Disney World doom

Jackie Mantey

The most dangerous travel destination of choice this winter break was not the now-infamous San Francisco zoo. “You joke!” you say. “Something more dangerous and random than a 300-pound tiger gnawing you to death?”

You obviously haven’t been to Walt Disney World during the holiday season — where a middle-aged, pissed-off mother of two would have most certainly pummeled that silly freaking tiger if it were in the way of her 5-year-old witnessing a felt-laden college student dressed as Goofy waving from a carousel.

Welcome to the Wonderful World of “Screw You.”

Fifteen members of my family and two other companions went to Disney World this Christmas break to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th anniversary. While it was certainly a memorable and fantastic way to actually get to spend time with my family, there was a downside to this dream vacation.

This apparently is the time of year when Disney parks close down around 9 a.m. because they get too full — seriously. The place was shoulder-to-shoulder and people were not happy, but the bitter faces, minor Achilles attacks from strollers and thigh bruises thanks to the dutiful elbows of 3-year-olds, were all at least bearable.

Then nightfall hit.

You could almost feel the tension rise as parents with sleepy toddlers positioned themselves sprinter style to watch the highlight of the night: Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas time Parade.

Around this time, I was ready to leave and perhaps take a dip in our resort’s pool, but as my friend and I approached the road to cross, a park employee pulled a rope in front of us signaling the start of the parade.

We were then nearly trampled to death by a Lion King-esque stampede, rushing in front of my companion and I like the Red Sea closing before our eyes as they tried to get to the front to see the Disney Christmas parade.

My life passed before my eyes.

I could just imagine myself, suffocating under the weight of thousands of Donald Duck Crocs, angry that I was exiting this world to the sounds of Disney show tunes and the image of a Mickey Santa smiling at me as I lamented the $6 I just wasted on a 50-cent hot dog with extra mustard. The local paper would have used some kind of lame pun as a headline — “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to the afterlife she goes.”

After I narrowly escaped my Disney-fated doom, insult was added to that potential injury as a mother, desperately gripping the hand of an un-amused adolescent son, pounded past me and my friend, breaking our hand-lock of safety and knocking me three feet to the right. I wish was the type of person who had some restraint, but an expletive was all I could muster to this unfriendly woman (I know . Walt would not approve). It didn’t really matter, though, as my voice was lost in a sea of dirty diapers and wretchedly persistent moms and dads.

After our escape from the park almost an hour later, I sat around the aforementioned pool with my siblings. I had more fun in those few hours than I had the whole day. It’s easy to get lost in the hub-bub and marketing tools applied by a mouse in a silly hat. Sure, it was wonderful being in Disney, but the part I remember most is just being with my family, not riding Space Mountain.

I just hope I remember that when I’m a pissed-off, middle-aged mother of two — and to keep the kids a safe distance away from tiger dens.

Jackie Mantey is a senior magazine journalism major and a guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].