Hi. My name is JayTas, and I’m addicted to Disney World.
My alarm tone varies between “It’s a Small World” and the “Carousel of Progress” song, and if one of these songs isn’t stuck in your head for the rest of this article, you have no soul. My last two purchases on iTunes are the films “Frozen” and “Saving Mr. Banks,” and something about hearing “When You Wish Upon a Star” makes me bawl like an child.
Specifically, this child:
I get Disney emails on a daily basis, follow practically every official (and unofficial) Disney page on every form of social media, and have looked at “Disney Weddings” on Twitter and Pinterest more times than I’m proud to admit. I’ve marched down Main Street U.S.A. in a parade, both as a high school marching band student and as an asshole who quickly got shoved back onto the sidewalk by a burly security guard. I blame my parents. They hooked me as a kid, and now I go every year as an adult with my girlfriend. As an adult, you get a unique perspective that you don’t get as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still more fun than just about anything, but you can start to see the cracks in the façade. Every addiction has its ups and downs.
Picture walking down Main Street U.S.A., early in the morning: the sun is shining, birds are chirping, the park just opened. You woke up at the asscrack of dawn to catch the Disney Bus to the Magic Kingdom, but it was worth it to get in as the park opened. It’s tradition to get there and see the opening show, where Mickey and company get off the train and count down to opening the park. Sleep is for the weak, after all. You walk down the street, step into the doorway of the Main Street Confectionery, and get a contact high from smelling the Mickey-shaped candy apples and rice krispie treats. This must be what heaven smells like–or diabetes.
Then you turn down the street and jump out of the way as a caravan of obese Floridians on rented scooters, who are chowing down on massive Turkey legs like Fred Flintstone, barrel down the street at full speed to get to Space Mountain. They do this despite the fact that their “status” will get them preferential treatment on lines, as well as Disney buses and the like. (Real talk: If you’re an overweight person who rents a scooter to get preferential treatment at Disney, you should also have to rent a Tuba player to follow you around all day.)
Dust yourself off and keep walking. Take a look at the gorgeous view of Cinderella’s Castle, but notice that there are cranes all over it, doing some kind of construction. Kind of takes you out of the magic. Then you want to go on a ride, so you check the Disney app on your phone–yes, there’s a Disney app. It keeps all your reservations in one place, and all that information (park tickets, room key, credit card number, etc.) is put on a colorful “magic band” that you wear on your wrist. Big Mouse is watching. It also keeps track of wait times, and guess what? There’s a 60 to 90 minute wait for all the good rides. But that’s your fault for booking a vacation during Florida schools’ spring breaks, right? Go Gators. You think, “It’s 84 degrees and sunny, so let’s ride Splash Mountain!” Sorry. Closed for refurbishment. It opens the day after you leave, so enjoy wistfully watching empty logs go down the big drop for the two days preceding it. It’s the policy, after all. Never mind the cast members at the ride entrance tweaking their nipples as they turn you away from the ride.
Then, when you get back to your hotel room, exhausted after a day of riding rides and standing in line in the blistering sun, a crazy woman pounds on your door, claiming the front desk sent her to your room. She tries to break in, security never comes, and management tries to blame someone else for the mistake. So where do you go on vacation if you want to pay hundreds of dollars to: a) Wait in insane lines for rides that aren’t open, b) Get run over by scooters piloted by contestants in a John Goodman lookalike contest, c) Have all your activities tracked by your benevolent, big-eared overlord, or d) Fight off a breaking and entering by the Tan Mom’s understudy? Answer: Disney World.
I’m not going to pretend there aren’t incredible parts of going Disney World. When you love something and you’re so close to it, you’re bound to be overly critical. It’s the most fun you can have as an adult pretending to be a kid, while enjoying all the advantages that adulthood brings. Where else can you ride a bunch of thrill rides in the early morning and then spend the rest of your day drinking various nationally-themed drinks around a beautiful lake? You can drunkenly stumble into a picture with Snow White, Belle, or the chicks from “Frozen” and end your day with a fireworks display that would make Andrew Jackson weep. When you’re an adult at Disney, you can eat Mickey ice cream bars by the dozen, drink enough Coconut rum-flavored Dole Whips to kill a bull elephant, go on Space Mountain until you’re sick (lines permitting) and buy as many different pairs of Mickey Ears as your entry-level salary can afford. I can think of very few places I’d rather be than Disney World.
Is it perfect? No. Do they keep seemingly screwing their longtime fans in favor of people who try to exploit the system? Seems that way. Am I an addict? Absolutely.
But after work, I’m still going to go home, put on my brand new Darth Vader Mickey Ears, and start planning my next vacation. It is the happiest place on Earth, after all.