Monday Musings: What I Learned at Disney World

Well, I have been to the dark side, and the dark side is Disney World during spring break. Orlando, it seems, is a spring break point of convergence for all walks of life. It makes Florida rife with opportunities to study human behaviour. After just three days in the park (which, I assure you, is about the most that any sane human can possibly tolerate), here is what I have learned:

1.It is virtually impossible for parents to enjoy Disney World: I have never seen nor heard more children getting stern talking-to’s (and that’s my polite way of saying yelled at) than at Disney World. I promise you if you look for it, you can see a meltdown in progress at any given moment in the park. The combination of long days, long lines, and the desire to do as much as you can because “we may only be in Disney World once” is a recipe for epic temper tantrums. You could tell the parents who were arriving for their very first day in the parks. They all looked excited and ready to experience the joy of Disney through their children’s eyes.  But you could also tell who had lived through a day or longer. Those parents looked utterly defeated and exhausted, the myth of Disney being “magical” shattered for life. I have nothing but respect for any parent who attempts to tackle Disney World with small children (or large ones for that matter). I would be waving my white flag within the first hour.

2. It gets COLD in Florida…and no one expects it (including me): Did you know temperatures can drop to 2 degrees in March? I didn’t. I read the forecasts and still refused to believe it. No one packs a coat to Florida, right? Tell that to hordes of people (again, me included) storming into the Columbia store at Disney Springs in search of something to make being outside tolerable. Clearance-priced fleece jackets in hideous shades of toothpaste green and florescent fuschia were flying off the racks like hotcakes. As we stood waiting for fireworks for what seemed like an eternity, one of the only forms of joy I had was counting the number of Columbia fleeces in the crowd. And there were a lot. Moral of the story: it can get cold in Florida, so pack a damn coat.

3. Walking requires serious frogger skills: Between the strollers and stroller parking areas (or, as I liked to call them, stroller graveyards), cell phone walkers and the generally oblivious, it is practically a sport navigating in this park. And don’t even get me started on the slow walkers. I expected them, I really did. Slow walkers are a staple of any significant tourist attraction, after all. Still, I was unprepared for the extent of general slowness. To move through the park without extreme frustration, you’ve got to look for open spaces constantly and move into them quickly and without hesitation. And you absolutely must keep a tight grip on anyone you’re travelling with as you dodge between slow walkers. If you don’t, they will quickly be swallowed into the hordes of dawdlers.

4. The UCA is a real thing: So, it turns out sports teams flock en masse to Disney World. I’m not sure why, but there were lacrosse teams, baseball teams and cheerleaders everywhere. So. Many. Cheerleaders. I thought the UCA (universal cheer association) was something made up by the creators of Bring it On but these cheerleaders had so much branded swag that I can no longer question the UCA’s existence. Who knew? Your added piece of useless information is that cheerleaders are apparently fuelled primarly by Mickey Mouse waffles and chocolate chip pancakes. It wouldn’t be my first choice to fuel high performance atheleticism but, then again, maybe that’s the reason I never became a high performance athlete.

If you’ve learned anything from this post, though, it really should be this: do not, under any circumstances, go to Disney World during spring break.

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