my “friends” are taking me to disney

by elizaligon

When I was growing up, my mother’s single rule was “be cool.” 

This sounds pretty cut and dry, plain and simple, but “be cool” can carry a lot of varied meanings. A couple of examples might be “don’t hit your brother” or “don’t tell anyone about Mommy’s Halloween candy stash.” It also means “be nice and polite,” especially towards the staff when you’re in a restaurant, or when your grandparents come to visit. 

One of the most important meanings behind “be cool” was “do Not be tacky.” My mom has always been really insulted by that which she deems “tacky.” We were never allowed to wear GAP or other logos because my mom didn’t want us to “be some company’s advertisement.” (Honestly, this rule was fair.) I played with Barbie dolls, but my mom hated them, and often told me so. She didn’t just make fun of the mythological body type, but she deemed her clothes and her car simply… tasteless. 

My mom never suffered through any media designed for children. This included Disney Channel, Disney movies, and most certainly Disney World. This is not to say we, the kids, did not watch Disney Channel– it was on all of the time, but my mother would immediately leave the room the moment she heard the Hannah Montana theme song. Disney Adults are the bane of her existence, and as I have grown, I find myself in this camp with her. 

There was never a question when it came to Disney World. We knew that both of my parents would say no if we asked. More than that, they’d probably say something like “you want to use our one vacation a year to go to Disney World?” Asking to go to Disney World would probably go over worse than a face tattoo. 

Well, now I’m 20 years old, and despite my mother’s best wishes, I have made friends with people who have been to Disney World. People who say I’m missing out. People who are threatening to bring Me to Disney World. In Florida.

 (“Mama said there’d be days like this” by the Shirelles starts playing somewhere in the distance.)

My friends keep saying it will be “hilarious” to see me react to Disney World. What kinds of friends are these?

I am told that I will hardly be able to cope with the bombardment of screaming, crumb-decorated children with dirty hands. I shiver just to think of it. Not only is this rapscallion ragtag bunch running around with several different sticky colors smeared around their mouths, but they are decorated in tacky depictions of Disney characters which have been sold to them as a personality trait. Seek no horror films, for every scary image is here. I wouldn’t know what to do but run home to my mom. 

My roommate keeps saying that she wants to see my face when she brings me to the Animal Kingdom. She thinks I will be wildly uncomfortable. One Yelp review, titled “Jennifer is Worthless” had much to say about their experience at the park. The New Jersey resident told us: “Going here was like getting a root canal.  It’s something you’re supposed to do, but it is exquisitely miserable and when it’s over, you’ve lost a day of your life.” Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: why are we listening to what this Jersey-ite thinks? They probably ENJOY Florida? I know, but they made some good points.

Did you know that Epcot has a dress code? One Yelp reviewer reports having been denied entry to the park because of her shirt. Apparently Disney World is more strict than my high school was. My only consolation at Epcot would be knowing that not a single person in a given room is straight. Also they’ve got a Ratatouille ride coming, so that’s something to look forward to. 

“Jeff B” from Minnesota kept it real when he said “Long lines that never end, too many kids and dumb parents with strollers. Staff is too happy and not enough alcohol in the park. Great place to waste a day and spend all of your money for shallow memories. Disney engages in THEFT by SWINDLE.” [Edited for grammar, as you might expect.] 

The only benefit of a trip to Disney World is feeling like one has won the genetic lottery. There would literally not be a single hot person there who wasn’t already in my friend group. The downside here is that there’s really nothing to reach for, so what’s the point?

The worst part of it all is that there is no true escape. Disney World may end at its walls, but beyond that, there lies the horrifying cesspool known as the state of Florida. Obviously my friends and I would be going in a post-pandemic world (if that exists), but can we ever truly call Florida “clean”? 

Next these so-called friends of mine will be forcing me to “celebrate Christmas” or “just come to TJ Maxx ONCE!”  Who have I become? This is not the woman my mother raised.

Categories: eliza ligon, may 4th 2021, review

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