We’ll make childhood fantasies come true and take the family on a Disney cruise.
Violet, 3, asks, “Can I bring “Piggy?”
Big brother, Sebastian, 5, asks, “Will pirates come on our ship?”
Xander, bigger brother, 7, wonders, ”Can we eat hot dogs every day?”
Matthew, eleven, asks, “do they have an ice hockey rink?”.
Younger brother, David, 9, says, “Can I eat all the free ice cream cones I want?“
Twin sister, Julia, asks, “Will I meet Cinderella?”
As we board the ship, we notice a few adults, and children, children, children every where. Surely there have never, in the history of the world, been so many children together in one place. They’re jumping, running and screaming. The adults look befuddled, confused and uncertain.
A honey toned voice coos us inside. As we walk from one area to another, a staff member offers each of us a pop-up, pre-moistened, antibiotic infused towel. We are now fit for Disney: cleansed, sanitized, deloused.
“Hi!” a cheery voice says to our group, “So happy to meet you. I’m Mary Lou. Let me show you to your rooms. What adorable children,” she says, with a smile the size of a crescent moon.
“Here is your room, sweetie,” she gushes to the youngest family members. “Isn’t is perfect? Mommy and Daddy will be right next door.”
To the next oldest children she ecstatically announces, “Your room has three beds and a bathroom all to yourselves. Your parents will be right through this door.”
Finally, she croons to us as she leads us to our quarters next to the others, “You can have privacy but still be near those darling children.”
She sounds as if she is announcing our winning the lottery. I never saw such ecstasy in the plebeian act of showing guests to their rooms. Her satisfaction is practically orgasmic.
We unpack and report to the dining room for lunch. “Welcome, welcome. We are so happy to see you,” another happy staffer gushes as if we were old roommates.
We are seated and Violet spills her glass of milk. Before anyone can react a cheerful staffer swoops upon us with, “Oh, honey, don’t worry. It’s alright; we’ll clean this up and get you another glass of milk.” And the new offering appears before a tear can even think of emerging.
“I don’t like this menu,” complains David, our terribly sophisticated, opinionated nine year old gourmet. At home he’d be told: “That’s what’s for lunch. Eat it or wait for dinner.” But not on a Disney trip.
“That’s OK.” says our waiter. “Come with me and I’ll show you the whole kitchen. The cook will make you anything you like.”
Is this place for real? Who could live up to this kind of attitude or attention at home?
At the pool comes a confrontation. Xander has a special fondness for his shark patterned bathing suit and wants to wear it everywhere, poolside or not. “Xander, put on something reasonable,” his parents demand. Suddenly a dulcet voice from nowhere croons, “That’s a great and very scary bathing suit. Let’s put this jacket on top, so the shark doesn’t get cold.” Score another point for Disney.
“Come on, buddies, let’s all go and watch the parade” suggests a Pied Piper wannabe suddenly appearing before us. The children jump up and follow, sublimely anticipating the appearance of their favorite cartoon heroes.
“Where’s Cinderella?” asks Julia. “Come here and you can shake hands with her,” warmly offers yet another Disney disciple. Julia is overcome with excitement.
“Where are the pirates?” Sebastian challenges. “Oh” says a staffer who must be an agent for the Pirates’ Union, “that’s a special surprise. Shhhh; don’t tell anyone,” he says, as he takes hold of Sebastan’s hand. In the next instant we are under attack from a pirate ship. Sebastian shrieks with delight and fear, as the patch eyed pirate approaches. “Take this,” says the staffer, and hands him a toy sword.
But his little sister, Violet, is unhappy. She announces her distress with ear splitting screams. “I don’t want to take a nap.”
How do children keep from rupturing their own eardrums with their loud screaming? Mine are just about gone!
But sugar coated Disney gal approaches with a Disney promise.
”Children who take naps right now will dream of Mickey Mouse. Of course you want to see him, don’t you?” And just like that, Violet approaches nap time with a smile of anticipation.
These Disney folks are all so happy, cheerful and sweet that it just isn’t normal. It isn’t real. In fact it is becoming quite irritating. I don’t believe this over-happy, overly sweet world they’re perpetuating.
Oh, how I long for just a smidgeon of sarcasm. A smattering of selfishness, A degree of dissatisfaction. I can’t take much more of all this sweetness and endless understanding.
How I long for one honest grumbling, grouchy, irascible someone just like the dear folks at home! When that happens I will finally be able to put my feet up on a soft, cushy ottoman and let out a big sigh of relief.