Having lived in Florida full-time for the last 7 1/2 years (give or take those few months I moved to L.A. and that semester abroad), I’ve enjoyed many of the perks the Sunshine State has to offer: the beaches, the warm weather, the lack of snow. And, of course, Disney World. Although I’ve been up that way (it’s only a 2 hour drive) a handful of times since moving here, I haven’t stayed on-site in almost 12 years, since the last family Disney trip, when we still lived in P.A. So getting to hit the House of Mouse with a good friend and her family and actually stay in a Disney resort awarded me with many perks, namely, park-hopping and day-drinking. Among the (many) awestruck children we encountered during our long weekend, I have to say it sure seemed like we were having more fun. Why you may ask?
You can actually drink the alcohol. I realize Disney isn’t going out of its way to promote the alcoholic side of life, but it’s definitely present within the parks and resorts (especially Epcot). And as a kid, you’re just not afforded the opportunity to partake in such merriments as drunken stupor. Grown ups for the win!
The characters don’t freak you out (as much). It’s hard to imagine anyone getting freaked by someone dressed as the lovable Minnie Mouse or the adorable Winnie the Pooh. But it happens. I mean, if kids can scream and cry on Santa’s lap, what makes you think they’re not going to flip a shit when you put them next to a stranger in a costume with a face that doesn’t even move?
You tolerate the long lines better. I’m not saying it’s fun to stand in line for hours and wait for something. It isn’t. But when you go to Disney (or any fun theme park, for that matter), you have to anticipate that you’re going to stand in a lot of lines. Actually, most of the time you spend there will be spent in one line or another. And that’s acceptable, because you want to get on that ride or take a picture with that character or buy just one more corn dog. But when you’re a kid and you have to stand in a line for anything more than about a minute and a half (and that’s probably pushing it), you instantly become whiny and cranky and no one wants to be around you (and they certainly don’t want to stand in line next to you).
Grown ups have more stamina. Generally speaking, adults can last longer at Disney than kids, thereby getting more accomplished and enjoying a longer day at the parks. Between all the walking, standing in lines and overall exhausting nature of going to theme parks, it’s really no wonder kids poop out faster than adults. Which is why you usually see the smaller ones passed out in their strollers midday while their parents debate whether to bail on the ride they’re waiting for or not. It’s a vicious, internal struggle, really.
You can ride all the good rides. As an adult, there are no height restrictions when it comes to all the good rides. Unless you’re a midget, then tough luck I guess. But for us normal-sized grown ups, the only thing keeping you from riding “The Yeti Ride” (as my friend calls it) is your own fear. The only other restrictions you might encounter are those on the kiddie rides, because they seem to want to keep us kids-at-heart-adults miserable by denying us access to the slowest, most boring rides imaginable. But who wants to go on Aladdin’s Flying Carpet ride, anyway? Oh wait. I guess I did. Twice.
All in all, going to Disney as a kid is magical and surreal and unforgettable and mostly I’m just bitter that I don’t have the time-traveling ability to go back to the days of my youth and enjoy it again. But I still think those same kids would enjoy themselves just a teeny bit more when they come of age and have a better appreciation for what’s going on around them. So long as they know how to still have fun like a kid. And scream their heads off on all the rides (especially the Peter Pan one, that shit’s scary fo’real).