Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happiest Place on Earth Observations

"Really, I would pretend to have fun if I knew my parents mortgaged the house to be here."

Can we agree that whomever deemed Disney World "the happiest place on Earth" never rode the monorail home filled with a gazillion screaming toddlers after a long day? Did you know that all Disney employees are called "cast members?" And that if you stay at a Disney resort every verbal exchange ends with "Have a magical day!" It's sort of tolerable the first 20 times and then you want to give the "cast member" a magical punch while smiling "Have a magical migraine!"

Here are a few tidbits from our trip. Let's start with the most horrendous part so the post gets more pleasant as we go:

--There is an abomination of an event called "The Princess Lunch." Perhaps you've heard of it? It's where little girls are first presented with the notion that a white horse with a rich, handsome prince will someday save them and take them to a castle where they will wear bejeweled crowns and learn to curtsy. And eat very bad food. Let me preface this by saying I'm not a "foodie." It is my wish to gather every person who defines themselves as a "foodie" into one room and make them eat Subway sandwiches and bags of pork rinds until they puke. My ideal meal would be a Bennigan's deep-fried Monte Cristo sandwich paired with The Bloomin' Onion from Outback Steakhouse. (Seriously, those two franchises should team up, merge or acquire each other in what would be the best chain restaurant coup since Dunkin' Donuts combined with Baskin Robbins.) I have never sent a meal back at a restaurant. I don't recall ever really complaining about bad food. I think whoever came up with the two cheeseburger meal deal at McDonalds should be given one of Obama's Czar positions. Maybe Czar of Pure Genius or similar. Get the picture? So when I was presented with the "baked chicken with risotto accompaniment" at the Princess Lunch (and I use the term "lunch" loosely) I thought, "How bad can it be?" despite the vaguely sock-like odor emanating from the plate. I dug in because being around royalty renders me ravished, and almost broke a tooth on the un-cooked rice in the risotto dish. Plus, my children, who swore they wanted to meet a bunch of princesses, cowered and whimpered and refused to get their photo taken. Granted, these princess bitches were scary, but still. Each adult entree was $35, $21 for kids and since my kids don't eat normal food, theirs sat untouched as well. But the special Tinker Bell punch was only $6.50 a pop and came with some Tinkerbell thingie that lit up. Well worth sitting at a depressing round table as my children hid under the table while Cinderella tried to lure them out. My sister, whose 7-year-old appreciated the princesses more than my 3-year-olds, told me to move some food around on my plate so the waitress didn't feel bad. Something tells me if you're serving food to a bunch of "little princesses" dressed in majestic garb you have bigger problems than how much one cranky-assed mother ate. (Note: Our kids did not wear princess clothes to this lunch, the photo above is from Mickey Mouse's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party wherein Lulu was a princess. I feel the need to make this known for reasons still unclear to me.)

--Oh no. I'm not done with the princess lunch yet. Not only were most kids dressed as their favorite princess with crowns, hair glitter and even makeup (my favorite was the toddler dressed as that mermaid princess with her belly bared and fins so tight she could barely waddle around), there was a couple there WITHOUT KIDS snapping pictures of the princesses like they were the paparazzi at Chateau Marmont. I so wanted to go tap them on the shoulder and whisper, "Pssst. They're not real princesses. Plus, you're weird.")

--I've never been a cost/benefit kind of gal. But the Dumbo ride made me think a bit more mathematically. Does it make any sense to wait for 63 minutes in line with two screaming toddlers for a ride that lasts exactly 90 seconds? Don't make me whip out a calculator but the percentage of pain versus pleasure doesn't work for me.

--Is it me or is there something disconcerting about grown men wearing Mickey Mouse sweatshirts?

--Mickey Mouse's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is pretty much as billed: not scary, except of course for the price (about $60 pp). Lulu dressed up as a fairy princess, Moxley was a monster from Yo Gabba Gabba whose name currently escapes me and I went as a 40-something exhausted mother of twins. My costume was the most authentic and surely would have earned me first prize had there been a contest.

--We planned to, at the end of the week, allow the girls to each pick out one souvenir, or parting gift so to speak. Ah, but that clever Walt Disney had another plan in mind. See, Walt cleverly places gift shops in locales one cannot avoid. Going on Winnie the Pooh's Honey Pot ride? Well, great! Because you have to go through the Winnie the Pooh gift shop to get out. So here was gift number one (times 2 of course) and yes, Her Royal Highness was exhausted on the monorail home after the "Spook-tacular" fireworks show.

At Epcot, they threw a very public tantrum which I decided to placate with an undeserved present to reward bad behavior when they demanded these fashion-forward hats. They came with a bonus pair of sunglasses which broke several hours after purchase. If you've ever seen an uglier piece of head gear, please send photos:

Oh, and conveniently located near the only place we could get food at our hotel were these pajamas, for the low low price of $24.95 each. The enthusiasm for their new evening attire has long since waned:

Of course, the most fun they had was when doing free things, like burying each other's torsos in sand:

Despite the price (geez, I'm becoming one of those grumpy old cheap people who stock up on canned goods when they're on sale), we had a great time as evidenced by the following exchange the day after we arrived home:

Moxley: Why do we live in Chicago?

Me: Because daddy's job is here. You don't want to live in Chicago?

Lulu: No!

Me: Where do you want to live?

Moxley: I want to live on vacation.

You and me both, sister.


  1. If you live on vacation I demand to come with. So wise at such a young age, that Moxley.

    Loved the recap. But the people at the princess party sans-children are an SNL skit waiting to happen. That or a Law and Order episode. Whichev'

  2. Thanks for a great summary of your adventure. I'll keep this in mind if we ever decide to take my twin girls (currently 2.5 years) to Disneyland. At the moment, the thought makes me want to jump off the nearest bridge, but I'm sure things will change...or maybe not!
    Love your blog, by the way!

  3. As hilarious as I was expecting.

    And every single piece of shit we've ever bought from Disney has fallen apart within seconds. Somebody's not whipping the worker dwarves hard enough at the factory.

  4. I LOVE this post. We took our 13 month old to Disney World this past summer (my parents were going and so we tagged along-- we're from Hawaii). So I totally understand about "have a magical day!"

    I'm your newest follower. Love your blog!

  5. Oh, the stories I have on "the happiest place on earth."

    But, we'll stick to HOW GORGEOUS THE GIRLS ARE!

    Holy moly and hello? Knock down straight from heaven... they.are.gorgeous.

  6. Oh, I've been patiently waiting for this post!

    Thank you for your honest opinion on the princess lunch. We're hoping to go in september. We will pass on this. Thanks for the money saving tip.

    And speaking of money, they are marketing masters over there. Bastards!

  7. I hope you took tons of pics and when recently asking my 25yr old son if he remembered loving Minnie Mouse's yellow high heels when we went to Disney when he was 2.5..he said..."When did we go to Disney World?" AAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH

  8. such precious pictures of lulu and moxley. their expressions are priceless. no pix of mom and dad in ugly, "cheap" hats and sunglasses? we went to disney last spring for the first time with our son and he told us he never needs to visit there again. amen.