|Magical Mystery Tour|
|Written by Crystal Brewe -- BT Contributor|
A day at Disney summons up almost every feeling imaginable
How do you sum up a trip to the Magic Kingdom with your two kids and in-laws? Magically comedic. Somehow, this trip allowed me to see things I had never noticed or thought I would observe at a place known for its ship-shape, happy-memory-making reputation.
Let me begin by saying we all had a fantastic time. I am sure the other 149,994 people who were there with us did as well. (Disney doesn’t publish its crowd sizes, but the playland’s 107 acres were stretched to capacity on this particular Saturday.)
The adventure began with smooth sailing into the park via our magical chariot, the Honda Odyssey. After parking effortlessly, we waited in line for the tram to the entrance gates. Probably the most stressful part of the day, this line was not really a line, but instead a mass of anxious parents and amped-up kids elbowing each other for access to the front of the throng.
Holding the crowd back from death-by-speeding-tram was an 80-year-old park employee wearing a ranger outfit and screaming for people to “Stay behind the safety poles!” I contemplated our elderly “retirement jobs.”
Matilda, my eight-year old, looked up at me with fear, her hair whipping around her face, as the second tram whizzed by us at breakneck speed. Her fear was not that she was nearly flattened, but that the tram had passed us by without stopping.
The wait to get entrance tickets was 80 minutes. I used the time wisely to download nifty Disney apps and compare agendas and memories with our fellow standers-in-line. Thirty minutes into the wait, Matilda looked at the crowd and yelled, “Are we having fun yet?” She got big laughs for that one.
Lesson learned: Print tickets at home and arrive an hour before the gates open. Once we got our tickets, we realized we were still a ferry ride away from the Happiest Place on Earth, and that yet another lengthy line stood between us and the ferryboat.
In true Brewe fashion, we had a strategy for the day: Get to It’s a Small World. The iconic attraction seemed a great way to start off the Brewe-venture, with an innocent, sleepy ride that conjures feelings of peace and harmony, right? My four-year-old was terrified by it. As we made our way to the front of the line and she realized she was going to have to get into an unmanned boat that appeared eerily out of a darkened corridor, she clung desperately to us.
It occurred to me as we slowly floated along that, while my childhood memories of this ride were ones of pure awe, my kids are used to more advanced technology: more life-like dolls and robots, without 25 years of dust and grime. We also realized that their very diverse upbringing made the racially stereotyped dolls seem even creepier. At the end, though, they were singing along. Thank God, since the ride backed up and we were stuck in the final section for nearly 20 minutes.
The rest of the day was a sparkly, fun-soaked haze and the long lines, while not ideal, allowed for some epic people-watching and priceless observations. Below are some of my favorites:
A woman snapping a picture screamed at her children: “Act like you’re having fun, dammit!”
The number of kids in line who watched movies on various iDevices was astonishing. (Really? Really?)
The sheer volume of newborn babies. Many of these new parents didn’t have other, older kids. They were just happy couples at the Happiest Place on Earth with their oblivious little bundles of happiness.
Someone with a giant turkey leg decided he didn’t need the extra fat from the turkey skin, so he threw the skin on the ground. An aggressive egret swooped down, grabbed the turkey skin in its beak, and gracefully swooped off -- only to drop it on a young teenage passerby as she applied lip gloss. The horror! I laughed for an hour.
A woman on a princess ride took a picture down the inside of her shirt. Upon witnessing this from afar (and after making sure my kids didn’t see), I kept thinking, “Did she tweet that?” “Did she text that?” Oh, to be a fly on that cyberspace wall.
A man, tired from a day of pricey corn dogs and rides ending in gift shops, exploded on his family on Main Street U.S.A. We did not stay to watch the drama unfold, but Disney World may be paying for their future marriage counseling.
The number of times I heard mothers say, “Don’t put your mouth on that!” was impressive. Someone should call the Guinness Book. I am sure there was a world record there.
Lastly, the incessant princess chimes that started at the front gates and didn’t end until we got back into the Odyssey made me want to curl up into a fetal position and chant for a margarita.
Volume 12, Issue 8. October 2014
The Smithsonian honors a local documentary photographer
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