When you wish upon a star…

The Magic Kingdom

I have just returned from a week in the land of all things magical — Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney envisioned a place where parents and children could have fun together, an idea he got while trying to find activities to do with his own two daughters. His idea was realized with the 1955 opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Disney World followed, opening in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, in 1971.

Disney World is a marvel of fun, fantasy, imagination, and excitement. Sonny and I spent Spring Break down there, and it was magical. Well, mostly magical.

Let me tell you what I mean.

Not magical: Waiting in line. And waiting. And waiting…

Magical: The line sometimes moves so fast that you don’t have time see all the interesting things along the way, like Hidden Mickeys, especially if you have a FASTPASS.

Not magical: Shoulder to shoulder crowds trying to push toward a parade, a show, an exit…good Lord, where is the exit?

Magical: Sharing a lunch table with two absolutely delightful families at Epcot‘s Biergarten Restaurant in the Germany Pavilion. One family had an Irish mama, and American daddy, and a precocious five-year-old. The other family of three was actually from Germany. Across language barriers, we all shared our vacation experiences and enjoyed a show. Sonny and I ran into the German family later in the trip, and they greeted us like old friends.

Not magical: Rental scooters zooming through the crowd at warp speed. Just because you’re on wheels doesn’t mean you can play Mario Andretti in a pedestrian crowd.

Even less magical: Rental scooters zooming through the crowd at warp speed with a half dozen young ‘uns clinging onto the driver and all waving plastic swords and trailing helium balloons.

Magical: If there is anything magical about the accursed scooter, except for maybe they do allow some people to get around Disney World who might not otherwise be able to, it’s that some brilliant mind saw the humor (or the tragedy, as the case may be) in our ever increasing dependance on technology and created the social commentary movie Wall-E.

Not magical: You can tell when Mama is as mad as all get-out no matter what language she speaks.

Magical: You can tell when Mama is enjoying her family and loves them to pieces no matter what language she speaks.

Not magical: Realizing the world is covered in snot. I can’t tell you how many rug rats I saw wipe a big glob of snot off their sunburned little noses with their bare hands, then run that same hand all up and down the railing.

Magical: Hand sanitizer.

Not magical: Motion sickness from rides that spin, dip, soar, swoop, and drop.

Magical: Running cool water over your wrists will make you feel better. Every time.

Not magical: Public restrooms.

Magical: Paper toilet seat covers. Greatest invention ever.

Not magical: Manners, the niceties of polite society, and general civility seem to get left at home sometimes (along with bras, sunscreen, and common sense).

Magical: Seeing a little boy run after a lady to return the $20 bill that dropped out of her pocket.

Not magical: Oblivion.

Magical: Attention. Attention to where you are, the people around you, and how your actions may affect others.

Not magical: Sullen teenage girls who would rather spend their time in the Magic Kingdom texting on their iPhone while plugged up to the only public electrical outlet in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, which happens to be in the public bathroom near Space Mountain, than enjoying all the sun and fun their parents have spent thousands of dollars on.

Magical: A son who still enjoys spending a whole week with his mother.