Friday, 1 May 2009

Hanging out in the rest rooms.....


I’m sitting on the loo going off into a reverie about how much better American loos are than British ones when a small voice pipes up from the next cubicle.
‘I need to see your feet.’
Eh? My head snaps round like the girl in The Exorcist. Why does a small child want to see my feet? Then, halleluyah, an older voice (obviously, hopefully, her mother) replies.
‘I’m right here.’
‘I need to see your feet,’ the child repeats firmly. Clearly the kind who won’t be fobbed off in any way.
‘But I’m here. I’ll never leave you.’
It’s said with a kind of almost scary intensity. What’s the story, you wonder.
‘I need to see your feet.’
Oh for Pete’s sake, stick your foot under the door, lady. But no, the discussion continues.
‘You are my life.’
‘I NEED to see your feet.’
‘You are the reason I wake up in the morning.’
What’s this got to do with the poor child seeing her mother’s foot under the cubicle?
‘But I woke up before you.’
You’ve got to hand it to the kid. I couldn’t really hang around all day eavesdropping in (however entertaining) so I got up and the loo obligingly flushed for me (SO much more hygienic).

The major reason people come to Walt Disney World apparently is because they want to see their children having fun. Forget the scary brides and the college student get-togethers and the anniversary celebrations, it all makes a lot more sense when you focus on the children. When you travel without your own child, you become hyper-aware of other people’s and, on the whole, children here do seem to be having a ball. Even my cynical soul couldn’t argue with a child’s face lighting up when they see a favourite film come to life. So, OK, hands up, this was the day when I smiled.

I hate rollercoasters but I’m charmed by sweet pretty rides. So Peter Pan’s flight, where you float over London (with a very weird-looking Tower Bridge) and Neverland was very cute. Ditto It’s a Small World. James would have loved the Buzz Lightyear shoot-out ride while I was totally entranced by the Haunted House ride with pretty incredible visual effects – at one point you’re looking down onto a huge ballroom with holographic dancers – mesmeric.

The entertainment outside is impressive too. I jigged a bit to the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It! Street party (yeah, thanks a bunch littlemummy for catching that on video) and oohed and aahed over the Wishes firework display (a little girl next to me nearly fell off her chair when Tinkerbell flew down from the Magic Castle. But the loveliest moment came during the SpectroMagic Parade (a sort of carnival with lit-up floats) when a little girl couldn’t believe her eyes when Snow White rushed over to her and planted a kiss on her cheek.
Pint-sized princesses wander around with tiaras and frothy dresses, having been ‘bibbidi bobbidi booed’ with a mini-makeover.

The sane cynical part of me says that this is all too unreal. Is this how it starts? How children grow up to become teenagers who think that they will walk straight into a job as a pop star, a model, a TV ‘celebrity’? That they can have everything they want with a snap of the fingers (and the flexing of a credit card)? Part of me still worries about a holiday in which nothing goes wrong – where there is no duff day when everyone gets bored and irritable and shouts at each other. When there’s no nasty waitress or rude beach attendant to bond you together in family hatred solidarity? Is this reality? No, of course not. But then, is it wrong to have a perfect holiday? Is it just my puritanical Britishness that thinks that a bit of grot, a bit of grim and grime, is character-building and necessary? Dunno.

Still, there is hope for Disney. When my supper at the Magical Kingdom comes, the whole shebang is stone cold. Fantastic. Excellent. Just what I needed to bring me back down to earth (I really was floating off for a moment there). Hmm, maybe Disney has researched this too and it was all planned. A little imperfection to highlight the general perfection? Am I getting paranoid here?

23 comments:

Tattie Weasle said...

Your trying to convince me but it still seems way too scary - possibly because I KNOW my boys would love it! Sounds like you're havibng a ball... cold suppers and all.

ChrisH said...

Lots to catch up with here, Jane, I didn't realise you'd been such a prolific blogger, I will have to pop back and read at leisure. But, gosh, that loo thing rang bells (yes, bell, not bowels). Poor Lily used to get distraught as a little girl if I tried to go to the loo by myself - I'm sure she was afraid that there was some sort of escape hatch that I was about to use. Presumably your loo neighbour thought her mum was about to do a runner. good luck with the rest of the trip.

Billie Jane said...

I dont believe you... you are just trying to make us think you're not having a good time!!... lol!

mountainear said...

Sounds a bit scary to me. Get a grip Jane. Get a good ole cynical, British grip.

I'm not sure children need the Magic Kingdom to have fun - security and love yes, but a scruffy camp site and the freedom to scorch some sausages and maybe sleep under the stars were simple memorable pleasures for my boys.

lampworkbeader said...

Jane you've just blogged my vision of hell. Tinkerbell on a wire, glass coaches EEEch! Sorry feeling a bit bitter and twisted at the moment.

Frances said...

Check. Check. One two. One two.

Watch out Jane, you aren't out of that artificial marketing dream yet.

When I was a little girl in Virginia in the 1950's, the original Disneyland was built in California, and there was an accompanying weekly Disney television show, that would show updates on the creation of Disneyland. The television program was a commercial for the theme park to be.

Do you know, at that time I was so young that I actually thought there was to be a real castle in California, and had no idea that it was all just an amusement park?

My head was filled with illusion.

Did you send that cold dinner back to the microwave?

xo

Mopsa said...

Now I would have stayed stuck to the loo until the every end, but nosey is my middle name.
The more make-believey it is, the scarier it sounds. Very much NOT for me, but I wonder, just like you, can it do any real harm, believing that the world is so Michael Jackson? (Think I've answered my own question there!).

Preseli Mags said...

Had to laugh at the 'show me your feet thing'. That's usually what I say to my kids in public loos when they've gone quiet and I think a paedo has snatched them. The buggers are far too independant. Sad to be somewhere though thinking how much your child would enjoy it. Just how big will the guilt present be??? I enjoyed littlemummy's video of you dancing. Impressive moves!

Milla said...

jigging a bit, pah, whatever you say, you were doing some full on bopping. Great stuff, LOVED the foot in the loo.

Maddie Grigg said...

You're keeping very busy working for the Disney shilling. Loved the feet story (so American). I went to Disney in Paris and loved It's a Small World, mainly because there were no queues and we could go on it again and again with a small child in tow. However, I know someone who got stuck in the American one and still has nightmares about it. You can have too much of a good thing.

Rob-bear said...

Can one have a "perfect" holiday in a surreal world? How different is that from life in an insane asylum?

(Please excuse inquisitive Bear.)

claire p said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who grade the loos!!!

Pondside said...

American washrooms - a delight, for sure. We're trying, but will always be the slightly slower, not quite so up-to-date cousins.
You might want to give your head a rub - towards the back, on either side. Do you detect two little nubs there - nascent ears, perhaps? Yup, they've got you Jane, you're a Mouseketeer!

Cathy said...

I'm hoping you are having a good time still. Their bathrooms are nice there and I love the misters they have set up for when you are super hot. I've been to Disney World (please don' think I'm crazy) about 12 times and 10 of those times were during the 11 years I was married to the ex. We had a time share in Kissimee and while he golfed I hit the sights with the girls. Our family vacations were mostly seing him when we arrived and when got home to the condo at night. The girls and did them all. I lost Hannah one year and the park found her. It was only 30 minutes but it felt like hours. When I saw her they were giving her a lecture about running off and to look for their name tags for help if it happens again. I cried and cried and they did the lecture. I was happy. It is a bubble. Expensive one too. Kids love it. Even teenagers. We get tired and hot and want the rides with air conditioning and they are oblivios to the heat and chaos.
I loved your dancing. It was great. Try one of those smoked turkey legs! They are huge so share with some friends but they are awesome.

Cathy said...

Sorry but I am a better speller and I should always proof read!

Celtic Heart said...

You just had to go and mention it, didn't you? Do you have any idea, any idea at all what I have to do to get the blasted song from 'It's a Small World' out of my brain? lol (not)

I'd forgotten all about Peter Pan's ride, but yes, it was one of my favourites. Despite all the hype, some of the sfx are very, very clever.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Jane - Thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, that is my garden and I'm DEAD lucky!!!
I loved your posts from Florida, hilarious dude!!! Glad James is fine. Welcome home! x

LittleBrownDog said...

Golly - the loo thing... Perhaps she had an experience like me when she once took her child in with her, only to be told: "Well done Mummy - a lovely big poo". It wasn't, it wasn't it wasn't it wasn't, honestly. I came out with a very red face looking uncannily like the lady who protesteth too much.

I'm afraid I think I'm too British, too. A holiday isn't really a holiday without something going wrong, some scowling and a good old family argument.

When are you coming back (or have you been secretly kidnapped and Americanised by Tinkerbell)? Seems like you've been there for ages.

Calico Kate said...

Self flushing loos! Superb!

Fennie said...

The child who is so insecure it needs to see its mother's feet under the cubicle can't really be having a terrible happy time, if its world depends on the physical presence of Mum - and where was Dad? Divorced no doubt! Nothing wrong with a bit of make believe and glad you enjoying the scene self-flushing loos and all, but I worry when I think of the engineering it takes these days to bring happiness to children. We were lucky (Monty Python theme I know but true nonetheless) if we had a couple of cardboard boxes and a broken mangle. And of course books! We did have to look down on holograms of dancers. We were the dancers.

Keep them coming: so much valued social commentary!

Fennie said...

The child who is so insecure it needs to see its mother's feet under the cubicle can't really be having a terrible happy time, if its world depends on the physical presence of Mum - and where was Dad? Divorced no doubt! Nothing wrong with a bit of make believe and glad you enjoying the scene self-flushing loos and all, but I worry when I think of the engineering it takes these days to bring happiness to children. We were lucky (Monty Python theme I know but true nonetheless) if we had a couple of cardboard boxes and a broken mangle. And of course books! We did have to look down on holograms of dancers. We were the dancers.

Keep them coming: so much valued social commentary!

Fennie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
family affairs said...

I bet that post that you removed was from Linda!! Lx