Disney casts spell on family
Ran in the Northwest Herald on Sunday, December 8, 2002.
I believe in Disney magic.
In fact, as you read this, I am getting ready to experience it up close and personal. That's right, while you shake off the chill of a McHenry County December morn, I am shaking hands with Mickey Mouse.
Of course, this isn't my first brush with Disney magic – I've been seeing bits and pieces of it for six weeks now, ever since my mother and father announced to my brother and I that they wanted to spend our inheritance. Actually, what they said was that they wanted to take both of our families to Disney World for the holidays, which I suspect is the same thing. Oh well, smiles are good investments – and that is what they got from all six grandchildren, most of whom haven't stopped bouncing off the ceiling.
The first evidence that this Disney magic is real was a sudden and dramatic improvement in chore performance by my children. Of course, that also was accompanied by a sudden and dramatic increase in their demand to actually get paid for their labors, but that seemed a fair trade.
Inspired by the experience, I floated the idea to the kids that I would double their allowances if they agreed to shut off the television at 6 p.m. on school nights. Quicker than you could say "supercalafragilisticixpialodocious," they agreed, and our evenings became much quieter, more productive and less mind-numbing.
Then the real magic began. Our eldest son, who would rather have his fingernails ripped out than exercise, bought into the idea of a walking program to prepare for the long days of walking in the Magic Kingdom. In fact, not only did he buy in, but he also quickly became a taskmaster, shaming the rest of us into staying on our conditioning program.
If all of that weren't proof enough, this week I became a living, breathing Disney commercial waiting to happen: "Joe King, you just rebounded from a one-foot-in-the-grave cold/cough/flu in record time, what are you going to do next?" The answer, of course: I'm going to Disney World!
We departed Saturday with more luggage than Marco Polo and more zeal than the crusaders. We also happen to have a clearer, more detailed battle plan than George W. has for Iraq, which is a good thing, because I think taking the Magic Kingdom (and it's neighboring lands) by storm will be tougher than marching through Baghdad.
The kids have made it clear that, no matter the physical toll, they want to tackle Space Mountain, storm Blizzard Beach, trek the savanna of the Animal Kingdom, find fame at MGM and perhaps even sample something more exotic than chicken fingers in Epcot.
As for me, I've signed onto their plan. I just hope that the Disney magic can cure aching feet.
Joe King is a former Northwest Herald community editor. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.