Where dreams come true?

14 Sep

We went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom over the weekend. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting. A zoo, thronged with people and some animal-themed rides and what not. Oh and loads and loads of gift shops and over-priced restaurants/food stalls. What we actually found there was amazing. I loved it! Despite all the people and the rain (yes it was raining, would you credit that, so much for the “Sunshine State”!) I always think it is going to be sunny, which is why we ended up with a small boy looking like this:Drowned rat(in an adult sized poncho).

The park itself is set on over 500 acres – when I read that, I thought “Oh God, the trekking we’re going to have to do to see some poor caged creatures. Why am I here?” In actuality, a lot of the bigger animals – giraffes, lions, elephants – were not. There was a Safari “ride” where you went in a jeep and could see them on rather large tracts of land (with predators separated from prey, obviously!) The main “theme” of the park was conservation – presented in an entertaining and fun way. Lots of interaction. And guides to answer questions about most of the animals.
Of course Mickey and Minnie and the rest of the gang were there too, but only really in the “Meet and Greet” stations and the gift shops (naturally). What we loved most was Nemo, the Musical. It was fantastic. My little turtle was especially enthralled. His mouth was agape the entire time. Concentrating intently throughout. He didn’t look away from the action once. I think I enjoyed it more because he was sitting on my knee. I could (if I squinted a bit) see it through his eyes. Things are always cooler when seen through a small child’s eyes.

Now though, I’m a tad worried that I will end up with a very jaded three-year old (for example, he could quite easily be a jaded four, five, six year old) who has seen and done everything. Is interested in nothing and “bored” all the time. The nearest I got to Disney was the cinema (once or twice) until I was twenty-five or so. Are we overloading him now? Will familiarity breed contempt? Oh, I hope not. Although we will be moving away from Florida (and all of its’ theme parks) next Summer.

I don’t understand how people vacation here for weeks at a time. Going to the parks every day. Hubby was on for going to two parks last weekend. I said I wouldn’t be able to cope. And I wouldn’t. Once every few months is enough. Whatever about the Animal Kingdom being a zoo, the whole of Disney World is a melee. It brings out the worst in people, me included, even if I just direct my anger and frustration towards strangers. I certainly don’t understand the people who travel hundreds of miles and spend thousands of dollars to bring their families to Orlando and then choose to battle with their children over the daftest of things. One I heard was “Lift up your feet when you’re walking”; girl “I am”; Dad “Lift up your feet”; “I am”; “If I have to tell you ONE MORE TIME” which, of course leads to a major meltdown.

I’m still working out what kind of parent I am. I hope to be the woman standing beside the puddle while my child jumps in it (be it in rags or his “Sunday best”), laughing, maybe joining in. Not the woman a few yards away, shouting “If I have to tell you to get out of that puddle ONE MORE TIME…”

Crush, the Turtle in Nemo, the Musical sang it best:

Crush: Let us see how Squirt does flying solo.

Squirt: Whoa! That was so cool! Dad did you see what I did?

Marlin: Well, I’ll be a sea monkey’s uncle.

Crush: You so totally rock, Squirt! You’re such an amazing kid.

Marlin: Children, huh?

Crush: It’s awesome, they’re eggs on a beach, then coo coo ca choo. They find their own way back to the big old blue.

Marlin: All by themselves? But what if they’re not ready? I mean, how do ya know?

Crush: Well, you never really know. But if they’re ever gonna grow, then you gotta let ’em go. Ya know.

Crush: Just go with the flooow…

(Back up turtles: That’s the only way to do it. Just give on over to it. Rip it, roll it, and curl it. Ride it, slide it, and swirl it./Bah bah bah bah….)

Crush: When you’re raisin’ sons and daughters, it’s like surfin’ in the muddy waters. Whoa whoa whoa.

(Back up turtles: Go with the flow…)

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