Two parks down, nine to go. 

Four hours into my journey, sitting on the plane to Orlando and thinking about how it’s gone so far.  I’m dog tired, but that’s kinda a good thing since it means I will probably get some sleep on the plane. Unfortunately, it’s only five hour flight, so who knows what level of enthusiasm I’m going to have tomorrow.

A few monkey wrenches came my way. Arrived too late to grab a fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers, so rode Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree instead. Rode Matterhorn in the afternoon, but it was down in the evening, so I rode Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride instead. Sorry, by the way about the ride footage. But, I figure there are much more professional on-ride videos out there, if you’re interested. Hopefully my grainy shaky-cam will just whet your appetite to seek out more. 

On the whole though, things went as well as I could have hoped. I stuck to the schedule without too much trouble. And, I’ve learned how to use time in lines to also edit video on my phone (with headphones and without holding up the line). It’s my first time using iMovie, so I’m sure there’s a lot I still have to learn. 

Thanks to everyone following along, even if the whole idea for the trip sounds goofy to you. It is goofy, for sure! And, certainly not a trip a lot of folks would enjoy.  It will be exhausting, and my body may be complaining to me later, but for now at least, I’m having a magical time! 

Taking a breath before the start. 

For some reason, as I’m sitting here at the Grand Californian hotel (waiting for my phone to recharge), it just occurred to me that this is the last totally free time I’m going to have for a while.  Sure, I’ll have pockets of time here and there, but from here out I’m going to have to do a lot more multi-tasking. 

I’m actually enjoying this calm before the storm.  (Well, except for the guy having an inexplicable conversation with his crying baby daughter nearby.)  It’s nice to be able to take a moment before everything gets crazy.  Ahhhhh.

There are still the shadows of some clouds on the horizon though. Especially in France and Japan, where the room for error in the schedule really goes down to zero.  I’m working on some things to help that out, but still no final word yet, which is a little anxiety inducing.  

Well, break time is over. Time to head to the front gate and get this party started!

Eleven Pounds

In my final pre-trip video, I talk about the process I went through to plan my journey, along with information about some of the online tools I used.  I also show you what I’m going to be bringing along with me on the trip, which all fits inside my WED Imagineering backpack and weights a total of 11 pounds.

The Disney Places You Can’t Visit

For my second pre-trip YouTube video, I talk about some of the Disney places I won’t be going on this trip.  Either because they were never built, like the Israel, Spain and Equatorial Africa pavilions at Epcot, or the ill-fated Disney’s America park in Virginia.  Or, places that were built, but are no longer, like River Country and the Disney Institute in Florida.  And, I briefly discuss by favorite “extinct” Disneyland attraction.

My Disney Park Tickets

My very first YouTube video!  Okay, it’s not that great, but I’ll be posting a few like this before the start of my trip just to introduce myself and talk a little about my interest in Disney theme parks.  In this video, I share a little history of Disney theme park tickets from around the world.  Hope you enjoy!

The Grand Plan

Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper  – copyright © Karl L. Swartz

You can blame Jules Verne.

When I was young, I had the Illustrated Classics comic-book version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  Then, I saw the Disney 1954 film version, and loved it so much, I recorded the audio with a tape recorder (holding the tape recorder up to the TV of course), and I’d listen to it every night as I fell asleep. Sometime later, I saw Mike Todd’s 1965 film version of Around the World in 80 Days, and was similarly transfixed.

The idea of going around the world, retracing that fictional journey, has always appealed to me.  Michael Palin did it in 1989 for a BBC series of the same name.  But, in these modern days of jet aircraft, taking 80 days to circumnavigate the globe seems like much less of a feat than it did back in Jules Verne’s day.  So, I asked myself, could you do it in 80 hours?

Turns out (depending on where you draw your line around Earth), it’s not actually that difficult.  But, then I asked myself… if I were to circle the globe in such a short amount of time, what would I do along the way?  And, it just sort of hit me: see every Disney theme park, of course!

We’ll get into the why and how of that in later posts.  But, setting that as my goal, the path (or should I say, the flight path) forward became much clearer. It makes sense to start at the beginning, where it all began: the first Disney theme park, Disneyland in California.  From there (with a stop at neighboring California Adventure) it’s on to Orlando, Florida where four parks await (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios).  Surprisingly, there are no direct flights from Orlando to Paris, so I have to connect in Newark before landing at Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios (Paris).  Then, the longest flight across Europe and Asia to Hong Kong Disneyland.  Things pick up as I try and knock out two countries in one day and jet up to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea before they close.  Then, back to Anaheim, California (via San Francisco) to where I started at Walt Disney’s original “happiest place on Earth”.

Well, that’s the plan in a nutshell.  I’ll get into more details later.  In the meantime, keep following me and feel free to submit questions for me to answer later.  Thanks!