The Death Of A Disney Dream
THE DEATH OF A DISNEY DREAM
We now head to Cinderella’s Castle for lunch. On the way, we stop by Mickey’s PhilharMagic in Fantasyland® for FastPasses. A friendly cast member offers to take the FastPasses that we have just withdrawn from the kiosk and swap them for FastPasses to the show that is about to begin. Looking at the time, we see that we can—indeed-- squeeze in an immediate viewing of the 3-D movie before our designated lunchtime.
Once we are in the FastPass line, another chipper cast member selects our harmonious group to be the opening musical act for the show. I am beyond ecstatic that we-once again-have been selected for a special park experience.
This Mickey’s PhilharMagic sweetie leads us to a pile of instruments and asks each family member to select one. Unbeknownst to me, selfishness has overtaken my little band. Quite unexpectedly, I find myself trying to mediate a bitter argument over the possession of the triangle instrument. Meanwhile, I am also trying to communicate to DH—who appears clueless--that he should ready the video camera.
The triangle war reaches a stalemate. No one will relinquish his or her assumed right to the coveted, percussion instrument as the debate escalates. DH cannot hear my video instructions over the children’s raucous, so I find myself yelling to be heard. Pandemonium has broken loose, and the patient, Mickey’s PhilharMagic madam has a helpless expression on her face.
Finally, I decide to get control over this crazy scene. I declare that I will pick the triangle percussionist. DD3 is handed the bongo drums; DS6 is handed the cymbals, and DD8 is awarded the triangle. Such decisive action quiets the troubled percussion section, and DH is now prepared to commence with his recording duties. I turn to the defeated-looking, Mickey’s PhilharMagic cutie and announce that we are now prepared for our debut. She begins to apologize and points to the audience who is moving beyond the place where we were meant to entertain them and entering the viewing area for the spectacular 3-D performance.
I have missed my chance at Disney-wide fame. The green-eyed monster of greed has stolen it right out of my hands, and there is nothing that can be done about it. I cannot believe I have met such a fate in the heart of Walt Disney World® where dreams come true, and I begin to despair.
The Mickey’s PhilharMagic dear tries to comfort me and ease my pain. She offers up a certificate to document our failed attempt as Mickey’s favored instrumentalists, and she awards us another golden front-of-the-line ticket even though we are undeserving. I humbly thank her for her generous gift, and—with a melancholy demeanor--proceed into the theater as a mere audience member rather than the chosen star I was meant to be.
The Ndm Way Or The Highway
THE NDM WAY OR THE HIGHWAY
It seems it is time to venture to Tom Sawyer Island. I must confess that even though I am a NDM, this small island has only ever held minimal interest for me. It seems that this small plot of land could be better suited as The Lost City of Atlantis or as Tarzan’s Rain Forest. Nevertheless, Tom Sawyer Island it is, and for my little Huck Finns to get the full Magic Kingdom® experience, at least one visit is warranted.
All three troublemakers are anxious to jump on a raft and float to this intriguing place, inspired by Mark Twain. DH is interested as well since I have always made him skip this oasis due to time restrictions. So we hop on a raft with a straw-hat toting river guide, who expertly lands us on the opposite side of the river.
Shockingly, Tom Sawyer Island is enjoyable. We are ahead of schedule at this point. Our golden tickets and FastPasses have put us up in our game, and there is not a pressing need to be somewhere else. I find myself slightly enjoying the lax-a-daisy environment of Tom and Huck’s stomping grounds.
The entire family laughs as we stumble over barrel bridges and explore dark caverns. A fort provides an ideal setting for shooting rifles, and various mills and other buildings give chance for more discoveries. But, inevitably, our jaunting in Dixieland begins to lose its charm, and we grow a bit tired.
A trip around the island on the Liberty Square Riverboat seems like a good idea. So after arriving back on the mainland, we board the huge water vessel. But we discover in the heat of the late afternoon—a time reserved for naps on most days—the big ferry does not provide refreshment.
The kids are increasingly irritable. Their hair is matted with sweat; their cheeks are rosy from their body heat; their eyes and their smiles are drooping. I, myself, can also feel the drag that is expected at this hour.
I recall the advice touted by the wise sage, Bob, on the Dis Unplugged podcast crew. He boldly campaigned for naps when visiting Disney theme parks. In fact, this is another legacy that Bob left behind for all who were willing to take him at his words.
I glance at DD3. She apparently is a firm believer in Bob’s way of thinking. She has unashamedly stuck her thumb in her mouth, laid her head on DH’s shoulder, and left the world of consciousness for another one that will provide her weary body with relief.
I consider that maybe it is time to hang up the gloves and throw in the towel. Maybe we should return to the comfort of our villa. I faintly remember the promise I made to myself on the rickety pier to work relaxation around the demanding Sacred Seven. I also remember that one of the reasons we joined the Disney Vacation Club was to help me release my inbred, “blitzkrieg” ways.
But while a chameleon has the ability to change its colors instantaneously, a NDM does not. In the years ahead, I may reach a point when I won’t mind leaving the Magic Kingdom® for a mid-day nap. But I am not at that point yet. The “blitzkrieg” blood flows true-blue in my veins, and so I stick with what is most familiar. In the end, I rationalize that we must not give in. This would be admitting defeat. There is still fun to be squeezed out of our day at the Magic Kingdom®. We must push through this temporary lull of energy to find our second wind. We must press on!
We seek refuge in the air-conditioned quarters of The Hall of Presidents. DH says he has finally found his favorite attraction. The cool climate, the cushioned seats and the subdued, lengthy show provide the ultimate conditions for a nap. He wastes no time reclining in his seat and pursuing REMs. DD8, DS6, DD3 and I don’t rest to the extent that DH does, but the atmosphere is refreshing enough to restore some of our energy and sustain us a bit more while simultaneously injecting our spirits with a greater sense of patriotism.
Ending Today With Tomorrow
ENDING TODAY WITH TOMORROW
The crowd begins to disperse. DD8 sees her chance to bolt for Space Mountain®. She leads our tired group toward the hypnotic glow of Tommorowland®. Once we arrive, we pull out our undeserved, golden ticket and divide up in the same manner as we have for the other mountain ranges of the Magic Kingdom®. I accompany DS6 while DD8 waits patiently for a turn with DH.
After the ride, DS6 has mixed feelings about his orbit in space. But DD8 completely loves the rush of this ride. Is it possible that they swapped personalities in The Haunted Mansion? It appears that my little boy’s adventurous spirit took up residence in the spirit-friendly mansion, leaving him without much desire to explore new frontiers in space. In contrast, my big girl has turned in her cowardice for thrill-seeking passion. I am a little puzzled by these changes, but I am happy that my timid Piglet is now feeling more along the lines of a Mufasa.
Our space trips are wrapped up, and we find the Wishes™ Nighttime Spectacular fireworks show taking place. Fireworks usually terrify DD3. She completely goes to pieces when the sparkling theatrics appear to shower us with deafening, explosive bangs. So for her sake, we don’t draw undue attention to the lightshow occurring in the near distance. Instead, we take advantage of the diminished population in Tomorrowland® and stand in line for Astro Orbiter, which is enjoyable at night due to the glowing planets that whiz past as you ride.
DH bows out. He is unable to withstand most repetitive, circular rides, so I chaperone all of my space explorers for this attraction alone. My social astronauts make friends with two college girls in front of us, who each offer to take one of my elder kids in a space ship with them so that I can focus on holding onto my littlest space ranger. I find this quite agreeable since the rockets tend to tip at an angle that is rather precarious.
A few rotations around the planets of tomorrow, tightly gripping DD3 so that she doesn’t fall out of the rocket, and our mission is complete. The two college girls insist on taking some pictures with my little astronauts to save the memory of their cute company. Then we rejoin DH.
It is decided that for our final attraction, we should enjoy the relaxing transportation provided by the Tomorrowland® Transit Authority. This proves to be a wise decision. The steady speed with a non-demanding mood provides a great atmosphere for relaxing and recounting all the memorable moments the day held. Every family member has some little piece of fun that they want to relive through verbal retelling of it, and many laughs are shared as we glide throughout Tomorrowland®’s landscape.
By the time we reach our place of departure, a satisfying sense of closure envelopes us. The Magic Kingdom® is shutting down, and it is time for our happy team to make our exit from the beautiful park to our welcoming beds. We have, yet, another demanding day ahead of us. Not one that requires physical stamina for conquering a vast territory but one that requires emotional stamina for enduring exhausting relatives.