The mission is this: Get out the door with my family and arrive at Disney’s Boardwalk Area looking absolutely fabulous as I stroll in leisure. The challenge is this: Grammy has “gifted” me with two abhorrent, knock-off, Disney t-shirts that she bought in a thrift store and expects me to wear one. The strategy is this: Appear so busy that I don’t have time to change (allowing me to remain in my very cute, grey, tailored, Mickey Mouse ringer tee that I am already in).
Carrying out my strategy is not difficult. Maintaining a frantic pace is never hard for a NDM because it is the true reality in which she functions. The constant adrenaline rush that she experiences in the Walt Disney World Resort gives her Dash-like characteristics, so there is rarely a moment when her feet are at rest. The question is will Grammy sense the pending departure time and insist I pause for a clothing change? I whisper a prayer to the Tiki gods that the distractions of an overly-packed villa are enough to divert Grammy’s attention away from my “accidental” mismanagement of time.
“Let’s go before it gets too late,” I suggest after scurrying to fix my hair, do my make-up and get my three youngin’s in their Boardwalk best. Grammy protests, “But you haven’t put on one of your new shirts!” “I’m sorry,” I say regretfully, “I’ve been in such a rush getting everyone ready. I can’t do it now, or it will mess up my hair. Plus, we just need to get going. If we don’t leave now everyone will be too tired to really enjoy it.” Not waiting for a response, I push my family out the door and encourage Grammy to follow quickly with Auntie and her crew.
Once there, our large group gathers together in the parking lot of Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. Thankfully, Grammy seems to have put any disappointment she suffered behind her. The twins have settled nicely into their double stroller. My children have the Disney glow on their face, and the rest of us have taken on a serene aura. Once again, Disney has magically united our family in spite of the fact we are Dysfunction Junction natives.
I have always been curious about the happenings on the Boardwalk. The Disney Vacation Planning DVD only briefly covers it, and the fast-paced visual cuts make it very difficult to get a good look at anything it actually does feature. However, my Boardwalk naivety is about to become a thing of the past. The anticipation of exploring a new frontier is palpable.
Staring at the word “Boardwalk” that is lit up in numerous white bulbs over the entrance to the resort lobby, I squeeze the hands of DD7 and DS5. Apparently, DD2 is caught up in the magic of the moment as well because she announces from her stroller, “This is Princess!” while pointing to herself. With that our group proceeds towards the fun that awaits.
We enter Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. Under most circumstances I would not dream of stepping inside a resort of such beauty and stature. After all, if I stood out as a non-DVC Member in Disney’s Old Key West Resort, I can only imagine my conspicuousness here. However, it is the only possible entrance I see to the lakeside entertainment that exists just beyond, so I dare to cross its threshold.
I plan to hurry my family through the resort to the vintage, Atlantic City-like recreation that lay on the other side. We are temporarily sidetracked, though, for the first thing to catch our eye is an oversized, striped loveseat immediately to the right. The size of this setee is astonishing. A laugh escapes my throat as a knee-jerk reaction to the enormity of it. I find myself unable to resist skipping over to it with my young ones and climbing up on its seat. At 5’2”, this chattel dwarves me three times over. We all giggle uncontrollably at the humor presented by an immense sofa as DH snaps pictures for keepsakes.
Once our photo shoot is complete, we slide off the edge of the huge couch and land safely on our feet. It is time to quickly shuffle through the lobby. We rush through the automatic doors only to be stopped after a couple steps by the breathtaking grandeur of what we find.
The lobby is multiple stories high and takes on a very luxurious and elaborate feel. All the furnishings, displays, and wall-hangings are antiquated and ornate. Many of them are completely gold, and the ones that are not have gold accents. There is a distinct circus theme with a particular focus on carousel horses, yet the feel is one of sophistication rather than that of a scary “fun house.”
We resume motion, but our pace is slow while our eyes wander in all directions. There is a murmur of “oohs” and “aahs” from our clan. Our exposure to such a polished surrounding has been slim in life. I find myself unconsciously reciting prayer requests to ask for supernatural assistance in helping my group move through the delicate lobby without an “event” of any kind. However, I can’t help but entertain theoretical yet horrifying scenarios in my mind of meltdowns, knocked over display cases and broken artifacts.
There are many things that capture the attention of the little people in my group, and my fears mount as I visualize possible calamities that would shine a spotlight on my performers. A minature model of a Coney Island-esque amusement park is enclosed in a glass case. It is perfect for collecting the fingerprints of tiny digits and the smeared snot of runny noses. There are small statues of elephants near a fireplace that are just the right size for munchkins to sit on even if the pachyderms’ purpose is only an aesthetic one. Cushy, circular seating that surrounds a central pillar-like back cries out for playful feet to jump upon it and run around as if it were a May pole. The potential for an “incident” is endless.
I wring my hands as we inch past each and every childhood temptation, and I feel myself developing a new type of syndrome. Much like Tourette’s, a verbal tic overtakes me. Yet rather than espousing obscene and derogatory statements, my words are continuous reminders for my small three-ring act to keep their manners and hold their hands behind their backs until we pass through the glass doors on the opposite end of the lobby. “I know this may look a little like Jo-jo’s Circus, but it really isn’t,” I instruct. “It is a very nice resort, and I don’t want you to touch, taste, speak or try to smell anything. In fact, it is probably only OK for you to breathe in here . . . on second thought, scratch that.”
Not a single family member has erred in behavior by any degree, so my remarks are met with queer glances and irritated body language. This does not deter my expressive, instructional helps, though. Instead it serves to feed my verbose compulsion as I begin to fear unruly behavior will accompany the negative body language I read. Will we make it through this minefield of feasible disasters? I am overwhelmed by the terrifying possibility that we won’t.
“Love,” DH whispers to me, “I don’t think it is necessary to keep the kids on such a tight leash. I know this place looks delicate, but look again. There are other children running around the room and being rather loud. They are enjoying themselves. Ours should too. I’m sure that Disney has prepared for the behavior of children in the lobby, and our kids are rather well behaved anyway. I don’t think there is a need to drill them about appropriate manners.”
I consider his words. They are rational and wise; however, I find I am still scarred by my run-in with Botox Barbie at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. There is not a chance in Neverland that I will risk exposing myself as a non-DVC Member again, and I inform DH of this concern. “But don’t you think you are drawing attention to us by barking orders after every ten steps we take? You don’t see the DVC Members doing that, do you?” DH responds.
Doh! He’s right! I’ve done it again. Blushing as a result of my inability to conceal the DVC Member insecurity from which I suffer, I suggest we forgo any further Disney’s Boardwalk Inn exploration. I need to escape the scene of my DVC Member crime. With that I herd my little Mouseketeers straight for the glass doors that lead outside to the Boardwalk and away from the place of my most recent faux-pas.