Over the week of Halloween we took a family vacation to Disney World for the first time.  I worried that maybe I’d waited too long since the kids are now 13 and 9.  Would they still love it or feel the magic?

Not only did the kids feel the magic; we all felt the magic, and there were no tears, tantrums, or meltdowns!  Score for our us!

We all decided that it really IS the happiest place on earth.  I wonder what they put in the water or sprinkle on the food.  We were all silly-happy the entire week.  Maybe the trick is not to stay too long, as we did see one bloke chucking Gatorade bottles at his family in an angry rage.  No really, we did.  He must have been drinking something not made with Mickey’s Magical Kingdom Juice.

It’s hard to say which theme park was our favorite since they are all so different.  I can tell you that the drinking (and subsequently the drunks) are at Epcot.  The majority of crying children are at Magic Kingdom.  The awesome shows are at Hollywood and, true to it’s name, the animals are all at Animal Kingdom.

Our kids are ride junkies.  They both love roller coasters and don’t shy away from the extremes.  At Six Flags it’s become a family game to see who can get the silliest picture taken on the scariest ride.  So, naturally, rides were a high priority for this trip.

Here is our Rhea Review for the rides at the “Happiest place on earth.”

It’s A Small World:  Or, according to my husband, “It’s not small enough.”  About 5 minutes into the 12 minute long slow boat ride through creepy doll land and my family had run out of tolerance for the repetitive little tune.  My son was hoping for a room that reenacted the melting doll scene from Tim Burton’s Willy Wonka  and my whole family wanted a post-apocalyptic dystopian room, or at least a Zombie Response Team area.  I personally loved it.  I could smile through that sweet little ride for hours…

Space Mountain: Imagine yourself hurling through darkness with strobe lights set to ‘induce seizure mode’ blasting in your face.  That is this ride.  So of course we loved it and rode it twice!

Expedition Everest: The lines can be so long for this that they provide an entire Everest museum for you to learn all about this amazing mountain while waiting for your turn.  Since we were fast-passing it we didn’t get much of a chance to read or learn.  So we are still rather ignorant about the real Everest, but the ride is so crack-a-lackin’ amazing that we rode it three times in a row!  At least, the kids did, I felt a little urpy after ride number two.  The unexpected theatrics of this ride are too good to give away if you haven’t already experienced it.

Captain EO:  Okay, this isn’t a ride.  It’s a 3D movie, but read on.  This is a precious gem of 1986 gloriousness complete with big hair, tiny waists, spandex, and MICHAEL JACKSON!  You will either be mesmerized by this cheesy blast from the past, or, like my dear husband, you will beg for those last 18 minutes of your life back.  Oh, I’m taking a glittery glove to wear next time!

Mission Space Orange:  This ride should be renamed to ‘Mission of your lunch back up from your stomach.’  Here’s a hint, anytime you enter a ride and they LITERALLY PROVIDE BARF BAGS ON THE RIDE… RUN!  We were strapped into a tiny little pod and spun on a centrifuge to upwards of 2.5 G’s, or in common terms, until my vision started to blur and I thought how awkward it would be for them to find my limp, unconscious body at the end.  I didn’t die.  But after reading about the deaths associated with this ride in the past I kind of feel badass that we all rode it.  Once!

Sourin’: Okay, really, this ride is worth the trip to Disney all in itself.  It was a gloriously tranquil and beautiful ride over famous landscapes in the U.S.A.  I could have ridden all day.  My kids were bored.  My husband may have napped a little.  I don’t care what those spoil-sport party-poopers say, it was heavenly.

Other favorites were The Haunted Mansion, which has changed very little in the 34 years since I’ve been there, and Tower of Terror.  We did ride the Tower of Terror several times.  Each time we witnessed children being scared and tormented, possibly for life, by their parents forcing them to ride when they clearly were not old enough to understand that plummeting to our deaths would significantly sour the title, “Happiest Place on Earth.”

Overall I declare our vacation a smashing success.  This says a lot since we are not a Disney infatuated family.  I’m surprised to say that I foresee a return visit in our future.  Just remind me to only ride the sissy “green” version of Mission to Space.  I’m still not sure my internal organs are back into their correct positioning.

Keep Calm and Mickey on!

Cinderella's castle family disney



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