We should have known.
We were elated when we approached the parking lot at Disney on Friday night. Apparently, no one goes on a Friday night at the end of the fourth week of school in September! This was the perfect time! And it was Ellie's birthday. No waiting in the lines!
We'd parked so close, we didn't even need the first group of people movers. We'd be in by 6 p.m. and have a good four hours of rides, plus time for a nice dinner. We had it all mapped out.
Then we noticed the people leaving. The word throngs sprung to mind. At the gate, a young man said those magical words you never want to hear at "The Happiest Place on Earth": "Nous sommes fermés."
Others approaching were in the same boat. The man stopping us was sympathetic; we asked questions. "Since when?" They'd changed the hours the previous week. There was nothing written on our mini brochures about closing times. He called his supervisor for us and the others.
"You need to check before you come," the first woman said. I explained that at one of the biggest attractions in the world, you don't expect them to close at such an early hour. She said it was like winter season for them now. "Summer's over!" It had been a high of 35C/95F. If you change closing times as you go (as we seemed to gather from them), would this be the time to do it? I asked how I was supposed to know they would close so early, and she said I could look on their web site. That threw me because since we've had the passes, I've had a huge beef with their web site. It's slower than molasses, and some things simply never open. The look on her face said she knew this.
A second woman came, and was more understanding. By now, Ellie was crying, "But it's my birthday." They wrote our names on an envelope (refusing to give us something in writing) and said we could come tomorrow, though it's a restriction day for us.
I'll let you know if we actually get in without complications.
We got out of the park just to hit all the evening traffic of the area, plus the Disney departures. The word throngs came back to mind.