Sunday, November 27, 2011

All Disneyed Out

Since we got married, DB has been trying to impress upon me the importance of taking J to Disney before she is too old to have never been there before. She turned ten recently and DB decided to go ahead and book us a trip being that I was not warming up to his idea briskly enough and "times are a wasting" as he likes to say. J has never been a Disney animation fan and she is not super adventurous either so I was not sure how well a six day theme park vacation would work out for her. She had the best time of her life and I am so glad DB pushed us to do this for her. But this post is not strictly about the Disney experience.
South of North Carolina, I started to notice something strange about public restrooms. They all had dispensers for an assortment of condoms and "surprise" sex toys and novelties. I don't recall seeing anything like this anywhere else I have traveled in this country. J usually likes to ask DB for a pack of gum at convenience stores and I squirmed with discomfort to see gum placed right next colorful packets of condoms. The adult themed restrooms set the stage for what I would encounter in Orlando but I did not know that then. DB and I had picked out a hotel that seemed reasonably priced and very close to the parks. We congratulated ourselves on finding a good deal on what was very short notice. As responsible parents we even verified that it was a safe and kid-friendly neighborhood.
That evening, when we reached Orlando, some kind of classic car parade was in progress and in the lane next to us were these cars painted in garish colors and set up on oversize wheels. From within them urban music with the most profane lyrics blared out for all to hear. The windows were rolled down and you could also see the music videos playing inside - even if we pretended J could not understand the words, the visuals left very little to the imagination. Police on horseback were trying to get the crowd under control and I was asking myself if this was not the dumbest decision DB and I had made since we became a team.
After what seemed like a lifetime of inching through the traffic we finally made it to the hotel. While DB stepped in to pick up our room keys, J and I watched two troopers arrest and handcuff a young man. J observed that it happened just like they show in the movies - she seemed very impressed by that. By this time, I was willing to lose our reservation and go any place else. DB assured me that the police presence assured us of safety - if I felt the same way the next morning, we would find another place. We decided to go out and grab some pizza - so desperate was our need to stretch and get some fresh air that we decided to brave the crowds outside. The sidewalks were a mess with horse poop everywhere - the cars had thankfully passed and there was one less thing to worry about. On the way back from dinner, we stopped at a store to pick up a gallon of drinking water. While paying for it I could not help notice the irony in pregnancy test kits right next to Disney key chains and yes, more condoms. If this was kid-friendly I was not sure what was not. I have never been so relieved to be back in a hotel room which was just about okay - we were too tired to care and glad to get some shut-eye.

We started with Magic Kingdom the next day and the week was a blur of sensory overload - the rides, the shows and and the food. J tasted Sushi, Ethiopian and Brazilian food for the first time. The weather was beautiful except for a sudden shower one evening while we were at Epcot. DB got sick from riding the Space Mission (Orange Team) and had to be taken to first aid to recuperate for a couple of hours. J said that she felt like she had lost her brain - I shocked us all by having a great time and feeling just fine. Each day, J surprised us by enjoying rides I never guessed she would. By day four she was showing signs of saturation but still soldiered along. I had to admit that Disney helped me decompress - completely. You cannot not be in the moment, enjoying the here and now while you are in its thrall.
I am glad we went - DB and I relaxed like we have not in a long time, J had fun like only a child of ten can have fun so it was perfect for her. I know I will never return to Disney again but it would be a miss to live in America and never have been to Disney.

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