October 13, 2006

Disney, Day One

Okay - I know about Disney. The corporate piracy, the awful dollarmongering, how Walt would be turning in his grave, how it is all one huge obscene tricksy commercial to sell action figures based on movies that will hopefully become lucrative franchises and yes, it is TRUE, they RUINED the TIKI ROOM by putting a bunch of bird puppets from Aladin and Lion King in it and MULTIPLE Johnny Depp lookalikes ---both human and animatronic --- are popping up on rides and floats and in gift shops in full-on Cap'n Jack Drag and and and I KNOW OKAY I KNOW.


It's still the happiest place on earth. Favorite moment so far: We saw Cap'n Hook mugging about, our first character sighting, and Maisy was LONGING to get his attention. She ran up behind him and tugged at his red velvet coat. He did not notice. She bounced up and down, sproingsproingsproing, saying CAPUN HOOK! CAPUN HOOK! HULLO IT IS ME, MAISY! Alas, the actor, who was no doubt sweltering in the hell of a 20 pound plastic head and a frock coat, did not hear her.

He turned around to walk toward us and almost ran her down. At the LAST second, he noticed her tiny personage in his way and and paused. He made "surprise hands" (elbows bent, palms forward, fingers spread) or rather he made ONE surprise hand and one surprise hook, and then bent down toward Maisy, reaching with his non-hook appendage to pat her head.


She saw that HUGE EVIL MUSTACHIO'ED HEAD as it came ZOOMING toward her. The LEER! The outsize black hat! The CRUEL PIRATE-Y TEETH!.....she screamed! Screamed like that little girl did in Aliens, a single toned high-pitched wail of complete terror, and then took off like a gazelle, FLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! We of course caught her up and soothed her immediately, but it was PRICELESS. We had no video cameras out, alas, but some chick standing nearby caught it on hers, so we expect Bob Sagett will be sharing it with America soon.

IN SHORT, I am having DISGUSTING amount of fun. It's EMBARRASSING to have this much fun living in a giant commercial. And yet and yet and yet...

Both my kids are FOAMING with pleasure at every new delight. NO one is getting crabby when they get overtired, and they have changed the FOOD. Sure there are still 10 dollar greasy hotdogs with limp fries, but for the same price you can also get fresh fruit and a chicken wrap, a veggie burger on a whole grain bun with baby carrots, or a VERY DECENT grilled chicken salad made with REAL lettuce (read: not iceberg) and tequila lime vinagrette. We are eating healthy and not having that overfed park bloat that can RUIN a vacation day. Eating this stuff, we parked around for 13 hours yesterday and came back to the resort tired but pleased and cheerful. Two other things set Disneyworld apart from other park-like facility:

1) The restrooms are cleaned constantly by troops of invisible and hyperactive fairies. Seriously. The toilets are cleaner than my toilets at home, the floors sparkle, the silver spigots where you wash your hands gleam like treasure. You could serve a lunch in these bathrooms.

2) NO ONE PHONES IT IN. No one. Every gravedigger in the Not-So-Scary Halloween pararde, every Princess, every pirate, every dancing zombie bride, every Jungle Cruise Guide, every SNACK VENDOR in a cowgirl outfit in Frontierland is Broadway musical style ON every second. They believe it. They SELL it. There is no irony, no sly wink-y "But of course, this is silly, and we do it for your yard-monkeys." They may be tiny prancing cogs in a huge and probably evil corporate machine, but before that, they are professionals, actors and dancers, and they ACT like it. It makes a world of difference. Their absolute commitment is permission for every adult in the park to act like a complete moron. To be eight years old again. And when Mickey stands in front of Cinderella's castle and asks us to, we affirm with absolute conviction that (as Maisy says) "Dweams DO come twue! Dweams DO come twue!"

If it makes you feel any better about my tatterered street cred, always a sketchy thing and now TAINTED with geek-o-riffic Mickey-love, let me reassure you that my cynical husband is suffering mildly, and would probably rather be golfing. TODAY = EPCOT! And lunch with FOUR REAL PRINCESSES. I am hoping like MAD for Ariel! Maisy wants Cindew-ella.

Last night, the kids got to park trick-or-treat in costume, and Scott accidentally had the camera set for a LONG expose time----so here is a little ghost pwincess, a ghost Jail Bird, and a VERY see through ghostly ninja. You can use this shot to play a fun game of "guess which child can not sit still for 5 seconds...."


Posted by joshilyn at October 13, 2006 9:47 AM

Okay. You are allowed three days of shiny, happy peopledom with adorable chillens and becostumed believers.

But can you please bring back one of those magical, scrubbing bathroom fairies for me?

Posted by: Edgy Mama at October 13, 2006 10:35 AM

I'm with Edgy Mama -- I'll trade you unblemished street cred for all eternity in exchange for one magical scrubbing bathroom fairy.

Glad to hear you're having fun.

Posted by: Aimee at October 13, 2006 10:56 AM

I am SO jealous! But glad you're having a very good time. Hope you get to see the new Nemo thing at Epcot, they say Crush is very cool, dude.

Question- do you ever find that the opportunity to people watch at Disney leads to new ideas for novels?

Posted by: Shelley at October 13, 2006 11:17 AM

Wallowing. In. Envy. I remember not only the fun, but the cleanliness, and the happiness, and the customer service that you'll find nowhere else on earth. Glad to see you're enjoying your vacation!

Posted by: Jessica at October 13, 2006 12:31 PM

Oh mi gosh I love the ghostly picture. Have fun, oh wait you are. :)

Posted by: Cele at October 13, 2006 12:59 PM

I think it is grand that you and the kids are having a blast. I cannot wait for my little girl to be the right age (and to have the cash) to take her to the magic that is Disney. I am pretty tired of being cynical myself. I just want to forget my worries and have fun. Any trolls who try to spoil your fun with anti-Disney rants should be banned or at least deleted!

Posted by: Amy at October 13, 2006 2:19 PM

Awesome pics!! Love the way you wrote about it Joshilyn! I never been to Disney, and wow the castle entrance is gorgeous! The kids look great, and the costumes Cap'n Hook wears, looks real good quality-made!

My sis's family went to Disney 2 years ago, and she said pretty much what you did. SoOo clean!! She was very impressed; all "commersialism aside" she said it was well worth the trip and expense!

Posted by: North at October 13, 2006 2:22 PM

Aw. You are making happy memories that will last forever.

Posted by: Suebob at October 13, 2006 2:22 PM

Oh, and note: enjoy the weather!! WE had a snow fall yesterday; and expecting snow squalls today/night? whahhh!! WE are at least a month early in snow-season... so talk about being unprepared!

Snow squalls are brutal!! Usually it plunges to 30-50 below zero; and we get so much snow, it's up to the hips or waist, and snow-banks can get 15 feet high!


Posted by: North at October 13, 2006 2:24 PM

My family and I are Disney park lovers, too. Despite all our concerns with all that other stuff.

When I was tiny, apparently my favorite character was Mr. Smee, and there are several pictures of me posing with him, looking perfectly content with the entire world.

Have fun with the kids!

Posted by: Jessica at October 13, 2006 6:41 PM

Oh--that looks like SO MUCH FUN. . .

Posted by: Roxanne at October 13, 2006 7:25 PM

Joss, I have this mental of you, clutching the tattered garment of your street cred around your shoulders, and smiling your LOVELY and INNOCENT smile :)

Posted by: Elena at October 13, 2006 8:50 PM

My sisters and I never got to go to Disney when we were kids. My husband and I took the kids when my son was 6 and my daughter was a mere baby- a fact which leaves her embittered to this day. I rant about the evil marketing geniuses at Disney as much as the next person, but I admit I got downright weepy when I saw Cinderella's castle for the first time, and each and every time I witnessed the magic through my son's eyes.

Now my daughter is 7 and we are taking them to Disney again this spring. Yes, Disney princesses are insipid and appalling role models for girls(Belle excluded.) Yes, the "Disney vault" is a manipulative load of crap. Yep, I totally get how awful and corporate it all is. But when Emma has her first walk down the boulevard and meets one of the characters for the first time, I'm betting I'll forget all that again.

Plus, y'know, the bathrooms.

Have a fabulous time!

Posted by: Laura at October 14, 2006 12:19 AM

No matter what you know in your head about Disney, its looking through the kids' eyes that matters. And for your commenters who want to know more about the potties, try The Happiest Potties on Earth. http://www.mouseplanet.com/potties/

Posted by: Miss Cellania at October 14, 2006 12:27 AM

Oh look! Maisy is SO HAPPY that she has to hold her face on or her smile will take over and her whole personage will explode in happiness... she looks like she's barely holding it in!

Posted by: Heather Cook at October 14, 2006 1:09 AM

being a california native (and living 1/2 my life in southern california at that -- oh carp. it's only a bit more than 1/4 of my life now. sheesh!), disneyland is in my blood. my BLOOD, i say! and i was trying to explain that while i don't like the disney store and i really don't like the disneyfication of so many things, when i am AT disneyland, it's total magic. the feelings i get are the same ones i had at 3 (i don't remember my first visit at 18 months - heh heh). and now getting to share it w/my kids? the magic is multiplied by a bizijillion. and you're right. they don't phone it in at all. i've known several people that worked there. it drove some of them batty by the end of it, but they all said that it was also fun.
and i love the ghosty picture :) too cool.

Posted by: kristen at October 14, 2006 10:49 AM

Cap'n Hook was my son's favorite character when he was younger. We have a photo that we consider a treasure beyond measure of him standing with his (anti) hero at Disneyland. Both are wearing their plumed hats and brandishing their hooks ... and my son has his other hand planted firmly on his hip, in exact imitation of the Disneyland Hook.

Posted by: Monique at October 14, 2006 10:58 AM

Perhaps the prisoner/detainee costume contains a wee bit of irony? Hmmmm?

(btw last night Daniel got his second career field goal. Now I'm really glad my eyes have not been ground to pulp.)

Posted by: The Brother at October 14, 2006 1:06 PM

Fun pics, especially that last one. That's so cool!

And I love Maisy's shoes. :-)

Posted by: DebR at October 14, 2006 1:44 PM

I'm so glad you're enjoying yourselves. It's nice to get away now and then.

Oh, and the Miss Maisy/Capt. Hook scream-and-flee? Priceless, absolutley priceless. I about died laughing. Even when you're on the road, you're un-put-downable.

Posted by: David at October 14, 2006 8:21 PM

My 14yo daughter has that same "I'm not bossy" shirt, and she wears it with the same look on her face. I think it must go with the shirt.
Where can I get one of those bathroom cleaning faeries?
Keep on wishing upon those stars, and don't forget to hit the "Small World" while you're there. That one was always my favorite!

Posted by: dee at October 20, 2006 8:27 PM