Monday, August 10, 2009

Disney and the Beach

Hands down, the best time we had on vacation was rolling through Disney: Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom. And there was magic. Lots of it, but most of it was shining through a child’s eye. The biggest thing we learned at Disney World is that we need a kid to properly enjoy Disney. We need that moment of excitement that shines from tiny irises and blooms on the tip of a tiny child’s nose. Is it bad that we now have moved this up to the top of our list for why we want a child?

Number one reason to have a kid: so that we can really, really, really enjoy Disney.

That can’t be a bad thing, right? We want to spill all over the Magic Kingdom with kids pushing and pulling us and begging us for mouse ears hats with their names on it. We want to eat cotton candy for breakfast and race through Fantasy Land—stopping to ride the carousel and pointing out Cinderella’s story as it goes round. We want whiny kids crying around 5:00 only to be pacified by a dancing Minnie, Mickey, and Peter Pan. We want to dry tears as our kids stand in line for their very first Space Mountain. We want to live the fear, excitement, joy, and overwhelming happiness that comes from a six-year-old visiting Disney for the very first time.

As it was, we were giddy enough for a couple of kids. We raced into the park, Animal Kingdom on the first day and the Magic Kingdom on the second day, to see the park opened by pixie dust and a parade. It was blazing hot at the end of July, so we were lucky to have little to no lines for the first three hours of each day. We rode every ride we wanted to and then coasted for the remainder of the day.

We bounced over to Epcot and did the polka while drinking beer at the German
Biergärten. We rode the underwhelming Norway ride that Gary warned us against. We added that to the catalog of “Gary was right’s” that we echoed all day. We learned that Norwegians are oil-loving trolls who enjoy driving backwards. We’re still scratching our heads over that one. We got to the safari early in the morning and still didn’t see that many animals. The lions, it seems, are incredibly anti-social animals. Who knew? You’d figure with prides and all they’d be more bombastic and outgoing. The phony safari that we took on the Jungle Cruise surpassed the live animals—how can that be? I can never get enough animatronics. Never.

After two full days of Disney, two magical days that brought a new sense of kid-yearning to our hearts, we high-tailed it down to Vero Beach where we proceeded to visit our very first beach together. Stupid storm. Stupid, silly, annoying storm ran up behind us and washed seaweed up on the shore. Ew. It was three feet thick. That’s gross. And the water was cold. We definitely deserve a redo.

But we suffered. We pulled it out—we stayed for nearly five hours. We built sand castles and kingdoms and aqueducts. We farmed tiny little civilizations out of sand and saw them destroyed by Poseidon. We carved a Wasteland and saw a father and son carrying their last sole belongings across the rim. We lived with our butts firmly buried in sand and our feet digging to China. We drank in the ocean water and tasted salt on our lips. We swam in the waves on cheap plastic rafts and watched each other go up and down with moon’s watery caress. We relaxed that day.

Perhaps a bit too much. Mr. Husband, my sweet Irish-Scottish-big-headed-pale-skinned man failed to cover his feet with sunscreen. He didn’t lose the feet, but he came damn near close. I became crispy brown like an Indian princess of yesterday while he glowed all red and brilliant and covered in aloe. Poor man. He suffered for my sun. His feet are now pleasantly peeling and I see scraps of them littered throughout the house. I guess that’s my penance. I sweep them up and remember the day that we had nothing whatsoever to do at all.


Nancy said...

Sorry, Jeff! Those are my stupid sunburning genes.
Hang in there, you's going to happen.
Love you both, MIL

Mark said...

Jeff is well acquainted with my "Great Indoorsman" philosophy. My relationship with big yellow thing in sky is tentative and I prefer to limit my exposure to that necessary for the processing of nutrients and sustaining mental health.

Regarding Disney, keep in mind that your offspring, one or all, may not be of the Disney mindset. For all of my life, even unto childhood and adolescence, the thought of visiting one of their properties gave and gives me great discomfort. When Myra was temporarily located in Tampa, we had occasion to cross the state to visit friends. At some point on I-4, the hair on my neck and arms stood on end and I didn't know why until I noticed we were passing near some of their property. In my head... perhaps, but even as a child I never bought into their extremely unrealistic mirror on life and have seen them as a money grubbing entity seeking to play on emotions to empty wallets.

Having said this, I also wish to emphasize that while I've met others similar to myself, most people thrill to the thought and actuality of Disney product and properties. Give your offspring options within your means and let them try things, Disney included. Force is a poor motivator, unless you are the sneaky sort who uses tactics such as reverse psychology.

Kari Jean said...

That reminds me of one of my favorite Disney memories: The first time we took the girls, after a long, exhausting day at the Magic Kingdom, Emery and I stood gazing up at Cinderella's castle as we waited for Steve and Ashlyn to return from a potty break. Emery said to me, "Karebear, I want to go knock on Cinderella's door and visit her." At this point, it was 10:00 p.m, and thinking that I had come up with a clever answer, I responded, "Well, I think Cinderella is probably already in bed." To which Emery replied, "But, she left all her lights on!"