Sunday, January 6, 2008

On our own again

I’ve taken many, many pictures of the Disney Wonder from the bus after our previous two cruises. They are almost all indistinguishable from each other. Even so, I still find myself with my camera out, snapping away. It’s not only a beautiful ship, but there’s also a strong sense of not wanting this moment to pass – or if it must, to have a tangible record of it.

Soon enough, though, the bus turns onto the main highway and starts across the Banana River, and the ship is now behind us.

There’s no departure video, but a Donald Duck cartoon is playing, interrupted frequently by our talkative driver. I’m not sure about his mastery of the facts he is giving out, though. He points out NASA’s massive Vehicle Assembly Building – good so far – but then states that they are getting ready for a shuttle launch “to the moon, this time.” Umm, I don’t think so – the space shuttle is only made for low Earth orbit.

His interruptions continue to point out wildlife. I do spot a dolphin briefly in the water on the left side of the roadway, but after that I lose interest. Before long I notice that the other five members of my family have dozed off – Brandon, in the seat next to me, is leaning on me, with his head frequently sliding down my arm before he catches himself.

I power up my cell phone and find a couple of messages. The first says that our flight’s gate has been changed, from Gate 13 to Gate 12. The second, sent five minutes after the first, says that the gate has been changed again, from 12 to 16. Whatever.

The Donald cartoon is followed by a couple of Pluto cartoons, and before long we are arriving at the Orlando airport. Our group drowsily clambers off the bus, and for the first time in a week – almost to the minute – we are no longer in Disney’s hands.

We take our usual “freshen up” break on the lower level of the airport and then head upstairs to go through security. There’s a substantial line, but also multiple screening checkpoints, so the line moves quickly. I’m the first through, with the boys and then Linda and Becky close behind. We wait several minutes at the exit while Bob is wanded yet again. Thoroughly.

Poor guy.

Onto the automated tram we go, and then to our gate. We have an hour and a half to kill until our flight. I call home and check our answering machine messages. Nothing exciting there.

I notice for the first time that the airport seems to be gently rocking. Becky comments on it as well. As we learned after the first cruise, it’s the aftereffect of rough seas on our internal balance.

Brandon’s wearing his autographed t-shirt for the first time. It’s really cool with all of the signatures on it.

We take turns getting up, stretching our legs, getting a drink. I grab a Dr Pepper, my first in a week – they’re hard to find at Disney and on the ship. Brandon wants a snack “for the plane,” even though we’re still full from breakfast. Okay, sure – it’s still vacation, after all. He gets a bag of cookies and I add a couple of bags of Peanut M&M’s.

When we return to the gate, I half expect Becky to jump at the chance to have some Dr Pepper, since it’s her favorite, but she says, “Not before 10:00.” Within a couple of minutes, though, she’s reaching for “just a sip.”

I toss the bags of Peanut M&M’s into Becky’s purse, sheepishly joking to her parents that “I haven’t reached my chocolate quota for the week.” Bob just smiles and reaches into a pocket – to show his own bag of M&M’s! Great minds think alike.


Michel Chiasson said...

just wanted to say a big thank you!!! We have the Roy booked for next year, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your Disney cruise, has us very excited for our cruise next year! Thank you for taking the time to document and share your vacation! Now if 2009 can hurry up and get here!


BRWombat said...

Thank you, Michel. So glad you enjoyed it! Please share your story and photos you get back from your trip.