Monday, August 2, 2010

What To Know About Disney in July (Like Avoiding Delta)

So it’s summertime and you’re planning on going to Disney World. You’re so excited and can’t wait to walk around the parks and immerse yourself in all that is the Disney experience that is apparently very immersable. First thing you need to do is decide how you’re going to get there. In all reality you only have two options: flying and driving. For those of you who are planning on driving it is important that you take my advice. Don’t.

If you live anywhere outside of Florida in this nation, you’ll have to drive through Georgia which takes roughly 19 long monotonous years. If you live in Florida you’re already aware of the traffic situation that is the state of Florida. Therefore we can say that you only have one real option when it comes to arriving in Florida and that option is by birth. No in all seriousness, you’re going to have to fly down there.

This obviously means you have to embrace the awesome process that is finding and booking a flight. If you’re planning on flying Delta it’s important that you ask yourself the following question: Am I nuts? If you answered yes to this question enjoy your flight. If you answered no and are stuck flying Delta because they’re the only reasonably priced flight that doesn’t have a 9-year layover in Baghdad, it’s important to prepare yourself. (Buy a helmet)

Whether you were or were not aware; Delta acquired Northwest Airlines. When I say acquired I mean they murdered Northwest Airlines with a meat cleaver. Northwest pilots at the time complained that there was a major difference in “culture” between the two airlines. By culture they're basically stating the obvious: Northwest cared about their customers. Where Northwest cared about customer satisfaction; Delta cares about their deluxe card members. Northwest ensured the safety of all of their passengers. Delta would prefer to shoot its passengers to their destinations from cannons.

I’m not saying that Delta is mediocre in the customer service field. I’m saying that Delta flat out sucks when it comes to anything except delaying flights. Let us start with their boarding procedure. First they board stand-by passengers. Most stand-by passengers might as well be vagabonds. They show up late. They pay shit for fares and they usually have drug problems. Yet Delta boards them first. Then they board their Diamond Sky Club “I Have More Money Then I Know What To Do With So I Bought This Useless Card” Card members followed by First Class. First Class is usually empty because nobody except pilots and Sky Club members can afford to pay over a thousand dollars for a seat with some OJ.

After they've finished boarding these people--your flight is already 15 minutes behind schedule. If you’re flying out of Metro, you are now guaranteed a spot in a long line of other delayed Delta flights waiting to take off. In this case plan on arriving at your destination within a week or so.

However at this point you're not even lucky enough to be at the stage of waiting because you still have to wait to board your plane. Right about now you’re probably standing in front of the desk at the gate when an attendant announces, “we will attempt to board you all as quickly and efficiently as possible because we’re running a little bit behind schedule.” I know that this is what they’re going to say because I heard it numerous times. Once in Metro taking off to go on vacation. Once at McCoy taking off to go home. Once I landed in Detroit and was making my way down McNamara Terminal I heard it echo down the hall from other gates as impatient and pissed off people all grouped themselves around the attendant. Clearly you'd have to be blind to see that Delta is dropping the ball. Do they care? Probably not.

But it get's better and by better I mean worse.

What is coming next I can only describe with the above picture.

You’re going to hear the attendant call for zone boarding. Most airlines board from the back of the plane forward by rows because they’re not infants and can understand the concept of efficiency that can be achieved when people aren't plowing over other people to get to their seats. Delta boards from the front back in zones. This means for all intensive purposes unless you’re a body builder or wearing a helmet--you’re fucked. Once you’re settled and ready to take off (take-off being the operative phrase) expect the need for the flight crew to have to look for staff who've probably all became eligible for retirement & Medicare during the time it took to get you on board.

What have we learned here?
1.) Delta sucks.
2.) If you’re stuck on Delta it’s important that you buy a fucking helmet.
3.) Wear your fucking helmet.

Part Two: Arrival & Travel

You’ve arrived in sunny Florida and considering Delta hasn’t directed your luggage to Moscow; it’s time for you to rent a car. Car rentals come in different categories:

1.) Economy (Roughly the size of a pack of gum)
2.) Intermediate (Comes with handle so you can pick it up and carry it with you)
3.) Other (Regular size vehicles that either don't exist or you can't afford them)

Once you make a deposit on your rental car (Hertz accepts firstborns, vital organs, and souls) it’s time to hit the road. The make-up of Florida drivers is going to be a little different from what you may be used to at home. For one thing the Floridian traffic population can be divided into three groups:

1.) Tourists who don’t know where they are or going.
2.) People born in the Paleozoic Era.
3.) You

At one point of time there would’ve been a fourth category which consisted of Ontario drivers. You don’t need to worry about these drivers unless you’re walking on the sidewalk, sitting in a waffle house, on a ride, in a lake, Ted Koppel, etc. In Florida, Ontario drivers while being the worst drivers on Earth (Biblical fact), tend to just crash into sedimentary objects…and then blow up. As long as you’re in a car--just worry about 1 & 2. 3 works itself out.

Florida has toll-roads which are specifically set up to catch unexpected and changeless tourists. If you’re a resident you most likely have a “SunPass”. This “SunPass” is merely a piece of paper that says that you’re a resident of Florida and therefore already house broke. It works the same way lamb’s blood on the doorpost worked for the Angel of Death. Ironically the Angel of Death is also a resident of Florida with a SunPass. Oh yeah keep in mind as you drive down the highways to be careful that you don’t get into an accident. Florida has a lot of vultures and they’re all certified by the state bar association. I’m just kidding.

No I'm not.

Part Three: Hotel & Parks

You’ve arrived at your hotel and checked in. When it comes to hotel quality and ammenities, nobody does it like Disney. You get the best of the best for your money. The deluxe hotels in Disney are awe-inspiring. The Polynesian is awesome. The Wilderness Lodge is beautiful and rustic and my personal favorite. The Floridian is…snobby. Okay well that one is kind of a downer but the Polynesian and Wilderness Lodge are absolutely out of this fucking world. The point is you’ve survived Delta & traffic and now it’s time to relax before you hit the parks. Take my advice. Relax the first day you’re there. If you go to park the day you arrive I’m pretty sure you’ll burst into flames.

For one thing if you go in July like my family consistently does, the daily temp rarely dips below 90 and the heat index rarely plateaus below the boiling point of lead. It’s hot. Really really really hot. The other interesting fact is that against all discernable wisdom, July is the busiest month for Disney. This means the parks are going to be packed with thousands and thousands of people just as crazy as you. All of them will be bitching about the heat and wandering around the parking lot for hours wondering where they parked only to realize the car was in their pocket the whole time. I'm kidding really. July means lots and lots of Brazilian tourists following other Brazilians carrying large flags on poles. There are a lot of guided-missile tours going on in Orlando so prepare yourself for lots of Soccer and Portuguese.

It’s best to leave yourself plenty of time to do things and see attractions so I advise that you arrive at the park early. When I say early I’d say arrive three days ahead. This way if you get a fast pass for Soarin’ at Epcot on a Tuesday morning, you’ll be through the line and on the ride by Wednesday night. Hey, it's a cool ride.

Another thing to know about Disney is that there is a difference in heat tolerance between the four parks. Epcot is by the far the most tolerable of the four parks in my opinion. It’s very day friendly for visitors since there are plenty of indoor attractions (World Showcase, Innoventions, Spaceship Earth, camping out to ride Soarin’, etc.) that allow you time to cool down and find water. Also if you’re in Epcot catch IllumiNations. You will not be disappointed. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. There is no way I can explain it. You just need to see it.

The Magic Kingdom is also a place to go at night. During the day in July you might as well be under a giant magnifying glass. The sun is brutal. If you go during the day to the Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) or Animal Kingdom you might as well just use yourself to water the Florida foliage. There is no air movement at all in those two parks.

In absolute conclusion as much as I joke about the chaotic parts of a Florida vacation, I love Disney World. It’s absolutely the most magical place on Earth. There isn’t another place on Earth that produces the euphoric feeling that Disney World emits upon its guests. As my Dad told me when we were driving around down there, “You make sure that you take your kids to see these things.” I offer that same advice to all of you. Take your family to Disney World. These are memories that last a lifetime.

And if you fly that last a lifetime.

Until next time

Peace & Love


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