Just a quick warning to all of you triskaidekaphobics (fear of the number 13) – you may want to stop reading right about here. It could be a bumpy ride for you.
This August, my lovely bride and I will be celebrating 13 years of marriage. While sitting around home one day discussing Disney World (a pretty common discussion topic around the ol’ homestead), I playfully suggesting that we should take an impromptu trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to ride the 13 story tall Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13 times on our anniversary. Rather than the “you’re crazy” look my harebrained ideas normally elicit from my better half, her look this time had a definite “you’re still crazy, but that just might work” vibe to it.
So I set off on a little fact finding mission.
I checked Disney’s park hours website, but hours for August were not yet posted at the time. However, with a little careful deduction, I guessed that the park would probably be open from 9am to 9pm. And if their pattern for June and July held true, Monday would be an Extra Magic Hours night, giving us until potentially 11pm. Getting 13 rides in 14 hours does sound daunting, but look at it this way: get to the park before rope drop. DHS usually starts letting people in between 8:30 and 8:45. While the crowd is rushing to Toy Story Mania, we head down Sunset Blvd, grap Fast Passes to ToT, then jump in the standby line for the first ride of the day. Jump in again as soon as we get off. Depending on crowds, we could get 3 rides in before our FastPass window even opens. And if the kids and grandparents are leaving to go swim or something, I’m sure they would love to get us some FastPasses before they go. Attraction lines could thin a bit during Fantasmic, so that could help as well. 13 rides in 14 hours just might be doable. (Note: Disney has since updated the park hours to 9am to 10pm, with EMH until midnight, giving us 15 hours to work with.)
(Hmmm…this just might work)
We had purchased Annual Passes at the end of last August, because we had a friend’s Disney Wedding, Marathon Weekend, and a Spring Break Disney Land/Sea adventure planned. The passes would still be valid in early August, so tickets were taken care of.
We are proud members of the Disney Vacation Club, and have been planning some other, non-Disney (gasp!) vacations in 2014, so we had some points to borrow if we needed. A standard view studio at the Boardwalk would fit right into our points budget. It’s a bit tight for 2 adults, an 8 year old, a 6 year old, and a 1 year old, but on the plus side, it just happens to be walking distance to Hollywood Studios. Accommodations could easily (and cheaply) be checked off the list.
(I like the direction this is going…)
Speaking of the kids – we can’t exactly ride Tower of Terror with them all day. Luckily for us, my wife’s parents live just 45 minutes from Disney. So Disney time is also Grandparent time. We asked, and the thought of spending the day with Grandma & Grandpa bumming around Hollywood Studios, the resort pool, and Disney World in general without Mom and Dad around to prevent meals of pure sugar and shopping sprees involving the loudest, most obnoxious toys available seemed agreeable to the kids. A little too agreeable, but I guess that’s the price we pay for “free” all day child care.
(Holy Cow! This just might work!)
Looking into my Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards account, I had just enough points accrued to get…3 tickets. But with Southwest, it’s only a matter of time. I knew that if I waited it out, eventually they’d have a sale and I could get all 4 tickets (with the baby riding along as a free lap child) with my points.
(Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. I’m rubbing my hands with glee!)
My wife and I sat down to confer and exchange notes.
- Tickets: Taken care of
- Hotel: Taken care of
- Transportation: Taken care of
- Feasibility: We’re pretty sure it’s doable.
- Can our stomaches handle 13 rides in one magical day?: Who cares! We’re going to go for it! Besides, I’m sure we wouldn’t be the first to lose their lunch on that ride.
With that, we booked it. Boardwalk had been confirmed and Southwest did in fact have a sale where all 4 of us are flying down just using frequent flyer points. But we can’t stop there! An event as monumentous as this requires matching t-shirts! I fired up Photoshop and whipped up some graphics for us and a set for the kids – to be put on maroon shirts (to match the Tower of Terror Cast Member costumes, naturally.)
And there you have it. A ton of things had to come together perfectly to pull this off, but every one of them did. So this August 5th, we’ll be celebrating 13 years of marriage, by plunging 13 stories 13 times in one day. If anyone is going to be around Hollywood Studios on that day, stop by and say hi (with a few FastPasses, if you don’t mind). We’ll be the couple looking progressively greener as the day goes on, but loving every minute of it.
(But if you do visit anytime after lunch, you may want to bring a poncho, just in case. Because I see some Red Velvet Cupcakes in our future that day too.)