The Odd Wife

Thursday, February 03, 2005

EH Does Disney

Because of a confluence of conflicting confabs I hadn’t the chance to drop my impressions of our trip to Disney about a fortnight back. Thus, our sojourn to Orlando—through my eyes.

For an opener, the place lost its allure as The “Magic” Kingdom some time back when I realized those wonderfully vibrant characters from the films were 6 foot tall lumbering mutes. The place losses its allure a smidge when a once intricately animated creature walks into a support pole and spins its head 90 degrees. But of late I have come back to appreciate the place, both for what it looks like through my daughter’s eyes, and for those arcane and iconoclastic nuances only I can appreciate. There was merriment when I told of how I remember a time when driving on a trip and seeing the under construction Cinderella castle rising out of the then desolate woodlands. My wife could not imagine a time when there was no Disney, but I remember even then they had their priorities in place: the park was long from completion but we still were able to stop and shop at a Disney gift store.

Our first encounter came after a few hours on the road and we stopped at a Turnpike rest stop. The kids were already polluted with adrenaline and this place was a marvel to them. I had to admit being impressed as well. In my youth when we stopped at an octane oasis it was a far different experience; maybe 3 snack machines, newspapers from odd locales, and bathrooms that served as social laboratories. Today it is antiseptic lavatories, overstocked news stands, and Cinnabon. Even the ubiquitous Starbucks was a welcome change from the traditional $0.25 vended cup of tepid marl that would sluice into a thin cup adorned with playing cards. We soon learned what lay ahead for us when we watched our friend’s kids become out of hand without much effort of containment from their end. I gravitated over to my bride and it was quickly evident she & I were going to be having fun with each other this weekend.

She sat next to me with one of the thousands of pamphlets for Central Florida roadside attractions, this one touting the joys to behold at a place called “The Holy Land”. No offense meant towards anyone of faith, but this place would even be tacky to the most devout. For starters Jesus actually walks around the park. It looks like Jim and Tammy Faye Baker built a winter dinner theater playground. We couldn’t help with the jokes at the tawdry appearance. For instance they have a rock climbing wall, making me wonder if you bring down tablets if you reach the top.

But I couldn’t talk of tacky for too long as we soon were checking into Disney’s Pop Century Resort for two nights. This complex is divided into five sections, four buildings per, and each patterned after the last five decades of last century. The garish theme strikes you in the head from approach and you only sink deeper into kitsch once you are inside. The structures are adorned with iconography from each decade, starting with the mammoth items masking the stairwells at either end, large catch phrases propped on the roofs, and other traits spot welded to the railings. The ‘50’s buildings had 75 foot high illuminated bowling pins visible from Tampa. The ‘90’s were given immense cell phones, and The ‘80’s were book ended by Rubik’s Cubes that could have doubled as affordable inner-city housing. We were relegated to The ‘70’s which had (how I wish I were lying) colossal 8-track tapes that looked like battlements against advancing technology. Adding to that subtlety was the coffee table sized Mood Rings hanging on the sides and the 40 foot tall Big Wheel in the court yard. Our room also had disco border paper around the ceiling, much to the delight of TOW.

Then came controversy. Getting off of one ride at Animal Kingdom I was approached by a worker who calmly asked me if I would mind turning my shirt inside out, confusing the hell out me. I was wearing a lounge shirt over a standard T, but she informed me that it may be inappropriate in a family park. This is a shirt I love that my dear Bride gave me, grey with black borders on either side of the buttons featuring pin-up models from the ‘50’s, (matching nicely with our hotel, come to think of it.) I assured her I would consider the possibility of contemplating the chances of doing it and then brought the issue up to our committee. Most of us shrugged at the idea until my dear wife adroitly pointed out that Jessica Rabbit was just as salacious. The shirt stayed.

Overall we had a good time, most of it coming at MGM where the kids were freaked out by the rides, but our friend’s parents took them away, allowing us to act like…well like the kids were supposed to act. The whole time was great because TOW and I have such similar sensibilities that we have fun just about anywhere. Our friends would be tapping their feet or bickering while the two of us were either sighing at all the Jack Skellington items in the shops or savoring all the faux Polynesian beauty at the “Tiki Room”. I’m not all that wild about The Magic Kingdom but I would go anytime because this is a family that knows how to enjoy things, and each other.

Posted by The Even Husband :: 8:27 AM :: |
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