As a capper to my Disney visit, some highlights and notables:
* Flew out with a bunch of college kids, presumably also going to the Disney marathon. Their twee method of bowdlerizing themselves: “We’re all in the same row? Shut the front door!”
* Walt Disney World now fingerprints you when you enter the park. When you swipe your ticket, you also place your index finger on a small plastic scanner. This keeps different people from reusing the same $80 ticket. Since it has a purpose, I find it less offensive than, say, full-body patdowns at the airport.
* Speaking of: got my first one of those! I opted out of an X-ray and was directed to a blue-gloved TSA scanner. He smiled – one of those weak smiles that’s already an apology – and said he’d have to feel up my pants leg until he met “resistance.” “Do what you have to,” I said.
* Space Mountain now has a video game you can play while waiting in line. Every thirty feet or so, you’ll find a row of buttons in front of a giant HD screen. Everyone in line near you can take a console and use those buttons to zap asteroids into dust. This is a neat functionality, but I still would have preferred FastPass. Also, either my vision’s failing or Space Mountain at night is too dark. The stars aren’t bright enough for me to pick them out as we whiz by.
* Thunder Mountain at night, by contrast, is awesome.
* The Disney cast member guarding the entrance to the Hall of Presidents regaled us with trivia. “You’re from New York?” he asked another guest. “Which four Presidents were born in New York?” He kept up a line of nerdy patter in this vein until it was time for the show to begin. “The last Hall of Presidents show of the evening is about to begin,” he said. “Or the fireworks display is about to start in five min–” WHOOSH. Keep your mouth shut, Gil; close the deal.
* My trip would not have been half as fun without the diligent guidance of my friend Kevin, who goes to the Disney Parks more times in one year than most of us go in our lives. He gave me a plan for both EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom that minimized the time I spent in lines and steered me toward the hottest attractions. I’d recommend him to all my friends, but I’m not sure he wants to do as much work as he did for me (gratis) for everyone.