Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bike spotting in Disney World

First, a brief explanation of my last few posts. Before we left for Disney World, I noticed a link on the Blogger dashboard inviting users to try mobile blogging from their cell phone or mobile device. Thinking it may be useful since I don’t own a laptop, I decided to give it a try, and followed the steps to coordinate my cell phone with my Blogger account (basically sending a text message and confirming an email). After arriving in Florida, my first attempt to send a photo to my blog failed for reasons unknown, but my husband confirmed that the next photo sent a few days later had appeared within minutes. Boy, did I feel like Techno-Mama then! Mobile blogging from Disney World, what could be easier?

Dealing with the massive crowds at Disney World, however, was not something that could be made easier with modern technology or gadgets. Only stamina, patience and comfortable footwear would get you through that endurance test. We expected heavy crowds during the week before Easter, since most schools are on vacation then, but no one was expecting record-breaking numbers this year. On Tuesday, the Magic Kingdom theme park reached its capacity at one point, and the gates had to be closed for a short time until enough visitors left. It is not easy to navigate through such crowds with a group of 7 people ranging in age from 9 to 76. But with a few early morning and late evening visits, we managed to get the kids on nearly all of their most-wanted rides.

Enough about the crowds, on to the bikes! The Disney decorators seem to have a fondness for bicycles in their still life arrangements. This scene greeted us on our first day as we walked to check-in at the reception:

We spent our second day enjoying the pool and water slide in the heat of 86F. I checked out the bike rental area and decided to wait until later in the week when I knew the layout of the resort better and temperatures would be cooler. Unfortunately, I never had time again. I only saw two people on rented bikes during our stay.

Animal Kingdom was my favorite park, and I must admit the bikes had something to do with it. I didn’t see any bikes in the African area of the park, although we didn’t get to see everything there, but the Asian area had plenty:

Taking these photos amidst the sea of people was not easy, and I was grateful to have my daughter’s assistance. Somewhere ahead of me, I heard her calling out, “Mommy, come here, it’s a Raleigh!” and she had the shot before I even caught up with her. Here's her photo:

And here's mine:

In Magic Kingdom, I could find only this sign near Main Street:

I saw no evidence of bikes anywhere in the countries represented in EPCOT, not even in China, although I admit the crowds prevented us from exploring every nook and cranny.
As the week was ending, we decided to skip the Hollywood Studios theme park completely, since none of the kids' top-listed rides were there. Anyone know if we missed any bikes there? Or anywhere else?
Back to life, back to reality.


  1. How neat! I see bikes everywhere now, too. :)

  2. Love that first bike! Funny that there were so many bikes around Disney.

  3. @Trisha - I got a few funny looks each time I stopped to take a photo of a bike. Most people probably don't even notice them, I guess.

    @Dottie - That bike was much more tempting than the rental bikes!

  4. The freight-carrier cycle-rikshaw in the India area was authentic, freight and all. The other bicycles should have been Hero bicycles, not Raleighs, for full effect. I'd love to own one of those freight rikshaws. I've looked into importing a regular cycle-rikshaw from India (much, much cheaper than the ones in the US) but the bureaucratic hoops are prohibitive.

    And speaking of vacations, isn't that Ocean Grove in the banner picture? Pretty much right in front of House by the Sea, where I stay for a few days every August?

  5. @Steve - Close, but no cigar - it's Ocean City, a bit further south, just below Atlantic City.

    I wish I had more time to take a good look at all the different bikes and their cargo. I didn't see any brand name on the blue and pink bikes, but I couldn't get close enough to look for a head badge. Maybe the Raleigh was a recent replacement for a more authentic bike that got damaged? Disney really puts a lot of thought into the details, especially in Animal Kingdom.

  6. We just had a terrible biking experience at Universal Studios (not affiliated with Disney). The Harry Potter theme park is different than Disney. (We love Disney and the way they treat us by the way).

    Rode bikes in, locked them to a tree. We looked around for anyone who might come up and say "don't park them there" but no one came. We scanned the area for "don't lock bikes here" but found no signs.

    Needless to say, you can imagine the ending to the story... When we returned later, security had confiscated our bikes and cut our locks.

    It gets worse - I wanted to video tape their response to my main question, "will you replace my two bike locks that you cut?" The head of security immediately kicked me out of the park for 1 year for video taping him - no discussion about it. No second chance to work it out.

    This means the $1000+ we spent just went down the drain, as we had 3 days left of tickets, and my kids absolutely are terrified of going back. You might say the Harry Potter magic is gone.

    I know I might get flamed with responses like "who would lock their bike to a tree?" or "who would be dumb enough to insist on video taping the head of security?" etc. But the whole event happened so fast, and they were so unfriendly, that I wanted to protect myself.

    I'm not sure pleading my case off-camera to this guy at Universal Studios would have made an ounce of difference. I even negotiated to stop recording but he just said "too late".