Monday, November 29, 2010

Vacation (Part Three)


The mouse lies.

My favorite shoes of the whole trip: black and white checked, high-top, canvas, lace-up Converse. I tried to get a picture without looking like a stalker: failed.

Pirates of the Caribbean was a fun ride, the exit from which, inevitably, went through "Ye Olde Merchandise Shoppe."

We ate at a restaurant in Magic Kingdom and this was the first time I'd seen all employees look uniformly miserable. They looked like indentured servants.

I asked the cashier if I should order a particular salad or chicken strips. "Do you like the salad?" I asked.

"Um," she said. "Um. Well." Five seconds went by.

"Chicken strips it is," I said. "Thank you for your honest silence." She laughed. In a situation like that, I follow a three-second rule (not unlike dropping food on the floor at home): if it takes them longer than three seconds, don't order it.

Later, I mentioned to Gloria how unhappy everyone looked. "I look at theme park employees like I do animals in the zoo," I said. "Are their habitats large enough? Are they doing repetitive things that indicate a high level of stress?"

Tour Guide Gloria's two-word guide to Disney: "don't go."

Magic Kingdom, much more than the other parks we visited, is full of people exhibiting what I call "Disney rage." They have these dark, angry looks on their faces (always parents, usually men), like they're ready to shiv someone at any moment.

I've seen a few parents just go OFF on their kids, too, which is always incredibly discouraging. Anyone who has to do that lost control of themselves and the situation way back up the road, and the kids always look stunned and panicked.

By the way, Magic Kingdom wasn't really as miserable as these notes, but it seemed to be what I was writing down during the day. What we hadn't realized was that much of Magic Kingom is basically a copy of parts of Disneyland, and since we went there a few years ago, it was nothing new. They had a decent arcade, though, a fun water ride, and there were some funny moments.

Example: after about a million hours of walking all over the place, Eli really wanted to go back to the hotel (so that we could play at the excellent arcade). Looking for an ironclad way out, he said, "My foot hurts."
"You're nine and your foot already hurts," I said. "You have a an unfortunate and difficult life ahead of you."

"Dad!" he said, laughing.

Once we got out of Magic Kingdom, the day quickly improved. We went back to the hotel, and the maid had arranged all of Eli's stuffed animals (that he'd won during the trip) on the bed:

That little white figure on the left of the bed is an elephant--made out of hand towels--with another of his stuffed animals riding the elephant. That was absolutely one of the best moments of the whole trip.

We went to Downtown Disney and had another nice surprise when we decided to eat at T-Rex, which is a dinosaur-themed restaurant.

It was awesome. Seriously. Here's where we were sitting:

That background changed to deep red (lava theme) every few minutes, and there was a meteor shower every fifteen minutes or so. It was more immersive than anything I'd seen in the theme parks, and we had an absolute blast.

On another restaurant menu we'd seen earlier, we'd seen the word "fufu" (a staple food of Central and West Africa, according to Wikipedia).

"I've always wanted to eat fufu for dinner," Eli said.

"You mean Little BUNNY Fufu?" I asked.

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