a close-up shot of a giraffe, taken at Animal Kingdom
This photo has not been cropped. It just got cut-off because the giraffe was too close to fit in the frame of the picture. 

There is a new ride at Animal Kingdom, in a new area of the park based on the movie Avatar. It is, apparently, the best ride in the world, the best ride that ever there was, and so, for his birthday, I took R and his girlfriend, M, to Animal Kingdom. 

Backing up, it’s actually really hard to buy appropriate presents for a person who’s living more or less out of a backpack. Me selling my house means that R doesn’t have a real home at all, no bedroom with a permanent closet where he can store things. He owns what he can carry with him and the more he has to carry, the more difficult that becomes. So I decided to look for an experience to give him, rather than an object to give him. Animal Kingdom was our favorite theme park when he was young, but it had been years and years since we’d gone there. It felt like a good choice.

So we were not actually at Animal Kingdom specifically to go on the world’s best ride. Which was fortunate, because although we arrived at the park a little after 8, an hour before opening, and headed straight to the world’s best ride, the line was four hours long by the time we got there at 9:05. Yes, you read that right. The resort guests are allowed into the park an hour before non-resort guests and enough of them beat us to the world’s best ride that the line was 240 minutes long. 

We didn’t wait. 

The good news was that the Avatar crowds meant the rest of the park was reasonably nice. We had a fantastic safari ride, where we got to be the people whose truck had to stop while the giraffes sauntered by, plus see all the other animals who were out and active on a chilly day; nice walks through the gorilla and tiger zones; rides on some of the other main rides, including Everest, Primeval Whirl and (for R & M) Dinosaur; and great seats at the Finding Nemo show, which is really beautiful.  And, of course, excellent company. 

At about 5, we went back to the Avatar zone and the line time had gone down to 210 minutes, so three and a half hours. We didn’t wait, but we did wander around the Avatar zone which is actually worth wandering around, too — very pretty and interestingly done. R wanted to write academic papers on the conflicts inherent in turning a movie whose overarching storyline is about kicking exploitative humans off a planet into a theme park whose goal is to attract humans to buy stuff, but figured it was fundamentally too obvious. 

The one minor bad note in an otherwise lovely day was food issues for me. I made bad choices because I was hungry and the lines were crazily long and I paid the price very promptly. Disney offers plenty of reasonable choices for people with food allergies, but it requires planning. It is not a good idea to wait until you’re already hungry and then start looking around for something to eat. I know this, but apparently I have to relearn it every so often. I’m hoping yesterday’s lesson sticks for the next few years. 

In other news, many, many thanks to people who have reviewed Cici. She is so much a book that I published because I wanted to share her, because I wanted other people to read her story and laugh with me, so I’m delighted to hear from people who have. People have asked about sequels and given how many promises I’ve broken about Grace and Fen, I’m not going to make any promises. But I will say that when I found the artwork for the cover, the artist had multiple variations, and I got all the variations. Which means that unlike A Lonely Magic, which is going to require that I find a cover to go with its sequel when I finish writing it, I will have possible cover options ready for Cici sequels whenever I feel like writing them. 🙂 

And now I think I’ll get back to writing Fen. I’m not optimistic about my productivity over the next few weeks: there will be much socializing, some urgent Christmas present shopping, some great time with family. But on the days when I have time to write, I’m going to try to write. Not because I feel the pressure of impending deadlines, but because writing Cici brought me joy and joy is an excellent thing to have more of in one’s life. May you have some as well, today and every day!