Windsor Wives and Bucket Lists

by Mike Scopa
AllEars® Feature Writer

Feature Article

This article appeared in the April 14, 2009 Issue #499 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

Mike ScopaI am the first to admit that I am quite the Disney geek. I've visited Walt Disney World a gazillion times, have seen almost, but not every, Disney film ever made, and own either a video or DVD format of most of these films. I am also a frequent visitor to the Disney Channel.

Yes, my name is Mike Scopa, and I am a Disney geek. But did you know in my past I was a geek of a different color?

Back in college I was really into William Shakespeare's works. I mean REALLY into them. In fact as a college sophomore I took more Shakespeare courses than some felt humanly possible. Some were usually prescribed for individuals with sleep disorders. I just could not get enough of "The Bard."

I will always remember one particular course in which I pretty much gave my $.02 on every debate or discussion. In that class a comment by the professor delivered somewhat of a blow to my dating life. Like I said, I loved Shakespeare and loved to discover what was hidden in his words. I was always ready to voice my opinion and partake of whatever was discussed in class. During one class I was just a little too excited and I remember at one point old Professor North said, "Is there anyone else besides Mr. Scopa who can comment on this particular line from Mr. Shakespeare?"

So the good news was that this little announcement told me I had a pretty good shot at getting an "A" for the course... but probably no shot at dating any of the coeds in class. It also slapped the Shakespeare geek label on me, but I kind of had it coming anyway.

What does this have to do with my topic this month? Well, William Shakespeare wrote dramas, tragedies, and comedies, all of which are treasured works of literature. I started consuming them one by one at a frantic pace until another one of my instructors, Professor Marks, told me how he too could not get enough of these writings. He said he had read every piece of work William Shakespeare had ever written except one: "The Merry Wives of Windsor." He had decided during his undergraduate studies that he wanted to save something enjoyable to read in his "golden years" so he chose "Windsor" for just that purpose.

In his words, "I needed to look forward to something in the autumn of my life." That made sense to me. Thus I too have refrained from reading that comedy to date and it's waiting for me someday, when I think the time is right, to sit back and enjoy that piece of writing.

So you might say that for both Professor Marks and yours truly "The Merry Wives of Windsor" is right at the top of our "bucket list."

For those of you who are wondering, a "bucket list" is the list of things a person would want to do before that person -- drum roll, please -- kicks the bucket. Well, there are some things that I have yet to do in Walt Disney World and so, along with "The Merry Wives of Windsor", here is my bucket list. Perhaps my list contains items that would be in your bucket list, too.

"Staying on a Concierge Level" -- I have never stayed on Concierge Level. Why? Well, I guess I never really could justify the cost. Over the last few years however I have seen some merit in the Concierge level; especially for large families. Sometimes you cannot place a value on convenience. As I get older, I begin to wonder what it would be like to experience some concierge pampering. If and when I do so I will probably choose between the Polynesian and the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

"Victoria and Albert's" -- I think one reason I have stayed away from V&A is the dress code. When I am in Walt Disney World I like to be casual. Another deterrent is the price. But some day I may want to celebrate a special occasion and I may just have to wine and dine with Victoria and Albert just to see what it's all about.

"Disney's Wedding Pavilion" -- I see those eyebrows reaching for the ceiling. I'd like to witness firsthand how Walt Disney World's Wedding Pavilion handles weddings. Also, imagine experiencing that as a member of the wedding party. How is the ceremony done? What is the reception like? Perhaps someday I'll get a chance to answer those and other questions.

"The Grand Floridian" -- As much as I have not been a fan of The Grand Floridian Resort I must admit that lately I've been curious as to just how it would feel to be a guest there. I'm not sure if I will ever get the chance, but I would at least like to see what the rooms look like. Maybe I'll sell a kidney some day and stay one night.

"Overnight in the Magic Kingdom" -- This has been a dream of mine for almost a decade. I want to see how the park winds down, what takes place overnight, and how the park slowly "wakes up" for the next day. This dream almost became a reality in 2004. It still remains a dream, and when it comes to dreams I say, "Never say never."

"Grand Marshal" -- That's right. Grand Marshal of the daytime Magic Kingdom parade. I would serve my fellow guests proudly, as I would be very animated at the head of the parade and wave to everyone and make all park guests feel like I'm talking and waving to them. Give me a chance... that's all I ask.

"The Walt Disney World Marathon" -- This one could be a stretch because Father Time may have a say in this. As a veteran of about 14 Walt Disney World races including three half-marathons I know about the rush of crossing the finish line. It's tough enough to do 13.1 miles -- 26.2 miles is another story. Still the dream lives on. I'm not planning to give up on this one just yet.

"Wishes Cruise" -- It certainly would be a different experience to enjoy Magic Kingdom's "Wishes" while relaxing on a boat -- no crowds, no rush toward the park entrance afterward, just a very restful experience. This one may be close to a reality for me, maybe this year. It would be nice to do this with several friends.

"Coral Reef Restaurant" -- I've eaten at almost every Walt Disney World restaurant and came close to eating at Coral Reef in May 2008, but at the last minute something called "Sip and Snack" put a stop to that intended visit. I like fish so this is definitely on my list and could happen in the near future.

"Sleigh Ride in December" -- If these rides are still being offered at Fort Wilderness this December and if I happen to be in Walt Disney World at that time I may try this holiday treat.

"House of Blues Sunday Brunch" -- I'm just curious about this brunch. I've heard mixed reviews about it and I don't know if I would enjoy it or not. Sometimes it's difficult to really judge from mixed reviews. Thus I need to experience it myself and I plan to do so on my next trip. Want to join me?

"Everest at Night" -- I can do this probably only on a Disney's Animal Kingdom Extra Magic Hour Evenings. I actually had an opportunity to do this last August. I don't recall why I didn't grab at the chance. Oh, wait. I do remember. I had just enjoyed a big meal at Tusker House and thought it best not to be jostled about.

I'm sure there are many more things I can add to my bucket list, and on my next trip I expect to cross off a few items, too.

On a special corner on a special shelf on a special bookshelf is the collected works of William Shakespeare. Someday I'll open that book to "The Merry Wives of Windsor." It may very well be on a flight to Orlando.

So... what's in your bucket?



Mike Scopa has been a huge Disney fan for as long as he can remember. He first visited Walt Disney World in 1975 and has returned many times (how many? he's lost count!) since. Mike is a contributor to the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and Cara Goldsbury's Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World, and has served as keynote speaker for the 2006 and 2007 MagicMeets. He is also co-host of the WDWTODAY Podcast and writes a regular blog, The View from Scopa Towers, for AllEars.Net:

Other AllEars® articles by Mike Scopa:


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.