The happiest place on earth is Disney, right? So far, my experience with the happiest place on earth has included packing for myself and 2 small children, driving for 3 days with said children, and traveling to and from the Magic Kingdom. For the 5 people on earth (and my father) who have not experienced Disney firsthand, here is a breakdown of a day at the Magic Kingdom. Drive to Disney World. Pay a small fortune to park your car. Schlep yourself, husband, kids, snacks, water and sunscreen to wait for a tram. Pile into the tram and ride to a secondary location. At this point, I'm remembering all the after school specials about kidnapping and thinking "hey, never let them take you to a second location. You are as good as dead if they do". Pay the equivalent of 2 years of college tuition to get tickets to Disney for kids who are now whining "where is Disney? How much longer/farther do we have to walk/wait?". Wait for a monorail or the slowest moving ferry to take you to Magic Kingdom. We are now waiting in a 3rd line to go to a 3rd location. At this point, the only ride your 3 year old has been on is the parking lot tram and he is wondering why his crazy parents drove for 3 days for that experience. Finally approach the Magic Kingdom and wait in another line to get your backpack searched. Convince the abnormally perky 'cast members' that the only lethal and/or dangerous things in your bag are the diapers and used Kleenex. Next you will experience Darwinism on vacation. To (finally) enter the park, you just push your ticket through an electronic machine that even provides pictures to guide you through the process. Standing over this process is a 'cast member' to supervise and assist. Your tickets even has arrows on it to help speed up the process. There is a 50/50 chance if getting it right on the first try. 85% of park guests will take 3-4 attempts to get it right. Now you get to experience the magic that is Disney. This will involve dragging tired kids from ride to ride and waiting 30-40 minutes for each ride. Along the path, there will be stands that sell junk food and souvenirs. Luckily, my kids know that I am the cheapest and meanest mommy on the planet. And the smartest. We bring food, snacks and drinks in so we don't have to spend a not-so-small fortune on snacks and wait in yet another line for the privilege of doing so. As for souvenirs, well, let's just say there isn't room in mommy's backpack or wallet. Faced with the prospect of paying for their own trinkets and lugging them around themselves will quickly disabuse them of that idea.
Waiting in line at Disney, while not enjoyable, usually moves along and the line almost never gets longer in front of you. It is orderly and efficient. This is my 4th time at Disney in my young life -3rd time with small, impatient children. This is the first time I have ever had someone blatantly decide they are above waiting in line. Sara wanted a picture of her attempting to pull the sword from the stone. It is a 12 second photo op and there were only 2 kids ahead of us. So, a little boy yanks, smiles, poses and makes way for an adorable little 2 year old girl. As she toddles up to the sword, some mom lets her 10 year old old jump ahead of her and grab onto the sword for dear life. I've held my kids with less devotion. For the record, I HATE confrontation because I always seem to confront angry and indignant people who refuse to admit even the slightest chance that they might be wrong about anything. Thank goodness I am not one of those people;). This time, I decide I'm going to speak up for my child and the poor little tot in her Cinderella gown. I politely inform the mom that there is a short line behind my daughter. The mom looks at me then sends her daughter up to pose!!! Ok, I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt for the first one because the line was small. Maybe she didn't see the makeshift line. But the second one took some gumption, to put it nicely. Now, Sara is looking at me to see what is going to happen. I've been in the hot sun all day, standing on my feet, listening to "It's A Small World". I'm hot, sweaty, tired, achy and crabby. And just a little passive-aggressive. So, in my best loud mommy voice, I tell Sara that it is a shame that people can't wait their turn. Why don't we use our best manners and show people how easy it is to do the right thing and wait our turn. Sadly, my message was lost because that chick was outta there the minute she got her photo ops. I hope her photos are blurry or her kids have red devil eyes in the photos. Even suffering from heat exhaustion, I noticed that Kodak mom from hell took her opportunity at one of the few places where cast members were not available to keep the line moving smoothly.
At the end of the day, when you have run out of energy, patience, money, and the kids are begging to go home because they are so tired they could not possibly walk another step, you announce it's time to depart the Magic Kingdom. Getting to the top of Everest is easier and faster. You have to navigate around all the family reunions around you towards the front of the park, return the stroller you waited in line for, exit the park, wait in line for the monorail or ferry back to the parking lot, take the tram to your parking area and find your minivan in a sea of other minivans. While you are doing all this, both kids will claim utter exhaustion and every limb in their small bodies will cease working. Both will demand that you carry them AND all their stuff. As you leave the Disney property, your kids will get a second wind and ask if you can stay for the fireworks.
Tomorrow, we are off to see the Animal Kingdom. Let's see who is the king of the jungle. Survival of the fittest, Disney-style.