Sunday, July 05, 2009

To the parks

We meet Bob and Linda in the hallway and begin our trek downstairs to the ART bus stop.

Bob has some stunning news, which I had not heard before this time – there was a monorail accident at Walt Disney World last night, and a driver was killed. He doesn’t have any more details.

Oh, wow. I have friends who are monorail drivers in Florida. I send up a silent prayer for the family and friends of the one killed and for all the cast members. This is bound to hit them hard, and they’ll still somehow have to work and make magic since I’m sure the parks aren’t closing. I suspect I’ll be thinking of this all day, and especially every time I see a Disneyland monorail.

If I see one, I realize – they could shut the system down because of the Florida accident. I briefly entertain selfish thoughts of what a problem this could be for our transportation plans today, but then quickly shove them away. Whatever inconvenience it might be to us is minor compared to what others are dealing with today.

Once in the lobby, we take a glance at the score sheets put out from last nights Quartet Finals. Hey, Crossroads won the gold! That’s Jim Henry’s quartet, the same Jim Henry who directed the Ambassadors to their chorus gold the night before. To say he’s had a good week would be a historic understatement.

We’re at the ART stop at 8:20. The buses or trolleys are supposed to be on a roughly 20-minute cycle, though there is no fixed schedule. It’s almost 8:45 before it gets here, but it’s a beautiful day and the wait is not unpleasant.

We climb aboard, each of us scanning our new 3-day ART passes on the way to our seats. It’s just about 3/4 of a mile from our hotel to the front gate of Disneyland, well within walking distance, for sure. But coming off such a tiring convention and competition, I’d rather save what walking stamina I have for the parks themselves, not getting myself to and from the parks. The ART is a great thing.

Our route has us turn south on Harbor, just to the next street, where we execute a U-turn so we can travel back north to Disneyland. There’s on stop along the way, just north of Katella, and then we’re turning left into the resort entrance.

This is the same place we came to on Tuesday when we rode the ART up here to get to Tony Roma’s, but this time we’re staying to play in the parks! I’m so very impressed with Disney – dozens of buses stream in and out of this entrance every hour, but all of them have to travel a curved path around some walls, easily 15 feet high each, of greenery. Those panels of shrubbery, or whatever they are, do double-duty: they screen Disneyland from view from the street side, making you wish you could be there, and hide “reality” from view for those on the park side, much in the same way the berm surrounding the park does. Disney is the master of little touches like this.

The trolley lets us off at the stop for route 3, and this time we get to walk towards the entrance to the parks. Yay!

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