The (sneaky) ways Disney forces you to be happy

Excuse me, before I begin, I’ll need to shake these sparkles out of my hair.

That’s better.

My family just got back from Disney World and I was expecting: a nightmare chorus of toddler meltdowns, $35 ice cream cones, sweaty, angry, sunbeaten parents and maybe spotting that tiny princess castle in all the brochure pictures. I figured this vacation would be another labor of love like that time we stood in line for two hours to see Santa at Macy’s and then when we finally got to the front, my kid flung herself on the floor and wailed. Basically, this trip would be one of those things I could say we did in case they accuse me of depriving them later. I keep photo evidence.

However, I ended up . . . actually having a magical time?

I always feel like I have to say this when I say good things about things I purchase, but please know, Disney did not pay me to say any of this. In fact, they probably hate me because I think their t-shirts are ugly. I mean seriously, have you ever seen this? Eye bleed.

The truth is, Disney is fucking magic.

I mean, the kids had a good time and all, but I’m talking about it was magic for me. Sure, kids love roller coasters and picking up some swag here and there, but that could all be accomplished with a day at Six Flags and a trip to the Disney store right here in Chicago. A Disney vacation is magic for the parents. I want to go back. Like, now. Even my husband spent an hour researching time shares and rewards points cards. This, the man who laughed at his co-worker last week for suggesting he find the hidden Mickeys. Oh, we were so young then.

I’ll start with the obvious ways Disney makes people happy and get to the sneaky parts later.

1. They take your bags in Chicago and you don’t see them again until they arrive in your room in Orlando. No baggage claim!

2. Then they are nice to your kids and hand out stickers while ushering you onto a coach bus to the hotel. No car rental! You really just kind of float starting the second your vacation begins.

3. I guess this only applies to one family per day, but it was us, so I’ll include that when we checked into the hotel, a crew welcomed us with balloons. BALLOONS DUDE. We had been randomly chosen as “family of the day” so we got a ridiculous upgrade to our room on a floor that included free food and cocktails for our entire trip. Seriously, this was our view for the fireworks every night.

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And here are the sneaky ways Disney will make sure you are the happiest little clam on Earth:

4. There are no mirrors in the bathrooms. Okay, they keep one at the entrances, but inside the massive bathroom complexes, there are never any mirrors at the sinks. This is so a) you keep it moving instead of fixing your hair for two hours and b) so you don’t see how ugly you look after whooshing down Thunder Mountain. They say people who don’t keep full length mirrors in their house are happier. I guess Disney takes this a step further and takes away all the mirrors so you are blissfully unaware that you look like a troll. I forgot I was fat for a whole week!

5. There are no TVs – not in the lobbies, not in the rooms, no where unless they are playing Disney stuff. This place is like a little bubble. You slip in and leave the 24-hours news cycle behind. I didn’t realize until I was waiting for the departure flight at Orlando airport that I was supposed to be terrified of Ebola. When I look at this, all I see are Mickey ears floating on a balloon string.

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The microscopic Ebola virus is rare, deadly and rather adorable.

6. They have pay phones with old school phone books attached. What? Pay phones? Why yes. When your cell phones dies, which it will, you can easily get ahold of your people without having to involve the staff or explain yourself to strangers as you ask them to lend you their $600 iPhone to text your husband.

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7. Disney must pay these people a ton or have killer cast parties or pump Zoloft into the company water cooler because everyone who works there is nice. Like, actually nice. In moments of down time, employees will just randomly ask you how your day is going. The whole thing started to feel like the The Truman Show. Was this all just for me? Did they know I have a grumpy side and would probably be writing about them on social media later? Are they clearing traffic because they know I have to pee? Did they name it It’s A Small World so I would be pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a pretty spacious ride? #conspiracy

8. No one is on their phone. People do take pictures with their phones, but actual internet service is spotty. Sure, they could fix that, but then you would have paid all this money to be here with your kids and be glued to your smart device. Nope, not on Disney’s watch. You will interact with your family, dammit. You will make these memories. If my husband had been physically able to check email, he would have. Instead, 426 of them piled up for him to check at the airport. Mwahahaha! If you want to work, stay home. If you want to see what the people from your high school are eating for lunch, you are an idiot. I did actually see one guy talking on his phone during the Dumbo ride, but I will assume he was bringing his ill grandmother into that once-in-a-lifetime experience.

9. There are no $35 ice cream cones. Maybe there are, but they are hidden up in the secret swank towers. Everything I saw was the normal couple bucks. This reminds me, if I’ve learned anything about Disney, it’s that there’s always another secret layer. I imagine the innermost chamber of knowledge is only bestowed upon the deathbed of the CEO. Hint: It’s a mani-pedi wet bar located in the top castle spire.

10. It’s 85 degrees in October. We’re from Chicago where my kids are already in their down coats. Brains + logic = MAGIC OF DISNEY. Good thinking on that Orlando location, Walt.

So yeah. I want to live there.

UPDATE – I also feel the need to say Spirit airlines is awesome. I had heard some scary things and was prepared for the worst, but everyone is nice and it was completely enjoyable. Also, very cheap.


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