Our second family trip to Walt Disney World was in October 1993. Got to love the state of Wisconsin for having Teacher’s Convention during October and getting some days off of school! (Though this isn’t the case there anymore). Traveling to WDW during this time frame always had us running into other families from Wisconsin. It was the perfect time of year for a WDW vacation-time off of school, off-season, low crowds, cool weather. This year was particularly cool, however, as stylish 1990s windbreakers and other apparel make cameos in many photos.
We stayed at the “NEW” Port Orleans Resort. It was new at the time, and simply called Port Orleans. Now the original Port Orleans has been grouped to the Dixie Landings conglomerate and this group is called Port Orleans collectively. The part that still has a piece of my heart is the French Quarter side. Maybe it was my dad’s French-Canadian roots that had me loving this moderate resort more than the deluxe Polynesian. It was quaint and adorable. I thought the pool, Doubloons Lagoon, was pretty sweet. But I really loved the beignets! Port Orleans ‘French Quarter’ originally had the food court, which it still has, Scat Cat’s Lounge, and the now extinct Bonfamille’s. We weren’t as crazy back in my early Disney years-sure, we still made it for rope drop, but weren’t the first ones in line. That being said, there were a few mornings when we actually had a leisurely breakfast at Bonfamille’s. They had Mardi Gras masks for kids to colour, and I saved all mine during that trip. They served the delicious beignets with breakfast. Mmmmmm…..to die for!
This was also the first year Splash Mountain was open for us on a trip. My dad was actually very prone to motion-sickness and wouldn’t ride roller coasters or “spinning-rides.” He was hesitant about heights. All in all, he really wasn’t a theme-park ride sort of guy. But he still loved WDW, went on any ride he could, and we never tried to push him to do ones he couldn’t handle. But he could handle Splash Mountain. Probably due to the fact that the drop isn’t too high and its just the one. I also think he felt like he should at least give it a try.
These years of Splash Mountain were when you could literally run to it after rope drop. A dash to Splash! We had read in guides about a shortcut to Splash Mountain in Frontierland, which to us made sense, since every minute counted. For those of you who never experienced an old-school Magic Kingdom rope drop, it was quite the rush. You got through the turnstiles at park open, went up to the land you wanted to enter, waited at a rope with cast members. At the given time, the rope would drop, and then you had a literal free-for-all. No cast members were there to slow you down. I personally now think the reason why my dad was a willing participant in riding Splash Mountain was because of the thrill of this race to it. We ran into Adventureland, over the bridge, and took a quick right through the shortcut-a tunnel of sorts housing restrooms on the way to Frontierland. We had picked off a whole bunch of people who had been ahead of us at the turnstiles-success!
Nowadays after rope drop, the rope doesn’t really drop. It gets held by two cast members who slowly walk you to that E-Ticket attraction. Yes, you get there before everyone else, and you are still first to ride, but it isn’t the same rush. Sometimes you are lucky and the cast members have a faster stride. And sometimes I wonder what would happen if I just stormed over that damn rope. I probably could have convinced my dad to try it. Not sure what they would have done if he had!