Longtime readers of this blog know that I’m not the biggest fan of theme parks. Just looking at a roller-coaster is enough to turn my stomach. But usually I’m so terrified by what theme parks hold that I’m running on adrenaline all day. What was it that made Orlando’s Disneyworld one big yawn?
We had arrived in Orlando via a flight from Melbourne to New York, an overnight at a dodgy JFK airport hotel, and a JetBlue flight New York to Orlando. It was about 24 hours of air travel in total, with just a few short hours lying horizontal in the airport hotel before jetlag saw us all wide awake at 4:00am.
By the time we got to Orlando, we were beyond ragged, but after checking into the hotel, headed out to Downtown Disney for dinner. Towards the end of the meal, I felt a slight tickle in my throat. Just tired, I thought.
We crashed into a sound sleep back at the hotel, and woke the next day at the very reasonable hour of 6:00am. Perfect timing to get ourselves organized, have breakfast and head on out to Disneyworld’s Magic Kingdom for the day. Half way through breakfast my throat started burning with a searing, stabbing pain.
I sent The Poolboy to the gift shop in the hotel lobby to see if they had some cold & flu capsules. If I HAD to take on Disneyworld with a threatening lurgy…I wasn’t doing it unprepared.
He came back with the shop’s only packet. I had a quick look at the box. “Dose = 2 capsules. Do not take more than 4 doses in 24 hours,” it said. I took out a sheet of capsules and slipped it into my bag.
Just after we got to Magic Kingdom, the dreaded cold hit with a vengeance. Watering eyes, sore throat, headache, running nose…the works. But there could be no excuses. We were at Disneyworld! This is the place where dreams come true! I downed a couple of the cold and flu capsules and braced myself to soldier on.
A few laps of the Big Thunder Railway and Splash Mountain, and I was starting to feel like maybe I had got over my fear of being strapped into a small vehicle and hurtled around a track. Sure, I still screamed the entire ride…but I wasn’t quite as paralysed by terror as I had been in the past.
By mid-afternoon, the cold symptoms were worsening…so I took another dose of cold and flu capsules as directed. The Poolboy and the girls went off to Space Mountain. I sat on a bench and waited for them. (I’m not stupid…I know the secret to Space Mountain…I wasn’t going to put myself through that.) My head nodded to my chest. I could barely keep my eyes open. Wow, I thought…jet-lag has really struck. That, combined with feeling less than 100% – not a great combination.
The following day, we went to Epcot, another of the Disneyworld parks. Still feeling like cr*p, I kept myself duly dosed up on the cold and flu capsules. The thing about Epcot, is that a lot of the attractions are inside, and in the semi-dark. Every.single.time I sat down for a ride or a show, my head would loll to the side and my eyelids drooped. It was jet-lag like I have never experienced before.
There’s one attraction at Epcot, called Ellen’s Energy Adventure, which is described as ‘a 45-minute multimedia romp through time and Ellen DeGeneres’s subconscious’. I spent that entire 45 minutes trying to force my eyelids open. My memory of it is: There’s Ellen! Woah, a dinosaur! Ellen! Something electrical! In between momentarily flashing images of the show, I would slip into a deep slumber.
Later that night, back at the hotel, I picked up the packet for the cold and flu capsules to take out another sheet for my bag. This time, I read the really little print on the packet…
“For night time use only. May cause extreme drowsiness.”
I’d done two whole days at Disneyworld on extreme-drowsiness night-time cold and flu tabs. No wonder Disneyworld was one big yawn.
Although I do wonder if…just perhaps…being semi-sedated improved my theme park experience (or at least my theme park mood)?
I did learn a lesson though. Next time I’ll carefully read the fine print when buying unfamiliar cold and flu capsules.