I just got back from a whirlwind Florida vacation with Team Kazzie. It was a really good time. No Secret Service protection on this trip, but somehow we managed to muddle our way through. We went to the beach, played miniature golf, ate good food, saw family and friends, and spent three fantastic days at Disney World.
I made my first Disney trip almost 30 years ago, when my parents took my sister and me to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Sea World. And except for a day trip my wife and I made to Epcot before we had kids, I hadn't been back since then. Needless to say, you look at things a bit differently when you're 30 years older. Here are some observations about Disney and vacations generally that I probably missed in 1982.
1. The people at Walt Disney World are dead f-cking serious about you and your brood having a good time, and they are really, really good at their job. No matter how many people suffer, YOU WILL ENJOY YOURSELVES. Nothing is left to chance. I want to know why Disney isn't running this country.
2. When your destination is 1,400 miles away, your child will throw up on his booster seat after you've driven 1,399.95 miles. Yes, this actually happened. Within view of our destination.
3. I could not help but picture the Disney cast members' personal lives and problems. I imagine this is due to the fact that 90 percent of their job is to look really, really happy, and we all know no one is that happy. As I watched Tinkerbell lead the Main Street Electrical Parade toward Cinderella's Castle (and truth be told, she nails the role as Tinkerbell), I couldn't help but wonder if she has a secret addiction, like eating dryer sheets.
4. Amtrak was decidedly unamused with a Mr. Schaffer, who, from what I can gather, deposited his vehicle in front of the Sanford, Florida train station for carriage aboard the Lorton, Virginia-bound Auto Train and then promptly vanished. It was, to say the least, a little creepy.
5. My wife and I are officially cheap. On our first night at our Disney hotel, I went to the grocery store at midnight and bought bagels, frozen pancakes, veggie sausage, a gallon of milk, peanut butter, and jelly. We knocked out six meals in our hotel room. Stay classy, Kazzies! By not having to eat these meals at Disney, I think we saved approximately $6,000.
6. To the one person aboard the full Downtown Disney shuttle late Thursday night who offered his seat to my wife and two small children, who were basically asleep on their feet -- thank you. To all the other able-bodied adults, I saw you trying to avoid eye contact with us. Oh, and this quote from A Few Good Men seems applicable here: "Private Santiago is dead because he had no code. Because he had no honor. And God was watching."
7. My favorite barbecue joint in the world, a place in Naples, Florida, is no longer my favorite. You said the smoked beef was brisket. IT WAS NOT BRISKET. IT WAS BARELY STEAK-UMM. And the baby back ribs get a C+. Maybe. On the plus side, I have a new favorite sandwich place: Pastrami Dan's in Naples.
8. Rain at Disney is awesome. Get yourself one of these kick-ass Disney ponchos, and I say BRING IT ON! No heat, no lines, no problems.
9. Drinking a gigantic margarita and then immediately riding Mission: Space at Epcot is a surefire way of making yourself really dizzy and nauseated.
10. The greater D.C. Metro area doesn't have a traffic problem. It has an "it's about to implode in on itself" problem. It took us two hours to travel 26 miles on Saturday. I lived in Arlington, Virginia (a D.C. suburb) for about a year in the mid-1990s, and I would estimate the traffic problem is approximately 1 quintillion times worse now.
So we are home safe and sound. It was a really great vacation. The kids had a ball, and could not have been better behaved. I hope they remember it as well as I know I will.