Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Desperate in the House of Mouse


The whole thing is surreal. I am so tired I can barely think straight and my body is complaining that it’s 4am so what the puck am I doing wandering around a lake mingling with people Having A Good Time? Why are all these children up and running around (OK, so it’s 10.30pm on Florida time but still……)? And, while I’m at it, this is term-time even here and these aren’t all toddlers so…. Oh stop being so darn judgemental, Jane. This is Walt Disney World. It’s Magical.


Trouble is it’s hard to feel magical when you’ve got a thudding headache and are still feeling slightly bilious after being force-fed food by Virgin Atlantic. An eight-hour flight and we never seemed to stop eating. Not that I’m complaining – it staves off the boredom. I watched Twilight, which was rather fabulous in a somewhat inane way (miles of footage of meaningful looks and yearning stares – but then, hey, it’s a teen movie). Then caught half of Vicky Cristina Barcelona which was perplexing until Laura told me it was Woody Allen at which point I stopped quite liking it and became irritated. Then endured Revolutionary Road which, while madly intelligent and subtle, was just vein-openingly grim.

At Orlando airport we were met by Sarah, the Disney PR (did I mention that this is a trip for UK ‘mummy’ bloggers – something that perplexed all my fellow bloggers as much as it did me) and sidekick Eddie (who has possibly the scariest smile I’ve ever encountered – flashed on and off like a light switch).
‘Anyone need help with their bags?’ asked Sarah.
‘Yes, please,’ I yelled with fervant gratitude, having stupidly brought the kit bag without the wheels which was digging a two inch trench into my shoulder.
I was expecting Eddie to dash forward but no – he hung back and clutched his folder. Sarah, bless her, offered but that hardly seemed fair. So I lugged it up stair and down escalator, huffing and puffing, with scary spooky Eddie blithely unaware of the concept of gentlemanly behaviour. Either that or he was thinking, evily, ‘ha ha, stupid fat English cow….let her carry her own bag. I shouldn’t be here…..I should be in LA being Discovered.’

As we drove to Disney, Sarah explained why Disney were funding this all-expenses paid trip. ‘While print media is great, a piece appears in a paper and is read once and that’s it. But a blog sends out ripples, it develops a life of its own and spreads through the web.’
Why mothers? ‘Women are the ones who usually pick out the family holiday.’ Fair point.
But aren’t they taking a bit of a chance? While journalists can and often do write glowing reports (on magazines, travel freebies are considered perks and so half the time you’re not getting the opinion of a travel journalist, but of the picture researcher, the sub-editor, the receptionist). Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, but they’re so darn grateful to be away from the office that anything looks good. But bloggers are pretty anarchic. We can say what we want and the consensus amongst our group is that as a blogger you have a duty to your readers to cut the bullshit.

Anyhow, we drove through bland flat central Florida and gradually the signs started becoming dominated by Disney. The complex is huge – about the size of Manchester, according to Erica (littlemummy) and I started feeling a bit queasy. This is an entirely fake city – built for nothing but pleasure. As we drove through the famous gates I wasn’t sure if I was heading for paradise or voluntarily incarcerating myself in a cult complex, albeit ‘magical’.

Walking alongside the lake the feeling became compounded. People were smiley, happy, having fun, being magical. One couple wandered by in matching Mouse baseball caps with ears – his plain black; hers white with a diddy veil.
‘Ahhh, wedding mice.’
What?? Oh God, people actually come here to get MARRIED. And, even worse, are happy to advertise the fact by wearing his n’ hers mouse hats. I don’t get it, I really don’t.
My room is fabulous. The food was gorgeous (and I’d forgotten how gargantuan American portions are). The people seem great. But, but, but…..can I enjoy this unreal world? Ah well, time to find out.

14 comments:

Cathy said...

Just give in to it. They are too hard to fight in all the cheerfulness. The fire works are great. The lightshow parade is cool and I love those ice cream treats they have. The food is a bit heavy in portion even for Americans. Plus you might be there during their yearly flower show and it's worth it. Have fun!

blackbird said...

Give a mouse a hug for me, please.

Sorrow said...

Okay, I am going to make a confession, I have been to disney.
Took the little one 2 years ago.
It was a bloody nightmare.
In this lovely country we have an adage about getting what you pay for. And since I went Economy, I got Not a lot.
So I am keeping my fingers crossed that since they want to sell you, they will be kind, and courteous. Not something i was ever treated to.
In fact the little one still gets teary eyed when she thinks of how Alice ( alice in wonderland) told her it was her break, and she needed to come back in a few hours to be treated to an autograph.
same thing with Jasmine, and tinker bell.
So the little one assures me NEVER again.
Saying a few mouse prayers that you don't get snubbed by the fake magic and saccharine sweetness of it all.

Cait O'Connor said...

Never mind Jane, it won't last for ever:-)

Maddie Grigg said...

Do you think Eddie is really a prop from a scary Disney ride? Like a Nosferatu lost on the wrong film set and got stuck in a cartoon?
Sounds like one weird experience so far...

elizabethm said...

Oh jane, come home, all is forgiven. It sounds like my idea of hell. His and hers mouse ears? Are they aliens or is it me?

mountainear said...

Are you really there or is it just some crazy dream?

Taz said...

Just wait till you've witnessed your 10th marraige proposal! The first was sweet by the end of the holiday I was wishing for just one of the women to say no. :D

Erica Douglas said...

and here was me thinking that you and Eddie might become 'bezzie' mates

Mud in the City said...

Hideous to me too - but I'll be interested to read how you find the whole experience.

Even so, Disney proposal - does it get any worse??

Billie Jane said...

I told you.... Anti-Christ! Praying for you! lol! :-)

Rob-bear said...

Welcome to surreality, American style. (I can see you're having "Disney Spells" already.)

I was interested in your analysis of the stories told by journalists and bloggers. Precisely my thought in my "Newspapers, RIP" post on "Bears Noting."

I was both amused and intrigued by your comments about a "fake city" and "incarcerating" yourself in it. Right on! (Write on?!)

"Surreal" is absolutely the perfect word. Condolences. Hope you survive (I'm sure you will).

Calico Kate said...

Looking forward to reading the rest but i Have to go and make dinner. Love the idea of wedding mice but a bit creepy to get married there.
CKx

Gwen Buchanan said...

couldn't do it myself... just couldn't do it!!!