Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Let us now set aside childish things

The other day, my dad asked me if I was planning on taking the kids to Disney World. I said no and he asked if it was due to financial or philosophical restraints. I mumbled something about it being very low on a very long list of priorities but I wasn’t philosophically opposed to it. This question stuck with me though. Disney is fun and fun is good, right? Not so fast.

First off, I do not like crowds. I won’t even go to the grocery store on a weekend if I can avoid it. Masses of humanity in a state of nervous excitement make me feel ill at ease in the best of circumstances so imagining myself under the blazing Florida sun jockeying for position in line for Pirates of Caribbean surrounded by sweaty adults and cranky kids most likely wearing mouse ears has a nightmarish quality.

Secondly, Disney is ex-pen-sive y’all! I don’t understand how anyone can afford to go there. Add the specter of exponential debt and life style entitlement floating over the mouse ears and I start to get depressed. In Steven King’s book Insomnia a person’s longevity is represented by a bunch of balloons type thing floating over their heads. The soon to be dead ones had shriveled up, blackened, droopy balloons.

Thirdly, I’m not much of a consumer. Even if I weren't riding the rough and ragged edges of financial disaster, if it isn’t food or a book or a plant, I don’t enjoy buying. You go to Disney and you are their little captive buying machine. I get PO’d at the market when I have to go through the candy isle to checkout or pass shelves full of toys placed strategically near the cereal aisle. I couldn’t spend an entire day allowing my kids to be targeted by marketing. The whole time I’d be wondering where all this crap came from (China) where it was going to be in 30 minutes/6 months (THE DUMP) and I’d be sad about that.

Finally, I’d be thinking about what used to be where Disney World is. No amount of first world fun can justify paving yet another 47 square miles of habitat.

So we have crowds of sweaty adults and cranky kids in a state of nervous excitement jockeying for position under the blazing Florida sun with shriveled up, blackened, droopy debt balloons hovering over their mouse ears having a Wall-E moment as they dance on the graves of the former residents. Fun!

Though somewhere in the bowels of the superstructure some wonderful notions of magic and imagination exist, for me, this has been entirely subsumed in the rapacious money making machine that churns out mindless entertainment and branding thats only intended function is the provocation of material consumption.

I spent Saturday at the Lake with my kids. They dug in the sand and chased the ducks and splashed in the water. We found a dead turkey and lots of cool rocks that look like blue cheese. There wasn’t a single complaint or argument or want the entire 2 hours we were there. They had rosy cheeks and smelled like sunshine when we got home. We were 7 minutes from our house. It cost of us nothing.

Disney is totally off the list.

4 comments:

  1. Funny you should blog about Disney today. Last weekend, friends were in town and I was asked the same question........"are you planning on taking Declan to Disney World?". My immediate answer as well, was a firm "NO". But I too, started to think about what sort of fun I may be depriving my little girl of. It's supposed to be fun, and as you say, fun is good!

    I too, have an extreme adversion to crowds and overpriced amusement. Hence our decision to get the heck outtah' town (NYC) and move to a much less crowded and lovely area in Maine.

    In addition to all your wonderfully worded thoughts, I would like to add my confusion to why parents would spend the money to bring small children to Disney as well.
    My daughter is overstimulated and overwhelmed at the local playground. I cannot fathom the meltdown that would ensue if she was surrounded by multitudes of sweaty tourists, screaming children, piped in music, food and toys at every corner, and entertainment galore.
    Why would I spend $150 (that is with a free child) for one day of chaos?

    I managed to get through my childhood without a Disney encounter. I did not go until I was in my late teens. Somehow, I turned out okay.
    So, I think I am right there with you.....just saying "no" to Disney.

    Instead, we will have many fun filled adventures outdoors where the fun is had at a minimal cost.

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  2. I'm so grateful to see that me and my hub are not the only parents out here that feels this way!

    My parents go to FL for a few months every winter and beg us to bring our family down. I always say No. They argue that we wouldn't have to pay for a place to stay. My response is ALWAYS that I would have to spend ~$2000 JUST to get my family of 5 down to FL...and to do what exactly? Sit on a beach...which don't get me wrong...i love to sit on the beach and do it with my kids as often as possible right here in lil ol'Rhody from June thru Sept. Why would I spend well over $2000 to fly my kids down to do something I can do in my own backyard? And then drop on top of that every single reason you fine parents list about a Disney Excursion!!

    First off - I doubt I will ever breakdown and spend that kind of money on any vacation...but IF I was going to....it would be to travel around this fine country of ours. It would be to visit the other side of the country and see naturally occurring splendor such as Crator Lake in Oregon...or the Red Wood forest in Cali...or taking a road trip along Rte 66...experiencing real life and family times.

    UGH!! I'm with you guys...that's for DANG SURE!!!

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  3. Kim,

    "My daughter is overstimulated and overwhelmed at the local playground."
    I'm with Declan. So many lights and sounds make me ornery, too : ) I remember back in the day, watching the Bristol 4th of July parade madness and thinking, "those people are nuts". Same thing here but on a larger scale.
    There is such a cultural push to do Disney, I am SO pleased to hear I'm not the only mutinous mom out there.

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  4. Kate,

    I'm with you on "experiencing real life and family times". Our media culture tell us to seek pre-packaged experiences because they can't make money on a day at the beach!
    Like Dorothy said "I think that if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with!"

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