Back in 1999 my sisters boyfriend at the time who worked for his family and had owned a Explosive and Demolition company asked me to drive a van and trailer down to Cocoa Beach Florida. The first thing that went through my mind was can I visit Walt Disney World.
I had the whole thing planned. I knew I wanted to visit MGM studios because that was my favorite park at the time just because of the whole back lot tour. I was always fascinated with how movies had been made. So I made a pact with myself. If I could make it to Hollywood Studios by 12 PM I would spend the day at the Studios.
I set off around 4:30 PM from Northwest NJ and according to MapQuest it said I should make it to Walt Disney World around 11 AM. Well that did not account for stopping for gas or anything. But I had a pretty easy ride only stopping for gas and the occasional pee break oh and of course South of the Border. That’s the most tacky but yet somewhat charming place along I95. Even though I always enjoyed looking at the tacky goods they sold I had a mission I must make it to Disney by 12 PM.
Now every time that I stopped people always asked me what I was hauling and where I was going. I knew that the real story was boring so I made stuff up. (Actually it was a controlled device that you could burn small ammo and fireworks without causing damage) Since I was going to Walt Disney World the story would always involve that. I would tell people that it was a device that would shoot up warm marshmallows in the air so that guests could try to catch them and eat them. Or I would say its a new device that shoots human fireworks into the sky and they would fly back down with a parachute. I tried to get more and more outrageous with each story and people were fascinated. I was also like 23 at the time so I was just trying to have a little fun.
So every time I would cross a state border and finally into Florida I was always trying to calculate the ETA for Walt Disney World. I was actually getting nervous would I make my 12 PM deadline and what if its a few minutes over that would I still go. Turns out I made it at around 12:10 PM just over my deadline.
Once in the Studios I soaked it all in. Riding Rockin Roller Coaster for the first time enjoying Star Tours and the Muppets but most importantly I was going at my own pace. That was the best part, I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I spent hours doing the back lot tour and just enjoying everything that i saw. This was back when it was an actual working studio. At the end of the night I saw Fantasmic for the first time and I loved it. But with all fun things they must come to an end. I said goodbye to the Studios and went back to the van.
As I drove off Disney property I really enjoyed my day but I knew that the Studios were no longer my favorite park. The magic of the movies were gone on that trip. It was no longer that awesome studio I once thought it was. But I did enjoy my time there. I do think the adventure getting there was more exciting than the time I spent in the Studios. It was the journey, the time crunch, the expectations I had set for myself that probably changed my view of the studios at the time. Looking back it was really the beginning of the end of the Studios that I had known and Loved from my trips in 89 and 1993.