And so for the next three months, I thought of my impending vacation with anxiety, trepidation, dread and just generally feeling like a jerk for feeling anxiety, trepidation and dread at the thought of a vacation in fucking Florida in the middle of winter.
What’s the point of a vacation though if you don’t have a good time? It should be fun, it should be relaxing, it should be worth the vacation time I used.
I wasn’t convinced that it would be.
Every time I told someone I was going to DisneyWorld, I was met with incredulity. From my boss to my brother, everyone reacted similarly. ‘You? You’re going to DisneyWorld?‘
I was like hearing my own thoughts in other people’s voices.(1)
Sometimes I voiced my concern to Ashley. Her reactions varied. Sometimes she showed an extraordinary amount of faith in Disney Magic by saying that I’d enjoy it despite what I thought of the company. Other times I could sense her frustration with me for whining about a friggin’ vacation.(2)
She was always patient, though. And it paid off.
As a kid I somehow developed these little fears of fairly unlikely things happening. Running out of gas. Running out of food. Leaving money in pockets in the wash. Losing my ticket. I’m sure The Moms is behind the development of these fears, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I still live with them.
The tickets we bought for the park were four-day park-hopper passes. This meant that, for four days, I could get into any of the four DisneyWorld parks as frequently as I liked.(3) It also meant that I’d have to not-lose that ticket for four days, that the ticket was very, very valuable to anyone who might pick it up, that even though it had my name on it and the lodge I was staying at anyone who might find it after I lost it wouldn’t really go out of his or her way to return it.
This worried me to no end, even though I almost never lose things. I have many irrational fears: losing my wallet in the restroom, dropping my phone in the toilet, being unintentionally mean to the handicapped. This fear of losing things has no precedent, but it certainly does rule my life sometimes.
On Monday we made our way to Magic Kingdom. We got off the bus, followed the people to the entrance, stopped at the little bag-checking station so some polite-but-obviously-bored officer could give Ashley’s backpack a once-over, and got in the ticket line. There were turn-styles attached to machines that you’d put the ticket in.
And when you put your ticket in, a little blue light came on and a screen asked you to put your finger there for a fingerprint scan.
That’s how Disney handles non-transferable tickets. Each ticket is assigned to a fingerprint and can only be used by the person in possession of that print.
I had a moment in which I thought about the FBI knowing I was at DisneyWorld and just general paranoia but then I realized something: if someone found my ticket after I lost it(4) there’d be no way they’d be able to use it unless they also found my severed right index finger lying next to it. An extremely unlikely scenario(5), it helped me to realize that since no one would be able to use my ticket, whoever found it would most logically turn it in.
So…I didn’t have to worry about that one thing.
And it’s a little thing, more rooted in my own neuroses than and real-world evidence, but the point of a vacation, in my own rarely humble opinion, is not to worry about things so much.
That right there, Adored Readers, is why I enjoyed Disney so much. I have more stories to tell and I’ll get to them this week(6), but the main thing that DisneyWorld does that tops every other vacation resort I’ve ever been to is that they let you not worry about the little things.
- If you stay at Disney lodging, you don’t have to worry about parking at the parks.
- If you don’t want to worry about affording food, they have meal plans that are worth the cost.
- If you don’t want to worry about finding your way around, they have maps everywhere, and, furthermore, any and all Cast Members(7) can tell you where you need to go.
- If you stay at Disney lodging, you can buy souvenirs all you like while you’re in the park and not have to worry about carrying them around; they’ll send them to the lodge for you.
- If you don’t want to worry about wasting your day in lines, they have Fast Passes. You use your park ticket to get a Fast Pass for a particular ride and then come back at the appointed time and pretty much get right on the ride.
- If you have small children and don’t want to worry about waiting in the lines twice so you both can ride the ride, they have Child Swap.(8) Parent A can ride the ride while Parent B and baby wait in a room stationed at the end of the line. Once Parent A gets off the ride, he or she goes in the room and Parent B get right on the ride.
These are all little things, but you don’t need to be Clark Griswold to know that it’s always the little things that ruin vacations. And it’s exactly for this reason that I would go back to DisneyWorld again and again and again. It seems that on vacation you can either a) relax or b) have fun. At DisneyWorld, you can do both.(9)
- Typically reserved for people suffering multiple-personality disorder.
- And yes, sometimes I was whining. Even now, halfway into my 30s, I still find myself whining. I am an old man before my time.
- For those of you considering going, the park-hoppers seem pricey. But do the math and compare the daily cost to the daily cost of lesser amusement parks and you’ll see it’s worth it. And park-hopping allows you to move onto another park when one closes, or hit up a park again for an hour in the morning. Park-hoppers take away a certain pressure and are totally worth the cost.
- Which, again, probably wouldn’t happen.
- Though right there in line I invented about five ways in which it could happen.
- Provided I’m not taking it up the ass from a hyperactive, well-endowed sadist at work again.
- Disney’s word for park employees.
- Which really needs a different name.
- I hate that I sound like a damn commercial right now.