Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Great (Disney) Depression

Walt Disney World is like no other place in the world.  A beautiful castle, fairies, pirates and princesses are awaiting your arrival.  They snicker and cackle as they invite you to buy their cheap, plastic toys for $18 when you know damn well you can buy that sword at the dollar store for a buck.  But still, it’s magical.  Or at least that’s what the “pixie dust” they put in their Magic Kingdom Main Street Bakery brownies makes you believe.

We visited Walt Disney World two weeks ago and followed it up with a voyage on the Disney Fantasy Cruise to St. Maarten and St. Thomas.  This was our 6th Disney Cruise (Monkey Man’s 3rd) and my 26th time visiting Walt Disney World.  Monkey Man has been to Walt Disney World 6 times, so yes, we have definitely drank the Kool-Aid and hit the big ol’ bong of Disney pixie dust.

Each time we visit, I cannot help but to get goosebumps.  Sometimes the goosebumps are from heatstroke because we go in July or August, but usually they are from the sheer wonder and excitement of this magical place.  Since Monkey Man has been with us, it is even better.  He absolutely loves to see the characters, take pictures with them and give them hugs.  I know Disney sucks my hard-earned money from me, but it is so worth being piss poor upon our return home to see that kid’s face light up when Goofy dances with him.

And I fall for their sappy crap every time, too.  When I hear “When you wish upon a star…” pumping through the speakers in Fantasyland, I actually believe it.  For a fleeting moment, I think, “Yes! If I wish upon a star that Rick Springfield will ride Space Mountain with me, it really WILL come true!”  And when I also take my picture with Mickey, I am completely unaware that there is a 5’2” 20 year-old college girl in that suit.  Hell no!  It IS Mickey Mouse!

It simply is the happiest place on earth.  Children sleep-deprived and kept running for 16 hours a day on Mickey Ice Cream Bars and Goofy’s Sour Power Candy.  Exhausted little ones curled into their parents on the Disney bus ride back to the resort trying to seek warmth on a bus that has its air conditioner set to 55 degrees while dreaming of Tinkerbell and Donald Duck.  There is nothing like stroking Monkey Man’s hair as he sits on my lap all drooly and sleeping and adorable knowing that he had the greatest day ever and tomorrow will be just as good or even better.

And the cruise? The cruise is like Disney World on crack, and that’s meant in the nicest, best crack comparison possible.  In addition to bumping into Disney characters everywhere you turn, you get tropical islands, too!  Had enough of Goofy’s shenanigans? Have a rum punch on St. Thomas that is 99.99% rum and will have you thinking that YOU are, in fact, Goofy.  Seriously, people, nobody knows how to make a mixed drink like those that live in the islands. 

And the Disney Cruise has FREE CHILD CARE!!!  Well, free as in you paid $5,000 for a cruise 3 months ago and this was included.  The Oceaneer’s Club & Lab are open from 9 a.m. until midnight.  Hundreds of children all in a Disney craze wrangled by insane counselors who choose to be at sea with these kids for months on end.  What could be better for Mom and Dad?  Monkey Man had a great time attending special activities and my husband and I even sent him on his way when we wanted to see a Big People’s show or string more than 3 words together to each other.

My bed was made 2 times a day on the cruise.  Chocolates awaited my arrival on my pillow each evening and cookies and milk were delivered to my stateroom within minutes of a phone call.  Upon entering the dining room one night, we were greeted by all of the servers with applause, and Monkey Man beamed while marching on beat to their clapping.  When the atrium lobby band played, I didn’t think twice to sing out loud and dance while I passed them en route to the restroom from dinner.  I enjoyed wine with dinner almost every night and totally rocked an 80s Name That Tune Game.  The cruise was fun and carefree, two things adults need a lot more of in our lives.

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end, back to reality, etc.  And the kids know this.  On the last night of our Disney Fantasy cruise, the last evening of our 13-night Disney land and sea adventure, Monkey Man cried.  He figured out how Disney builds you up during your stay, makes you feel like a prince or a princess, gives you this highly unrealistic thought that, just maybe, this IS reality.  Then BAM!  Time to go home! 

No more waking up and spending 12 hours in an amusement park with your entire extended family.  No more leisurely afternoons spent swimming, playing pool games, and eating ice cream 3 times a day.  Back to waking up and forcing fruits and vegetables down Monkey Man's throat to make up for 13 days of vitamin deficiency.  Back to cooking lackluster meals instead of having a 4 course-dinner every evening in a pretty dress with a show and walk around the cruise ship to follow.  Yeah, Monkey Man.  I totally get it.  He cried those tears while I choked them back.  I was sad for him because this is a kids’ dream and if I could have stayed with him on that cruise ship forever, I would have gladly done so in a heartbeat.  I was sad for me because I really, really hate to cook and the thought of grocery shopping was making my heart break.  Clearly, no one is greeting me at my front door asking me to be their guest.

So thank you Disney for not only giving us wonderful family memories, but for providing the Great Disney Depression that never fails to follow.

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