Sunday, June 15, 2014

We might go to the (Dark) Magic Kingdom

So there is a potential trip in the future of the Valdyke family to Disney, all depending on Gettysburg's Schedule
Being from Central Florida, I have some insights into the the Magic Kingdom this time of year. And as the title line suggests, what they forget to tell you is that it is the Dark Magic Kingdom.

Don't get me wrong, the parks can be a cool place. It is all about timing. If you go between October 1st and March 15th (beware the Ides of March) it looks like this
But between March 16th and September 30th this is what you get
Even the Trolley that takes you from your parking spot to the gate is just a little overwhelming
Just try keeping your arms and legs inside the vehicle with 17 adults and 32 small children to a row.
That is even WHEN you find a parking spot which is inevitably the furthest from any point of ingress to the park.
The phenomenon is caused in part by 2 factions of park goers. The Super Disney Fanatic and the Hyper Efficient Asian Tour Group/Family, both of whom wake up at 0300 to get to the park at the precise moment the gates open...
Where as a normal human being will get up at 8 and then spend the next 2 hours trying to coral children and get sunscreen on etc. etc.

I am now going to walk you through what an experienced Disney goer mentally prepares for on a trip to this so called "Happiest Place on Earth"- apparently the only other contestant for that title was Auschwitz.

First of all you should feel like you are fully equipped for battle
While the one on the left meets the bare minimum, I suggest being no less armoured and equipped than the Space Marine on the right.
Next you need to mentally prepare yourself. No less than 6 hours the night before and 30 minutes the day of should be spent doing this. The idea is to give your self such a head ache that no other pain in the world can compare. I use the same trick for attending the DMV with a 95% success rate. It has about a 5% success rate for Disney...

Now for the day of. Most people don't realize that Central Florida is a an impenetrable network of Toll Roads with a single exception, the nightmarish hell of I-4 (yet another contestant for "The Happiest Place on Earth). Assuming you aren't from FL and manage to navigate yourself through this labyrinthine network of quarters and dollar bills, you get to the parking lot as previously discussed. Now if you don't want to take the trolley or the monorail you also have the choice of taking a ferry. This ultimately feels more like the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan.
Now this just gets you up to the ticket gate, where you proceed to shell out ghastly amounts of money for the excruciating "pleasure" of attending the park. This is most comparable to a trip to the dentist to get your wisdom teeth removed or root canal surgery. So once you paid for all the adults in your party (ages 18 months and up) you shuffle like the walking dead down the main street, trying to decide if the World of Tomorrow or Adventure land should be your first stop (the 2 closest to the entrance). However the youngest adult able to come up with a coherent thought in your group (age 4) wants to go to the back of the park first, so naturally that is what you will do. This ends up being comparable to Frodo's journey to and across Mordor.

Along the way you get to see such pleasurable sites as
-Overweight Scottish family
-American trailer park family with matching rat tails and/or mullets
-Pasty white British Thighs.
-Giant Hong Kong tour group with flags
-Rambunctious barely contained Church group with a ratio of 1 adult to 55 children (aka adults at Disney). Fortunately they are all in horribly designed yellow t-shirts with white lettering, the eyesore being easier to track through the multitudes.
-Norwegian blonde viking clan

Finally you get to your ride of choice, and for the sake of this article it will be "It's A Small World".

You now get to spend 90 minutes plus waiting to see an attraction that was considered mildly amusing in the 1950s because of robotic and animatronics. I guess a horribly high pitched repetitive song is enough to keep the masses enthused for generations.
Rinse and Repeat. That is your day. Someplace in the middle you attempt to find sustenance in the form of ridiculously overpriced burgers or a turkey drum the size of an elk leg.

At the end of the day you either wait a miserably long time for a parade and firework show to attempt to justify your day
Or you make the smart decision and escape while the hint of sunlight still lingers and get back to where you truly are happy... your home.

Oh but wait you bought a 5 day park hopper pass! YOU GET TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

He's Perfect. he?

No one knows my child better than I do. I don't try to push my son to be someone I think he should be. I give him a choice if I can. Usually if it's a snack, anything I have at the house will be something he'll eat. When we go out to eat, I usually am so limited that he doesn't have a choice. He doesn't get to pick what we do everyday, what he wears (mostly), or where we go. He also doesn't get to pick who he is.

None of us do. He is already who he's going to be. Ever since he was a wee baby barely mobile, he was very comfortable observing the world around him. He has been a quiet baby when in public, simply being entertained by being invisible and keeping to himself.

So why did I try to force strongly encourage my son to make friends at the park? I am an introvert. I know how hard it is to talk to people you don't know. It's much more pleasant to be by myself. I hated group projects (still do). Other people just slow me down and get in my way. I have a nice time doing whatever it is I want without interference.

I believe that introverts are generally not accepted. In school, students are punished if they don't speak up. So for people like me who think, speak, and solve internally, we often receive lower evaluations simply because we are being ourselves. When we choose to enjoy the peace and quiet of being by ourselves, we get called "impersonable." Impersonable is not the case at all. In fact we like being around people, just people we are close to, especially the one we know best-- ourselves.

I had to check myself for pushing my son to go interact with other kids at the playground. He is very kind and polite. He isn't rude or harming anyone. I am not going to keep him at home, secluded, and away from other people. But I will not force my child to be someone he's not.