Tuesday, April 26, 2011
During past visits to Disney World we rented a car and stayed off the property, allowing my cynical nature some breathing room amidst all of the unrelenting good cheer. This time around, my mother-in-law organized the trip and went the total immersion route: we stayed at a Disney hotel where at least half of the television channels were Disney-affiliated, took Disney transportation to Disney parks everyday, and ate all of our meals at Disney restaurants.
The full Disneyfication of our vacation caused me some pre-trip anxiety. I packed for a four-night stay as if I were preparing for a month long exile on a desert island, wedging wet wipes, chewing gum, peanut butter crackers and clean underwear into every spare inch of suitcase. I wasn't entirely wrong to worry about surviving my Disney internment. Among other hazards, I faced incredibly long lines, an infestation love bugs --black flying bugs attached in coital, and a whole lot of togetherness with the in-laws.
But now that I'm back, I find myself struggling a bit more than anticipated with the re-entry.
Back at Disney we basked in days of uninterrupted sun and moved against a landscape of towering palms and lush mouse-themed topiaries. Here in reality the blooming forsythia bushes do little to brighten the cold gray sky and salt-scarred lawn.
Back at Disney it seemed perfectly reasonable to make a meal of ice cream, while reality requires vegetables, and thus a whole lot more shopping, peeling, chopping, cajoling, insisting and sulking than a dish of soft serve.
In Disney World the vast range of body shapes and sizes --many on display in lycra spandex-- had me feeling pretty good about myself. Here in reality, we have a scale. And quantitative evidence to suggest that ice cream is not such a reasonable meal choice.
Back at Disney there were cheerful white-uniformed groundspeople to sweep up trash just as quickly as it could touch the ground and everyone smiled and called me princess. Here in reality, Big E's friend hops into my back seat on the way to yesterday's Daisy Scouts meeting, looks around, cocks her head and announces, "My mom and dad like to vacuum their cars."
At Disney, I felt confident that there would be in our immediate vicinity at all times both one child and one adult behaving worse than all of the children and parents in our group. And if the occasion were to arise that we had the worst behaved children in the immediate vicinity we could simply plunk them in our massive plastic rental stroller, part wheel barrow, part battering ram, and seek the solace of screeching children elsewhere.
Here in reality, when Little E flies into a clamorous rage while at the library to pick Big E up from her Daisy meeting, there is no possibility of retreat. And when I smile apologetically at the sneering parents around me and offer, "We just got back from Disney World, so. . .", it sounds even more ridiculous out loud than it did in my head.
Back at Disney, they are building a new Fantasyland. Here in reality, that sounds like exactly what I need.