When my family decided to go on vacation this year, I hoped for an exotic getaway to somewhere I had never been before. Because I was seventeen, approaching my senior year of high school, and obsessed with history, I wanted to explore the world: fly over to Europe, take a cruise up to Canada, or at least stray away from the east coast of the United States. Being a Jersey girl all my life, I had never traveled farther south than Cozumel, Mexico, farther north than the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, or farther west than Ohio. My hopes were dashed when it was decided that we would be taking a train Disney World, in Florida.
First, I’ll make one thing perfectly clear: I love Disney World. I had been there four times previously, the last being when I was in fifth grade. Naturally, the fact that I would be visiting a little older and a little wiser intrigued me. No longer would I be frightened of rides like Splash Mountain (I hoped). However, the tiny ache inside me that shrieked, “I WANT TO GET AWAY FOR REAL” was not satisfied. The train and the hotel rooms were reserved before I blinked.
I was not prepared for the horrors transportation held in store for us. The train ride from Edison, New Jersey to Washington, D.C. was as easy as a light summer breeze. However, the twenty hour ride from Washington to Orlando was virtually unbearable. In the dining car we experienced Disney prices early. My family of six was chucked into seats without windows, next to the sliding door leading to the train connector and a ghastly, bright, dangling light bulb. Not to mention the fact that the train lurched side to side all night. Needless to say, we just wanted to turn around. The prospect of journeying back to New Jersey the same way in a mere week was appalling.
Landing in sunny Orlando wiped away our negative feelings. When we arrived in Disney World via a monstrous and pricey taxi van, we could not help but grin. I was still thrilled despite the fact that I was old enough to perceive Disney as a gigantic leech that vicariously feeds off the money of tourists. The longing to travel far away was quickly vanishing into the clear blue sky.
After my week-long stay in Disney World, I compiled a list of the top ten general facts that I learned:
1. FASTPASS is amazing. You usually get your pick of seats. Plus, it’s fun to walk through the FASTPASS line while all the people waiting in the Kali River Rapids line for two hours in the heat stare you down menacingly.
2. In Florida, you get badly sunburned even when you slather yourself with sunscreen. I looked like an uncooked hamburger after a day at MGM and Typhoon Lagoon.
3. You’re never to old for a character breakfast.
4. A decent amount of kids who go to Disney with their parents are spoiled. Especially the little girls. The new ‘Bippiti Boppiti Boutique,’ which gives girls a full-blown princess makeover, further enforces this generalization.
5. Mango, orange, and pineapple smoothies from the Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland are out of this world. No pun intended.
6. One day in any theme park will tire you out.
7. One week in Disney World will make you want to leave. And leave your family behind.
8. It’s probably much more fun to visit Disney with people who are not related to you.
9. Disney. Prices. Are. Preposterous. And. Unreasonable. But we all already knew that.
10. Despite all I’ve complained about, Disney World makes you want to be a kid again.
Although I originally yearned to travel far away, I realized that Disney World was the ideal vacation for my family and I this past summer. I realized that no matter how many responsibilities and new experiences are approaching, nothing can take away that feeling of romping free through a crowded street, wearing Mickey ears and slurping an ice cream cone.
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