The Disney Dichotomy

It’s the happiest place on earth! Happiest place…. Happiest…. I need to find my happy place. Disney is an anomaly to me. People go, they spend a ton of money, they sometimes do it every year and some go (gasp!) more than once a year!!! I cannot fathom the motivation behind that, but I digress. Let me begin with the upsides! My kids think it’s very cool that we fly across the country to visit the mother of all theme parks every year. We go because my husband plays a string of shows with his band Smashmouth every year in October. It’s the international food and wine fest in Disney’s Epcot Center. The concert series is called “Eat to the Beat”. It’s super cool and they treat us very well and I KNOW that I’m lucky to get this trip for free. BUT…. I can say with no amount of reluctance, that I would absolutely NEVER spend what it costs to have this family vacation. Ass in the sand, exploring ruins is more my speed. Screaming children, haggard parents, and those fucking gifts shops… Not so much.

That brings me to my first gripe. Those fucking gift shops! Are you serious? Every single ride ends in the damn gift shop. Which means every single child who leaves a ride is either tortured or is torturing their folks at ride’s end. The person who thought of that was an evil genius.

Secondly, it is nearly impossible to see everything. It’s so spread out and the lines… Well, you know. There is so much walking, that my kids would absolutely melt down by 3pm because they were just plain exhausted! I noticed an afternoon exodus in which whining, crying children were being pushed, carried or dragged by haggard parents. Each family had their own words of comfort, “we’ve got to get some rest and dinner so we can come back and see fireworks!” Or “we’ll come back as soon as Mickey is back from his break!” Hey, who am I to judge? That white lie and a glass of Chardonnay may have saved that child from certain death!

Traveling anywhere with children, especially toddlers, is its own brand of hell. I mean, at one point in the airport I was literally dragging a broken suitcase and a toddler who decided walking just wasn’t in his game plan. Dragging, people… I’m just grateful that that airport kept its floors shiny and slick, it cut WAY down on his drag. Traveling Disney, though… It’s like prepping to hike Half Dome. You’ve got to be prepared! You must have sunblock and water and band aids (kids always seem to get blisters at Disney) money, passes, ID, magic bands, and all of the other parental accoutrements that might “save the day” in a pinch.

Thankfully, staying in the resort provided easily accessible afternoon respite, and the fact that we did not have to pay for our park hopper passes, made it ok for me not to push ourselves to spend every waking moment in the park “to get our money’s worth”.

I am truly grateful that I am able to take my children on this yearly trip. Likewise, I am grateful that our next one is a year away….. I’m just looking for that ever elusive “vacation from my vacation”. Until next year, Mickey. Until we meet again Tower of Terror, auf wiedersehen Epcot and your beloved Prosecco booth and good riddance gift shops! One completely spent, totally exhausted mama, signing off.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Debbie Jones says:

    Jenny, I LOVE your blog!! This one especially hit home because I, too, am not a Disney enthusiast. I go every October to see Sugar Ray at Eat To The Beat and to stuff my face at Food & Wine Fest (minus the wine for me…I need the stronger drinks…Jameson, anyone?). It’s an annual tradition with my friend from L.A.. She flies out and we stay at a resort and split the cost. She LOVES Disney! I hate it! She gets a Park Hopper. I do not. I’ll stay at Epcot forever (or at least until my three day ticket is up). Disney is so overpriced, overrated, and this girl is over it! If it weren’t for Eat To The Beat I wouldn’t go at all. I hate long lines, I hate screaming kids who are miserable in the humidity and heat & I hate grumpy parents who just want a break from all things Disney. I feel for you. Thank God you didn’t have to pay for your trip. There’s no way in hell I could ever afford that. Agree with you about the gift shops. I stay away! Since I don’t ride rides that tends to be easier for me. One thing I did experience was Downtown Disney at 10pm. I got stuck in Lego Hell and couldn’t get out. Traffic was rerouted through the store and I should’ve read the signs but I didn’t thus screwing myself and listening to whining children and screaming parents all in the span of the 5.5 minutes I was trapped in said Hell. I really give it up to parents who even attempt theme parks with toddlers. You deserve a badge of honor and courage. No sane person would ever volunteer for that crap. Since I’m a Florida girl I went numerous times as a kid and I remember melting down. It always happens. Hell, I still meltdown and I’m 45! Cheers to you, Wife & Mother of the Year!! Until your next adventure to the Happiest Place on Earth….

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