Friday, March 15, 2013

Florida: Airborne over Disney

I believe readers of this blog would be disappointed if I didn’t have something snarky to say about visiting Disney World, a place hipsters bash for being more about merchandise than memories.

Ever eager to be responsive to reader needs, I understand this so here goes:

The 4-foot-high railings outside the transportation depot are one half-inch too high!

More on that in a bit.

Disney bills itself as The Happiest Place on Earth.

For me three days last week it was The Most Sober Place on Earth.

What I won’t do for my kids.

This was all Val’s idea. She figured our daughters, 12 and 6, are the perfect age for a family visit to the Magic Kingdom. And she’s right.

Next year Josie will be in middle school, a big transition from 6th grade. There will be more intensive studies, increased homework and if I’m as astute an observer of social trends as I believe I am, her first joint, her first tattoo and some sporty new breast implants.

And what parent wouldn’t want to take a 6 year old girl to Disney World? Lucy right now is such an irresistible cuddle I find it difficult to say no to any of her requests, most of which center around some form of, “Leave me alone and go get Mommy.”

Runner-up request for the last year has been her wish to fly in an airplane and go to Disney World.

We did EPCOT the first night. A friend of mine told me years ago that EPCOT stands for “Every Person Comes Out Tired.”

In fact, it’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, which is such a roaring bore of a name I now regret ever bothering to look it up.

I have great recollections of EPCOT. I used to visit friends in Orlando and we’d often head over to the park to carouse because each of the 11 represented nations had a bar staffed by native coeds from around the world.

This gave us the opportunity to get rejected in nearly a dozen foreign tongues and that left us feeling worldly enough to compare how the same insults sounded in English.

Of course, our daughters were most excited about spending the next day at the Magic Kingdom, which didn’t disappoint, nor did the Animal Kingdom, particularly the lodge.

Favorite rides included Soarin’ at EPCOT, Jungle Safari, Haunted Mansion and Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Magic Kingdom and Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.

Of course, the thrill ride they may remember the longest is the one they were unable to get on.

That would be me.

We were racing to catch the bus back to the Disney Yacht Club where we were staying. It had been a very long day and I was in no mood to wait for another bus.

I dashed ahead to alert the driver to wait for my dawdling darlings.

I placed my right hand on the railing to steady myself for the kind of vault that 25 years ago would have been a deer-like cinch.

Then I launched.

An undeniable rush of euphoria takes place when any man whose idea of jumping for joy involves merely standing up actually achieves liftoff.

You’re in the air. You’re recalling athletic glory days.

And it’s funny how time seems to slow down when one is airborne. I remember thinking, “Look at me! Man, I still got it.”

Then my right foot snagged on the railing. 

Moments after thinking I was practically an Olympian, I remember thinking, gadzooks, this is really going to hurt.

Indeed, it did. I don’t know how a person can fall and land one time and hurt so many different parts of his body. Both shoulders, both elbows, both ankles, the right knee -- it was like Disney Sherpas had rolled me down off the summit of Expedition Everest.

I looked up and there was my family, happier and more alive than they’d been all week. The three people I love more than any others were roaring with laughter as I lay there in the bus gutter checking for compound fractures.

It is beyond dispute. Disney is truly The Happiest Place on Earth.

Especially if your old man’s a klutz.

Related . . .

No comments: