magic moments in elevators of death.

Oh, y’all. My exhausted is exhausted. I ache in places I don’t think technically exist on the human body. I have been around more human beings over the last 72 hours than should be legally allowed. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET AND WHY ARE THEY ALL AT DISNEY WORLD.

I need a large, spacious cabin high up in some mountains somewhere. Nothing like what Unibomber would stay in – I mean comfy and spacious. Wifi, well-stocked wine cellar, hot tub, babbling stream outside, fire pit. But far far far FAR removed from the rest of humanity. After I get home, I’m going to need a vacation from my vacation. I’ll only have a day for this and I need about a week of no other people. Unless a massage is involved. And then, okay. But just for a little bit. Then they gots to GO, yo.

So we did Magic Kingdom yesterday. My summary: it is a kingdom, but it is not magic. What is it? In a word, I would define it as insanity. A kingdom of humanity’s insanity. On the one hand, I’m continuously impressed with Disney’s Crowd Science tactics: they don’t like crowds, and they know how to disperse them. Should there ever be more LA riots or whatever, forget S.W.A.T. guys and all that – hire Disney. They’ll know exactly what to do. On the other hand, holy crap, you guys. I mean, look at it. LOOK AT IT:

This was a stroller parking lot. FOR ONE RIDE. And my phone’s camera only got about 1/2 of what was really there. STOP HAVING BABIES, HUMANITY. STOP!!!!

And the mouse ears. Oh my god. I wish I could tell you how many different ways they’ve taken mouse ears and turned them into Pinterest-like crafty mccrafterson products. Flower ears, harlequin ears, princess ears, bride ears, class of 20XX ears, swirly ears, your school/team/favorite color ears…ears ears ears ears ears. Everywhere I look, there are EARS.

Those are mouse ears. Yes, we succumbed. (Disney is diabolical.)
Those are mouse ears. Those are fairy princess mouse ears. And YES, we succumbed. (Because Disney is diabolical.)

On a positive note, this is People Watching at Orgasmic levels. I’ve heard so many different accents and languages over the last few days I feel like I’m at a United Nations conference, and I saw a woman dressed as a princess with what I’m pretty sure were face tattoos. I’m so sad I didn’t get a picture of her, but I’m having to turn my phone off/on all day to conserve battery power and at some point had to make a decision: snap family photos for a memory book, or photos of the strange and eccentric in the Magic Kingdom? It was very hard, but family memories won. But just to see some of what I got to see today, lands you all. It. Is. Awesome. I hope the Face Tattoo Princess did the meet-n-greet with Cinderella and Rapunzel, and if she did then I’m super sad we weren’t right after her and missed it.

In addition to this, I’m learning about at what price fame comes. Miss M has met all her fave princesses (who talk like they’ve inhaled an awful lot of helium and talk and talk and talk and talk and it’s very hard for you to even ask them a question because they are talking and talking and talking and talking aaaaannnddd then moving on to the next fan). These people are what beginning cosplayers piecing their first costume together are aspiring to be. They are Ninja Level experts at this; they don’t care if you talk to them or not. They’re not really there to make friends, no offense, it’s just this job they’re getting paid to do right now and they’ve got exactly 100 million more strange children to hug and smile at as they do this all day long, 365 days a year. Hug hug, kiss kiss, are you enjoying your legs dear human? (That’s what Ariel will ask you, and don’t answer because unless you’re a handsome prince or a hideous woman in an octopus costume it doesn’t matter.)

This would be like me, if I met Helen Mirren.
This will be me, if I ever meet Princess Helen Mirren.


…and this will be me if I ever get to meet Princess Emma Thompson.

So fascinated me is taking mental notes, watching the minders who hover near the famous cast members. They’re basically like silly bodyguards – today at lunch we met Pooh and friends, and those bodyguard/minders were really kind but also firm. One told M she had something on her shoe, and when she looked, he said: Ha! Made you look! But then he had to firmly remove Piglet to another table so he could meet other families.

But I can kind of see why. At one point today, I realized: dude, if one of those princesses we just met at the meet & greet walked out into this madness? She’d be completely mauled by 3 gabillion of these rugrats. Mowed down with love. Assassinated by adoration. With sticky fingers, while parents frantically stood by wildly pushing each other out of the way to get shots of THEIR baby with the famous princess. There really has to be a wall up between fans and those being admired. People are inherently psycho. Having been stalked by an obsessed weirdo and now witnessing what potential mania from masses might be like. Eye opening. (Thanks, weirdo stalker. Thanks, Disney World.)

What other tales of magic can I regale you with? Oh, yes! On Tuesday, we went to Hollywood Studios. I must insist you do Star Tours if you are ever there. We went the first time on a Fast Pass, which means we had a 20 minute wait for a 20 second ride (it’s actually not a ride – it’s an experience in The Force awakening) vs the second time we did it, which was a 2 hour wait for a 20 second ride. Which is what I find to be the most perplexing thing about this place. The wait vs ride times: yesterday we waited 20-20,000,000 minutes for 20 second rides. This seems like trickery, Walt. Make your rides longer or your waits less; pick one it’s not fair to have both.

At any rate, I thought Hollywood Studios was most awesome. At every park, I’ve cried you guys. Yesterday, I cried on Peter Pan’s flight, because I remembered riding it when I was 10, and right before your ship’s safety bar is lowered, a cast member dressed as Pan sprinkles magic fairy dust on it. At Hollywood Studios, I cried on the Classic Movies ride because not only was there Mary Poppins, but I got to ride through Munchkinland. I was literally in Oz, you guys. If I’d done that ride when I was 10, I’m pretty sure I’d have hyperventilated myself into a hernia.

And when I say: “I cried,” I don’t mean I got a bit teary-eyed and emotional. I mean: I CRIED. Like, I kind of needed to bring tissues on this trip. But I didn’t know. I didn’t know.

If only they'd had Hollywood Studios in 1982, my entire childhood would have turned out differently. (No, seriously. I would have tried to find a way to live here, full-time.)
If only they’d had Hollywood Studios in 1982, my entire childhood would have turned out differently. (No, seriously. I would have tried to find a way to live here, full-time.)

I also didn’t know I needed to pack several cases of beer and bring bottles of wine, but next time I will. Next time, I’ll be a seasoned veteran and will know: pack tissues, bring booze. (Because once you’re in the resort, they drive you everywhere. I mean, really. You could literally be drunk the entire time here and they’ll totally drive you back to your hotel on a bus or a boat or the monorail without a single ounce of judgement.)

Speaking of monorails, Miss M and I are scheduled to have lunch with Chef Mickey Mouse today. We took the monorail to the big fancy hotel it’s at. The monorail runs right through the hotel, and the monorail station is all carpeted. Like you step off the train onto nice, soft carpeting. Then you take an escalator and ta da! You’re in Rich People Land! So we found Chef Mickey’s. We did this because M and I are on our own today. (We’ve got some Fast Passes scheduled at the Magic Kingdom, but I’m feeling a day of book reading and pool swimming coming on…if I have to dodge one more stroller, I’m pretty sure I’ll lose my mind.) So we just needed to know where to go – I can’t read a map to save my life and if GPS ever goes down because there’s an Apocalypse and the only way to safety is located on a map, I will die. If you’re with me, you will die too because I can’t outrun zombies.

Once that was finished, we turned around to go back up the escalator to get back on the monorail to go back to Magic Kingdom. But a woman had fainted or fallen or something, and she was lying prone at the bottom of the Up Escalator. A hundred Disney workers were around her, blocking everyone’s view so we couldn’t rubberneck to find out what happened.But I think she was okay because they were talking to her. My mom kept reassuring Miss M, who grew very anxious (I am raising an anxious child; this is how I know anxiety is genetic) it was just something that happens to old people on escalators and we’d be perfectly safe going on it once they started it again. So now M is anxious about my mom going on escalators. Good work, mom. (Not saying you’re old…but you are to Miss M. And also, now I think I kinda see where my anxiety issues started.)

So about a hundred people had to take the handicapped elevator to go up to the monorail station. When our group got on, the elevator got stuck. Now that was quite an adventure, far more intense than anything you’d get on Space Mountain. I don’t know if you’ve ever been crammed into a humid, air lock-like thing such as an elevator with 50 strangers squeezing up onto you. And I don’t know if you’ve ever been crammed into a situation like that at the exact moment everyone realizes it’s stuck and not moving. But I assure you it’s not fun. It is the opposite of fun.

A massive Sea of Humanity. Above them, you can see a portion of the Monorail, that will take you to the Hotel of the Elevator of Death.
A massive panic attack-inducing Sea of Humanity. Above this, you can see a portion of the Monorail that will take you straight into a hotel, the one that houses the Elevator of Death.

And we were all actually okay…my claustrophobia started to kick in a bit, but I was doing some self-soothing breathing techniques and trying to talk myself down from an extreme panic attack. But then the lady near me started jabbing the Monorail button repeatedly and then started jabbing at all the other buttons, to make the elevator go. Her friend was getting irritated and told her stop jabbing at the buttons or she’d make us all stuck. So then Tom, a short, moustached man from the back, pulled out his pocket knife and tried to use it on one of the buttons that’s for keys, to see if he could make the doors open.

But I really think it started to unravel when Tom tried to pry open the doors with his hands. Miss M finally started whimpering a little and asking nervously when the doors would open. And when Tom’s wife or girlfriend or whoever started snapping at him to “Stop it, Tom! Just stop it! You’re going to get us all stuck in here forever!!” And THAT’S when all hell finally broke loose: the entire 3 square feet of elevator space and all 50 people on board were done. A woman in the back started going, “Oh god…oh god…” and I started going, “Are they for real?! This isn’t happening!” and then M started crying and begging for God’s help, and I’ve never ever heard her invoke the Lord before. I actually didn’t even know she knew it was a Thing.

And then two ladies in maxi dresses also started to yell “Stop it, Tom! Stop prying the doors! We need to call the Fire Department!! Push the Fire Emergency button!!!” And when Tom pushed the Cry For Help Panic Button, that’s when my claustrophobia officially hit. I was incredibly over Superhero Tom, and ready to start whacking him, except I couldn’t breathe. Tom was so very lucky about that, because had I been calm and able to breathe, I was nearing a claustrophobic point of backpack vigilante:  thwack! Tom! thwack! Stop it! thwack! Get away from the damn doors, Tom! thwack! thwack! OR WE’RE ALL GONNA thwack! DIE, TOM!! (Trust: I am no good to you in any panic situation. I can’t read maps, I cry on animatronic rides, and I don’t do closed in spaces or large milling crowds. Theoretically, I’m a good whacker if there are zombies, but in reality I’d just scream and scream while they ate me alive.) This is why people who are drowning can drown their rescuers. If I am ever drowning, leave me! Let Jaws have me. Save yourself!

And then the doors opened. Thank you sweet baby Jesus on a popsicle stick, the doors opened.

Whoosh! We all rushed out. And the Disney workers were letting people go up on the down escalators and we got back on the monorail and rode the above ground railroad to freedom. And now Miss M has a healthy fear of elevators, enclosed spaces, and men named Tom.

Disney World! Where you get more than just the magic…you get close encounters with the Apocalypse.

So I think I’m going to be taking a social media break for at least tomorrow. I don’t have a lot of time to interact with other people, just time to post Look at MEEEEE!!!! pictures and comments and so I’m starting to feel very Me-centric, and gross.

But thank god. We don’t have anything magic planned today, except we do get to revisit the Hotel of Elevator Horror for lunch – pretty sure Miss M will tell Mickey all about it, using THIS face:

welcome to my life.
isn’t she lovely…isn’t she wonderful. (ah, my life.)

And I’m absolutely CERTAIN we will not be getting back on the elevator of death today. But other than that, I just need a decompression day. We’re going to the pool, and I’m going to get a margarita and plunk my ass poolside with a book. I have a tan (aka sunburn) started, and I’m positive the key to happiness begins with a tan. (NOT in an elevator or with a massive sea of mulling humanity.)