I just got back a few weeks ago from Disney World. We were there as a family celebrating my older brother’s 50th birthday (love that guy). My kids were pumped to go, as were my brother and his family, his friends and my parents were as just about anyone else usually is who ever decides to take out a home loan and go to the “happiest place on earth”. Me? I was cautiously optimistic. We had taken our kids when they were much younger (more on this later) and the trip was a disaster with my wife and I swearing we would never go back. BUT – I had remembered as a kid how much I loved the place, and was hoping that our last trip was an aberration. After all, this was for my big bro who LOVES Disney with every fiber of his being. As the days got closer to the trip I kept feeling like I did as a kid, saw how my own children were really pumped and was really excited about giving Disney World another chance. Well, I am here to say that Disney World can go fuck right off all over again. Why? Let me count the ways.
Human Petri Dish – When you have literally tens of thousands of people jammed into these “magical” parks daily, you inevitably also get all of their disgusting germs, snots and sicknesses on every railing, door handle, ride seats, etc – and they are anything but “magical”. As I alluded to above, we took our kids with some great friends and their kids when they were 4 and 2 years old. We were there for a week, and literally on NIGHT ONE my son puked all over me at dinner in a restaurant. Good times. OK – small hiccup we thought and we motored on. The next morning, I woke up to my friends doing laundry in our timeshare. Turns out, THEY had been puking all night too. And on and on it went – literally every goddamn day of our trip someone in our group was vomiting violently. The coup de gras? My friend Mike had his son Liam on his shoulders as we were walking off a ride in Epcot. I was ahead of him and heard from behind me “Oh no!” and I turned around to see Liam puking on my friend Mike’s head. While hysterical (Mike still is pissed to this day that I could not help because I was laughing so hard) this is literally Disney World in a nutshell. Come to the “happiest place on earth” and get your disease of the week! I have too many friends and colleagues to count who have told me similar stories. Look – I am no germaphobe, but Disney World is a cesspool of human sicknesses. I am convinced a lot of the world’s plagues actually started there and not some foreign country or monkeys or some shit. Guess who had an ear infection upon returning home? Yep. Amoxicillin for the win. Thanks Disney.
Extortion – I am a capitalist through and through, but Disney World is not capitalism. It is extortion. Ever see the movie “A Bronx Tale”? There is a great scene where these bikers go into a mob run bar. The Mob boss first asks them kindly to leave, and when they don’t, he closes the door as his mob cohorts show up and says the classic line “Now Youse can’t leave”.
This is Disney World. Once you enter those “magical” parks you are theirs. Need Water? That will be 7 bucks. Starving? Here’s a pretzel for 8 bucks. Air? As the classic line in “GoodFellas” says ‘ “Fuck you, pay me”. Anyone want to guess how much it costs a family of four (they don’t do “Kid” prices because screw you) for “park hopper” passes for two days? Anyone? How’s about a cool ONE THOUSAND dollars. Let that sink in for a second. $1,000 bucks just to get in for two days for the privilege of spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars more on everything. EVERYTHING. Outside of the food costs, let’s get to the real racket they are running – “souvenirs”. Literally every 5 feet you (AKA your kids) are in sensory overload at shop after shop of Disney branded shit. As your are trying to show your kids a great time because you had to give blood to raise the money to go in the first place, you are almost forced to indulge in purchase after purchase of crap they don’t even use the second they get home. A Minnie Mouse sweatshirt for my 9 year old girl? The cashier literally was twirling his mustache as a cartoon villain would when he said “That will be $50”. On and on and on it goes. Their latest racket is “laniers with pins” that you are supposed to get at all the parks and “trade”. The lanier itself cost $25?!!? For a piece of cloth necklace?!? Pins? 10 – 15 a pop! FOR A PIN. Seriously my blood is boiling as I write this. If my hate level was rated in terms of sizes of animals, I would be a fricking elephant right now. And not that stupid ass Dumbo either.
So.Many.People. I will be the first to admit I hate large crowds, so I am undoubtedly biased here. That being said, no matter what park you are in there are way too many people for you to actually navigate a full half hour without bumping into, stepping on or being way too close to someone. I imagine if you were to fly a drone over any of the parks at any given time and filmed it,it would look something like this:
Never mind the ridiculous lines for the rides (next – wait for it) just to get anywhere in these parks is to navigate through a sea of human cattle like the Terminator in the club scene looking for Sarah Connor. For whatever reason, when people gather in these huge crowds their intelligence decreases several IQ points, and we simply cannot as a species find a way to move in a way that makes and kind of sense. Come lunch or dinner time? Forget about it. I literally thought I was hearing “moo” as we waited in stalls (literally) for our cow feed. As an example of our collective stupidity in masses, how the fuck do you wait in line for a 1/2 hour for food, finally get to the cashier and still not know what you want to order? If you are one of those people I truly hate you. Truly.
The Wait – I would venture to guess the main reason people flock to Disney World is the rides. I agree – the rides are usually pretty awesome (except “It’s a Small World” – that ride can eat shit). Therein lies the problem, though. Everyone wants to go on these rides, and thus you have to wait in SEVERAL HOUR lines for the 3 – 5 minute pleasure to do so. But Ed – Fastpass! I will tackle that BS in a few. I have thought a lot about this, and it makes zero sense really. Things I would wait in several hour lines for in “real life” consist of gold, cash and awesome beer. That’s it. I am of the belief that any sane person in any other setting besides Disney World would agree with me to some extent. Yet, here we all are, in cattle form, waiting hours for 3 – 5 minutes of “weeeee!”. Tickle me pissed off. Not only that, but in these lines you are subject to all the diseases (above) and stupidity (above) that the seas of humanity undoubtedly bring. That dude in line looking at his phone that doesn’t realize that the line has moved way ahead and he is holding up everyone else while you sit there patiently waiting for him to realize he is an asshole? Yeah. Same for my lunch or dinner example I stated earlier. For fuck’s sake, even to get IN to the parks you have to wait in lines. First at the parking lot (?!) where they put you on these cattle mover trams where you are forced to listen to some shithead driver yak on and on then to the gate, where first you go through a massive line at security THEN onto some stupid Mickey Ear console where your pass card never fricking works on the first 10,000 tries. ED SMASH!
Food? Before I rip Disney World a new one here, I will say that Epcot’s World Pavilion has some really good food. England’s fish and chips is money. As for the rest of the parks? Not so much. Look – I get it. They are feeding hordes and hordes of mindless zombies and when you do that it will never be anything of quality. Still – can you just try – even a little bit? Example – we were in Magic Kingdom and wanted to get lunch as a group. My nephew led us to some “restaurant” that was “America” themed. After we manged to get through the sea of stupid people blocking the door because people, we saw the menu. It consisted of basically anything but staples that you would eat at a theme park. Meaning – no hamburgers. hotdogs, pizza, etc. You know – “America” foods. Nope – it was things like Tuna (?!) and peanut butter and jelly (10 bucks!) and other assorted things that outside of Epcot World Pavilion I would never even attempt to order in a theme park. OK – fair enough. So my wife, daughter and I said to the group “we will try to find something else, something that won’t make me puke at the sight of it”. We proceeded to walk through over 1/2 the park and found crap selection after crap selection – really more “snacks” than “meals”. We finally found near the entrance a hot dog place (Yay!) and proceeded to wait in another huge ass line for the pleasure of ordering what were perhaps the shittiest (and most expensive cuz screw you) hot dogs you could imagine. As I think about it more, I think the “snacks/deserts everywhere and shitty meal options” plan is kind of brilliant (Dr. Evil/Mr. Burns type brilliant). In their theme of getting MORE OF YOUR MONEY why not give treats and snacks at huge markups instead of you know, letting you eat a filling meal? Dear Disney World – you truly are brilliantly evil.
The “Cast” sure is happy, the adults? Not so much. I know a lot of adults who still love Disney World – my brother for example. Just for shits and giggles though – next time you are at Disney World actually look at all the adults with kids. Do they look “happy” to you? Hmmmm. I can only speak for myself, but for all the reasons listed above I think not. Add on top of that kids begging for more crap (snacks, deserts, merchandise) and you have a true torture room for most parents. We do this for our children because we love them. Good thing we do, because there is no way I would do it again for any other reason. As parents you give up your “fun time” and this thing called “weekends” the second you have children knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel when they leave the home as adults. I actually did look around at other parents when I was there and what I saw was A LOT of yelling, disciplining and in some cases flat out losing their shit on their kids. I am sure these people are good parents on the whole, but I get it. This place can bring out the absolute worst in humanity. Now – throw in the mix the yin to the parent’s yang of anger – the “cast”. First of all – that name pisses me off. Character actors? Sure – call them “cast”. But everyone else there, including the tram drivers who can’t shut the hell up, they are EMPLOYEES. Now – each and every one of them are trained to be super peppy and happy. Great in theory. But when you are PISSED off and at your last nerve with a kid (or several kids) and all the reasons I am listing, the last thing you want is some super peppy douchebag telling you to have a “magical day”. Nope – those people can get the fuck out of my face.
Better get your steps in – I have been dealing with back issues lately, so understand I am the furthest thing from being “fit”. Still – you need to be one of those annoying “I post all my workouts on Facebook” people to navigate Disney without feeling it later. The first day we were there we did two parks (Epcot and Hollywood Studios) in the same day because “$1000 park hopper passes” and someone in our group clocked it as over 7 miles of walking. 7 miles. Now all you dbag “Look at me I workout” Facebook peeps aside, this is not something most rational people want to do on “vacation”. I am not paying last year’s salary for the privilege of a workout. Not only are you moving this much, but you are doing it within the mindless zombie hoard I mentioned above. For some reason, people forget things like “deoderant” and “showers” at Disney World too. So throw in all of this moving and walking and the nauseating funk smell goes up 1000% percent. God I hate Disney World. As someone who recently had back surgery can attest, they also could give two shits about people who are handicapped or seriously hurting too. I was limited on rides I could go on because of my back, and was forced the second day because of so much walking the first day that resulted in lots of pain for me to ride one of those “fat a longs” scooter thing. My friend Mike coined the phrase our last visit – because you never really saw any truly handicapped person on them but rather mostly morbidly obese people. So I had to get one to be with my family at the parks. First off – 75 bucks to get one. Of course. Then, riding around on this thing all day in pain, I can honestly say that they make it really hard for less-abled people and that sucks. For the rides I could go on you had to park the thing like 50 to 100 feet away (no place for disabled folks here!) and even worse, the mindless zombie hordes of people think nothing of dashing in front of , around and on top of you if need be to get to the next line to wait in for two hours. I even had some woman get pissed at me cuz I wasn’t moving fast enough. Let’s just say that she didn’t realize who she was yelling at.
FAST passes – God bless my nephew Jake. He made it a point to try to use the Disney app to get Fast passes for the whole group to bypass the lines as best we could to maximize Disney World. Great in theory – but A LOT of people also were trying to be like my nephew too and that there is part of the problem. Like the hordes of yaks in African migration, people flew through the gates to the fast pass stations pushing and arguing all along the way. We got fast passes alright, but all at different times and in different sub groups so we could not all be together. In theory fast pass is a cool idea. Problem is that you literally have to have a degree in physics to understand and plan the whole day to get to the rides on time to use these fast passes. My wife almost had a nervous breakdown about the whole day being planned to the minute and I totally get it. Again – aren’t vacations supposed to be chill and relaxed? Fast passes are literally the exact opposite of that. The only cool thing I think fast passes offer is seeing all the idiots in the two hour lines getting pissed as you whiz by them in the fast pass line. That, my friends, is gold.
I literally could go on and on but I need to take more blood pressure meds first. I am sure lots of people disagree with me on my points and as they say, “to each his own”. My “own” is that like I swore the last time I went before this trip and the ebola swept through my family, I will never go there again. Unless my kids really want to.
I’m planning a Disney trip with the family right now and this is the best “review” I’ve ever read. So would you say it was a net positive? 🙂
Ha! Learn from my pain, Ben 🙂
Awesome review. As a four time veteran, I could not agree more.
Everything you said was spot on. We were gifted tickets and a hotel and packed a lot of our food. We also negotiated with the kids that we’d hit up the Lego store in Disney Springs for a souvenir if they didn’t ask for anything in Disney. Anyway, We just returned from Disney. It was a special sort of hell. That returned with us as the flu. My littlest (6) one ended up throwing up in the car on the way home and then we ended up calling 911 shortly after arriving home. Now, my husband is a paramedic and I am a nurse and we don’t take our kids to the doc unless they are seriously ill, but when your super tough 6 year old screams he can’t breathe and collapses to the ground…..yeah……thank you Disney for a hospital stay and infecting our whole family (not even sure we all have the same disease). Never again. I cannot comprehend how people like that place. Truly hell on wheels.