When You Wish Upon A Bar, or Things To Do in Disney When You’re Dead


If you can imagine Vegas without gambling, strippers, desert and atomic testing, then you have a good idea what Orlando, FL is like. Specifically, I’m talking Reedy Creek Improvement District. You probably know it better by the more tourist friendly moniker Lake Buena Vista. I expect it to be where I spend eternity as punishment for my sins.

Mrs. Sarcastro has a conference to attend. I have nothing to do but roll around Disney all day.

Wednesday–We caught the redeye to Orlando. The bus from the airport played the most obnoxious and cloying video pimping the Disney theme parks that I have ever seen. You already have us hostage. I understand it is your corporate mission statement to make sure I don’t have a cent to my name when I leave, but give it a rest.

We get checked in to the Coronado Springs right about the time the bars closed. Shit. This is already starting to suck.

Important safety lesson from Mrs. Sarcastro: Leering at hot little blonde in the airport is not only strongly discouraged, but not appreciated or tolerated.

Thursday–The gift shop is naturally branded with Disney characters. Including sundry items like snacks and personal hygiene products. There isn’t anything they won’t throw a licensed character’s cartoon mug upon. I kept looking for Minnie’s MaxiPads. The ears are super-absorbent wings!

The television choices in the room include six different channels dedicated to Disney attractions in six different languages. In fact, all the channels are owned by Disney. The exceptions are the local stations, which have a fuzzy reception which is indicative of, pardon the expression, bunny ears.

Coronado Springs is a sort of faux-Southwest/Robert Rodriguez paradise. In an ironic twist, most of the other guests around us are from Central and South America. It would be like us going to vacation in a foreign resort made to look like a suburban strip mall next to a Holiday Inn by the interstate. Except the margaritas are $8.25 without tip.

Lunch for two, which would run about ten bucks in the aforementioned suburban strip mall, ran just under $40. Refills were complimentary, provided you bought the ten dollar complimentary refill cup. My wallet wants to buy a rape whistle. Sadly, the rape whistle is $30 and only comes with either Mulan or Snow White plastered on the side.

The Mrs. is blowing off the conference for the rest of the afternoon. We’re going to the Magic Kingdom.

Fear and Loathing In The Magic Kingdom

It was somewhere around the entrance gate when the Fear began to take hold. All you need to know about how the world works is to go through security at an airport and through the front gate of the Magic Kingdom within a 24 hour period. The TSA folks at the Nashville airport lounged about the security checkpoint like a crooked road project. Six cousins of a campaign donor watching one guy work. There was one 300 pound lump of shit lumbering around aimlessly, shuffling between gathering up plastic bins and marking time until Uncle Ray gets him a supervisor job.

Contrast that with the smoothly efficient operation at Disney. There was a bag check and a, wait for it, FINGERPRINT SCAN. Let me see if I can make sense of this, the Walt Disney Corporation has a better handle on who is on their property than Homeland Security has regarding who is flying on commercial aircraft or entering the country. Say what you want about Disney, at least the trains run on time.

The park wasn’t very crowded, but there were enough people for it to be a drag. For reference purposes, a significant part of my childhood was spent about fifteen miles from DisneyLand. So, I go back a ways with the Magic Kingdom. This ain’t my first rodeo.

As far as the rides go, here’s a quick rundown of what we hit.

Space Mountain–As great as I remember the year it opened in Anaheim in 1977. I laughed and yelled until my face hurt.

Buzz Lightyear’s Shoot Up Deal–The Mrs. kicked my ass on that ride. I’m not saying she cheated, but I’m not saying she didn’t either.

It’s A Small World–They need to rename this the Hall of Mildly Offensive Stereotypes With Creepy Puppet Children. Drank the water. No acid. Although these bats are annoying.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride–Gone, but not forgotten. I refused to go on the Winnie the Pooh atrocity out of respect.

Splash Mountain–Please no one tell Al Sharpton about this ride. They’s playin’ Dixie and a bear who represents a black man winds up in a noose. When the ride was over, I asked the drones in the attached gift shop about where I could purchase the movie that the ride was based on. She gave me a blank smile and didn’t answer.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad–Thirty-five minutes in line for three minutes of average roller coaster.

Pirates of the Caribbean–The addition of Captain Jack Sparrow is downright creepy. The amount of Pirates crap in the gift shop will make your head explode.

Swiss Family Robinson Tree House–Always a favorite even though there is nothing really to it. I just admire the workmanship, I guess. Since I was a kid, I wanted that damn treehouse. The one in Anaheim is now Tarzan’s Treehouse. That sucks monkey balls. It probably has a lame ass Phil Collins soundtrack, too.

We wanted to hit more rides, and maybe we did, but the morbidly obese people tooling around in scooters, the foreigners bowling over people who walk in their path, the crying children and lack of a place to get a decent adult beverage made it imperative to leave. Immediately.

On the way out, we hit the big gift shop on Main Street. Let me say how disappointed I am by the dearth of Scrooge McDuck on any of the crap they were peddling. Hell, there wasn’t that much Donald Duck for that matter. Oh, but Grumpy is the new “It” boy, apparently. It reminds me of when Warner’s tried to market Tasmanian Devil as the icon of everything “EXTREME!” back in the nineties. Every mouth breather with $100 in a coffee can under his bed went out and got a “Taz” tattoo and t-shirt. Mrs. Sarcastro wanted a Grumpy hooded sweatshirt. I wanted a Vanessa Hudgins blow-up doll.

We both left disappointed.

Friday–I need to find something to do. The $9.95 for 24 hours of internet connection is almost up. We are going to have lunch, then I’m going looking for Walt’s head in a drum of liquid nitrogen a bookstore and a pub.

Sunday–Going through the receipts in my wallet and a wad of cocktail napkins scribbled with cryptic gibberish, I am able to piece together what has transpired over the preceding 48 hours.

The Disney staff of genius copywriters described Coronado Village as “a celebration of the diverse cultures of colonial Spain and ‘ancient’ Mexico”. A million dead Aztecs are laughing their asses off at that one. Funny enough there was a conference being held for some such thing that had representatives from every Latin America country there. They all dressed in their nicest suits, dark with a corn flower blue shirt. It looked like a thousand little Alberto Gonzaleses everywhere. Contrast that with the fat Norte Americano guests who were invariably attired in their finest fanny packs and t-shirts that were at least a size too small. This is the same resort that used the word “besieged” to describe the over-price full service restaurant, Maya Grill. We opted to eat at the Pepper Market for most of our meals. I have had better meals in a Tunica casino buffet. They couldn’t even do the “Mexican” food right. It was awful and over-priced.

I bolted for Downtown Disney, the Mrs. would join me after her meetings. Things were going to be looking up for me now. The Virgin Megastore had at least one subversive employee who secretly hid a few copies of Carl Hiassen’s polemic Team Rodent amongst the stacks.

The Mrs. found me bellied up to the bar at the Irish pub, book in one hand, glass of Jameson’s in the other. We then went over to Bongo’s for some Cuban food. It was ok. For the price, it should have been better than ok. I did get a shot of Cafe Cubano. So instead of being just drunk, I was wide awake drunk.

I wound up with a cigar at one point and more Cafe Cubano. And more booze. I was a straw hat away from heading for Havana and setting myself up as dictator-for-life.

The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur.

Getting back on that horse the next morning at the hotel bar didn’t help matters. Damn, those mojitos are a tasty treat. By the time we got to the airport, I realized that a raspberry danish and a gut full of rum was not an ideal strategy for air travel. So, we got something to eat at the Orlando airport.

The best goddamn meal I had all weekend was at the Romano’s Macaroni Grill at the airport. Thanks for nothing, Walt.

We got home to see our precious baby son in record time. As he looked up at me with his big brown eyes, I realized “Shit. You are going to make Daddy take you to Disney one day, aren’t you?”

Epilogue–I still can’t figure out why there was no Scrooge McDuck bric-a-brac for sale. Is there a legal dispute between the estate of Carl Barks and Disney?

I guess I’ll settle for this:

Available in the hotel gift shop!


16 Responses to “When You Wish Upon A Bar, or Things To Do in Disney When You’re Dead”

  1. Exador Says:

    Don’t you have one of those “job” thingies?

  2. Katherine Coble Says:

    Oh my freakin’ gosh.

    I wrote my post today before I saw this.

    How dare you be on my wavelength.

    Allow me to say “suck it up…you’re at the Happiest Place on Earth”

  3. Let Me Be Honest Here « Just Another Pretty Farce Says:

    […] Funny Update: I swear to you I wrote this after reading “Patrick and Lydia”. P comes before W in my feedreader, which is why I wrote this before reading Sarcastro […]

  4. Sarca'stu'ro Says:

    Im just glad to see that you’re having fun!

    Just make sure you have enuf $ left over to buy Pop a bottle of booze or something for the ride home.

  5. Sarcastro Says:

    Stu, for most of the day today in the park I thought about the last time you and I were here. Specifically, when you were like eleven or twelve and I made you go with me bar-hopping in EPCOT.

  6. Sarca'stu'ro Says:

    Wow! I had totally forgotten about that!

    I always think of my more recent visit with Kiley when we had to go back to the car to scrounge change out of my car just to have enuf cash for admision. Who would have guessed it cost $54.75 PER PERSON to get into that shithole.

    The best part was walking around the park all day, starving, watching all those people eating their $15 turkey legs when we didnt even have the money for a bottle of water!

    That was also the trip that i borrowed $100 from Aunt Karen which I never paid her back.

    Good times!

  7. Sarcastro Says:

    Don’t worry, Mom and Dad paid her back. We were just talking about your Disney adventure with Kiley the other day. Listening to Pop tell it is, as always, hilarious.

    Today, with the discount and buying an “after 2 p.m.” ticket, it was $112 for the two of us.

    Compared with the prices in the resort areas, the price of food and beverage inside the park is fairly reasonable.

  8. sgazzetti Says:

    I’m disappointed to have read an entire post of yours about Disney without once encountering the phrases “Walt’s head” or “bobbing in a drum of liquid nitrogen”.

    What happened?

  9. Sarcastro Says:

    Relax, I have another day and a half to find the Waltscicle. Were it not for the nefarious fingerprint scanner throwing a anthrompomorphic monkey wrench into my plans, I would have the head by now.

  10. Ginger Says:

    Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride–Gone, but not forgotten.

    NO WAY!!! I’m protesting!

  11. Katherine Coble Says:

    NO WAY!!! I’m protesting!

    It would do you no good at all. I know personally many people who flew to Orlando from around the WORLD to attend several protests about the ride’s closure. They still replaced it with Pooh.

    Sadly, Pooh is a better ride, objectively speaking.

  12. sistasmiff Says:

    I have never set foot in Disneyworld. By the time I ever have enough money to go, it would probably be my grandkids I’d be going with.

    I have, however, a history with Disneyland. I’m going to put that in my “To Blog” list. Thanks for the idea, Cubby…I mean, Sarcastro.

  13. Holiday Grinch Says:

    “the morbidly obese people tooling around in scooters…”
    Too funny! And sadly, too true.
    Hope you got to Indiana Jones. I also find inner peace flying over London in Peter Pan’s Flight.

  14. Katherine Coble Says:

    Me, personally…

    Not a fan of Raglan Road.

    We went the week it opened and I met the owner. When he found out I was a Kavanagh fan, he stood over our table and tried to get me to recite various lines of Kavanagh with him as I was trying to eat my very expensive Irishish food.

    We made it through Raglan Road twice, Inniskeen Road once and mercifully stopped halfway through Kerr’s Ass.

    And my food had a hair in it.

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