Disney World Shouts and Murmurs

According to our phones, we walked a total of 61 miles in 7 days, though I almost never had my phone on my person for the half-day we spent at Blizzard Beach. This is astounding given the fact that our children walked every one of these miles, too, almost without complained.

The Disney World fireworks show stands alongside Hamilton and the original cast of Rent as one of the best things I’ve ever seen. Elysha and I were brought to tears while watching it.

Less than five minutes after arriving in the Magic Kingdom on the first day, a parade appeared in the middle of Main Street, complete with floats, dancers, and all the Disney characters. It was a joyous celebration and a perfect start to our Disney vacation. Later, as we approached Cinderella’s castle for the first time, a live show hosted by Mickey and Minnie erupted at the front gates, almost on cue. The Magic Kingdom’s timing - at least for us - was magical.

On the first night, Elysha decided to sleep on my side of the bed. As a result, she spent much of the night violently shoving me and elbowing me in her sleep, which made me feel less-than-wanted. We switched back the next night.

Two women were sitting together in the hotel pool, clearly a couple. At one point, they kissed - not gratuitously - but still earned the visible scorn of several people nearby. Damn I hate bigots.

Thanks to Laura, our remarkable trip planner, we waited in almost no lines during our entire stay at Disney. Well-planned FastPasses, secured weeks before the trip, combined with some clever managing of the FastPasses during the day, kept every wait except one under 15 minutes. I saw people waiting in line for three hours in the Florida heat to ride a very good roller coaster, but also just a damn roller coaster. People simply don’t understand the value and finite nature of time.

One of my favorite parts of our Disney vacation was walking though the FastPass lanes, passing hundred of sad souls who were waiting hours for a ride that I would be enjoying in moments. This makes me sound a little terrible, I know, but it has more to do with my extreme fondness of efficiency than the happiness I admittedly felt in knowing that forethought and planning had made my Disney experience better than theirs.

Elysha spent 20 minutes talking to a guy at the Moroccan pavilion oin Epcot about the meaning of a single word. I can’t believe the kids ands I didn’t kill her.

During Charlie’s battle with Kylo Ren as a part of his Jedi training, the Jedi Master said, “You must concentrate as a Jedi. It is critical to your success.” Clara leaned over and deadpanned, “I can’t be a Jedi. I have a hard time concentrating.”

Disney sound designers are astounding. Music shifts from location to location seamlessly. They have inexplicable ways of fading away music in one area using architectural features and brilliant soundscapes and bringing in new music by making you think it was always there.

We skipped the Hall of Presidents after hearing our friend, Mike Pesca, on The Gist talk about the round of applause that Trump received when his animatronic robot spoke. Elysha and I agreed that we simply couldn’t risk witnessing that during our otherwise delightful vacation.

Elysha was bitten on her belly by an angry, evil Floridian insect. When she went to the hotel management to ask if they recognized the bites, the hotel staff went into emergency bug mode. Paramedics were called to examine the bites, a hospital trip was offered, and an expert on insect identification came to our room at 11:30 PM to disassembled our beds down to the frame to ensure that the bites weren’t caused by bed bugs. The bites were awful, but to Elysha’s everlasting credit, she did not allow them to slow her down or ruin her trip.

I sent Charlie through airport security with a backpack containing a full bottle of Powerade and a carton of milk. He was not pleased with me when security stopped and questioned him.

Charlie made a friend from Tallahassee named Bobby who he played with for three straight evenings at the pool. On the last night, a thunderstorm cut our pool time short. As we walked back to our rooms with Bobby in tow, Charlie said, “I don’t think I’ll ever see you again, Bobby.” Bobby tried to imply that maybe they could reconnect if we visit again in a couple years since his family visits Disney regularly, but Charlie repeated, several times, “No, I don’t think I’ll ever see you again, Bobby.” I felt so sad for my little boy who had made such a good friend, but I felt worse for Bobby, who soul was crushed again and again by Charlie’s tragic repetition.

We met several great couples while visiting Disney, oftentimes on bus rides to and from the parks, and including two couples from Connecticut and one from Milford, MA, which is a town I spent a lot of time as a teenager. I got the sense that these were adults craving adult interaction after days of inescapable contact with their kids. I enjoyed talking to these folks, but I also couldn’t stop wondering if any of them - especially those from particularly red states - were Trump supporters. In the past, political differences would’ve meant little to me, but if you’re a Trump supporter today, you support a racist, sexist, bigot who brags about serial sexual assault, stole millions of dollars from the American people via a fake university, lies with impunity, defends Nazis, and attacks our intelligence agencies and longtime allies while simultaneously befriending mass murdering dictators who offer him nothing in return for his validation on the world stage. It’s different today. It’s not about politics. It’s basic human decency. I hated that this bit of curiosity lingered in the back of my mind so often during the trip.

Happily, those negative jackasses who warned me about the struggles and pain of spending a week at Disney with your kids were wrong. Not surprising, of course. If you’re the kind of person who would tell a parent on the cusp of his first Disney vacation with his kids that it won’t be fun, you’re the kind of person who probably doesn’t have a lot of fun in general. We had a fabulous time with nary a complaint from adult or child. It was a vacation to remember forever, and any negativity projected upon me before leaving only confirmed in my mind that I am a better human being than those people, thus making my trip even more enjoyable.