GateHouse — Big week here — we’re taking the boy to Disney World. He’s old enough now, and besides, it’s the Happiest Place on Earth, especially if your happiness involves purchasing for $35 a lunch bucket of fries with which you could nourish a horse.
It’s also, if I might take just a moment to be grumpy, not terribly happy on the Carousel of Progress, which is the Most Boring Place In The Universe, at least the parts I know about (frankly, Venus looks stupid). The Carousel of Progress is the opposite of fun. If fun touches the Carousel of Progress, both cease to exist. And the Carousel’s continued existence in TomorrowLand not only makes you suspect that someone lobbied for a government Carousel bailout, but also that it pretty much mocks the entire idea of TomorrowLand.
This is entirely true: Last time we were at Disney, we spent the afternoon at EPCOT enjoying cocktails, after which we hit the Magic Kingdom. And at the prodding of my friend Aaron, we proceeded immediately to the Carousel of Progress, where we learned that a light international-flavored buzz can actually be killed by talkative animatronic families from the future (Aaron loves progress and things that move in a circular pattern, so this is basically Party Town to him). Yeah, that’s right. We went to Disney without the kid, without our 4-year-old son. This is only the first in what will be a lifetime of half-truths involving Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and what really happened to most of his goldfish. (No, son, we did not put them in the ocean to be free.)
Anyway, the boy’s actually been to Disney before, though he was too young to remember. Which is OK, because when he is old enough to remember, I’ll tell him about the time his parents took him the week after Christmas one year, and how completely bat-nuggets insanely crowded the place was, and how we, with him in the stroller, became ensnared in a human traffic jam smack in the middle of FantasyLand for 15 minutes, 13 of which I spent getting bumped in the ankle by a shrimp-boat-sized woman with a stroller whose plan was apparently to continue nudging me every seven seconds until my I exploded, thus clearing the way for her and her wailing egg-colored offspring. Have you ever had a daydream about pouring several bottles’ worth of lukewarm chocolate milk on someone standing outside of It’s A Small World? It doesn’t make you feel like a particularly good person, although it really, really sounds satisfying the more you consider it.
Anyway, we actually had to escape this gummy bottleneck of sweaty tourists by sneaking into the line for Small World, after which we more or less fled screaming, arms flailing wildly, out of the park and to the Polynesian Resort, where we spent the boy’s nap hours having margaritas. Jeez, a lot of my Disney stories have drinks in them. I find I have the same problems with weddings and first communions.
Anyway again, and despite everything I’ve typed up until right now, I really am highly looking forward to the trip. In fact, a few weeks back, we decided that we needed to start prepping The Boy for the journey, so we started showing him movies and pictures of Disney online, which we’ve realized was sort of like taking a drug addict into your house and asking him to organize your collection of drugs. (Our current Disney plan involves going to Thunder Mountain first, because it is a roller coaster crossed with a train, which, if you are 4 years old, represents the absolute zenith of human artistic achievement.)
Now we watch the Disney movies at breakfast, at dinner and before bedtime. We breathe Disney, we sleep Disney (“Daddy, I’m going to dream about Disney World,” he tells me every night, and each time, it costs $109). And each time we do this, two geysers of steam shoot out of each of his ears, which I think is also Disney magic.