live in their yard and we fed them mealworms. I then changed into my bath suit and went swimming for a couple of hours. My swim was cut short by a brief thunderstorm which had been predicted for that afternoon. We sat out in the enclosed porch until it began to rain. I dried off, took a hot bath, and changed my clothes.

After watching youtube videos on my laptop for a while, we went out to dinner at a local Italian restaurant called Torino’s Pizza, which reminded of Camillo’s, a place in New Jersey where my grand-parents always take me. I came to the conclusion that Florida reminds me of both New Jersey (the strip malls and planned and gated communities), and Maryland (the warm, humid, heaviness). Italian restaurants usually spoil you with portions and I only finished roughly half of my meal, though it was delicious. Another interesting thing I noted was that we passed a Winn-Dixie supermarket, a chain which I always  associated with a children’s novel about a dog which I read in the third grade.

When we got back to the house, I took another swim before it gets dark. Jill has this pool light which changes colors, red to green, to blue, to purple, much like the one in Aunt Terry’s pool. I played a game of volleyball against myself. At 8, I got out of the pool and got ready for bed and went back to watching youtube videos.  Tomorrow I have to get up early again, though not as early as today, because we’re going to EPCOT.