the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Walt Disney World: World of Laughter and Tears

Walt Disney World
Main Street

Every man should visit a Disney park five times during his lifetime.

The first time is when he is a child, so he can appreciate the magic of this amazing fantasy world through the eyes of a young person.

It's a Small World
It’s a Small World

The second trip is years later, with high school or college buddies, done as a lark during spring break. This is a rite of passage between childhood and adulthood because what once caught your imagination now becomes an object of sarcasm and scorn. Everything Disney must be ridiculed and mocked as childish and commercial. The only reason for being there is to score some over-priced beers at the Germany pavilion at Epcot and then vomiting behind the PeopleMover as a sign of a triumph over your childhood.

Peoplemover
PeopleMover

The third excursion is after graduation, now as a male adult, his youth behind him, holding hands with a date, a lover, or girlfriend. This is his attempt to transform the Disney experience, once a symbol of childhood and teenage angst, into one of maturity and romance.  More on this later.

Italy Epcot
Italy, Epcot

The fourth visit is mid-life, with your wife and kids, hoping to see the joy in the bright faces of your children, so as to remember your own  sense of awe at first stepping into the Magic Kingdom. Of course, now as an adult, you will also other thoughts, such as how this family trip, with travel, hotel, food, park admission, and food on the Disney property, is costing you more than a down payment on a new Prius, but once you overcome this urge to worry, this visit can be the most beautiful, depending on the behavior and brat-level of your offspring.

Epcot Morocco
Morocco, Epcot

The fifth and final trip should be in old age, during the twilight years, preferably on your own. While standing in the middle of Disney’s old-fashioned, Norman-Rockwell type Main Street, you thank God for allowing you to visit a Disney property five times in your lifetime. Many come to Disney as a last wish as sick children, and never get to see it again. You were one of the lucky ones who got to experience Disney through all five stages of life.

Electrical Parade
Electrical Parade

And then, after counting your blessings, and with the Main Street trolley clanging by, as it does so efficiently ever few minutes, you should curse Walt Disney for every myth that he planted in your weak brain.  It was Walt Disney who ruined your life.  Your Prince or Princess never did come, did he? You never met a sexy mermaid or a talking lion, true?   And the only time you saw a real mouse, he wasn’t cute with big ears, but a disease-ridden pest, and you smashed it dead with a golf club on the linoleum of your kitchen. No, Mr. Disney, during your entire life, all you peddled was fakery, like the Morocco’s cheap façade at Epcot, and you profited from it. And now, after counting your blessing and cursing the memory of Disney, there is nothing left for you to do on Earth but to die,  facing Cinderella’s Castle, right in front of Goofy’s Souvenir Shop, and as you fall to the ground and take your last breath, you realize that even in death, you were conned by Walt Disney, who has cleverly frozen himself in a secret room in Burbank, California, so one day, in a true Tomorrowland, he will return to life, the richest man on Earth, laughing at your for his ultimate con job, a prank that even a Cruella Deville couldn’t imagine.

Japan Epcot
Japan, Epcot

But, anyway, back to my recent trip to Walt Disney World with Jana. It was my “third category trip” to a Disney property, the “romantic trip.” While I had been to Disneyland while living in Los Angeles, it was my first time back at Walt Disney World since I went there in the late 1970s with my parents, before Epcot had not even been built!

Walt Disney World 70s
Walt Disney World, late 1970s

I know the question you are asking yourself. Can romance be found at a Disney theme park, a location crowded with crying children, stressed out parents, and senior citizens aggressively driving their rent-a-scooters like the extras in a Mad Max film?

Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World, today

It’s not easy, especially if you are running around to go on rides you haven’t been on in decades, catching the buses back and forth to your hotel, and running races at 5AM (Jana was involved in a charity race).

Disney World
Princess Race Finish Line Bleachers, Walt Disney World

Surely, by nightfall,  even under the fake romantic moon in the Disney sky, most couples are less “Lady and the Tramp” slurping pasta together at a Italian bistro than Sleepy and Grumpy, wanting to hit the sack.  That is mostly true.   But yes, romance CAN be found at a Disney property, in small doses, but only if you go with the right woman who can magically turn the most cynical of men into believing in fairydust.

Walt Disney World
Jana, Adventureland

So, thumbs up, Walt Disney World.   I prefer Disneyland in California, it being smaller and more a part of the the actual city of Anaheim, but I had a good time. And I didn’t expect to enjoy it.  Next time I need to come with kids.   Anyone’s kids.

And please, don’t ever tear down the corny Country Bear Jamboree, no matter how few people still visit it.

Disney World
Walt Disney World, Main Street

32 Comments

  1. Meghan Cooper

    I love the throwback photos. Love this post.

  2. GrandeMocha

    The weather is better there than at home.

  3. Kai Wilson

    I really liked that article, and was REALLY deeply moving. Oh, and screw you, Walt Disney and the Illuminati!!!!!! (Some people like me think that Disney is involved with the elluminati.) ☺-Kai

  4. Tammy Soong

    OMG. You’re going to hate me for this, but you’re the cutest thing on the internet. I was telling my husband, when your posts were flying by on FB and I was only barely checking in: “Neil is at Disney World. And he’s posting about how lovely Main Street is and how he doesn’t care about the election.” And he said, “Awwww…he’s in love!”

  5. Ellen Bloom

    Country Bear Jamboree is gone from Anaheim Disney. Savor your Florida memories. At least we still have the Enchanted Tiki Room. Sigh.

    • Neil Kramer

      I heard the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is now about Finding Nemo in Disneyland. In Disney World, it is gone.

  6. Kir

    You make me believe in magic. Both of you.

    Sigh. ❤

  7. Emily

    Fantastic. You can take my kids.

  8. Michael from Dadcation

    I was dreading going to Disney as an adult (and with 3 children), but we really liked it! I hope we can do it again, when the smallest is tall enough to ride more of the rides. Glad y’all had fun!

  9. pinoy trip

    It’s not easy, especially if you are running around to go on rides you haven’t been on in decades, catching the buses back and forth to your hotel.

  10. Taxi Weybridge

    Walt Disney World is a popular entertainment resort located in Orlando, Florida. It is a place where people can experience the magic of Disney and immerse themselves in a world of laughter and tears.
    The resort is comprised of four major theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Each park offers a unique experience with its own attractions, shows, and character interactions.

  11. Taxi walton on thames

    The second trip to a Disney theme park often occurs during young adulthood, typically during spring break with a group of high school or college friends. This trip is viewed as a rite of passage, representing a transition from childhood to adulthood. While the first visit to Disney may have been a magical experience, this time around, the goal is to mock and ridicule all things Disney, viewing them as childish and commercial.

  12. Taxi Hersham

    Walt Disney World is the most visited vacation resort in the world, welcoming over 58 million guests annually. It is also the most popular tourist destination in the United States. The resort is known for its immersive theming, world-class attractions, and friendly cast members. It is a popular destination for families, couples, and groups of all ages.

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    The first time is when he is a child, so he can appreciate the magic of this amazing fantasy world through the eyes of a young person.

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    The first time is when he is a child, so he can appreciate the magic of this amazing fantasy world through the eyes of a young person

  15. travel

    It’s not easy, especially if you are running around to go on rides you haven’t been on in decades, catching the buses back and forth to your hotel.

  16. sarah

    I loved that article so much, and it really touched my heart. By the way, I strongly disagree with Walt Disney and the Illuminati! Some folks, like me, believe that Disney is connected to the Illuminati. ???? -Kai. Surgical tech exam

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    Traveling to new places is definitely fun—regardless of your reasons for traveling—especially if you get to meet and befriend wonderful locals and fellow

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    Sure. I understand that you just got back from a mini vacation to Yellowstone and you had a great time. You also mentioned that traveling can be costly, but there are easy ways to cut back on some of the costs.

  20. jack1

    I was dreading going to Disney as an adult (and with 3 children), but we really liked it! I hope we can do it again, when the smallest is tall enough to ride more of the rides. Glad y’all had fun! airline tickets

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  22. POUL

    I was dreading going to Disney as an adult (and with 3 children), but we really liked it! I hope we can do it again, when the smallest is tall enough to ride more of the rides. Glad y’all had fun! k-eta

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    Thank you for the laughs (I presume you did not buy the painting) & very happy to hear no one got hurt. That IS the stuff we remember, the stuff you can’t plan, the stories we will tell. keta

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  30. Anna

    It reflects how youthful wonderment can evolve into jaded cynicism, as the magic of Disney becomes a target for mockery. The scene of drinking at Epcot and vomiting behind the PeopleMover symbolizes a rebellion against innocence, marking a symbolic victory over childhood while also hinting at the loss of its simple joys.cheap flights

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