Another Disney trip in the books.

We’ve been doing Disney since before the kids were born, and our kids have pretty much grown up making frequent pilgrimages to the House of Mouse. It’s our go-to place. We feel at home there. We have our routines down. We know how to navigate the parks, and we pack in the maximum magic in each trip, with uber-efficiency. We returned this year to kick off our new year. A few thoughts from our journey:

• We downloaded an app called Road Ninja, and it may possibly be the single greatest app ever created. There are plenty of good travel apps that tell you what restaurants, gas stations, etc. are coming up at approaching exits. This one, though, has an especially awesome function – it tells you how far off the interstate a business is. I believe it should be against federal law to have your logo on one of those blue interstates signs if you are more than a 1/3 of a mile or two stop lights off the road. (I’m talking to you, Alcovy, Ga.)

• One morning, I went ahead of the group by myself and was at the entrance of Epcot about 10 minutes before opening. That was a sight. The crowd crushed together in a sweltering blob of inhumanity at 8:45 a.m. was simply amazing. When they started letting folks in, I was amazed to see people breaking into dead sprints, mainly for the rides Soarin’ and Test Track. At one point, I saw a guy sprint past me. About two seconds later, a small girl ran past me shouting, “Daddy! Wait up!” His response: “Hurry up!” Thrill rides are nothing to play with, folks.

• I am still amazed at how some people are simply not aware that other people exist on the planet. Exhibit 1A for this trip was, on the standing-room-only bus back from Animal Kingdom, when a guy let his backpack occupy one seat while he snoozed in his. When we exited the bus, I remarked to my wife, perhaps a little louder than I should have, that I hope his backpack was nice and rested.

• My son is a daredevil maniac in the real world. My daughter is a cautious worrywart. This makes it odd that my daughter is the roller coaster junkie, while my son got off every single one expressing regret at his decision to board. After one ride – Mission: Space – I asked my son if he wanted to ride again. He responded, “Ok. Well, maybe. Actually, no.” My daughter? “LET’SGOAGAINLET’SGOAGAINLET’SGOAGAIN!”

• If you need to clip your nails, can you please do it before you get on a Disney bus? Thanks. That’s all for that.

• We have discovered my son’s superpower – using only his right food, he has the power to turn a fully functioning escalator into a staircase. He demonstrated his power by placing his foot near the revolving hand rail– just as his father told him not to –, which promptly wedged his foot into the contraption, jamming his toes in and sending the escalator to a screeching halt. I pulled his foot free, removed his shoe and sock and accounted for all five toes. In no time, several Disney managers were surrounding us, offering doctors, shoes, etc. I assured them the main damage was to my son’s pride.

• While in a gift store, I saw a little girl, maybe three years old, holding up a Minnie Mouse purse and tugging at her father’s pants leg. He turned to her and said, over and over, “Nyet! Nyet! Nyet!” Disney speaks the international language of parental gift shop annoyance.

• I’m not sure who was running Quebec and Ontario while we were there, because based on the traffic we saw during our return voyage, the entire population of those two provinces were heading north from Orlando.

In all it was a great trip, as usual, and I look forward to our next sojourn. It will probably be 2014 when we return. That will give me plenty of time to get the kids into cross training so they can keep up when we sprint through the parks.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken and is a graduate of the University of Alabama. He can be reached at