It's difficult to describe Disney in one blog post. It's probably like asking someone who lived in a closed cult for two decades to jot down their feelings on the back of a stamp.
Still, like most visitors to Disney we headed first to the Magic Kingdom. You can be as cynical as you like - and few people are more cynical than me - but it's hard to contain a childlike jolt of excitement the first time you see Cinderella's Castle across the lake.
If you grew up in the Seventies when there were three channels on your TV, the wallpaper was a disgusting brown print and pasta was a luxury item, you were seduced by that castle with the fireworks exploding overhead before a Disney movie. It represented a far off and exotic place. Little did we know then that most kids in America were growing up on Twinkie bars and being creeped out on a daily basis by Mr. Rogers.
The Magic Kingdom is the first of Disney's theme parks in Florida. It was built in 1971 and the castle is based on the one in the 1950 movie Cinderella.
The tagline for the Magic Kingdom is "The Most Magical Place On Earth." This can be somewhat hard to appreciate when you are stuck in the third line of the morning as the temperatures soar into the low 90s and a woman from Ohio's love handles are caressing your sweaty back. All of this is before you have even taken the faux paddle steamer to get to the Magic Kingdom which is also the most visited theme park on earth.
My sister and her husband had stayed up late into the previous night poring over guides and maps and drawing small charts to map out their battle plan at the Magic Kingdom - which is also the most difficult Disney park to get to. They highlighted a ride they would sprint to to pick up a 'fast pass' - although technically Disney disapproves of running. You have to walk fast.
They also adhered strictly to the advice from the guide of getting to the park half an hour before it opens. The directive was to get to the clubhouse of our development early to beat the line for tickets.
I was at the clubhouse by 8.30 a.m. I walked straight up to the counter because nobody else was there and stood there with tears parting down my face as I waved a sad goodbye to more dollars than I cared to shake a magic wand at.
These thoughts and many others went through my mind as I backed away from the heavy love handles. Just behind me two heavily made up little girls beamed into the sunshine, happy that they would be meeting the handsome prince in some airy chamber at the back of Cinderella's Castle.
We smiled back until we met a dark look from their mother who raised a heavily tattoo bound arm as she threatened to slap one of them unless she calmed down. I suddenly had a vague vision of a trailer park in the middle or nowhere, an absent father sporting a rat tail and the two girls dreaming of their Prince Charming in his Chevy Camaro with oversize wheels. And a cloud drifted over the streaming banners and high turrets of the castle in the sun.
To be Continued...