It's been a hectic year. Somehow worked in a family vacation to Disney World.
Some thoughts that might piss off Disneyphiles. My apologies for besmirching the mouse but...
1. In most ways, Disney World is still just awesome. My youngest is a die hard Indiana Jones fan. He's three but like all my kids spends a ton of time with his Pappy who has introduced them to King Kong, Fred Astaire, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. So he sports an Indiana Jones hat around the house and would wear, every day if he could, the costume that hat goes with it that my eldest son wore one Halloween. He doesn't speak too much but will randomly quote obscure quotes from the movie. Usually, it takes a while to figure out what things like "Nice try, Lao Chiang!" are in reference too. So... obviously, we went to the Indiana Jones show at Hollywood studios. Yeah, that's a moment that will resonate a long time, him on the edge of seat spellbound. After the show, he starts screaming across that giant outdoor theater "Innnnana Jones, Innnnana Jones, Innnana Jones!" How could we not walk down and try and talk to the actor?
In his magical moment, he got to meet "him." Very cool. 3-year-olds have very weird reactions. Most of the time he just looked around like with his mouth open. You wonder are they having fun, are they scared, what's going through their head. Then you ask him, and he says wide-eyed "Yes!" When you think about tt's just one big mind-blowing experience after another compared to their everyday world. Furry costumed cartoon characters dancing with you, rides going backward, things popping out at you, just one surreal thing after another. I'd never do acid, but I imagine to a three-year-old a trip to Disney is like a strange trip.
My other kids had their awesome moments too. My daughter hugging Minne Mouse, dressing as Snow White and getting called Princess everywhere, and riding frozen. My eldest discovering he loves thrill rides like Expedition Everest. Riding splash
mountain with glee and laughing at the first timers near us like a seasoned vet (on ride #2 of his life).
2. In a non-cute observation. It's amazing how often people fart. Disney is crowded and it's close quarters but it seemed we were never more than 10 minutes away from getting fertilized. Gross. I know. Think how the little people feel. As we were trekking around Epcot I pitied my kids. You'd think Disney would figure out a way to kill all those international farts with some sort of secret Febreeze. Then again farts may be silent but healthy: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2687696/Could-smelling-farts-GOOD-Potent-gas-flatulence-help-prevent-cancer-strokes-heart-attacks-claims-scientists.html
3. Yeah, there's a study for everything. Guess with all that fart sniffing I should be in tip-top shape, but we can't seem to visit Disney world without picking up some sort of ruthless virus either. All my kids went midway through their dosing of antibiotics for Strep (not contagious) out and somehow I still have one sick with something else (yes... I know antibiotics do nothing for viruses).
4. In some ways, Disney is bad and getting worse. Lots of people there just giving out wrong information. Used to be it'd be their mission to get it right. Now, it's whatever. Disney transportation employees told us no fewer than four times the absolute wrong thing about how to get around, that cost us on average an hour of park time a day. Always said with absolute confidence and assuredness. With three little ones, constant movement is important, so unplanned hiccups can turn a day south quickly.
"Yes, take this bus to get back to your resort." BUT... That bus kind of doesn't exist anymore (or maybe doesn't run midweek?) and at least two or three employees walked by us waiting for a bus that would never come. Only after we finally asked someone else and they looked at us like we were crazy for being there did we get directed to the right place. Once we were told, "Come in go through security and ride the monorail it's the fastest way!" We do all that and meanwhile, the monorail has been down all day. So, instead of spending all that time in line checking bags, tickets we could have walked directly to a bus. "A bus will pick you up here," Nope, there's only a ferry running. Other buses will come but never ours! One time, a driver went out of the way to tell us the bus number we needed to take for the ride back. How helpful. Hours later we did as instructed and rode it. At the only stop (not ours) everybody got off. The bus driver looked at us still there. We're headed to X. "Oh yeah, I'm not." We explained what happened... and here is an example of a Disney employee doing what they all used to do... she drove us 10 minutes out of her way to where we needed to go.
5. That bus driver, unfortunately was more the exception. The sole of Disney is gone. Guess, we all knew it passed with Walt--which is old news. Yes, everything used to be about the experience but now it's totally corporate. However, a recent development is that the veneer of it being about the experience which they still peddle to the masses is sometimes not even faked anymore. It's all about the churn now and they are more overt about grinding those extra dollars.
Numerous examples, at every turn almost but I don't want to be just complaining about the trip. Because on the whole it's still awesome and there are still more employees that are in it for the kid's smiles and making that experience the best it can be even if restrained by the pressures of the corporation above.
6. Suggestion, if a three-year-old can't ride anything if he's under 40 inches, don't base the tickets on age but base them on height. Seems fair.
7. The first thing we did on our drive home, was list all the "cheat" codes we figured out for navigating the park with fast passes lines and rides. Which might be wasted effort as they'll change everything again. By the end of the week, we had a system down, too bad for all the waiting we had to do in the learning process. Anybody going soon email me for tips and I'll hook you up from the start.