The 2005 Re-mousing of Zamgwar

by Zamgwar, ALL EARS® Guest Columnist

Feature Article

This article appeared in the July 19, 2005, Issue #304 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

There are some wonderful things to be said about growing older. The fact is, our personal annual trips around the sun each bring their own magical reward. For the youngest, it could be a simple thing, like matching up your own daily clothes (a feat, according to "She Who Must Be Obeyed," that Zamgwar still has not mastered). The teen years mean new freedoms, the realization that the opposite sex isn't necessarily "yucky" and the possibility that parents don't know everything.

In our 20s and 30s we begin to reap the rewards of hard work and responsibility. The vehicle you drive actually might come from the same decade you're living in (currently mine isn't even from the same century). Many become blessed with compact versions of themselves that magically appear in delivery rooms.

Passing into one's 40s, it's the realization that perhaps your parents DID know everything and often great reconnections begin between families.

Having amazingly made it into my fifth decade I have found it, too, has its own benefits.

Surprisingly, the best is that time seems to move faster. Maybe it's because as we age, there seems to be so much more that we pack into our precious time off. More vacations. More get-togethers with friends and family. Less free time is spent sleeping late and on bright sunny days without work, we encourage ourselves to "go out and play." It's almost as if being 50 signals the internal clock to do as much as you can while you're still "young" so you don't have to "cram for the final exam."

Or maybe after 50 we just can't remember what month it is anymore. I, however, am going with the "we do more" scenario.

Recently, as a result of this calendar compression, I was able to pleasantly surprise myself with a trip to the Mouse. It's not that I forgot it was coming; it's just how fast my countdown clock spun. Before I knew it, the Packing Fairy (AKA "She Who Must Be Obeyed") had arrived in our guest bedroom and the "big as a house" suitcase with the Mickey Mouse strap signaled a great adventure was at hand.

I love it when the Packing Fairy arrives.

After an eight-day re-mousing adventure, I am happy to report, after many trips, over many years, all is still magical in our favorite 43 square miles of Florida.

Crossing beneath the Walt Disney World arches still evokes the involuntary phrase "Woohoo!" Sticking your admission ticket (and now applying your fingers to the biometrics) into a park turnstile still causes your heart to flutter like a child finding a new bike beneath a bow on their birthday. Seeing a monorail pass overhead still draws your eyes up to watch.

In Epcot, the background music still brings a smile that says "I'm somewhere special" to overworked faces. The croissants in the bakery in France are still sweet, and the birds there are still happy for the crumbs you brushed off your "I'm Grumpy because you're Dopey" t-shirt. The dancing fountain still can stop you in your tracks to watch its watery ballet, and the "bloop-bloop" fountains of Imagination continue to tempt one to catch a flying water blob. The pavement at night still puts a skip in your step as it twinkles from beneath with colorful playful patterns of light in front of Spaceship Earth. Off Kilter still is worth checking the schedule for and The American Adventure still can mist up the old peepers at the end of the show.

Maybe I'm going just going through MANopause, but it still gets me.

Test Track still is a thrill, bursting onto the outdoor track and hitting those last bank turns with the wheels screaming and the wind in your face. Mission: SPACE take-off is still one of the best simulated moments I've ever experienced. The lights of Epcot at night still bring a hug from "She Who Must Be Obeyed," as if it was our first date. The addition of Soarin' to The Land and Crush the Turtle to The Living Seas reminds you that there are still great things coming from the Imagineers.

Magic Kingdom is still the heart of the place where magic lives. Passing beneath the train station still rolls back the clock on even the most experienced Disney guest and transforms them into an excited 7-year-old. The castle, all decked out in gold trim for Disneyland's 50th, still draws crowds toward it like a mouse to cheese. Main Street still smells of cookie dough, and the train, with its whistle blowing and bell clanging, still supplies an immediate facelift as you smile ear to ear. Space Mountain is still a hoot of a ride, and Wishes still is the best nighttime fireworks show in any park. Peter Pan is still happily flying over London and the tea cups still turn the world into a happy spinning blur. Getting a hug from Minnie or Mickey still causes a warm fuzzy feeling that has nothing to do with their big fuzzy heads.

At the Studios the background music still has you guessing at movie themes. Muppets 3-D still is as funny as the first time you saw it. Tower of Terror still brings on exhilarated laughter through its unpredictable series of drops, and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster still is a "rush" as you launch onto the freeway. The Cobb Salad in The Brown Derby is still a symphony of flavors. Amazingly enough, Star Tours, though decidedly old technology, still has one of the neatest queues and is still a fun five minutes. The new car stunt show proves the Mouse still knows how to put on a heck of a fun show, and the hot seat in "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" still continues to elude me.

Perhaps I suffer from slow-button-pushing syndrome.

Animal Kingdom is still one of my favorite parks. It still beckons you to explore its meandering paths. The view of the savanna as your safari truck turns the corner by the baobab tree still is a "wow" moment. I still have a crush on "the vine lady" who emerges like a dream from the trees. Harambe Village and Asia's Maharajah Jungle Trek still prove no one themes an area like Disney does. Tusker House's roasted half-chicken platter with mashed potatoes and green beans is still one of the best (and cheapest) lunches in all of Disney World. It's Tough to be a Bug still is worth the visit and the Tree of Life still fills viewers with awe. The addition of Lucky the Dinosaur shows that Disney is still the "master of little things," and the now towering Mount Everest reminds you there are still many great things yet to come on the horizon.

Almost every location in Disney World still has you reaching for your camera, to preserve the view after the memory fades. The lobbies at the Wilderness and Animal Kingdom Lodges are still some of the most magnificent welcome spaces you'll ever find.

It is not unusual for my friends to say, "You go to Disney every year? Why?" Sometimes "She Who Must Be Obeyed" and I ask ourselves the same question. After spending eight quality days with the Mouse late June through July 4, the answer is still the same.

In all the places we travel to on vacation, and we are lucky enough to travel to quite a few, Disney World still puts a smile on our faces, a song in our hearts and a skip in our step like nowhere else can. It reminds us all, no matter what age we are, that there is still a bright-eyed child alive in each of us.

That's My2Cnts. What's yours?

Office of Pixie Dust
The Zamgwar Institute


Editor's Note: Welcome back, Zamgwar! We missed you!

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Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.