I added a wordpress app to my Smartphone and decided to test drive this bad boy at St. Augustine’s Cracker Barrel (I’m a rebel like that), seeing that my Mom and sisters are visiting the local outlets and the intermitent Floridian deluges are stoppering any attempt to sightsee the city’s copious forts and gator farms. Soooo … I’m posting tons of photos over the next several weeks in part because Disney saps the life out of you but mostly because I’m rather lazy writer. Thus, if you’ve developed a healthy lassitude to the written word, enjoy! If not, well read War and Peace or better yet my other blog posts – some are even longer than a Russian novel so go crazy you kooky sesquipedalian.
Details are important. Any fan of H.G. Wells’ science-fiction will inform you that ignoring the little things in life can prove fatal . . . you know, because all the aliens died in Wells’ novel War of the Worlds . . . because they never considered Earth’s micro-organisms . . . and because of this ‘tiny’ oversight of these microbes the space invaders ended up a ‘little’ dead . . . which is to say ‘very.’
Which brings me to my second point: subtlety. Subtlety is also a very important quality, especially in writing. However, in theme parks, the subtle touch is best left outside the gates, along with moderation and unapproved coolers. In a well-designed theme park, the act of walking or waiting should prove as entertaining as the rides themselves, engaging the imagination as well as the senses. At the risk of sounding like a dork, I enjoy the lure of another world, of the fantasy. To quote John Hammond: “I’m not talking about rides. Everyone has rides.” Continue reading
The 3rd Annual Ice Cream Invitational. Every summer in Disney, Rodney and Ryan compete with Shannon and ‘yours truly’ in a sacred triathlon that tests the very limits of our body, our heart, and — dare I say — our sanity, a contest fit for gladiators (American or otherwise). The contest consisted of three rounds. The first grueling challenge sets brother against brother on the miniature golf course, and then the fiery hell of the tennis court . . .
Wait, why are you rolling your eyes? Seriously, whatever you THINK you know about miniature golf, forget it. Disney’s Fantasia Fairways is a theme park asylum covered in undulating green felt, reminding you why men have loved and cursed the bloody game for centuries. No cartoon castles litter the course. The pathway to the hole rises and falls like waves on a storm-tossed sea so there’s no ‘trick’ or ‘perfect putt’ to secure your hole in one . . . just luck and the pity of God. This was to be our battlefield — our Ragnarok, some may say days from now — and waiting for us at the end, a rich waffle cone, filled with soft-serve and seasoned with the blood and tears of our enemies. Continue reading
Okay, sooooo . . . for the next week or so the Fam and I will be traversing through Orlando and Disney, sowing havoc in our wake like a pretty girl at an anime convention. During this interim, I’m temporarily transforming the Pub into a photoblog, detailing our adventures like a children’s picture book with as few ‘writing’ as I can manage. For some of you, who never really enjoyed ‘reading’ anyway (I’m looking at you Brigid), this will prove a chance to visit my blog again; for others, a chance to criticize my poor photography skills.
The take-home message: everyone wins. Continue reading
Our yearly sojourn to Florida launches in about two weeks. Mom and the girls are already mapping out new summer wardrobes with the fervor of gold-greedy conquistadors: new shoes, dresses, skirts, blouses, jeans, sandals and even the accursed swimsuits. The flotsam of many a shopping excursion litter their rooms, beds, and dressers like giant jigsaw pieces, waiting to be folded, twisted and rolled into a small leather case. After two weeks, they scamper through the halls, racing from room to room, to stuff the last tube of toothpaste, or hair gel, or razor, or shampoo. Once that’s finished, I’ll hear the screams and shouts for headphones, magazines, iPods, iPads, phones, computers, pillows, chargers, gum, water, snacks, and DVDs to ease the long drive, most of which will be spent sleeping. Somehow during this final stage, the men of the household are inevitably blamed for moving too slow, not helping, or not panicking enough for the girls’ taste. Yet for the boys, an hour before departure proves more than enough time to stuff underwear, socks, and the untouched dregs of the dresser drawers into a duffel, download plane tickets, and depart. Done. Continue reading
“OHMYGOSH, IamSOOOready,” my little sister screamed, practically hurling her book to the floor of the car. “Can’t wait. Can’t wait to be done with school, with homework, with teachers, with Maryland. All of it.”
“Amen,” I nodded. The past few weeks at work had tested most of the school’s parents, students and teachers to the breaking point. Rumors of our middle school closing due to low attendance had filtered through the hallways and classrooms like an airborne plague. Only seven families had reenlisted for the new school year, and the administration had given no indication about the school’s survival to anyone, postponing any announcements until they could reevaluate their financial situation (i.e. drink heavily and pray their Powerball tickets pay out). The kids, like sharks, sensed the blood in the water and were whipped into a frenzy. Most in fact were already leaving for other schools and so what was the purpose of behaving when discipline no longer mattered? Continue reading
Kevin walked ahead of us along the path that bordered the canal. In the dark, none of us managed to catch a smile, just the hint of embarrassed laughter, which of course told us he was serious. We had just left Fantasmic, one of Disney World’s late-night shows, where Mickey Mouse battles the forces of evil equipped with geysers, fireworks and pyrotechnics. It’s a show designed for kids. Yet amid the visual distractions and explosions, viewers searching for fragments of story would be better tested finding a scrap of personality from Disney’s main mouse.
“I ask you,” Kev asked afterwards. “When’s the last time you laughed at a Mickey cartoon, huh? That’s right. Never. During the show, did anyone root for the ‘hero?'” Continue reading
“Is this the line for Harry Potter-land?” Sean asked the Universal Studios guide, who directed the growing line of tourists now stretching the entire length of the park. “Or is this just for some one of the rides?”
“If you want to piss in Hogwarts, this is the line,” she muttered back to him thrusting a wad of stand-by tickets into our hands before moving further down the queue. Sean was left speechless for several seconds, a true achievement had the guide known it. I would have shook her hand, if I didn’t think that she might bite it.
“Universal must hire all the rejects from Disney World,” he frowned back in line. “All the ones that refuse to smile, assist the elderly and lie blatantly to the tourists.” Continue reading
Dasad, I discovered had never experienced the beautiful chaos that is the Disney theme parks. This realization shocked me a little, as Dad has our yearly exodus to Florida planned and booked at least a year in advance (Typically, the week after returning to Maryland, growls are heard, demanding our schedules for next summer). Visiting the familiar turnstiles and tourist-packed ‘lands’ percolate the senses the way home-baked cookies must entice wayward travelers. The cries of children, the scent of sugar roasted almonds, and even the sight of swollen lines carried the sweet warmth of remembrance, of past adventures en mass: nearly twenty or so brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, mothers, fathers, and grandparents. Nearly a continent away, I walked through the park nevertheless enervated, ready to show my friends an excellent time.