Let’s just lay the cards on the table. My family is not a normal family. We are NOT strange like AdamS family strange, nor are we scary like Manson family strange. But we are different.
I work in the music business, Marnie works at the alternative weekly, Rhett has been going to punk rock gigs since he was nine, Emma alternates between Hannah Montana and Acrade Fire as her favorite bands. Marnie and I just got married after 10 years of living together. We are politically active, opinionated, and engaged. We are arty snotbags.
I acknowledge (maybe even embrace) that we not a stereotypical middle class family.
And now, Team MMG (as we call ourselves) have gone to Disney World in Florida. We stayed at a resort on the Disney property, with my Mom and Dad, my sister and brother-in-law. There were eight of us, and we were there for seven and a half days.
Culture shock is an accurate summary of our states of mind after this experience.
Well when I say ours, I do not mean Emma. She loved all of it, from the plane ride to Spacemoutain. My girl, who normally wants to go to bed at 9:00pm, was up to midnight the second night there, riding rides, having fun. And up again the next day at seven am!
But for the rest of us, well…
Rhett struggled at first with how much he is enjoying himself. My “too cool for school” son is so devastatingly intelligent that in many every day things he has already left me behind with his rapid and logical calculations around things. He will make a hell of a lawyer if he wants to be one (which seems unlikely).
His personal identity as a seventh grader is gig going, punk rock listening rebel. Hard to reconcile this with a ride going, Mickey ear wearing goomer. But there you are, they are one in the same when you are in Disney World!
Marnie? Well, she was forced back in the day to go to Disney as a rebellious 16 year old, and she did end up reliving some of that bad place this trip. She also managed to maintain some ironic detachment during the whole thing. She was the voice of reasoned objectivity that was perfunctorily ignored….. “Marnie, everyone else wants to be at EPCOT for 16 hours straight today, that is the point of Extra Magic Hours!” In retrospect, we should all feel a bit bad about that.
Being at Disney is a state of being. Why? Because Disney is very nearly perfect. The staff love working here. Customer service is high quality and enthusiastic, everything is designed to maximize your enjoyment.
Disney is the height of western decadence. Everything is over the top, and meant to keep you, the customer, happy and spending. Your every need is their concern. An example — – your bags are taken from shops back to the resort so you can continue to enjoy the park (ie: shop more) unimpeded.
WDW is so well run that you can hardly feel Uncle Walt reaching into your wallet again and again to take money out… and when you do you don’t mind that much.
For us as adults, the issue was simple. The first morning I said to Marnie “you know, we have to get over ourselves. There is no ‘cool at Disney’ and ‘not cool at Disney,’ there is only ‘being at Disney.'” So, we just focused on ‘being at Disney’ for the week, and it sure was fun.