We did it, we went to Disney World!

What everyone told us was true. It was:



Expensive (except for the 69 cent cup of tea from the MGM Studios coffee shop)








Full of cashiers named Chris and Jennifer, just like us, only they were from China, these were not their real names, and their English was very shaky.

Although we mostly stuck together, the boys are old enough to go off on their own, staying in touch by trusty cellular phone if need be. It worked like a charm. And not because we wished really hard.

Which brings me to one of the most chilling/creepy/fascist things about Disney World. As we watched the truly spectacular fireworks extravaganza over Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom on Sunday night, a Voice of God intoned “You see? When you wish very, very hard, dreams really do come true!” Jiminy Cricket and other helium voiced characters piped up to echo this brainwashing sentiment throughout the show. While little girls in $65 princess updos and made-up faces teetered past us on their glittery plastic heels, Chris muttered to me sotto voce, “What the hell kind of message is that?” It was at this point that a small English girl in full High School Musical cheerleader regalia stomped past, screeching “Mummy!” A vision that haunts us all.

But I digress. We agreed that Walt himself hadn’t just wished for fame and fortune to befall him – he invented stuff! Characters. Theme parks. Merchandising. TV shows. A genius of vertical integration, Walt.

And yet, as my smart friend Leslie points out, this “Just wish really hard” message is the very same one “revealed” in the recent best-selling book “The Secret.” Which I believe was touted by Oprah, another person who didn’t just sit around wishing to be one of the richest and famous-est people in the world. Whoever wrote “The Secret” ripped off the VO from the fireworks show. Which I have to say is really a case of super clever recycling. The message is hogwash. But it sells!

From a sociological standpoint, I found Disney World fascinating. Both the bright side (the cute characters and brilliant marketing) and the dark (Walt was a control freak and an anti-Semite).

On a final note, the boys didn’t bring home a single souvenir. They didn’t ask for any of the swag relentlessly touted everywhere we turned. No caps, shirts, pens, mugs, toys, hotpads, air-dogs-on-leashes, nothing. Thanks for not being suckered into the Buy-Buy-Buy message, guys! Seeing you grow out of the trinketerium spell is nothing less than thrilling. In fact, much like a dream come true.

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