Zamgwar's
"My 2 Cents!"

Vacations From Your Vacation
Part 1 of 3


This article appeared in the
Issue #90 June 12, 2001 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

Does this sound familiar?

"Trip report, Day five: Today, for the first day, we slept in. Mickey's happy voice didn't wake us until 6 a.m. We wanted to be at Animal Kingdom for rope drop. Our plans were to try to see the whole park by noon. We planned to grab a snack on the way back to the bus and off to Epcot, where the twins wanted to get their passport stamped in every country. I wanted to see Reflections of Earth, but Jim was lobbying for boating over to MGM when it gets dark and seeing Fantasmic. Somewhere in between we thought we'd grab another snack."

I must admit, if I had written a trip report for my first visits to see the Mouse, it would have echoed the same type of pace. When one first encounters the sensory overload that is Walt Disney World, the brain, in order to properly function (as anyone who has seen Cranium Command knows) needs to borrow heavily from other parts of the body. It borrows from age, so you suddenly feel younger. It borrows from pains, so things that normally bother you suddenly don't.

In fact, it causes you to believe you're Superman or Superwoman, for up to 14 hours at a time.

Of course, eventually the Kryptonite sets in, in the form of exhaustion, at which time Mickey starts to look less like a mouse, and more like a rat.

It wasn't until my third trip that I started looking for Vacations within my vacation. Little ways to force us to remember that we're on *vacation.*

Over my next few articles, I'll focus on some wonderful little, simple ways I like to remind myself that I'm on vacation.

One of the greatest little vacation reminders in all the parks was mandated by Walt Disney himself. Many of you may know (from my "Waking Walt" series of articles that surfaces from time to time on the rec.arts.disney.parks newsgroup) that Walt resides in a Ziploc bag in my freezer, so this comes straight from the horse's mouth.

One of the key things Walt felt was of paramount importance in the design of Disneyland, which has carried through all of the parks, is that there be "many places to sit and rest."

Sitting down on a bench for just 15 minutes, while licking an ice cream cone, does wonders to rejuvenate the sagging Mouse Commando. It gives you time to really soak in the sights, smells and sounds around you, and reaffirm what a beautiful day it is you are having.

In the Magic Kingdom, you can feast just on the colors. How brightly painted Main Street is. How deep red the pinstripe is on a Cast Member's shirt as she bends to pick up a stray napkin. How wonderful the sound the whistle of the steam engine is, as it echoes off the buildings. How the clear blue sky reflects deeply on a Mylar balloon, clutched in the hand of a child skipping on and off the curb as he walks, brimming with anticipation over perhaps catching a glimpse of the Mouse in person.

In Animal Kingdom, a few moments on a bench may reveal the joy of a family of several generations banging joyously on the tribal drums. Perhaps
you'll notice the detail of a gorilla, sitting at the base of the park's icon on a directional sign. Maybe you'll spot the lovely purple flowers blooming on the roof of the Tamu-Tamu refreshment building. You may become absorbed in your own wonder as the trunk of the Tree of Life begins to emerge as a carved tapestry of life.

In Disney-MGM Studios you can soak in some of the great background music that floods the air. You might for the first time notice the sounds of the city piped in to the New York Street backlot. There's a very good chance you'll notice many small details of buildings you've never noticed before.

In Epcot, you can absorb a moment of the calm serenity of a Japanese garden, while hedging off a quickly melting kaki gori as it cools your mouth. Or pick out the strains of the distant accordion music wafting over from Italy as you sit at a small table near a bakery in France, sipping iced cappuccino. Or enjoy the unbridled excitement of children as they splash in the surprise fountains in Future World.

In all the parks, you'll be able to notice a variety of smells with no apparent source. A waft of chocolate here, a smell of cinnamon there and of course the sweetness of cookie dough that *is* Main Street.

You may even catch a glimpse of yourself, when you begin to notice just how many of your fellow vacationers charge on by your bench, noses buried in a guide map for the shortest route to an attraction, without ever looking up to enjoy the wonders of "The World" around them.

That's My2Cents! What's yours?

John
Office of Stopping to Smell the Rose Garden
The Zamgwar Institute
www.zamgwar.com