The Magical Kingdom
Four years ago I flew my Arkansas grandkids Matt and Ally and my daughter Heather from my first marraige to Cape Coral, Florida where we lived at the time. This was the first time they have flown and I was naturally concerned for them. After all, flapping your arms for 1200 miles can be fairly challenging not to mention the bugs you have to dig out of your teeth afterwards. The flight went well and they all enjoyed it and were beaming like headlights on brights as they disembarked.
They have never been to Disney World so we decided to make the three hour trek to Orlando for some magical kingdom fun. The grandkids were so excited and could hardly contain themselves. We sang songs like M-I-C---- K-E-Y MOUSE and I did my best impression of Donald Duck. Somewhat unintelligble garb but if it sounds like a duck it must be a duck.However, I like Goofy the best. I can identify with his Dum de Dum way of it all. In the back of my mind I could see him telling Clark W. Griswald in the Wally World vacation movie, "sorry folks parks closed" after a cross country trek.
Upon arriving, I pulled my truck into the parking space, put her in park and we all excitedly bailed out. The kids had ants in their pants or maybe they had to just use the bathroom it's hard to tell at that age. Off in the distance I could sense the crescendo of the day building as the looming tower of the Magical Kingdom beckoned kids everywhere to a fun filled day of fantasy----and parents with pocketbooks!.
Hopping onto a tram that took us to the front gate, the real magic began of lifting serious coin from my pockets. After taking out a mortgage at the window to gain entrance we entered into the twilight zone---Uhh-I meant the magical kingdom.
After the kids found the first bathroom( wasn't ants after all) and completed that mission we dovetailed in with the swelling multitudes of munchkins and onto a gigantic ferry. The ferry reminded me of the ones you picture in old Mark Twain stories like Huckleberry Finn paddle wheels and all except this one was wider than the Mississippi River. Once aboard we scurried to the top deck and to the front and there it was!. Across the lake the mirage of magic, the temptress and seducer of fantastical delight, chimed her silent illusion. The closer we got, the more excited the kids became, until Matt unable to contain himself, busted out into one of his white kids can't dance moves, while Ally laughing heartily and gazing at him with cocked brow thinking" and your're my brother?"
The ferry with the its bells clanging and whistles ringing gently bumped into its mooring. The kingdom shuffle had begun. As we stepped dockside and moved through the pearly gates, Goofy met us with a hardy "Howdy Folks" and a high five. Yep, today, I thought was going to be a day of memory building that Matt and Ally would not soon forget. The smell of hot dogs, cotton candy, peanuts and cotton candy mired with the rising Florida sun made me want to seek the nearest tavern of adult beverages------Ooops this about the kids.
Disney characters were dancing and prancing everywhere and little street plays and singing filled the air with surreal delight. Little kids eagerly tugging and pulling on Micky and Minnie Mouse, not knowing that someone was on the inside. For a moment I thought and wondered what the teenager on the inside of the Disney suit was thinking as they tried to politely "shake" off the little ones wrapped around their ankles. " Why you little brat, if i could, I would drag you through the streets, how's that for some magic?" "They don't call me Goofy for nothing." Ooops, there I go again, back to the story.
Once past the entrance we quickly picked up a roadmap, compass, GPS device, night vision goggles, just to be safe. After all, the enormity of this magical tour would surely immerse us into paths unknown as we meandered through to find the perfect ride, show and entertainment venue. Since Matt was 5 and Ally 8 at the time, zeroing in on age appropriate rides was paramount. Also, I must confess, I'm not one who calls fun getting my insides throughly shaken, not stirred, a highlight of the day. Seems to me if God intended my stomach to be in my throat he would put it there. Watching others on these rides being inverted, dropped, looped, and spun all at the speed of light and all within an inch of their lives, reinforced my opinion that Walt Disney was a masochist and only hired design engineers that were.
However, I take delight in watching the screaming and expressions on peoples faces as they whiz by me and yell---"OH GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. There seems to be an abundance of religion on those rides and I'm sure many converts are made and promises to God like" If you let me live through this I promise, really, really , that I will be a missionary in New Delhi." Umm-huh
The next 8 hours were spent hustling from ride to ride, show to show and taking our turn standing in line, waiting for the ultimate sensation of all rides, the cup and saucer! In between rides, thunder showers rolled in and provided much need relief from the heat and respite from delight. As the day wore on our hungers began to build. Phase 2 of the magical kingdom of the magical lift began and that of lifting more coins from my pocket. Can anyone tell me why I should wait 30 minutes to get a plain hot dog for $5, served by a newly arrived non English speaking immigrant of unknown origins and failing to understand commom courtesies? Intense heat and hunger drives our minds to do almost anything. Despite it all , the smiles and time together with Matt and Ally was priceless and what amount of money could I put on that. I'm thinking, I'm thinking--- hmmm
As the day progressed we finnally made it to the finale of the days efforts. We patiently waited for the last performance to begin outside THE MAGICAL KINGDOM itself. The crowing glory of Matt and Ally's day. This was what is was all about. Standing at least 10 miles away peering over the heads of throngs of onlookers all seemingly over 6 feet tall and wearing hats, we perched ourselves upon a wall as to get a view. Despite not being able to see clearly or hear very well, we took it all in and took our last sigh of the day as we began our descent back into reality as we began the trudge back to the gates to depart and board the ferry back across the lake.As I reached into my pockets to get my keys, none could be found. I asked Heather if I had given them to her. Digging down into the deep recesses of parts unknown in her purse, she came up empty handed. No worry, I thought, I'm sure I dropped them and someone would take them to the lost and found. After all America is filled with people that are helpful although I saw several motionless bodies stepped over in the rush to ride the Tilt-A-Whirl. Besides what would anyone want with my keys to the house, car, bank safe deposit box, passwords to all bank accounts( no worry there they were magically drained) and winning lotto tickets.
Arriving at the front gates, I darted into the lost and found. Unfortunately no one had turned them in so I assumed I locked them in the truck with all the excitement still ahead of us. The young lady waiting on me assured me this happens all the time as to assuage my feelings while her eyes said' IDIOT!" She called a locksmith that she knew, so the damage report of funds yet to be spent awaited in the parking lot. The locksmith said he knew just the area we were parked in. Now, I'm thinking we will be in the parking lot waiting for 4 hours or more. It takes about 30 minutes to get back to it once we departed the pearly gates.
Once across the lake we hopped a tram back to the parking lot. Once we stepped off, with a quckening pace to my truck, I jumped upon the running boards to pull myself up to see if the keys were in the ignition and at the same time grabbing the door handle. Surprisingly the door opened and a rush of cold air met me. Stunned, I realized I had indeed left the keys in the truck, in the ignition , with the truck still RUNNING! Yep, in all the excitement for 8 hours I left the truck running , doors unlocked, with a half a tank of gas. The only thing missing was a big sign on the tailgate that read" Please take my truck, have fun, pick me up at 5."
Reeling backwards with laughter and shaking my head in disbelief, Matt, Ally, and Heather broke down in hysterics, the locksmith pulls up behind me. Still shaking my head and impressed that he has arrived at the same time I did, I casually walked up to his truck explaining what had happened and he didn't crack a smaile. I wasn't sure whther he was reaching for a crow bar because of his wasted trip and his desire to maybe inflict some harm, or just thinking' What an Idiot."
Then the best magic of all occurred. He said he sees it all the time except MOST people lock their keys in the car, NOT RUNNING. Realizing I had set a Disney World record for stupidity, I expected a hefty damage report. I asked him what I owed and he said- "No charge." I'm thinking he has a new story to tell and that was payment enough. However, , I told him that I couldn't accept his kind gesture and he finnally said $20. I gave him $40 and considred the best bargain of the day.
So, I guess at the end of the day and as I pondered it all over on the way back home, I thought after all maybe, just maybe the kingdom has some magic-- even for me.