In my last two columns I have discussed two parts of our family’s recent trip to Disney World: the possibility that I am now on a no-fly list, and the experience of eating meals with Disney characters. Today I continue my public service of preparing you for a trip to the happiest place on earth by discussing another fascinating part of a trip to the house that Mickey built, riding rides based on movies.
Disney World is home to dozens of rides based on their movies. Their genius is two-fold. First, almost all of the rides are just a five-minute retelling of the movie. Haven’t seen a Disney movie? That’s OK, just ride the ride you’ll get the idea and have time left over for lunch.
Second, almost all of these rides are nearly identical. I suspect that this must have gone on for years before someone at Disney begin to fear that people might figure all this out, so they made each ride a little “different.” This was done in the hopes that you wouldn’t realize you had sacrificed your retirement to do the same thing over and over again, just with different characters decorating the ride. So, in the Winnie the Pooh ride you are in a teacup, but in the Frozen ride you are in a boat, and in Peter Pan you are in a boat that flies. Kids don’t notice. Parents, who have to think about things like deductibles and tax brackets, notice. But ultimately, the kids have a lot of fun so you end up not caring that you are living out the movie Groundhog Day.
Our two little princesses, the four-year-old Ballerina and the two-year-old Demolitions Expert, love the movie Frozen. If I had a dollar for every time they asked me to play “Let it Go” on my phone we might not have to choose between returning to Disney and sending the kids to college. When we went on the Frozen ride they didn’t care that all it did was retell the movie. Shouts of, “Look, there’s Olaf!” drowned out my thoughts of, “This is just the movie. We’ve already seen all of this. We just weren’t in a boat the first time. We were comfortable on our couch, not getting wet.”
They didn’t care that that it was basically the same thing as about a dozen other rides. They loved it, they sang about building snowmen, they cheered Anna and Elsa, and we all lived happily ever after. Again. And Again. And Again.