One thing you can count on at Walt Disney World or at Disneyland . . . you will spend plenty of time in lines.
The Imagineers do a terrific job designing the queues; they build in plenty of things to grab your attention and keep you occupied while you wait. Think of your time in line at Toy Story Midway Mania. Have you heard someone say, "I had the Candyland game when I was a kid." or, "I had a ViewMaster."
Have you read all the barrels and signs in the queue at The Jungle Cruise?
Have you examined all the crates, steamer trunks and suitcases in the pre-show room at MuppetVision 3D?
But after twenty or thirty times through the line you have probably seen it all . . . what do you do now? I tend to fill my wait time talking with my neighbours. I'm a chatterbox and I find it easy to talk with fellow Disney fans. That's another good thing about those lines - they are full of people who share my Disney mania. They're usually very easy to chat with.
While yakking with folks in line we've been able to give a number of people some helpful hints - and we've received some great suggestions too. I remember a couple waiting in line at Toy Story Midway Mania. Their son, four or five years old, didn't want to be there. He didn't want to ride . . . and he was making quite a fuss about it. I leaned down and asked him, "Do you like video games?" Naturally he did, so I told him that he was lined up to go through a giant video game. The car he was going to ride in had a gun and he could shoot all kinds of stuff. Wow, did that change his attitude - he was suddenly eager to ride!
We have given some surplus FastPasses to the folks next to us and we've received some FastPasses too. Sometimes we just keep bumping into the same people again and again. The folks I chatted with yesterday at the Magic Kingdom just might turn up across the aisle from us at lunch in EPCOT today. Occasionally we encounter people so often that we begin making jokes about it!
Carol was in line at the annual EPCOT Trading Event last September when the fellow behind her struck up a conversation. He asked, "Do you write the Pin Trading blogs for AllEars.net?" When she nodded and said yes he replied, "You're the reason I'm here!" He was from England, had read her blogs about previous events and felt he just had to cross the Atlantic to check it out.
Often it really is a small world!
We have even struck up some lasting friendships in line. A few years ago, it was my birthday May 1st 2010, we were at EPCOT waiting in line for Soarin'. When we reached the load area I told the cast member, "We'd like to ride in row B1." (You end up in the middle, on top, with no feet dangling in front of you.) The cast member said, "Wait with that couple over there and I'll get you all on the next ride." So we joined another couple along the back wall. I nodded to the man and said, "You obviously know the best row to ride." He grinned and said, "Yes, we love Soarin' and B1 is the best seat in the house." One thing led to another and before long he asked, "Where are you staying?" When he heard we were at Fort Wilderness in our RV his reaction was immediate, "We have to talk! I'm planning to retire within the next year and we've been talking about travelling in a motor home."
After the ride we all went to Sunshine Seasons and spent 45 minutes chatting over coffee. Al and Jane, from a suburb of Kansas City Missouri, had all sorts of questions and we answered all that we could. We exchanged names and e-mail addresses and urged them to come and tour the campground.
A few days later they pulled up to our campsite in a golf cart. They were touring Fort Wilderness and they really liked what they were seeing!
Once we got home the e-mails started coming - fast and furious. Al and Jane were serious about this RV purchase and they were full of questions. How do the utility hook-ups work? What kind of GPS do we use? Does your motor home have a washer/dryer? How do you like this floorplan? Etc., etc., etc. We e-mailed back and forth for almost a year. It was really a lot of fun helping them spend a bundle of money!
After what seemed like a hundred e-mails they had decided on their "dream machine", a brand new 37 foot 2011 Winnebago Itasca Suncruiser. They call him Alf and he's a beauty!
Alf's maiden voyage was in April 2011; Al and Jane loaded up their two cocker spaniels, Nico and Smudge and struck out for Fort Wilderness! The dogs pronounced the experience a howling success and they have now enjoyed six leisurely vacations at "The Fort".
Carol and I have been camped within a few campsites of Al and Jane on three of those six occasions and we are looking forward to seeing them again in December 2013.
We enjoy hanging out with them. We've spent time walking dogs with them; we've shared a few meals and lots of laughs with them. The ladies even shop for each other . . . Jane has scored some great pins and Sorcerer cards for Carol!
When we aren't there at the same time as Al and Jane, we always follow along on their blog site. A nice friendship has developed. You can find their blog here.
You often meet some of the nicest people in line, if you take the time to say hello. So the next time you find yourself standing in line, just a trifle bored, say "Hi" to someone.
You might be pleasantly surprised at what develops.
The previous post in this blog was Floral Mickey Disneyland Entrance.
The next post in this blog is Jim's Attic: The Dragon Calliope.