What Happens When the Magic Dies

Surely this wasn’t what Walt had planned.


As a little girl, I would count down the days until our next family trip to the Magic Kingdom. My parents, older sister and I would pack up and go on a 16-hour road trip to Orlando, Fl each year to see Mickey and “experience the magic.” This year was my fifteenth year at Disney and I have to say…

Never. Again.

From the 120-minute lines, to the 52,000 daily visitors, Magic Kingdom quickly became a nightmare. Here are all the feelings and experiences that made my trip to The Magic Kingdom unbearable.

1. Eating a meal is like participating in The Hunger Games.

The word “hangry” comes to mind when I think of The Magic Kingdom. Thousands upon thousands of hangry people, looking for tables and shelter from the heat. Some just looking for a place to sit and eat their $30 hot dogs. I don’t consider myself a violent person, but when I am standing up while eating my lunch and you are sitting there, the remnants of your eaten lunch laying on the table, looking at your phone… I have to fight the urge to kick.

2. You end up saying “back in my day” a lot.

Ok, I know I’m 23. It’s expected that someday I will grow up and get over my love of Disney. I will agree with you to a certain extent. I will never stop loving “The Lion King” and much like Peter Pan, I plan on never truly growing up. But I will way that there are certain aspects of myself that are growing up without my permission. For example, my back and feet. Also, when you reach a certain age, you realize that the magic isn’t produced by Mickey in a sorcerer’s hat, but rather a board of old men in suits with big pocketbooks.

3. Even extroverts can’t handle the crowds.

On average, 53,000 people visit The Magic Kingdom every day. That’s double the number who attend the other three Disney World parks. That’s too many! When you put a massive number of people in a space together, the end result isn’t going to be a great one. Besides the fact that it’s hot and people smell… everyone is angry. I don’t know when it stopped being the Happiest Place on Earth. Maybe when they started admitting 20,000 people too many…

4. You start wondering why Disney can’t control the weather yet.

Ok, there’s nothing Disney can do about the heat. I get that weather is unchangeable, even if you profess to deal in magic. But if we’re being honest, with money, anything is possible. Build some air-conditioned rest areas, buy more fans for the lines, don’t let your water fountain water taste like it was pumped out of the lake and then charge $4 for a bottle of water. There are things you can do, Disney. Chip chop.

5. Is this Disney or a national convention for rude people?

I’m going to be as delicate about this as possible so as not to offend anyone. We are known as the “Great American Melting Pot.” Known for diversity and all walks of life, this is a truly great thing. The problem with that is no one has the same definition of “rude.” My definition would say something about not standing in front of a stroller with kids in it while they’re trying to watch the fireworks or saying “excuse me” when you’re trying to get by. These are not always norms for everyone and it is sometimes infuriating. By putting so many people from so many countries in the same small space, you are bound to tick someone off.

6. You start realizing that Dumbo might not have been worth the credit card debt.

I will never ever be able to take my family to The Magic Kingdom without taking out a massive loan. With ticket prices being $105, I don’t know how anyone could. Feeding a family of five at a simple burger place in The Magic Kingdom is around $15 a plate. The special restaurants can be as much as $60 . It’s not like Disney is hurting for money, why can’t they shave a few dollars off of their wallet-melting prices?

7. Lines. Lines everywhere.

The lines. I think Jim Gaffigan said it best when he said, “If you haven’t been to Disney World as an adult, just imagine you’re standing in line at the DMV… and that’s it.” Two hour long waits, people. Two hours to sit in a giant honey pot and look at Winnie the Pooh. Two hours to ride a 30-second roller coaster that takes place entirely in the dark. I used to love The Magic Kingdom but this year, the waits killed the magic.

The last thing I have to say is the problems The Magic Kingdom has, starts with the amount of people they admit into the park. If they would take a step back and re-realize the dream Walt had, I think they would have a lot happier patrons. I know that this year was a turning point for me. It was weird leaving Disney feeling upset and exhausted rather than happy and exhausted. Walt had a vision for Disney and it was founded on this: “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” Everything, including the Disney empire, started out with humble beginnings. Sometimes it’s a good idea to return to that.

This blog appeared on theodysseyonline.com.

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