By Mike Wilcox
The Magic Kingdom is not so magical to this old curmudgeon.
I was somehow convinced to chauffeur and partake in the wonders of Disney World with my wife, a friend and their 8-year-old daughter. It had been 15 glorious years since I’d last endured all that Mickey and his friends had to offer.
My sarcasm gives away my true feelings. I am not a Magic Kingdom fan. And after this latest trip I don’t ever want to go back. Here are reasons, unless you are 12 years old or less, you, like me, won’t enjoy Disney World:
- The throng of people who descend on the Magic Kingdom is overwhelming. We chose what we thought would be a less-crowded day. We were wrong. Simply walking from one exhibit to the next became an exercise in futility. So many people and not enough sidewalk.
- There were so many people, adults and children alike, the waiting times for rides was crazy. We stood in line for Space Mountain for every bit of 100 minutes. That’s more than an hour and a half for a rollercoaster ride that’s less than three minutes long. Another ride had a wait time of nearly an hour. The ride itself lasted a little over a minute.
- Sticker shock was evident to this old man who was used to 1990 prices. Adult tickets were $125 for the day. Our 8-year-old passenger was charged only $115. Parking was an additional $25. For the four of us one day at the Magic Kingdom surpassed the $700 mark, and that’s without buying souvenirs.
- I was under the impression from past visits that Disney World was the cleanest amusement park I had encountered. Not this trip. For the most part the bathrooms were filthy and trash barrels were overflowing.
- Food, which I remembered being tasty, was not so much. After you waited in line for 15 minutes, you receive a cold, unappetizing burger or hot dog with cold, tasteless French fries. Of course you pay upwards of $16 to fill your stomach with their unhealthy entrees.
- Not once did I see Mickey or any of his sidekicks. I saw at some point a line (probably at least an hour long) where you could have your picture taken with Goofy. In the old days I remember Mickey, Minnie and the gang strolling the sidewalks, greeting children as they walked by. That didn’t happen on this day.
- Since I hadn’t visited the Magic Kingdom in 15 years, I expected to see a slew of new exhibits and rides. That wasn’t the case. Very little has changed. The rides are all the same, and so are the exhibits. I guess you don’t’ mess with success, but I tired quickly of the same old rides and exhibits I had visited many times.
- The fireworks display, which of course the 8-year-old demanded we stay and watch, was awesome … that is if you could see it. With so many people pushing forward to get the closest view possible, it was difficult just to stay on your feet let alone concentrate on the fireworks.
I begrudgingly admit the youngster had an experience she will remember for a lifetime. All children should experience Disney World at least once. The lifelike cartoon characters are awe-inspiring to kids who grow up watching them daily. The boat ride to the park, the midday parade and fireworks are captivating. The experience is a magical one for them.
But for a curmudgeon like me, t is more like I’m running with the bulls in Spain than a casual walk down Main Street in my hometown. The Magic Kingdom isn’t what I remember, or is it? Maybe it’s simply old age catching up.