Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Disney Disease

Man, I got it bad. Good old Mickey has his pearly white gloves in me so deep, I'll never get them out. I just recently asked my wife how many times we've been to Walt Disney World and her response was "a college educations worth." That sounds about right.

I've fallen in love with my wife several times since meeting her, but the day I walked her down Mainstreet, USA and she stopped and said she could cry, that was the day I fell the hardest. I've had it for Disney since I was a kid. I grew up going to Disneyland and I'll grow old going to Walt Disney World. Fortunately my children love Disney as much as my wife and I do. But really, it wouldn't matter. We would still go. Even if we were dragging them. There are parents who say they go to Disney for their kids, like its some kind of burden. And then there's me. I see a picture of Disney and I'm on the phone booking a trip. Someone could say "that guy slipped me a Mickey" and suddenly I'm longing for the place. Yeah, it's that bad.

Every year we go to Walt Disney World for my wife's birthday. And sometimes we go a second time in that year because we're afraid everyone at the Magic Kingdom might miss us. If I were to shoot video of every single Disney vacation my family has been on and if one were to watch that video, one might ask this logical question: "Why the hell do you still go?" The very first time we took my son he came down with the stomach flu the night before and it carried on during the trip. I then got it the day we left. My son has also had strep while we've been there. And food poisoning. And we've been there during tropical storms. And a hurricane that passed directly over our hotel. And we've even had to leave Walt Disney World to go to a hospital to get rabies shots because of a bat that was in our house (it's a long story.) And yet. And yet, we still love the place.

I'm going to say it because I get royalties every time I do. Walt Disney World is a magical place. It really is. I witness magic every time I'm there. In something my child says or does, or while watching fireworks from the front of the monorail (you really should try that) or just in riding one of the rides. But even more than that, it's just a time to regroup. To remember what it's like being a family, and doing family stuff. Some people find themselves among the mountains and beaches. For me and my family, it happens around the animatronic crocodile singing Zip A Dee Do Dah. And yes, bad stuff happens. There are fights and short tempers. But those things wash away like dirt on the knees. And then suddenly we're excited again to go back. We leave tomorrow and you would think I hadn't been there for ages as excited as I am. In reality, we were there last November. Like I said, I got it bad.

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