Unvacations

Published on April 20th, 2015 | by Richard Black

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Going Disney: Day Two, The Drive Completed and Zeno’s Paradox

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Holy. Dear. Christ. My daughter didn’t look quite like this when she came out of the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique but that’s because her hair wasn’t dyed and we passed on the five gallon bucket of foundation.

After a sum total of four hours of sleep I awoke fully refreshed and ready to continue our journey to Disney World. That’s actually not true at all. After lying awake in a hotel room bed with my wife and daughter for the better part of three hours I’d finally fallen asleep to have Darcy rabbit kick me in the kidneys for the remainder of the night. That’s actually not true either. Occasionally I’d roll over to provide Darcy with the opportunity to kick me in the crotch and I alternated my front and backside every thirty minutes or so until about five in the morning when I finally passed out from exhaustion.

We began the day with a hearty breakfast before hopping into the car to continue our journey from Valdosta which, according to MapQuest means “16 hours from Disney World in” Seminole. I drove for a sum total of 45 minutes before falling asleep behind the wheel and, after a small bit of excitement that involved diving over five lanes of traffic, succumbed to my wife’s suggestion that I stop driving. I graciously acquiesced and spent the next three hours in a state of jostled semi-consciousness as I attempted to sleep while replacing movies from Darcy’s DVD player and providing Laura with directions to Orlando.

The last 60 miles to Disney World were an exercise in frustration. I’d finally gotten it together enough to be a semi-decent copilot but Siri proved to be about as trustworthy as MapQuest in terms of navigation. While MapQuest provides an end total to the destination Siri does not, at least not easily or by any button or instruction I could offer that involved a lot of yelling. My daughter is a trooper when it comes to road trips. She generally doesn’t ask for much and has the bladder the size of an orca whale but after 36 hours in the car she wanted Disney.

According to Siri we began to count off the miles to what we thought was surely the entrance to the park.

“Just 30 more to go” we both chimed for the second time in an hour prompting Darcy to ask “if we were close yet” every thirty seconds.

“Not quite,” we responded as cheerfully as possible. Every. Thirty. Seconds.

The miles to each subsequent turn were becoming smaller and smaller we assumed we were getting closer to our destination but we were always wrong. The numbers dwindled but the time involved in traveling the distance stretched out to infinity. Some long forgotten neuron in my brain fired as we were five hundred feet away from our hotel after we’d been 1,000 feet and then a full mile for the past five hours that I realized that we were living a real life version of Zeno’s Paradox. To paraphrase Zeno’s thoughts on travel and distance one moving with a small child between point A and C must first travel to B, a point halfway between Atlanta and Disney World let’s call Gainsburg. Before traveling to Gainsburg however one must travel to a point halfway between Gainsburg and Atlanta, point D we’ll call Valdosta. Zeno continued parsing the distance between A and C into halves and still more halves and then even more halves until he asked whether one could reasonably expect to reach one’s destination. Despite the fact that philosophers are the last people one should ask to plan a road trip or really any vacation Zeno did have a remarkable grasp of what it feels like to approach any destination when driving with small children.

Some fifty miles and a few eons later we finally arrived at Disney World and it was lovely. After checking into our hotel, the Wilderness Lodge and grabbing a quick bite to eat I hit the Magic Kingdom with the fam. We hopped on The Mad Hatter’s Teacups first which was probably a mistake as I didn’t remember anything else for a few hours until we chanced up the iconic Dumbo ride that I enjoyed more than thirty years ago and made me sob like someone had cut off my arm.

UF_dumbo_bronze_sculpture_042015One of the joys of the old Dumbo ride was that it was controlled by the same mechanism pilots used to control the altitude of their airplanes back in Wilbur and Orville’s day: the stick. For those unfamiliar with the workings of “the stick” pulling it backward (the natural instinct for a small child with a gut wrenching pant wetting feat of heights) raises the plane or, in this case the Dumbo. Pushing “the stick” forward (a decidedly un-instinctive motion for the same child) lowers the Dumbo and I spent the duration of the ride in such a heightened state of fear that to this day I cannot watch the movie Dumbo without a pair of Depends.

The important thing is that my daughter had a good time at least that’s what I’m told. The highlight of the day for Darcy was a visit to the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique located on the ground floor of Cinderella’s castle. The Boutique is new since I last visited but it’s essentially a spa that turns little girls into princesses by letting them wear their favorite Disney princess dress, painting their nails and styling their hair. It sounds pretty innocuous in theory but in reality it’s a little more disconcerting. After choosing their dresses the little girls are led to a salon chair and given the option of six or seven different updos and all of them inevitably select the same one that involves a metric ton of hair jell. and a top knot.  Now I’m all for letting my daughter play pretend and dress up like a princess, really I am. I’ve even written a post about it called Raising a Unicorn Zombie Princess which I would encourage you to read as I could really use the attention.

The end result of my daughter’s transformation from Darcy to a dwarf like version of Cinderella was quite disturbing and once a few more pounds of hair jell was added to her hair my daughter was rendered unrecognizable to both Laura and myself. Darcy usually wears her hair down and I rarely see her cheeks much less her ears or the back of her neck. When the process complete and my daughter was revealed I realized that I could literally walk past her on a busy street and not notice that she was well, in fact, my child. Still she was happy and a side benefit of the makeover was that, in addition to looking like a princess, Darcy felt as if she should act like a princess and carried herself with a quiet dignity for the next few hours.

For our evening meal Laura had reserved a table at the “Be Our Guest” restaurant in the Beast’s castle which, in all honesty, did justice to the set of the movie. The main floor was the ballroom featured in the movie rendered in remarkable detail. In addition to the main ballroom dining was also provided in the east wing of the “castle” in which the few guests the Beast entertained would retire in comfort and the west wing where the Beast lived which was an entirely different and altogether creepier affair.

According to the laws written down by by our father’s forefathers regarding dining with a tired and hungry child the family will be seated:

a. By something that smells “gross”

b. After the child falls to the floor boneless and flops around like a dying fish, twice.

c. At least twice

d. All of the above

The answer of course is all of the above. We were originally placed in the west wing a room that looked like it had been decorated and designed by the Tasmanian Devil after he’d gone on a bender in a furniture store. Chairs were artfully overturned, paintings were ripped by ferocious claws, thunder and lightening flashed and boomed every few minutes. To cap off the ambiance a magical rose on it’s last legs…errr petals, cast the back of the room in an ominous pinkish glow that freaked the fuck out of my daughter who really just wanted to sit down and have the opportunity to refuse something to eat. In the spirit of self promotion I feel that I should also mention that I’ve written a post about that as well titled “What is the Sound of My Four Year Old Eating Dinner?” and Other Unanswerable Questions of the Ages.

We were reseated quickly but the damage had been done.

After sitting in the car for 16 hours (according to MapQuest) and running around the park for another six having ingested nothing more than half a PB&J Darcy was cooked, fried, and shot. Even under the best of circumstances my daughter is a picky eater and when she is hungry or tired the odds of her eating anything more exciting than a saltine cracker without the salt and a glass of tepid water are fairly slim. It was around the time our waiter dumped an entire tray of drinks on the floor showering our feet with water, Sprite and shattered glass I realized that having a pleasant dinner was going to be an exercise of the utmost futility.

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Thunder and lightening; a delightful accoutrements to any meal particularly one that involves a four year old who is pathologically terrified of loud booming sounds.

Midway between ordering a second round of drinks, my daughter’s constant complaints and the peaceful sounds of small children dropping silverware onto a marble floor Darcy announced that she had to use the facilities and wouldn’t let anyone but her mother take her to the restroom. The experience shouldn’t have been overly traumatic for either Darcy or Laura but the had the misfortune of traveling with me and the aura of cluster fuck that I bring to the table on any vacation.  I didn’t get all of the details but I gathered that Darcy hopped off the toilet in a screaming panic just as Laura just knelt down to give our daughter a hand when the automatic flush went off to geyser my wife in the face.

My daughter and wife, baptized in a fine mist of urine and toilet water, returned to the table where we futilely attempted to convince Darcy to eat a plate of french fries and a bowl of macaroni and cheese. Laura and I scarfed our our meal down and bonged as many drinks as possible under the wary eye of our server while Darcy flopped around her seat and occasionally moaned about ice cream or something before holding her nose and gagging every time a server walked by with an entree. It was a truly magical meal.

We left Be Our Guest before security was called to escort to slightly drunken parents and one screaming tsunami of a child to enjoy a 60 minute jaunt to the exit of the park amidst a labyrinth of people or, drunks as they are more appropriately known, who had camped out at 8:00 in the evening for the 10:00 fireworks show. Sixteen hours later (according to MapQuest) we reached the egress of the park and the dock to board a boat that took us back to our hotel. In hindsight it may have been the most pleasant portion of the day.

After reaching our room Darcy was given a thorough bathing to remove the fourteen pounds of hair gel that had been put on her head. Once my daughter was dressed I realized that I needed some space from the beloved family I had spent the past 48 hours with in close proximity and that the feeling was probably mutual. With Larua’s blessing I left for the hotel bar where I spent $18 on two beers. Fortunately the hotel store has six packs on sale for the economical price of $15.00 which is where I will leave you. If you need me I’ll be outside for the next hour or so. I’ve decided to take up smoking again.

Please join me for tomorrow when I will detail my experience in the Magic Kingdom in a, hopefully, slightly hungover state.

 

Thoughts:

The entire Magic Kingdom looks like the game  Bioshock Infinitum without the tacit racism. Then again there’s probably a reason that Israel isn’t included as one of the nations a person can visit in Epcot.

I have never seen more people wearing work out gear who have apparently never worked out in their lives. I’m not saying that someone shouldn’t be comfortable but for the love of God tickets to Disney World are expensive. Dress up a little bit and by little bit I mean wear a t-shirt and if you’re wondering if that tank top isn’t flattering it probably isn’t.

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