You know your day at the Magic Kingdom has changed course considerably when your main concern is seeking air-conditioned shelter. It’s no longer about the rides; instead your focus is on which activities you can pursue that will result in AC blasting you in the face. This is why the Hall of Presidents became my refuge. It’s an attraction modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia that features all 43 presidents in “Audio-Animatronics form,” which is Disney-speak for robots.
Those Commander-In-Chief droids must require a muy refrigerated environment because the Hall of Presidents was the coolest place in the park. I could, at max, go on three rides before I had to get back to the Hall for a cool down. I found an AC vent in the rotunda, that if you stood at a 90-degree angle, you could get a rush of cold air up your shorts. It was like oxygen for someone climbing Mt. Everest.
The only problem was my daughter was getting crabby about my need for an AC refresh. She also complained about the time we were wasting having to constantly go back to the Hall of Presidents. This necessitated me finding another chill zone. It wasn’t quite as cold as the Hall of Presidents but it got the job done. It also had much better people watching.
It was a Fantasy Land gift shop located right next to the Cinderella Castle where little girls could, for the bargain price of $199, go to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and get the full princess treatment. This means hair and make-up done and the Disney character gown of their choice.
The mothers coming out of the Boutique, with their coiffured tots in tow, were their own cast of characters. The most tragic was the Sobbing MOP (Mom Of a Princess.) These are the teary-eyed mothers dragging a crying princess out of the boutique. The child was usually have a meltdown because her “hair hurt.” Otherwise known as “bun head burn.”
Each princess got a bun and a crown and let me tell you, those buns were pulled back tight enough to withstand the G-force of Space Mountain. I got why both the child and the mom were bawling. If I had just dropped $200 on a “Princess Experience” and it resulted in my daughter going full royal tantrum I’d need a Kleenex, too.
Once the sun had set, I was able to significantly limit my AC visits. It’s not that is was that much cooler, it still felt like I was wearing a Grizzly pelt lined with polar fleece and dunked in Icy Hot, but at least I wasn’t getting a solar bitch slapping. I had hoped that after the 10 p.m. fireworks, families would start to clear out of the park. I mean, really, who would stay till 1 a.m. if you had small children or even an infant? Everyone, is the answer to that question.
The state song of Florida has to be children crying to the tune of It’s a Small World because that melody followed me throughout Disney World and it got cranked up every night. You had parents, who had to know better, waking up babies and toddlers to put them on rides. I swear, after 11 p.m. Fantasy Land was the Trail of Tears.
To escape the screaming, my daughter and I fled to Adventure Land to set sail on the Jungle Cruise. We thought we were safe from unhappy children until a dad boarded our boat with a preschooler who was afraid of water. The poor kid howled. The dad announced that he was just going to let the kid “cry it out.” I gave my daughter the look that said “make a run for it” and we got off that boat faster than you can say “God Help Us All.”
After that, our strategy was to stay in Frontier Land till the park closed at 1 a.m. That way we could ride the Splash Mountain log plume, get wet and then blow dry while riding the Thunder Mountain rollercoaster. This was a great plan and upping the fun factor was standing in line with people who didn’t want to get wet.
There are signs posted all along the line stating that you will get wet. When you step into the log, it is wet and people getting off the ride are drenched. Yet, there are still people angry, confused and dumbfounded after the ride is over, that they were baptized in Lake Disney. To make matters worse, these are the people who usually want to sit in the front log, known in theme park terminology as the super soaker. Who out there doesn’t know the front log takes the biggest direct hit? It’s simple physics – force x mass x person at the front of a log ride = 100% chance your clothes will be soppy wet. I think another Disney improvement would be IQ tests for certain rides. It would certainly thin the theme park herd.
But no matter the tears, the heat, and the idiot quotient, I did it. I crossed the finish line of 17 hours at the Magic Kingdom. Where’s that T-shirt at the gift shop?