I was supposed to be on an airplane to Orlando and Disney World right now, but sometimes life has other ideas, so I thought you might enjoy this story from one of my previous trips.
(May, 22, 2005) For the most part I enjoyed all the rides at Disney World and most of the people who rode them with me and my family were well behaved and considerate. I was a little disturbed by the 40-ish woman who went on Splash Mountain alone, sat next to me, and seemed to chuckle at every thing the robotic cartoon characters did.
In 1976 when my parents took me to Disney World they, for some unknown reason, elected not to take me on Pirates of The Caribbean. Maybe they were fearful I’d run off to join the merry hooligans as they wreaked havoc on the seven seas. Or maybe they, like most parents, didn’t give a rats ass what their kids want towards the end of 10 hours walking around Disney and just wanted to get back to the hotel bar for a beer. Either way, I’ve spent the last 25 years feeling cheated that I missed out on that ride.
On this trip I felt that finally justice would be served as I proudly marched my kids into line for Pirates of The Caribbean. Then I noticed 4 young adults in line in front of me. They were “skinheads.” I say this not just because the three young men had shaved heads. It wasn’t the knee high leather boots they were all wearing that gave away their political leanings. Using my brilliant powers of deductive reasoning I concluded that they were “skinheads” because one of them had a tattoo on the back of his neck. It said, “skinhead.” I’m thinking that you’d better be pretty damn sure about your political affiliation to have it tattooed on your neck. What if in ten years he decides to be a Republican? Nevermind, bad example.
I just never imagined that skinheads would choose Disney World for vacation. Don’t you think they would want to visit Alcatraz or perhaps the jail cell that Mr. Howell locked the Brady’s in when their Grand Canyon trip went awry? Although I don’t agree with the skinheads’ political and social beliefs I do have to say that this group was polite and well behaved, unlike my friend from Pittsburgh.
The first and most enduring memory of my trip to Walt Disney World with my kids 15 years ago is of the shuttle bus ride from the Orlando airport to the hotel.
Prior to my trip I had thought that the entertainment wouldn’t start until we actually arrived at Walt Disney World (aka The Costliest Place on Earth). Thanks to the gratuitous disbursement of alcoholic beverages by the airline, the early entertainment was provided by a representative of a Pittsburgh chemical company who flew to Orlando on “business.” It’s a good thing he took a shuttle bus because I’m sure that after the flight Mr. Pittsburgh had no business being behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. He barely had any business being allowed in a motor vehicle. The fumes he was giving off could have been lethal if we couldn’t have opened the windows.
His partner was a bit more inhibited, but seemed to be, to the endless amusement of Mr. Pittsburgh, an avid cell phone person. Mr. Pittsburgh’s partner was either trying to call his wife, or trying to sell his motorcycle, (which I overheard is listed on cyclevantage.com). Each time the more sober of the two was cut off from his wife on the cell phone, Mr. Pittsburgh would repeatedly shout, “Oooo…Ooooo Call her back! Oooo…Ooooo Call her back!” (He was attempting a poor imitation of the Gwen Stefani song Hollaback)
At one point he became so agitated in his Rainman-like chanting that he literally began banging his head on the window of the van. Our driver, Jose, was very alarmed by this.
Sensing Jose’s concern Mr. Pittsburgh would occasionally shout, “Hey Jose! How much longer?” He must have asked this at least 4 times in a 30 minute span. After I suggested that my kids watch the ponds and rivers by the road for alligators, Mr. Pittsburgh shouted, “Hey Jose! Are there alligators or crocodiles here?” The one other apparently sober passenger who wasn’t part of my family, a woman travelling alone, pointed to Mr. Pittsburgh and whispered deadpan, “I wish there were alligators here.”
15 years later that still makes me laugh. Sometimes it’s the things you don’t plan for on vacation that are the most memorable. As you read this on Saturday morning, this time next Saturday I’ll be again heading to Walt Disney World. My kids may have outgrown Disney World, but my wife has not.