"Excuse me, sir, but are you going to use that innertube?"
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.
GateHouse — There are things in life that by design must be regularly amended and upgraded, if not replaced entirely — things like computers, TVs and Howie Mandel. These are created to be temporary (except Mandel, who cannot die except through the use of dark magic) and users understand that their fleeting nature is part of the deal; when you invest in one, you know that in a few short months you will be re-investing in it again, probably while biffing yourself in the head with a stapler wondering why you could possibly spend this much money on the same object. I’ve had to do this just recently with my phone, some tires and a horse.
Conversely, there are other things that, if they are changed in even the slightest, whisperiest, most insignificant manner, will cause a great deal of the American populace to spot-cease being reasonably calm, obedient “Idol” fanatics and instantly erupt, en masse, into a fierce, primal mob of roaring, pitchfork-and-torches rioting, and they are things like income taxes, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s number of children, the removal of Bobby Knight from anything, the scene where Greedo shoots first, the national anthem at monster truck shows, federal economic stimulus plans and It’s A Small World.
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.)
Writer: GQ, Men’s Health,
the Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Indianapolis Monthly, Golf Digest, Vice, BruceSpringsteen.net,
the Indy 500, Fatherly, etc. Proud owner of a Bruce-related Guinness World Record. Even longer bio/clips.