They used to let you into the Magic Kingdom for free on your birthday. This was a very nice thing for Disney to do. I mean, when’s the last time you gave someone you don’t even know a $90 birthday present? That’s what I thought. They don’t do it anymore, but hey, generosity has its limits. Even in the Happiest Place on Earth.
MomScribe and I took advantage of Disney’s (former) generosity by taking Jay to Disney World for his birthday two years ago. It was a nice way (we figured) to mark his transformation to Little Boy from Toddler. On paper, it seemed like a great idea. In practice, his first trip into the House of Mouse was pretty damn miserable.
Smiles were few and far between. One corner of his mouth might have twitched in an upward direction when he saw the Indycars. But that was about it. Would he ride Peter Pan or It’s a Small World without melting down? He would not. Would be ride Dumbo? Nope. Would he pose for a photo with Goofy or Buzz Lightyear? Hell, no. Would he eat anything except a giant piece of cake from the bakery on Main Street USA? Forget it.
Granted, all of the above could be said about me that day, too. But my ticket wasn’t free, was it? It’s different when you’re actually paying for access to the People Mover. It moves PEOPLE, people! It’s the transportation of the future, today.
Jay’s favorite thing? The stupid playground in stupid Toon Town. Here he was in Kid’s Paradise, and all he wanted to do was go down a slide. A slide! And not even a full-size slide, either. One of those pseudo-slides, like they have at daycare centers, that takes about .3 seconds to go down. Hey, look! A sli … oooops, all done. Oh, we managed to pry him away from there (kicking, screaming) in time for the afternoon parade. But he watched the floats go by grudgingly, occasionally picking at old gum on the sidewalk while his Mickey-shaped lollipop melted (virtually unlicked) down his wrist, and we left shortly after.
We’re going back. And this time, it won’t just be the three of us out for a charming interlude of theme park Americana.
Chris is coming, too.
Um, Mickey? Duck.
Now, a toddler is many things. “Consistent” is not one of those things. There’s every chance that Chris might get there and magically be transformed into a well-mannered, calm-headed, curly-haired, bright-eyed bundle of wonder. He might see the Monorail and squeal and laugh and exclaim in that sweetest of sweet voices what an incredible world we live in, after all, and can we ride it again? Again? Again?
He could act bat-shit crazy from the moment we set out up I-4 until we drag our rumpled, ruined forms down Main Street USA, stumble out the park gates, trudge up the Monorail ramp, and stagger away away away from there for all time.
I don’t think there really is any middle ground.
It could be this:
Or it could be this:
My optimism wanes as the hour grows near.
Why are we doing this, anyway?
Because it’s fun, dammit.
And as for Jay … he’s out of luck. Toon Town’s closed down. He’ll have to settle for Pirates of the Caribbean and singing mechanical birds. He can slide on his own time.
In a word … beatific.
More next time, but suffice to say my fears were unfounded.