Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth

Recently, my family and I went on a five day vacation (I use this term loosely) to Disney World. Honestly, it was fun. Although the constant reminders to "Have a magical day" got monotonous after a while, something about all that magic makes it easier to believe it really is Mickey Mouse standing in front of you than a stranger in a suit. At the same time, I couldn't help but feel like I'd outgrown it, compared to the last time I'd been there, ten years ago.

My primary grievance was the thrill level of the vast majority of rides. You'd think between four theme parks you'd be able to find more than two decent roller coasters. My favorite ride was "Rock 'n' Roller Coaster," but that's probably because it was the only roller coaster in all of Disney World that turned upside-down. "Expedition Everest" was the other one that managed to lift my stomach up a little. Those rides were fun. But that was about it.

In just about every other ride at Disney World, you wait in line for an hour or so (unless you "fastpass" it, which puts the wait at about twenty minutes), climb into some sort of vehicle (boat, truck, spaceship, etc.), ride around on a track, watch little animatronic animals and people, get air blown in your face by some sort of jet I could never spot, and if you're lucky you might get squirted with water or shaken around a little. A maddening number of rides also try to educate you. Someone ought to let them know that it's summer and everyone in their right mind has switched their brains over to hibernate mode until mid-August. Still, I fear I may have absorbed a fact or two about eco-friendly farming or the progress of household technology.

Worse than that was riding the rides I'd loved as a seven-year-old. I'd been content to ride "Goofy's Barnstormer" over and over, and inside "It's a Small World" I was about as happy as I knew how to be. My butt no longer fits properly in "Goofy's Barnstormer" and the robotic French dancers seemed to have lost their rhythm. Now, I'm pretty sure it's the same place it was ten years ago, but now the epithet "The Happiest Place on Earth" sounds more like a misnomer. But the six year old at the neighboring table in Chef Mickey's Character Breakfast would probably disagree.

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