I’ve seen the end of times. It’s Disney World in the summer. Oh, I know right now some of you are thinking, “Hey, fool, don’t you know better than to go to Orlando in any season that starts with the letter S?”
The answer to that question would be, yes, of course I know better but I was there for my daughter’s dance competition. The travel dates were non-negotiable, which is why I spent last Sunday (into Monday) at the Magic Kingdom from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. That’s right — 17 hours straight at Disney, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have some PTSD from the experience.
I knew Disney would be thick with humanity and humidity. I just didn’t realize the extent of the thickness until about 1 o’clock in the afternoon. That’s when the park reaches maximum stroller and scooter capacity. Who knew the double stroller could multitask as a weapons-grade battering ram?
I don’t know what happens to parents at Disney World but it seems to me they become focused on one mission: harming anyone who slows down their forward motion (including their own children). I feared for my life more than once, especially when a mom pushing a double stroller teamed up with grandma and grandpa in scooters. The mom was in the middle and the grandparents were flanking her on the left and right. The trio was plowing through the crowds at Fantasy Land and mowing down anything that got in the way. General Patton rolling through Europe had nothing on this threesome.
As for the weather, the humidity was so thick you felt like you had been dipped in chicken fried steak gravy and rolled in mashed potatoes. Now, add in the body odor of thousands of profusely sweating adults and you’ve got yourself a crock pot cooking up a simmering stew of gag. You know what would be really magical at the Magic Kingdom? A deodorant kiosk.
The only way to dress for this kind of weather is to wear your “I’ve given up on life” outfit, which means your most comfortable shoes, shorts and shirt.
I was confused by the number of women in heels, full make up and free range hair. And by this I mean long, unfettered locks heating up their back like a microwaved ShamWow. I wanted to reach into my fanny pack (yeah, I wore a fanny pack — your fashion pride goes right out the window when you’re doing hard time at a Disney park) and hand them a Wet One and a pony tail holder but I thought that might be perceived as a little forward.
The most popular clothing item at the park, by far, was the family Disney T-shirt. This is a shirt with a Disney logo, your family’s name and some other tidbit of information like how many park visits you’d enjoyed before. One family was on its 32nd reunion at the Magic Kingdom. Who willingly advertises this kind of crazy?
After I came to terms with the weather and crowds I sought to get to know my fellow Disney guests by visiting with strangers standing in a line — one that seemed long enough to circle the earth — for the newly opened Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride. This was where I discovered an idiocy that will haunt me for months, if not years. The family that was in front of me in line lives in Orlando. That’s right, they’re Disney adjacent and yet they pick a Sunday and the hottest day of the year (96 degrees with a “feels like 107”) to come to Disney World. I had to ask them why. (This is when my daughter pretends she doesn’t know me.)
Their answer: “I dunno. I guess we didn’t think about it that hard.”
Who wouldn’t think about that? Who would voluntarily choose to go to Disney on a crowded, steamy, Sunday if they lived right next door?
After the family acted scared of me for asking a couple of simple questions, I had no choice but to amuse myself by tweeting about my Disney experience. My daughter, still pretending we’re not related, whispered, “Stop doing that.”
“Why?” I asked. It’s not like you’re talking to me.
“Because Disney is probably tracking us with the bar code on our tickets and you’re going to get us thrown out of the park.”
“Really? You think they’re tracking us?”
“Yeah, did you notice they also scanned our fingerprint?”
Now this is what I call fun, a kid in the throes of a Disney conspiracy theory. Let me tell you something, if you’re raising a child that can’t concoct a couple of conspiracy theories then you’re not raising a good American.
But before I had a chance to delve deeper into this exciting topic the Mine Train ride got temporarily closed and the line got ugly, like double stroller ugly. It was time to seek refuge in the Hall of Presidents, or as my daughter calls it, the empty theater.
Next week: Part 2 of the Disney Experience.