Category Archives: Disney

Scooter Wars

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There’s a been a bit of drama going on over a blog post about obese people using scooters in Walt Disney World (which I’m not linking to). The post itself bugged me a little (for various reasons), but it wasn’t the thing that got me fired up the most. As usual with “controversial” posts, it’s the comments where people lose their fucking minds. They take it as a license to completely bash people, based on their attributes or politics or beliefs. In this case, their weight.

Admittedly, I have a hard time staying neutral on the issue, because I am fat. I have been fat and I have been thin and I can tell you without a doubt that people treat you better, with more respect and kindness, when you are thin. So reading the horrible comments about disgusting fat people was pretty hurtful.

But I don’t want to lose sight of the point here. I understand where the author was coming from with the post. To me, at least, the problem isn’t fat people using scooter unnecessarily, but anyone using a scooter unnecessarily. I’m going to pretend that the original post had nothing to do with obesity and give my take on the scooter use in Disney World.

I’m not going to lie to you – I have had occasional thoughts like the author’s – I’m human after all, and I get frustrated. And frustration often makes us irrational, angry and yes – mean. I’m no exception. The first time we took the kids to WDW, it was after mr b had a devastating accident. Although he had mostly recovered, he still had a hard time being on his feet for long periods of time. And walking around WDW for five or ten (or more) miles every day definitely was out of the question. The day we arrived, by the time we checked into our resort and hopped a bus, we didn’t arrive at the Magic Kingdom until around noon. Our first stop was the scooter rental. Unfortunately, on many days the scooters are all rented by that time, so we couldn’t get one. Mr b could have gotten a wheelchair, but he had spent quite enough time in one and had no intention of starting again. So he decided to tough it out and head back to the resort early if he got too uncomfortable.

Because of the fact that we couldn’t get a scooter, I noticed how many of them were around. And yes – like the author of that blog, I got frustrated. While there were some people who were elderly or clearly handicapped, it seemed like the majority of those using them were folks who didn’t really need them. Some were seemingly healthy adults. Some were groups of giggling teens piling on and taking turns. And yes – some were obese. And I’m not proud to admit it, but I got mad. I found myself thinking unkind things about these people. In my defense, it wouldn’t have bothered me except for the fact that if these people hadn’t needlessly been using them, my actually handicapped husband would have one. But it’s no excuse.

The next day, we got to Epcot early and there were scooters available. Mr b got one and we headed into the park. He never once used the handicapped entrance – he had no intention of going to the front of the line. There are people who need to, but he isn’t one of them. Standing in a line wasn’t a big deal – it was getting from line to line that was the problem for him, so he’d park it, get in line with the masses and then get back on the scooter to head to the next attraction. However, what he thought was a good thing seemed to work against him. People would see him walking (seemingly) normally, then getting on a scooter which he obviously (to them) didn’t need. And they would give us dirty looks, and made under-their-breath (but still audible) comments about “lazy people.”

It was a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation – people that saw us heading from ride to ride assumed we were going to cut in their line. People who saw us park the thing and get in the line to wait looked at him with barely concealed disgust. It was obvious that both groups thought he was just lazy.

And that is why the kind of judgment going on over on that blog is dangerous. Because no matter how someone looks to you, no matter how normal, or how healthy, or yes – how fat – they look – you don’t ever really know the reasons behind their “lazy” use of the scooter. Many handicaps aren’t visible. Maybe that person in the scooter had a physical impairment that you can’t see – like mr b. Maybe they have severe, debilitating breathing problems, or a heart defect. Maybe they are weak from radiation or chemotherapy. Maybe that child has autism and can’t wait in lines like your child. Maybe that stroller isn’t actually a stroller, but a kind of stroller/wheelchair that makes it easier for the parents/child to get around. And any of the things I just mentioned can happen to a thin OR a fat person. But just because they are fat, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same respect and kindness you would give to their thin counterpart.

And yes – maybe they are just lazy. I know firsthand that it is frustrating to watch an entire family on scooters (complete with kids piled on) bypass the line and get great seats while you and yours wait in the long, hot, miserable (and sometimes stinky) lines. But I made the decision then and there to not be the person who gets upset about it. I decided to see those people and instead of feeling like I am missing out on something, to feel thankful that I am missing out on whatever pain or discomfort or ridicule they are experiencing. And I think I’m a better person for it.

Addiction

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I have an addiction. An addiction which currently has me in the throes of withdrawal. No, it’s not drugs, or alcohol, or sex (hahaha), or food (OK, it might be food, a little bit). No – for me, it’s Disney World. I am absolutely, positively addicted to Disney World. Not Disney in general (though I like the movies and characters, etc as much as the next guy), but Walt Disney World.

Very few people understand my problem, only some other crazies I’ve met on the internet, my kids, and her (who – now that I think about it – is actually a crazy I met on the internet). Other than them, most people just think WDW is “just a theme park” (those words give me the vapors). Many people dread the thought of going, dread the lines, dread the cost. Most people have strong opinions about taking their kids at a certain age – old enough to “remember it” or young enough to enjoy it, but not me. First, while I love taking my kids – Disney is for me. I would easily go without kids if the opportunity arose. I’d go alone and love it.

I grew up with an aunt living in Florida, so we got to go pretty regularly. After she moved back to PA, it was a few years before I got to go again when I had an opportunity to go with my school band. And then it was even more years until I got to go when we were on our honeymoon. Mr b was one of those “I don’t really like theme parks” kind of guys (vapors!), but he humored me and we spent a couple of honeymoon days there.

He loved it much, much more than he ever expected and we swore we would come back on our 5th anniversary. But when it rolled around, we simply couldn’t afford it. Same thing on our 6th – 11th. Finally, in October 2006, we got to go again. It was the kids’ first trip and I cried like a baby at their excitement. At my excitement. That was when I decided that we should go every other year.

We went back in October 2008 and before the trip was even over, I was thinking about “next time”.

Getting mr b on board is hard – he enjoys it, but he is not addicted like I am (or the kids are). I love to go in October – the weather is beautiful, and the crowds are low. Plus the Food and Wine Festival, which is awesome – we eat and drink our way around the world and love it. And the Halloween party! We wear costumes and go trick or treating in the park. It’s awesome (to crazy people like me).

In the past few months, I have seen several friends take trips there and it makes me crazy with envy. I am the one that people come to and ask questions, since I am the resident “expert” on all things WDW – I can help them plan, tell them where to stay, where to eat, how to use fastpass and baby swap. I can tell them who will find them the best bargains, and about all the cheap or free deals. I can assure them that it is not as expensive as they think it is. I know the best internet resources. I can discuss bring your own stroller vs rent. I can tell them the best dinner shows and character meals and restaurants. I know how to deal with crowds and where to cool off. Know height restrictions and parade times and fireworks times. I know all about transportation, and the best way to get from point A to point B. I would totally move there if I could. I am clearly insane

Lately, I keep reading on other people’s blogs about them being a part of a group of blogger moms who got picked to go to Walt Disney Word for free and I am absolutely green with envy. I wish it were me. But of course, I don’t have the readership that these women do. And I am not exactly a “mommy blogger.” And admittedly, I say very un-Disney-like words on a daily basis.

To me, WDW isn’t just a theme park. It’s not just a vacation destination. To me, it’s so much more. To me, it’s the happiest place on Earth. I tend to judge people on their reaction to WDW. I have a terribly biased opinion that if you can’t be happy there, you are a miserable bastard (though I truly do know that everyone is different and has different likes and dislikes and don’t really judge – I’m not that crazy). Mr b likes it, but not obsessively and he has a tendency to want to relax more. I, on the other hand, am all GOGOGO when I am there. I love it in a complete stalker-ish way. I cry as soon as we land in Orlando. I cry getting on the magical express bus. I cry going through the gates, and checking into the hotel and walking into the park, and seeing the castle. And then I cry when we leave. Because I love it so much, I want to enjoy as much as I can in the time I have. I want to roll myself in it, and sprinkle it in my food, and take a bath in it, and wear it on my head, and have it tattooed all over my skin. I know it makes no sense to most people, but to me, WDW feels like home

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but never posted, and in the meantime, I somehow got mr b to agree to our next trip. It’s not until October 2010, and we can’t even book it for five more months, but it’s a light at the end of the tunnel! The next 17 months (oh my god, that’s so long) will be spent watching the vacation video and looking at photos and browsing the website and posting on intercot.com and obsessing like a crazy person. Yay me!

Pre-Princessification:

Riding up front with the monorail driver:

Star Wars:

Halloween 2008:

The Littlest Jedi:

A Coke as big as his head:

See – Disney makes them get along:

Hidden Mickey:

Cinderella’s Carousel:

Ketchup!!

The traditional sombrero family photo:

Halloween 2006:

Halloween 2006 (it was late and my costume was quite wilted. And you can’t see my Daisy hat)

I Hate It When Vacation Is Over

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Dudes! I am having such a hard time writing anything after being away. I’m having a hard time doing anything, really. Especially if it involves cleaning, laundry, unpacking, cooking, working or eating healthy. I’m rocking the lay around and drink beer stuff, though. I am having a serious case of VacationCanNotPossiblyBeOverAlready.

So, you know how when you visit someone that just got back from vacation and they tell you all about it and show you photos and bore you to tears. Yeah, well. . .sorry.

I’m pleased to report that I am now on a huge streak of two vacation without punching anyone the face. That’s always good, right. Though, I guess it would have given me something interesting to talk about, no? If it helps, I wanted to punch people in the face.

Like the guy who tried to blatantly cut in line while the girl and I were waiting to ride the Haunted Mansion. He sort of wandered up and stood next to us. I thought he was looking at the line, or the building or the sign or something and then I heard one of the daughters say “Dad – I think the line is back there.” And jackass dad says, “No – we’re fine! We’re waiting, see?” Oh, Hell no. Of course I spoke up and said, “If you’re waiting for Haunted Mansion, you can wait back at the end of the line.” He got pissed and started to say something, but his embarrassed family pulled him away.

And speaking of line jumpers, it really pisses me off when one or two people wait in line and then when they get close, the other 12 people in their party come barging to catch up. That pisses me off. I can understand how an elderly person might have a hard time standing or that a young child might have to take a bathroom break in a long line, but 14 Brazilians in their 20’s? Not so much. For some reason, it always was the Brazilians. I can only assume that in Brazil, they have a far different definition of line etiquette.

And then there was the asshole in Epcot, who started mocking me for some reason. NO, seriously – he was mocking me! As in, repeating what I was saying in a weird, childish, mocking voice. He was the one I wanted to punch the most, but I really didn’t want my photos to include one of me being escorted out of the park, so I refrained.

All in all, it was a great time. Of course, I love Disney so I always have a great time there. But we had a lot of fun, the girl rode some “big” rides now that she’s a little taller, we ate some awesome food, walked eleventy bajillion miles, went to the Halloween party, did some swimming, got knocked down by a giant 6-foot wall of water at Typhoon Lagoon and just generally enjoyed ourselves. Yay.

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After a week of vacation recovery, we had Scabs’ Annual Halloween Bash. This is my favorite party every year. This year, there was no one dressed as anyone else in attendance (we’ve all been too busy to plan it this year), but we still had fun. The girl and I wore our Disney costumes, the boy wore some goofy mask (he’s that age now) and mr b left his costume in the car because he’s a big loser. There were political costumes of course – aimed at driving my conservative SIL batty, because that’s always fun. But Weenie had the best costume – she was Lucy from the candy factory episode. She is all kids of awesome.

Oh, also – my head actually caught on fire at one point in the night. It was about 2:00 am and I was highly flammable. I put myself out while everyone else looked stupid.

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Oh – and Thursday morning, we leave for Awesome Company’s Annual Long Weekend of Drunken Debauchery, Massages and One Long Boring Meeting. As always, I am looking forward to it, because the debauchery and massages more than make up for the meeting. This year, we’re headed back to my favorite of all our retreat locations. The only bad part is that I now have to find something to wear. I hate that part. If I could wear jammies the whole time, it would be the most awesome work week ever.

Anyway – some photos:

We are SO the Griswolds sometimes…

Her favorite princess:

Getting ready for her princess makeover – she loved every minute of it:

Her fairy godmother in training, getting her ready:

She told me she felt special – like a princess:

Contrary to how they act half the time, they love each other…

What a cute smile! The boy’s not bad, either!

Cutest. Jedi. Ever.

Dancing in the parade – the girl’s got moves:

The Whispering Canyon Cafe is a fun restaurant – the boy especially loved the Coke as big as his head:

Ketchup!

Oh yes, I did. Just call me Ho White:

I Can’t Wait!

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The whole month of September, Burgh Baby’s Mom has been generously donating all her ad revenue to the Flight 93 Memorial Fund. She decided to end the month on a (really) high note by having an awesome contest. Go check it out. Since ad revenue is determined by page views, all that she is asking in return is that you click around and help raise some money for a good cause. It’s the last day, so warm up your clicking finger and go crazy. Maybe you’ll win a cool prize in the meantime.

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So, it’s four day until we leave for vacation and in typical pre-vacation fashion, I am freaking! out! I have a million things to do and no time to do them. Work has been crazy lately and between scouts, swimming lessons, drum lessons, karate and gymnastics I can’t quite seem to muster up enough energy in my “free time” to start packing. I have managed to go shopping for essentials like sunscreen and toothpaste, though. But strangely, I have a new shower curtain, rug, bathroom accessories, some cute shorts, a candle, clothes for the kids, clothes for mr b, four chocolate covered marshmallows (OK, I had those), a princess costume, beer, a picture frame, and 600 read pages of Brisingr. But no sunscreen or toothpaste. Vacation Planning: FAIL.

Although I did get a new lip balm and since it has SPF, I’m counting it as a huge vacation planning success.

I have a feeling I am going to be up to the wee hours these next few days getting ready. I have something going on every evening through Thursday, so the only time I will have to pack will be around eleven or so. OK – I could actually do it between 8:00 and 11:00, which would be more reasonable, but the new falls shows are on and I’m not insane. Well, yes I am. I’m insane and addicted to TV. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Well, maybe a little ashamed. But we’re all friends here, right? RIGHT??

Of course when I am at work and can’t possibly do anything vacation-related, I can’t concentrate because my head is too full of anticipation and All! Disney! All! The Time!! I get all OCD-girl and start running through the lists of things I still have to do and then I get all stressed out and I’m like Work? What work? And then I drift off to daydreams of monorails and Mickey bars.

Friday, I will be going to bed at approximately 7:00, since I have to wake up at 2:30 am to get ready. Because my only options for a direct flight was either Dawn: Buttcrack of or sometime in the late afternoon which would be a huge waste of the day. And forget connecting flights. They’re a waste of precious Disney time and a terrifying spin on the roulette wheel of Will The Preschooler Lose Her Mind On The Plane. So no. Dark Thirty it is.