The underside of a press junket to Orlando
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The following are the actual unedited notes from a recent Disney press trip undertaken by Candice Walsh.
ORLANDO WASN’T DESIGNED for the single, childless woman.
Slap a button on me.
The cab drops me off at the park so I can buy tickets. I’m not sure where the entrance is and I start walking towards the gate, which apparently is barred. I’m embarrassed and aware that the cab driver is still watching me, so I take out my phone and pretend to be busy.
I follow some people inside. The ticket lady wants to know my life story and why I’m only spending one day at Disney.
I tell her I’m a writer and I only have limited time in Florida. She compliments my nailpolish (blue) and asks if it’s my first time at Disney (it is). She slaps a button on me: “1st time at Disney!”
The castle looks smaller than I imagined, from the shuttle. We drive through a new part of the resort. I know it’s new because the shuttle announcement says so in its monotone way. It makes it sound not really like it’s an advertisement, but it is.
It’s a Small World is like an acid trip; those dancing mannequins must have tired legs.
I’m told this ride is a classic. I’m glad there’s some ginger representation in the form of dancing leprechauns from Ireland.
The song is on repeat and my head is exploding and there’s a couple behind me making sarcastic comments.
I can’t believe how long the lineup was to get on this ride, and I don’t understand why kids aren’t screaming in terror. Am I high?
Dreams Come True parade -> I’m sitting down and sweating profusely. I buy a bag of cotton candy + sit and shove it in my face.
I’m sitting on the curb in front of Frontierland waiting for the Dreams Come True parade to start. I check my reflection in my iPhone’s screen and I’m literally covered in a sweaty sheen. I’m not even doing anything, I’m just sitting there. The family next to me keep glancing at me suspiciously.
There’s Belle and the Beast and Aladdin and Robin Hood and Sleeping Beauty and all these characters that seem to believe exactly who they’re dressed up to be. The little boy from the suspicious family is ecstatic because Cinderella blew him a kiss.
The beast giving me the shocker
Even the dancers in between the floats have the exact same styled haircut. My friend once told me that Disney employees are given newsletters to remind them of the rules, like what nailpolish colours they’re allowed to wear and not to wear. Walt really was a Nazi.
Friendliest place ever.
He even made sure to install underground access tunnels because “he wanted to be sure that the business of the park would never intrude on the show.” Real quote.
Everyone is smiling, grinning ear to ear. How do they do it? It’s like when I’m at a party and people are taking photos and my whole mouth is twitching with the effort of plastering a grin to my face.
I don’t think I’m a kid person. Maybe I like family ideals.
All these nuclear families with their picture-perfect homes and toothless children. I can’t even fathom unconditional love, never mind raising a family. I am aware this is not how to spend a day at Disney.
The little girl is dressed in pink and frills, and she kinda looks like a bottle of Pepto. Cute, though.
Ferry ride – mothers pulling their kids’ ears. Girl on monorail, “You look really pretty.” “Thank you,” the princess responds.
I like the other little girl who bounces onto the train and tells the little princess she’s pretty. I hope she still pays compliments to strangers 10 years from now, instead of whispering to her friends about how slutty that girl looks in her lacy dress.
Epcot — immediate sense of relief. Adults!
I wander into the Canadian pavilion, I see someone carrying beer. So I buy Moosehead and whisper, “I can bring this anywhere?”
The bartender at the Canadian pavilion: “This isn’t a dry park.” I’m home!
I wander over to the stage where a bunch of Canadian Celtic “rockstars” are about to perform. They’re wearing kilts; I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone wear a kilt. They play Bryan Adams and I’m pretty sure the lead singer just winked at me.
I fit in best in Canada, UK, Germany. Frankfurter with Sauerkraut causes my stomach to ignite.
Germany makes me feel at home. I am suddenly inspired to just move there and eat sausage and drink beer for the rest of my life. I love sausage.
I sit on a curb again and try to juggle my Pilsner and Frankfurter. There are school kids everywhere wearing matching t-shirts and some are holding hands. What the hell is Sauerkraut anyway? Do people in Germany really dress in lederhosen, just like how Canadians wear kilts?
Sit on bench shoving popcorn + beer down my throat. Kinda lonely. A couple sit next to me, mother is rubbing son’s back. He’s def a virgin.
After my third beer and after standing for an hour watching some Japanese drummers do their thing, I need to sit down. I’m definitely staying for the fireworks and I definitely want more popcorn.
I plop myself down on a bench with the popcorn nestled between my legs and my beer firmly in hand. The 20-something dude next to me is being caressed by his mother, and it’s making me slightly uncomfortable.
Actually, I’m downright insulted. He’s bitching about his phone and I’m clearly single, sitting on this bench cramming popcorn in my face and getting shitfaced all by my lonesome. Your actions suggest I’m probably not the ideal mate for your son. I’m a great catch.
Real notes discovered the next day
Illuminati, is awesome. Kids next to me too tired to care.
I’m standing up taking photos and being mesmerized with exploding colours and flashing lights and I’m dancing dangerously close to having a seizure. Disney is not a park for epileptics.
This illusion of a fairytale world is goddamned expensive.