Hating Disney

I don’t do well on vacation. Scott notes that while I’m generally not that stressed out in normal life, put me on vacation and I get much more tightly wound, grumpy and out of sorts. Talking it over with my sister while standing in the “It’s a Small World Ride,” I realized it’s because I’m a “P” on the Myers-Briggs.

A “P” is a person who loves openness, spontaneity and possibilities. At work, I act like a “J”, a person who loves order, timeliness and planning. I love to plan for work. I hate to plan my personal life.

Hence, misery on vacation.

Vacations promise a wonderful open period of rest, rejuvenation, reconnection and recreation. But there are just too many options for how to rest, rejuvenate, reconnect and recreate, and I don’t want to waste any of them. So I obsess about each meal, wanting each one to be delicious and a good value. I obsess about the timing of each activity, and each wasted moment sitting in traffic or lines.

Add how much I hate spending money and how money freely flows from my pocket to those of all the vendors, restauranteurs and entertainers, and you can see why I get even more grumpy.

So here’s my list of why I hate Disney (and maybe vacation in general):

1. The food: Expensive, unhealthy, long lines, need I say more?

2. The guests. I got my head chewed off by a woman in the parking lot because after saying “Excuse me” a couple times in trying to pass by her open car door, I pushed a little—big mistake—her leg was in the door and she was not happy. Rather than obsequiously apologizing (which I should have done), I said in an annoyed voice, “I’m sorry, but I said excuse me several times,” to which I got my head ripped off for not saying “excuse me” loud enough. I’m sure I ruined her day too, so “problem guests” counts me as well.

3. Motion sickness: I swore when I was a kid that I would not be a deadbeat like my mother and would ride roller coasters till I croaked. That’s before my eye/ear alignment matured, and now even carousels make me sick. In graduate school I took Dramamine at Great America, almost falling asleep while waiting in line for a 7 loop rollercoaster. I no longer drug myself to have fun, so I’m a party pooper.

4. Crowds

5. Lines

6. Spending money

7. My kids spending money, especially when it’s on plastic junk that will either break or be donated in the next year.

8. The never-ending whine, “Can I get a (fill in the blank with ice cream, soda, treat, hat, wand, piece of plastic junk, ‘nother ride on _____)” to be met with the accusation that I’m an evil mother when I say no.

9. The fact that I’m sure there’s some evil capitalistic, bad-for-the-environment, consumeristic damaging consequence to theme parks.

10. “It’s a Small World.” OK, this is just a pet peeve, not really something I hate, but there are only 3 little Chinese animatronic figures compared to about 6 Hawaiian ones. Really? We who represent ¼ of the world’s population get 3 little figures???

Today, we finished our last theme park after braving Harry Potter World yesterday (which really was fabulous even though it fulfilled at least the first 8 of my pet peeves above) and Hollywood Studios today. I used my sister’s Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World’s suggested touring guide for both parks and it worked great. By following a plan that I didn’t have to think up I avoided stressing that each little potentially great moment was slipping away and generally avoided standing interminably in lines.

And because of my motion sickness excuse, kids going on roller coasters became a great excuse to read Water for Elephants.

I also gritted my teeth and allowed my son to buy a $31.90 Dumbledore wand and even somewhat cheerfully bought frozen butterbeers for $4.50 a pop (pun intended). I embarrassed my kids by willfully staying in each holding pen to listen to every bit of the Harry Potter story, and again when I waved wildly almost jumping up and down attempting to be chosen as an extra for Indiana Jones (which sadly didn’t happen—maybe it’s because all 3 were hanging on my arms attempting to pull them down).

We watched 2 episodes of American Idol and cheered wildly when our gal won both times which gets her a golden ticket to the front of the line at her nearest Idol audition (the best Fastpass in the world).

Which brings me back to the fact that while there are things I hate about Disney, no matter how I weigh it all, I still love Disney.

Love does cover a multitude of sins. Even $31.90 Dumbledore wands.

About Kathy Tuan-MacLean

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