Unhappily Ever After

You have no idea what you’re missing

This is what I was told last night after a friend came back from a, “magical” theme park. If only they knew that I am more than aware of what I may be missing. The truth is I might be missing out on more negatives than positives.

I was never a fan of the big “D” until I met my ex. She ended up getting a job there and needless to say, we made a routine of appearances. From here she showed me the more cultural aspects of Disney goers. I was used to the normal tourists that made trips (as I was one before this time) from all around the world. Buying every little souvenir from t-shirts to balloons within balloons, to the traditional Mickey ears wither their named embroidered on them. These tourists make up a reasonable percentage of theme park attendants.

A second class of people are those who have justified investing in an annual pass. These people don’t need to see every little attraction during the course of their stay. Much like a membership to a museum, they can come and go as they please. They are the people you find on a Wednesday afternoon schlepping around, with no real agenda. While I was still someone’s significant other I became this type of Disney goer. One day we would try and see how many characters we could spot to take pictures with. Another was spent snacking around the different areas while casually finding rides with the shortest line, no matter the type of ride. The frequent visits made us more aware of those like us that made more than four trips a month to see Walt and all his creations. We’ve come across pin collectors, and other little Disney niches one finds from regular visits.

So when I hear someone tell me I don’t know what I’m missing, my initial reaction is to begin to explain how fluently I speak the language of Disney and consider myself an honorable member. However once I come to my senses I realize that there are a large amount of emotions tied to this magical place. Much like the favorite cozy restaurant you and your S.O visited when you were still together, another appearance in that place  (chains exempt) doesn’t feel right. Hell, the food might even taste different due to this circumstance alone. I try and not get too caught up in Disney talk for this reason. I was seeing someone who wholeheartedly believed in the magic Disney has to offer. I even admit to starting to believe in it myself. Now that things are different and we are no longer an item, I no longer feel welcome in a place like that. Not just because she still works there, but because when I come across those cultured souls, I am reminded of a past in which I want to move on from.

It’s easy to find a new place to get Indian food, but to skip out on Disneyland entirely has become difficult. Especially since the friend I am talking to is an annual pass member who has made Disney a priority to visit regularly. Much like Tantalus, I long to quench this thirst but feel inhibited and pained by those in sight. Disney is a hard thing to escape from. Much like the Christian who is tormented by abstaining from relations, I too feel conflicted with decisions I have made.

So believe me when I tell you, yes, I do know what I am missing. I am missing a past life that brought much joy and happiness. An atmosphere that was empowering and provided a new perspective on life. To me, I am missing more than just Disney characters, rides, food, and a cultural atmosphere. I am all too familiar of the culture and no longer feel welcome within the Disney gates.

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