Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The Most Horrifying Place On Earth, Part II
Many things were factored into this decision. The main one being that our Dream Passes were about to expire and we were running out of weekends. We were determined to squeeze every ounce of fun out of our $99-Four-Day tickets, even if that meant subjecting our children to sweltering heat, crushing disappointment and total exhaustion.
Side Note: If at all possible, avoid going to any sort of theme park during months during which the temperature rises above 80 degrees. Seriously. You think a child is miserable after waiting in a crowded line for 35 minutes, legs aching, bladder full, his ice cream cone melting in a sad puddle 10 feet away, watching kid after kid squeal in delight as they soar sky-high in a giant plastic Dumbo and asking for the eight-thousanth time when will it be his turn...try it when it's ninety-two humid degrees outside. Your child won't be the only one who's miserable.
We decided to go to Epcot first. The kids had never been, and the last time Jeff and I had been at Epcot was in college, New Year's Eve, with my siblings, and we drank our way through The Lands (I think I passed out on a bench somewhere between Morocco and Germany. It was also apparently the Most Crowded Day Of The Year--the bathrooms were so backed up that people were urinating onto topiaries shaped like Donald Duck. So Rollie's not the only person in history to pee in public.).
We went inside and hopped on the first ride we came to: The Giant Golf Ball. Rollie thought it was neat. Elsa wasn't impressed. She sat on my lap and whined every time Judy Dench's voice came through our speakers, telling us about how some day computers would change the world. That pretty much set the tone for every ride we took Elsa on. If it was dark and nice and cool, with some over-loud narration booming through speakers right behind our heads, Elsa wanted nothing to do with it. I started to get a little self-conscious about her loud objections to everything she saw. I imagined the judgment being passed on Jeff and me every time we hauled her into a moving capsule and forced her to sit still on our laps. It's a wonder DCF wasn't waiting for us at the end of the Viking Ride in Norway (although at that point I would have gladly handed her over and retreated to Mexico for a twelve-dollar margarita).
The next day we decided to go back to Magic Kingdom, thinking that perhaps it we could recapture that same First Time Magic with the kids, the same unadulterated joy at seeing the castle for the first time, eating a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar, having a thousand dolls scream It's A Small World at you over and over and OVER.
First of all, it took us 90 minutes to make it from our hotel to the front gates. Literally. We waited at our bus stop, seeing other, happier busses bound of other, happier destinations come and go. Jeff and I took turns keeping our kids from running into the parking lot, touching the garbage cans, picking up cigarette butts and generally annoying other people also waiting for the bus. It wasn't nearly as fun as it sounds.
Jeff: Let's just take a bus to Epcot and hop on the monorail from there.
Me: No, the bus'll be here any minute.
Jeff: But it'll probably be too crowded and we've got this gigantic stroller to carry on.
Me: No, it won't. Let's just wait. Rollie, don't touch that--it's yucky.
Jeff: We can ride the monorail now for Rollie and get it out of the way.
Me: But we'll have to switch trains, and that'll be a big pain with them. Rollie, I said don't touch that.
Jeff: It won't be that big of a deal. Elsa, no no. Get back here.
Me: Here comes a bus.....Oh wait....Animal Kingdom. Crap.
Jeff: Come on, let's just get on the next Epcot bus. Forward momentum. Let's keep moving. I can't just sit here, it's driving me crazy.
Me: You're driving me crazy.
Jeff: Rollie, Mom said don't touch that. Do you want a spanking?
Me: He's not touching it, he's just pointing at it.
Jeff: Rollie, stop pointing--it's rude.
Me: It's not rude to point at objects. Just people.
Jeff: It's a bad habit. Stop pointing, Rollie.
Me: Do they sell beer at Magic Kingdom?
Jeff: Look, here comes an Epcot bus. Come on, guys.
Me: I'm telling you, there's gotta be a Magic Kingdom bus coming any second.
Jeff: If we don't keep moving, I'm going to lose my mind.
Me: I lost mine a long time ago, Sweets.
Jeff won, and we boarded a bus bound for a different park. Ninety minutes, a bus ride, a monorail ride, a ferry ride, two bag searches and one poopy diaper later, we finally arrived.
Because it was now about eleven a.m. and getting hotter by the second, we opted to take Rollie on the Haunted House. Cool, dark, no line, and if we spun it right, a ride perfect for a 3-year-old. Except Rollie seemed hip to our routine.
Rollie: Is this ride scary?
Me: No, it's really not scary. It's more silly than anything.
Rollie: Are there pirates on this ride?
Me: No pirates.
Rollie: Is there a naughty man on this ride?
Me: A naughty man? No, I don't think so.
Rollie: Is it dark?
Me: It's nice a dark...kinda like a really neat cave.
Rollie: Are there bats?
Me: No. Just some cool holograms.
Rollie: What's a hologram?
Me: ...You'll see.
Except for the nervous breakdown he had in the beginning, he did surprisingly well. According to Jeff, anyway. I couldn't actually hear anything that was going on in Rollie and Jeff's creepy little pod over the whines and yowls that were emitting from the pod I shared with Elsa.
Yes, we brought a sixteen-month-old on The Haunted Mansion. Yes, it was a dumb idea. I really had no clue Elsa was so, like...aware. I figured she'd get kind of a kick out of the red-eyed crows cawing at us from cobweb-covered tombstones....I thought she'd enjoy the animatronic corpses jerkily rising from their graves....the sound of moaning and shrieking and rattling chains should have made her giggle with glee, right? To me, an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba is far more frightening than a couple of holographic ballroom dancers.... Who's with me?
We got some decidedly dirty looks on the way out. As we disembarked, people glared at us like we'd just forced Elsa to sit through Reservoir Dogs. I'll admit, I did feel pretty bad that she hated the ride so much, which is why we made an immediate bee-line for It's A Small World, determined to replace Vincent Price's ominous laughter with a cute little ditty. To me, subjecting ourselves to It's A Small World redeemed us as parents, and actually gave us a pass on forgetting our children's birthday once in a while. I'm sure it'll happen one of these years....
Oh yeah, one more thing about going to Disney World in the summer time: Do Not Wear A Tank Top. I know, doesn't this sound counterintuitive? I mean, it's Florida, it's July, it's hot. Why wouldn't you want to wear as little clothing as possible? Tank tops almost seem like your bundling up in this weather. Trust me. Heat=uncomfortable children=miserable children=tired children who want you to pick them up so they don't have to walk. But because the absolute LAST thing you want to do is stand in line for ride you don't even want to go on, cradling a thirty-five pound sack of overtired kid on your arms and sweating out toxins you ingested last football season, you refuse to lift up your darling child. That's when the pawing begins. Be prepared for your child to tug at your clothing, begging to be held, whining for you to pick him up. I can't tell you how many near nipple-slips I had from Rollie pulling on my shirt. You'd think I would have learned my lesson long ago (see entry Excuse Me, But Your Nipple Is Showing for clarification). Thank God I hadn't gone with my first wardrobe choice and worn a tube top. I would have gotten kicked out of the park in the first five minutes for indecent exposure. Although that might not have been so bad. Sorry Jeff, I've been ejected from Magic Kingdom for flashing my boobs. I'll meet you back poolside at the hotel. I'll have a beer waiting for you.
Hmmm....maybe next time I will wear a tube top....