Mid-Week Tangent: Disney Treat Fail

As you may know from Monday’s post, I spent a few days in Disney World (aka the dark side) last week. Normally, one of my favourite things about Disney parks is the opportunity to jam countless treats into my face. There are so many deliciously different ways to dramatically exceed your daily recommended caloric intake. Despite this, I completely failed to take advantage of the multitude of sinful options at my fingertips and I am already deeply regretful. I managed only one Mickey Mouse pretzel and about eight white chocolate chip cookies. That may sound like a big accomplishment, but it is such a minuscule representation of what was available. Sigh. What was I thinking?

And so, in honour of my failure and perhaps to serve as a motivator for you to take full advantage of any of your future Disney adventures, I present to you a list of all the things that I did not eat but sorely wish that I had:

1. About five more Mickey Mouse pretzels: Let’s face it, one pretzel is not enough, particularly when accompanied by the completely-wrong-yet-somehow-oh-so-right artificial cheese dip. I am the person who uses the entire container of cheese dip and wishes she had more (as opposed to my boyfriend, who barely makes a dent in his, a feat that I cannot at all comprehend but which greatly benefits me as I get his extras). Though the Mickey Mouse pretzels are nowhere near as good as most soft pretzels I’ve consumed virtually anywhere else, they do somehow taste more magical. I fully regret not consuming them daily.

2. Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Sandwiches: These are just Oreo ice cream cookie sandwiches, something that I can buy on any given day in my local grocery store. Still, they somehow taste better and more magical in the parks. It has been years since I’ve had one. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t have one. If you read Monday’s post, you know that it was what can only be described as f’ing cold the entire time we were in the parks. I wish that I were the person who could put aside being cold for long enough to eat ice cream, but I’m usually not. I was uncomfortably cold and made the (foolish and wrong, in hindsight) decision to forego ice cream in favour of warmth. Rookie mistake.

3. Churros: Unlike ice cream, churros are warm and comforting on a cold day. I have no idea why I did not consume a single churro, except that I was under some misguided notion that I should be hungry in order to snack. I have no idea why I sometimes stick to such ridiculous principles. I am ashamed of myself.

4. Dole Whip: Who doesn’t love a good Dole Whip? The answer to that question can only be someone whose soul is dead. It is a miraculous feat of food engineering. How else can you explain a product that is largely the result of food thickeners and a slew of artificial ingredients that is, surprisingly, low in actual pineapple? Still, it is delicious. Similar to my Mickey Mouse ice cream cookie sandwich rationale, it was simply too cold for me to contemplate such a treat. Now that I am back in Vancouver, where it is not only cold but also rainy and grey, I can truly see the error of my ways. At least in Florida it was sunny and there was the illusion of warmth. I can barely forgive myself for this oversight.

5. Frozen Banana: I know, I know, no one really likes the frozen banana. It’s frozen fruit on a stick. It has a paper-thin simulated chocolate shellac that gives you the false impression you’re indulging when you are actually not. They are quite repugnant. I wanted to eat one only to pay homage to Arrested Development (“there’s always money in the banana stand”). Also, see rationale for numbers 2 and 4 (i.e. it was freaking cold).

6. Daily Cupcake: I have no interest in commercially produced cupcakes, whatsoever. They are always a let-down. The cake is almost always either dry, flavourless, spongey or some combination thereof. Frosting, however, is single-handedly worth the cupcake investment. I am only somewhat ashamed to admit that I have been known to eat just the frosting, sometimes accompanied by a tiny portion of the cupcake if only to stave off social judgements. I saw countless cupcakes crowned with an ice cream scoop sized mound of frosting and yet, somehow, I showed uncharacteristic restraint by never ordering one. Similar to the churro rationale, my cupcake fail was largely due to feeling as though I should be hungry in order to eat one.  As a result of my poor decision making, I have no choice but to delude myself into believing that the frosting was likely wretched shortening-based frosting instead of a true buttercream.  But even I know I am just lying to myself.

7. Ice cream cookie sandwich from Scoops in Hollywood Studios: Ever since I had the dreamiest and most insanely delicious ice cream cookie sandwich at Hello Robin in Seattle, I have been on the hunt for more. When I was forced to stand in a ride line behind a girl eating a Scoops ice cream cookie sandwich for the better part of 45 minutes, my poor boyfriend had to listen to me go on and on about how I was going to get one as soon as humanly possible. And yet I did not. Ever. I have no good excuse for my failure here, and instead offer up two piss-poor ones: I assumed the ice cream wouldn’t be as delicious as the ice cream at Hello Robin (which turned out to be true as I did try Scoops ice cream sans cookie) and I feared my boyfriend would silently judge me for eating an ungodly thick layer of ice cream wedged between two giant cookies as a mid-day snack. He claims he wouldn’t have, but I could see the look of incredulity, or perhaps even mild repulsion, in his eyes when I first suggested it.

Do yourself a favour and do not follow my lead in eating your way through Disney Parks. Instead of returning full of magic and sugar and a few extra pounds, I have returned full only of my own regret. No one should have to live in regret, so please go forth and eat all of the things.


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.

Throwback Thursday: Disney Edition (and how Disney causes SI injuries)

As you may know if you’ve been reading posts this week, we are currently in Orlando visiting both Disneyworld and the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational golf tournament.

Last year, almost around this time, my boyfriend and I went to Disneyland for four days and my SI joint has never been the same.  Not that he and I have discussed this at length, but even through our brief conversations we’ve decided that the injury has three potential roots:

1.Junkyard Jamboree: This is one of those rides that flings you in different directions like a wild animal clenching its prey in its jaws, swinging it from side to side until it succumbs to certain death. Perhaps that’s a tad melodramatic. All I know is that we rode it after a couple glasses of wine and got a little too into trying to crash into each other. While fun at the time, I have to wonder if having my boyfriend slam me into the side of the tractor car at virtually every corner just might have caused every muscle and ligament surrounding my SI to tense up in severe flight or fight mode.

2. Mad Tea Party: Much like the junkyard jamboree this ride has the potential to exert some serious g force on its riders, particularly if you discover what I believe my father hid from me my entire youth: if you turn the wheel in the middle, you spin infinitely faster. Well, my boyfriend got that thing spinning so fast that I was unable to focus my eyes at any point on the ride. Everything was an absolute blur.  This, of course, also meant I was being crushed against the side of the teacup for fifty percent of the ride.  Damn you teacups! You look innocent but you are not.

3. Walking 20+ kilometres per day and standing in endless ride lines in cheap shoes: So, let this be a lesson to you.  Wearing $20 American Eagle shoes that look like Keds but lack any of the cushion and support will leave your legs exhausted and your lower back aching by about day two of a theme park vacation.  Sperry Topsiders aren’t much better.  But, you know, running shoes just wouldn’t have looked good. Vanity is truly evil. The long and the short of it is that no matter how much stretching I attempted at the end of the day, in the morning, and even while standing in line, nothing was loosening up my severely tense back muscles. Nothing.

Clearly, any astute reader will see that number three is the only plausible option here as a true culprit for my injury.  Those poor, tense muscles never stood a chance when I returned home and tried to jump right back into my usual level of activity. They were primed and waiting for disaster to strike.

If you’re worried that this year’s Disney adventure may cause a similar injury trigger, never fear. This year I have taken precautionary measures to minimize the potential for re-injury.  This time around I packed nothing but active wear simply so that running shoes would be the only sound choice for my outfits. I will be winning no fashion awards, but at least Disney won’t ruin my body again.*

*Clearly, I am not actually implying that Disney is the cause of my injury.

Training Tuesdays: The Disney [or insert alternate theme park here] Workout

Right about now I’m probably in some sort of epic line for a ride that will be over in under 60 seconds. Such is the life in theme parks.  I sometimes get down on myself when I don’t fit in as many workouts as I want when I’m travelling. I always plan and pack appropriate gear for workouts, and yet the mix of late nights, early mornings and a lot more vino than I’m used to often makes me trade in my workout for extra sleep. If you enjoy theme park vacations, however, I have got the workout for you: the Disney [or insert theme park of your choice] workout.

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed about visiting theme parks. I do a lot of walking. I mean, typically I’m on my feet at least eight hours a day and last year when we were in Disneyland we walked an average of 20 km per day.  That’s a lot of walking.  Here’s my new and patented (okay, not really) theme park workout. It’s simple and easy and I promise I’m not going to suggest things like doing squats while you wait in line…no one wants to be that person:

1.Move Fast! This is the number one rule of The Disney [or insert other theme park here] Workout. Most people in theme parks move at roughly the same pace as Walking Dead zombies. If you hustle, you’ll not only beat them to all the good rides, but you’ll also burn way more calories. I’m cutthroat with the fast walking. I have been known to unintentionally crash into small children. If you’re going to be in Orlando next week, you’ve been warned.

2. Just say no to park transportation:  Sure, trams and trains and monorails within and between parks are convenient and time-saving.  But they also save you from adding precious kilometres to your daily tallies. Give those park transportation systems the cold shoulder and watch your daily mileage grow exponentially.

3. Don’t do parks in an organized fashion: What would be the fun in that? You’ve got to choose back to back rides that are across the park from each other. This will instantly up your walking distance, not to mention you’ll probably waste less time in lines by choosing rides with shortest lines vs. rides with closest proximity. Besides, let’s be honest, as an adult you can only do so many rides in Fantasyland back to back before you lose your shit.

4. Go in search of ‘the best’ of certain foods and/or souvenirs: I dragged my poor boyfriend all over the place trying to find the cookie I liked most, the saltiest Mickey Mouse pretzel, the dole whip, or the specific Tigger mug that would enhance my existing collection (yes, I have a collection of Tigger mugs). If your relationship can sustain the annoyance factor, it’s a great way to up your walking distance.

5. Ride the scariest rides: The right ride will raise your flight or fight response, which temporarily boosts your metabolism. While prolonged stress and anxiety is bad for your metabolism, the initial spark of fear actually increases it. Find the scariest rides and ride them often for a quick metabolic boost.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get a trademark for this brilliant exercise regime…and perhaps celebrate my idea with a Dole Whip.