The (not particularly) Magic Kingdom: A grump’s experience

1 01 2015

We were in Florida over the holidays to watch my youngest niece Maddie play in a soccer showcase. Since we were near Orlando and I have a 4 year old child I think there is some sort of federal mandate that you have to at least visit Disney World. I wasn’t thrilled about this.

I’m not a Disney sort of guy. If I want to get mashed by crowds, eat bad overpriced food, hassle with tickets, deal with falsely cheerful employees, and spend thousands of dollars then I can just go to about any airport.

New Year’s Eve probably wasn’t the best time to visit the “happiest place on earth”, but what are you gonna do.

We were funneled like lemmings into the giant parking lot. “Cast Members” tried to continue smiling while shouting orders at everyone who kept trying to pull into the wrong slot.

We weren’t a particularly bright group of lemmings.

We crammed into a big tram and Ellis started yelling “woohoo!” Over and over. She tired of this after about 10 minutes and joined the rest of us in silent resignation.

Ellis spotted the Castle from the ferry boat. ( No we still weren’t there) and started hopping around. She begged me to play “Magic” by B.O.B. and Rivers Cuomo on my phone.

I did it and tried to cover my face in shame as Ellis danced.

At this point, since it was cold and rainy, Ellis decided shorts were a BAD idea so she proceeded to get naked and do an “I’m really really cold” dance while I rummaged through my bag trying to decide if I needed to get her dress or my camera. I went with the dress since I figured photographing my naked child on a boat at Disney World might result in a felony charge.

Looking back this was the wrong decision.

After some bag checks and ticket checks a painfully cheerful teen asked if we could answer some questions about our experience so far.

“Fascist” I mumbled.

We finally emerged on Main Street USA and it was hard not to enjoy the look on Ellis’s face as she found herself in a living cartoon. Even the rather interesting aroma of the crowd – a subtle mix of excessive perfume, wet white people, failing deodorant, and fried meat – couldn’t diminish the excitement of our collective Haj towards the Mecca of children’s entertainment and capitalism run amok.

Ellis loved everything. She liked standing in lines and spinning around in teacups. She liked desperately looking for a place to sit and take a load off. She liked the dripping rain and the massive crowds.

We found ourselves in a ridiculous wait for Winnie the Pooh. About 30 minutes in 3 teenage girls with tweezed eyebrows and Mickey Mouse ears started climbing over the “exit” sign to cut in line.

“Uh – you guys can’t do that” I said in my best voice of aged authority.

“We’re meeting someone” the presumed leader said.

“You still can’t do that” I said wisely.

“Can too” they said in unison.

“Can not” I said – oozing maturity.

They cruised right on by.

“Good job Dad” Ellis said in sympathy as she patted me on the back.

Ellis REALLY enjoyed it when I nearly came to blows with two guys in line in front of us who tried to bring their entire families (about a dozen people) to the front of the line to join them.

“No cuts” I said – channeling my 13 yr old self from the school lunch line.

(Much like my 13 year old self I was praying this didn’t come to fisticuffs because if someone hit me in the face I would probably cry and that would just be sad for everyone involved. )

The brothers just looked at me quizzically, as if they didn’t understand what could possibly be bothering me.

“Seriously guys. That really is not going to happen.” I looked down at Ellis. She was standing next to me, arms crossed and shaking her head. She had my back.

We were saved the hilarity of me trying to fight when the guys stepped aside and decided to just screw over the people in line behind me.

Anybody who says they have faith in humanity hasn’t spent any time in the line for Winnie the Pooh.

At “Its A Small World” I wanted to explain to Ellis the not so subtle racism in the stereotypical figurines. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop staring at the spectacular rack on the Indian mom seated in front of us or thinking lewd thoughts about 2 middle aged Asian women dressed as mini-skirted ” sexy Minnie Mouses”.

I decided I should probably save my discussion of racism and sexism for a time when my soul was a little less unclean.

As dusk approached and the drizzle intensified my sister and mother and I began looking for excuses to leave. It seemed a judicious time to introduce my child to strategic lying.

“Well it looks like you’ve been on every ride Ellis, good job” my sister said.

“Every one!” Ellis replied. “What about TomorrowLand? And the Castle?!”

“Sadly closed” I said. “They got wet.”

We both watched as a 300 pound man waddled by, chewing on a huge hunk of meat-on-a-stick as his 300 pound wife struggled to keep up in her Rascal scooter.

“Ew!” Ellis said.

“Yeah” I said.

“Let’s go home” Ellis said.

“If you insist” I answered.

Another impossibly cheerful teen intercepted us on the way out and asked if we had any comments on our experience.

“It was fun” Ellis said. “But a little bit funny smelling”.

The End