Tag Archives: Mickey

Do You Remember This?

Memory is a fickle thing.

You might remember the phone number of your girlfriend from high school, but not be able to remember the phone number you just looked up on the computer and have forgotten it by the time you get your cellphone out of your pocket.

You might remember that horrifying time you accidentally ordered sheep’s brains in a French restaurant three decades ago, but not remember what you had for breakfast this morning.

Students, of course, have the most contact with the fickle side of memory. I’m sure every single kid has studied their butts off the night before a test and gone to sleep confident they know everything there is to know about the subject. However, when they sit down in class to actually take the test, the answers remain frustratingly out of reach.

I wish I’d remembered to take that sort of thing into account when my young dudes were, in fact, young. I would have saved a lot of money I spent at Walt Disney World, I’ll tell you that.

Latest research talks about childhood amnesia or infantile amnesia, which means we remember nothing before we’re about 2 years old. The more sporadic holdover takes us up until about age 10 and, from those years, we retain fewer memories than we should, based merely on the passage of time.

And, yet, still we took the young dudes to Walt Disney World because we wanted them to have great memories of the place from when they were younger. We knew about childhood amnesia, but thought we’d be different.

Which explains why I was in Walt Disney World last December, accompanied by Hyper Lad and his mom, my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Hankering For More Mickey. See, we talked with Hyper Lad and he said he had never been to Disney World before. We begged to differ. He stood firm and we realized he just didn’t remember it.

Which led to me asking his older brothers and I found they didn’t really remember any of their trips with a great deal of clarity, only bits and bursts. Hyper Lad, though? Nothing.

At least, that’s what we thought until we got there.

We were walking through one of Disney’s resorts on our way to a dinner when Hyper Lad had a flash of memory. He stopped still and pointed to the window sill on a room we were walking by.

“That,” he said. “I remember that. We stayed here.”

No, actually, we hadn’t. We had, however, stayed at a hotel where our room was right next to the pool and there had been a windowsill like that outside of our room. He remembered something, but it required some visual and tactile reminders to trigger it.

You might want to keep that in mind the next time you’re considering an expensive vacation with a young dude or dudette. Or even a massively expensive birthday party for one of your spawn.

Which reminds me. . .  Let’s talk more about this on Wednesday, yeah?

Share on Facebook

Park People Parade Purposefully

Pick your poison, dudes.

If you’ve never been to Walt Disney World, I simultaneously envy and pity you. I have a massive love-hate relationship with Mouschwitz, knowing how much happiness it brings to most and how much misery it’s brought to me in the past.

Still, this last time, I actually had more fun than not. And that’s something of a first for me.

How to describe the Magic Kingdom? It’s been called (relentlessly) The Happiest Place On Earth and the cast members there certainly try to force you to live up to that logo. They are smiling all the time. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that facial smile fatigue is the most-treated concern at the Disney Docs.

Completely covered in concrete, the Magic Kingdom is what first comes to mind when most dudes think about Walt Disney World. It’s made up of Adventureland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland , Main Street USA, Mickey’s Toontown Circus and Liberty Square. Crowds enter on Main Street and are forced to walk down the double rows of shops and emporiums on their way to Cinderella’s Castle at the end of the street.

Once there, they can branch off into any of the different areas. Famous rides include Space Mountain (my favorite as it’s almost a thrill ride instead of a theme ride), Splash Mountain, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (my third favorite), the Haunted Mansion (my second favorite), the Jungle Cruise and many, many more. Since we went in December, it wasn’t as broiling hot as in the summer months (although most days it got up to 85 Fahrenheit) and the crowds were lighter.

All in all, we had a pretty tremendous time. Hyper Lad enjoyed a lot of the rides, with one severe exception, while the wife and I had a good time as well, actually going on all the rides together, instead of a certain someone sitting it out.

Animal Kingdom was, I thought, very much improved over the last time I went there. In addition to a simply amazing safari ride, I finally experienced the Expedition Everest roller coaster, in which we “escaped” from a Yeti attack. The Animal Kingdom is divided into sections featuring Africa, Asia, Dino Land, Camp Minnie-Mickey and Discovery Island. We had a lot of fun watching the various animal antics and going back in time millions of years to get screamed at by a Carnataurus.

EPCOT was home to three of what turned out to be very, very fun rides. At Mission: Space, Hyper Lad and I went on a virtual Mission to Mars, which featured some very convincing combinations of physical movement and video to make us think we IMG_4184were piloting a ship down to the surface of Mars. At the Test Track, Hyper Lad designed his own massively powered car, which we then drove around a track to “test.” We also enjoyed Soarin’ in The Land section, which combined a moving bench and a very large video of flying, to make us think we were in a hang glider.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios, though, was the most disappointing. Although we enjoyed Star Tours (a virtual ride in an out-of-control spaceship in the Star Wars universe) and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, there wasn’t much else at the park to hold our interest. Although I did get to ride a speeder, so there was that.

All in all, I’d have to say that Disney World made a much better impression on me this time around. Maybe I’m older and less easily angered or annoyed (although I seriously doubt that last one), or having older young dudes along for the ride made for a less-stressful experience, but, whatever the case, it made for an enjoyable short vacation.

Not sure if I’d go back there, but I feel like I can actually recommend other people go without feeling like a hypocrite.

Share on Facebook

Disney Doubters Denied

I was wrong.

I’d thought there were only a finite number of ways you could sell a cartoon character invented more than 70 years ago. Turns out, the number is so large as to be weakly infinite.mickey-mouse-icon

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse will live forever and sell for about as long. I’m sure, deep into the future, when only the memory of humanity exists as dimly recursive software loops in degraded Matrioshka brains orbiting burnt-out brown dwarf stars, there still will be a place for three black circles.

I’d known for a long time that the purpose of Walt Disney World was to find as many ways as possible to cause gullible tourists to throw their money at the eternally smiling cast members and horrifyingly creepy costumes wandering around the park.

In the past, I’d resented it. This time, though, I had to stare in wonder at the intricate dance created by all those moving parts and could only admire the hard work and dedication that went into creating such a smooth cash-removal tool.

It didn’t hurt that I wasn’t constantly surrounded by whining.

I realize I’m doing a lot of whining here in these several posts, but, humorous whining aside, I find that I actually enjoyed myself during the four days I spent at Disney World with Hyper Lad and my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Receiving Her Mouse Fix One More Time.

We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge, a massive ode to the Northwestern American frontier experience. In other words, lots of logs, totem poles and nods at the fact that Native Americans exist, but nothing about what happened to their culture. If you’ve never experienced the Wilderness Lodge, you might not understand, but this is just one example of how Disney goes all-out to sell the theme of whatever place it’s showing.

The pool appears to be fed from a bubbling spring in the hotel lobby that gushes into a winding creek, that follows a waterfall down into the pool, from which another creek exits under a bridge. In addition, there’s an artificial geyser shooting into the air every hour on the hour. Provided you can keep from your mind the cost of the experience, it’s something to behold.

If you’re planning on going to the Magic Kingdom, then the Wilderness Lodge is a great place to stay. Instead of having to drive or take one of the many buses, you can cross to the Magic Kingdom from the Lodge by riding on a boat taxi across the manmade lake that separates the two. It’s quick and scenic and nowhere near as crowded as the buses.

Making a trek to the other parks, though, mostly involves a bus ride that, at times, can feel like the Bataan Death March, both in length and in punishment brought to bear. You’ve not experienced the joys of a bus ride until you’ve been packed into a container designed to hold 45 that’s carrying 70, you’re pressed up against a hard-edged stroller and there’s three babies screaming and squalling in discordant disharmony.

But even that can be endured as long as the journey is worthwhile once you reach the destination. And, for the most part, it actually was.

More on the parks tomorrow.

Share on Facebook