In regards to the weather, my family and I are strangely optimistic. We think that the gray sky will brighten. We think the grainy atmosphere will smooth out, that the sun will miraculously break free from its shrouded prison. Of course, we’re wrong. The sky tears apart; a single crash of thunder precedes precipitation. With each subtle patter of rain on my skin, emotion pulses through me and I am transported back to the day my cousins and I went to Magic Kingdom.
I feel the giddy freedom.
I feel the disappointment.
Of roaming the park without parental guidance. Of waiting to ride the roller coaster only to learn that the rain made it shut down.
While our parents and my brother discovered outlet malls and bowling alleys, my two cousins and I were allowed to go to Disney World by ourselves to satisfy our craving for thrills—a small nibble to tide us over until we could tackle the Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roll Roller Coaster another day. The rain threatened our plans, but for my cousins and me, exhilaration could only be found at a theme park.
I feel the determination—as we navigate through the crowds, weaving in and out of tangles of people wearing dull yellow Disney ponchos to reach our destination.
My cousins and I walked through the Disney World turnstiles, rotating gateways into a magical land. It was July 2009—my younger cousin was 15, his sister was 20, I myself was 17. Yet we roamed the park with the purified joy of children, just as amazed by the majesty of Cinderella’s castle as a four year old is.
I feel like a kid again.
Desperate to escape the rain, we went on a spree of random rides and attractions—we went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, proclaiming disgust at the fake dirt smudging the mechanical pirates’ feet and counting the number of times the man in front of us used his camera (there were 23 flashes, if you’re curious); we tried to brave The Haunted Mansion but cringed when we heard booming thunder and feared the sky, only to realize that it was part of the attraction’s spooky soundtrack; my younger cousin and I proved to be directionally challenged as we attempted to steer our race cars around the Tomorrowland Speedway; we bypassed Splash Mountain because, ironically, we didn’t want to get wet; my younger cousin screamed on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad after it reopened—not out of pure giddiness for the ride, but out of disgust when a drop of rain water dangling from the front of the train flew into his mouth, and I couldn’t stop cracking up because of it; we attended the comedy show at Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, where my older cousin texted Mike Wazowski (the one-eyed monster) a knock-knock joke in which the knocker was named Smell Mop, and we sniggered at its juvenility; we boarded Snow White’s Scary Adventure and feigned fear so dramatically that our sarcasm was unmistakable, and we left in a fit of giggles.
We were somehow too old for most of these rides while simultaneously childish enough to enjoy them. Unfortunately, surreal emptiness washed over us at the end of our vacation. Like the rain, vacation inevitably reaches an end. But in the rain with my cousins, Disney World seemed timeless.
I feel like staring at the sky, letting it rain down on me.
I feel the bliss.
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