GateHouse — Having spent New Year’s Day at the Blizzard Beach water park in Disney World — the Happiest Place on Earth, particularly if your happiness revolves around disbursing $27.95 for chicken fingers — in sunny, godawful Orlando, Fla., I have already learned in 2011 these two important lessons:
- To beat the crowds at a Disney water park, go in January.
- The human body is a thing to be reviled and abhorred.
Visiting friends and a bit of pleasing randomness brought us to the county-sized neon bacchanal of Orlando, Fla. (town motto: “A Black Angus On Every Street Corner, But The Lord God Help You If You Need To Purchase A Vegetable”) over the New Year’s weekend, a time for new beginnings, personal re-energization and, in my case, the opportunity to ring in 2011 wandering around Downtown Disney listening to a didgeridoo player cover Ozzy Osbourne while drinking smuggled-in champagne. Yeah, that’s right. We smuggled hooch into Disney World. This makes us the COOLEST PEOPLE in the entire tenth grade! (Jeez, a lot of my Disney stories have drinks in them. I find I have the same problems with weddings and first communions.)
Anyway, I’m not usually one for making New Year’s resolutions — I’m keenly aware of my raft of personal failings on most days, thank you very much, designating a holiday to accentuate them seems needlessly vengeful — but I will tell you this, faithful reader(s) and/or people who got here by Googling “Tinkerbell Is Of Satan” and/or “Xerox Scrabble Cha Cha”: There is literally nothing on the planet that will leave you more relentlessly dedicated to your workout/exercise resolution than spending six hours at a Disney theme park in which most of your neighbors are unclothed and absorbing for yourself the unspeakable horrors of the aging male physique.
If you have recently been to a Disney park in Orlando, Fla. (town motto: “We’re Sorry That It’s Been Three Blocks Since The Last IHOP, Here’s Three More”), you know what I am hinting at: sweet head of Walt is this an unattractive nation. You’d think that killing the better part of a day in a semi-tropical environment filled with bathing suits would at least net you some minor form of passively enjoyable eye candy, but after a few hours I abandoned that hope and tried to figure out where they had hung the carbonite-frozen Han Solo.
Related, sort of
Now, I realize that I’m skirting dangerously near the sort of conversational zone in which my dad complains that people don’t dress nice for air travel anymore (“You know, you used to see men in suits. Ties! TIES ON THE PLANE, JEFF!” he’d bellow before nodding off and dropping his scotch glass on the floor), but there is some sort of national movement afoot that takes “Happiest Place On Earth” to mean “Try To Wear The Nice Dale Jr. Shirt.” Certainly I’m not suggesting everyone wear their Sunday best to the theme park, as you’d totally get $14.95 ice cream and mouse parts all over your good pants, merely some understanding that the Indianapolis Colts cotton jersey you’ve selected for the occasion is doing a shockingly inadequate job of housing your belly. I have seen People of Walmart who basically like they’re Halle Berry on Oscar night compared to what the average human wears at Disney World; it is not something you want to be jammed in a overstuffed monorail with, which again, I CAN VOUCH FOR PERSONALLY.
So anyway, the next time you’re in Orlando, Fla., (town motto: “If Only Someone Would Have Thought To Spread The Good Word Of Jesus Christ In Theme Park Form — Oh Wait There It Is, By The Black Angus”), take heed in knowing that you will come away fueled, engaged, ready to tackle whatever workout regimen awaits you, and that it will be 20 times as hard as you were thinking it would be when you went in. Come to think of it, that is some serious Disney magic.