The Man and the Mouse, and other tales of Florida

Upon planning a trip to visit the little guy’s mom’s parents, we made it pretty clear that a 7-month-old did not have a burning need to go to Disneyworld, considering how excited he is by: leaves, cats, buses, the MBTA, mirrors, office lobbies, and other activities that do not cost $114 for admission. Knowing the little man’s grandmother as we do, though, and proud as we knew she was of her resident pass, we penciled in a day there and acted surprised when she said that’s where we were going.

And you know what? The man really liked it. Sure, what he liked most was riding around at knee level amongst the throngs of people laughing maniacally in his stroller every time he saw other small children. But he also liked rides! (Also: they just let you bring a 7-month-old on most of the rides, which admittedly i hadn’t given any thought to, but had kind of assumed wasn’t a thing). So there he was riding flying carpets, carousels, the Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion. And looking around wide-eyed, even smiling. The idea of how new and exciting everything is to him is so invigorating, and better than that, you never know, with him—any place might be the next happiest place on earth™.

Other things we learned:

  • The diaper changing room near Main Street at Disneyworld is amazing. Cushy beds, table liners, a kiosk to buy crap you forgot. As it’s probably likely that i’ll be back there before the man is out of diapers, i can tell you i will be looking forward to it next time.
  • Disney’s reputation for experience design is deserved and well-documented, but i thought it was interesting how the barnacle-like growth of strollers on and around pathways clogged the arteries so thoroughly and in such a disorderly way. Immediately, i thought of redesigning it, realizing that like midtown Manhattan, the Magic Kingdom is, in some ways, some of the most expensive real estate on the planet. It deserves an expensive, well-designed solution, don’t you think?
      • Could you do an underground parking elevator-vending machine system like in high-density parking garages? It would have to be extremely fast and foolproof (their existing wristband tech would solve a lot of UI problems), but there would remain the issue of needing to not forget anything on your stroller lest you have to do it all over again.
      • Or what about an underground, self-serve parking area? Naturally, any underground solution would encroach on existing underground infrastructure.
      • Maybe this can be accomplished with policy solutions? Stroller-free zones, or congestion charging? Perhaps a valet service would do the trick, with the human element allowing for efficiency based on knowledge of how soon you’ll be back for it and trust that it’s well taken care of.
      • Stroller standardization could be another way to go. Maybe providing one, well-designed, compact, modular stroller at the parking lot would be a means to de-clutter the random agglomerations of compact (like ours), giant, double, and quadruple strollers.
      • Anyway, on the off chance they read this, and want to hire me and my day job to work on it, this is the sort of shit we rule at.
  • The Haunted Mansion is objectively the best ride at Disneyworld.
  • Experiencing big crowds with the little man is a little bit unnerving, considering he and his stroller are always pointed headlong into it, and i can’t see him. Fortunately, as i mentioned, he sort of loves that. But unsurprisingly, people walking around the Magic Kingdom, particularly at busy times, are badly behaved in the way that Connecticut drivers are. One wonders how many stroller fender-benders occur at brisk speeds.
  • Counterpoint: we spent the day walking so slowly that i barely budged my green ring on my Apple Watch, and not because of my wife’s parents’ slow amble, either.

Regarding the rest of Florida:

  • It’s still terrible. Traffic lights that take hours. Weaving drivers around people doing ten under in the left lane. We saw an American flag with he-who-must-not-be-named’s face on it. Their toll road arrangements, particularly as intersected with what your rental car is set up for are inconsistent and difficult and leave you scared of giant fines.

Author: rcolonna

crashes, bangs, maniacal laughter.

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