Dreaming Of A Disney-like World

Jade Moon
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Wednesday - June 16, 2005
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Always, when you come back from a vacation, you’re bound to be a little discombobulated for a while. Getting adjusted to the normal pace of life takes a little time. After all, half your brain is still goofing off and the other half just wants to go back to sleep. But — when you get home from a visit to Disneyworld in Florida, you have to cope with something else: severe sugar withdrawal.

Yes, it’s true. I am having a heck of a time understanding why life can’t be more like a theme park.

For one solid week we slept, ate and played in a perfect little world. It’s a difference that hits you in the face as soon as you enter the resort. Suddenly, everything is perfect.

Not nice, and not pretty good. Perfect. In every way.

Suddenly the streets are wide, the landscape impeccable, and everything is pretty. It is impossible to get lost in the vast acreage of the Disney resort. You may be there for the very first time, but that doesn’t matter. You will find your way around with ease because everything is laid out so logically. The signs are colorful, easy to read and make sense (and they are adorned with Mickey ears!). The designers of the “happiest place on earth” have put thought and care into creating a people-friendly, frustration-free environment.

Well, OK. It’s not absolutely frustration-free. I need to mention the one really big frustration every person deals with at any Disney park — those incredibly long, long lines for practically everything. But even those are manageable, and often can be avoided, if you’re smart and plan ahead.

One quickly learns tricks and techniques to cut the wait times. Rides? I have two words for you: fast pass. This nifty feature allows you to walk right onto the most popular rides. Stick your ticket into a little machine and out pops a slip of paper telling you what time to return. Say the wait for that stomach-churning Aerosmith rock ’n’ roll roller coaster is 90 minutes. You get your fast pass, go do something else for about an hour, then come back and hop aboard. Simple, elegant and easy. And totally worth it.

Hungry? Go to the real, sit-down restaurants at the theme parks — they’re better than average. We dined in a French restaurant at Epcot, the Brown Derby at MGM and had a fabulous Italian meal in downtown Disney. Avoid long wait times by eating during off hours, making reservations or calling ahead for preferred seating. The food everywhere we went was great.

And everybody’s so — nice. We did encounter one or two rude employees, but one or two bad ones out of all the people we had contact with — that’s not too shabby. OK, so maybe it is a hokey, Disney kind of courtesy, but I don’t care. Give me a smile over rudeness or worse, indifference, any day. It may be part of their job, but it works. Disney makes us all feel better about the world.

One week was enough, though. We are theme-parked out. I got queasy on too many rides and watched my son eat way too much junk food. It’s tough to say no to the Mickey Mouse-shaped, chocolate-covered ice cream bar, or to the giant lollipop. After all, we may not be back for a very long time. But all that sweet, cutesy stuff gets cloying after awhile. Even my son was ready to come home.

But the adjustment hasn’t been easy. Normal life can be so jarring. Why is everything so chaotic and cluttered? Why are signs so hard to read? Why is there trash on the streets? Why, oh why, can’t the real world be just a little more like Disney?

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