The Mouse is in the Details

Rob, ready for TSMM (Mouse on the Mind)Hello. My name is Robert, and I am married to a Disney-holic. She is terminally afflicted with no cure in sight. I have made my peace and learned to stop worrying and love the Mouse.

While I may not be the die-hard Disney fanatic that my wife is, I really enjoy our trips. However, when I tell my friends that I went to Disney three times last year (and have two more trips coming up) the nicest of them says “Oh…” and changes the subject.

After the rest finish laughing into their beer, I find myself fielding the same question:

What could I possibly find to do after going there over and over again? 

For those who haven’t been to WDW and whose experiences with amusement parks are limited to places like 7 Banners and Boch Orchard, I tell them: the place is huge.

My friends are quick to respond. They say that a determined visitor can “do everything” in two visits. But that assumption reflects a mindset that I feel is deeply at odds with getting the most out of ANY experience, let alone something as potentially rich as a trip to Disney World.

Lowland Gorillas (Mouse on the Mind)
I do love these gorillas

We all want to get the most out of our money, and a trip to the World is never going to be cheap. The expense turns many of us into check-list travelers, people who say “I need to do X, Y and Z or I might as well have set my wallet on fire.” So you ride every coaster, try a beer in every country, stare at a monkey and pose with a Princess. Yup, you’ve done it all and don’t need to worry about going through that hell ever again.

And it is hell. When you are rushing through crowds desperately trying to create memories, you end up exhausted and screaming at your wife at 3 a.m. at the hotel or watching your children with hate in your eyes as they act out in the courtyard beneath AstroOrbiter. Or if you have more stamina than most of us and you haven’t alienated your family, you’ve rushed through the highlights and might have had some fun … but were you really present for the experience?

Which brings me back to the original question: What is there to do when you’ve “done” everything? While there are lots of things to enjoy after the new car smell has faded, my answer is simply this:

Slow down and open your eyes.

The Imagineering team has put an amazing level of detail into every square foot of the park. Next time you’re stuck in one of the Eternal Lines of Doom, take a few minutes to admire your purgatory! Disney has mastered the art of making even waiting in line a performance. Next time you’re stuck, here are a few of my favorites:

Kali River Rapids queue (Mouse on the Mind)
Beautiful bird cages in the Kali River Rapids queue

Kali River Rapids
Melissa and I hit this on a low crowd day during out last trip and spent 15 minutes just walking around the queue, looking at the ceiling frescos and statuary. The theming there might just be more fun than the ride (in December when your blood doesn’t boil in the sun).

Toy Story Midway Mania
I am partial to the board game section, myself. It reminds me of long ago sessions of Candy Land… and how my brother totally cheated! I won’t go into depth on this one. If you ride without a FASTPASS you’ll have all the time in the World to discover for yourself.

Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean and Pinocchio’s Village Haus
My love of alliteration notwithstanding, each of these has intricate details that bear repeated views. The miniatures at Peter Pan, the animatronic interactions in Pirates and bright frescoes in Pinochio’s all merit a second (and third) look.

Expedition Everest
Don’t punch the kids ringing the bells, but do take a look around. Everyone stops to see the “museum,” but the iron work, statuary and prayer flags against the Himalayan mountains are quite stunning.

Everything in the World’s Showcase
That’s it. Everything. No explanation needed.

So take a deep breath, put down your list and find the magic that will make your trip worth every penny.

Ever do so much you don’t remember a thing? What’s your favorite Disney Detail? Let us know!

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