LOST IN SUBURBIA? by Tracy Beckerman…Greetings From Disney World¬©

Walt Disney was mistaken. It is NOT a small world after all. If the line to get into Space Mountain is any indication, it is a big, BIG world. And everyone who lives in it, it seems, is waiting to get on this ride.
Yes, we are in the happiest place on Earth. That is, if your idea of a good time is to stand on line with hundreds of kids melting down from hunger, exhaustion and overstimulation.
I should have known I was in trouble when my sister-in-law with whom we are traveling (and a respected Disney-veteran) told me we had to call for reservations for a character breakfast 3 months, 2 hours and 30 minutes to the day before the breakfast we wanted. And when I called 3 months, 2 hours and 45 minutes ahead of the date, they were already completely booked.
Honestly, I didn?t have this much trouble getting a reservation at the White House.
Then the happy folks at Disney called me a month before our trip to tell us that they canceled our reservation at the Caribbean Beach Resort.
?We?re sorry. We decided to close that resort for renovations the week that you?re planning to be here.?
?But I made those reservations last January,? I protested.
?Its not a problem,? she said cheerfully. ?We can put you up at another Moderate resort instead.?
?Oh no. If you cancel my reservation, you can put me up at the Grand Floridian!? I must have been on speakerphone. I heard laughing in the background.
?Port Orleans is nice,? she said. ?I?m sure you and your husband and two kids will be very comfortable in our cramped 10×10 foot rooms with two double beds and a trundle and you should be grateful that we?re not booking you into the trailer park next to the petting zoo because you paid for this trip with frequent flier miles which basically means no money for us.?
O.K. she didn?t say that. But that was pretty much what was going on. At this point, I figured we?d only be in the rooms to sleep, so what?s the difference anyway. And so we went. And by day 3, I was convinced that if one more person wished me a magical day, I was going to punch them in the face.
?Sorry. The Peter Pan ride is closed for repairs, but have a magical day.?
?Sorry. Your daughter?s not tall enough to go on this ride that she?s been waiting for three days to go on. but have a magical day.?
?Sorry. You have a regular park hopper pass and you need an ultimate park hopper pass to get into this attraction, otherwise it?s $40 per person? but have a magical day.?
Is it any wonder Disney is losing money?
I finally decided that I needed an attitude adjustment if I was going to make it through two more theme parks, another character dinner, and the Hoop-dee-doo revue (don?t ask). So I did what any sane mother would do. I bought Mickey Mouse ears, ate Mickey Mouse Pancakes, and told my kids if they didn?t stop whining and have a good time, next year we would spend our vacation at the Mall.
Thus, the whining ceased, temporarily of course, and we all started to have a good time.
By the end of each day, my children, covered in goo from the countless ice pops, gummy things, and fried who-knows-whats we fed then as we waited on the lines, fell asleep on the bus, dreaming of Buzz and Woody, beauties and beasts, and seven assorted dwarfs.
Five days later, we?re back home. As I tuck my son into bed, I ask him, ?So, do you miss Disney??
?Nah. It was fun, but it?s good to be home.?
Amen to that. Oh, and have a magical day.
©2006, Beckerman. All rights reserved. For more LOST IN SURBURBIA columns, click here.