A Brief Layover

Cinderella's CastleDisney magic has transformed a week-long business trip into a two-week-long business trip, since I’ve got to leave Monday morning for a week down in LA. On the plus side, I’m… well, saving on groceries, I guess.

Of course, it’s hard to feel too sorry for myself when last week ended up being as nice a “business trip” as you can get while still calling it that. That was the kind of thing I was imagining when I was thinking of some day working for Disney — getting stuff done, seeing enough of the behind-the-scenes stuff to be cool but not so much as to ruin it. And getting time to just goof off and enjoy it, to be reminded of the point of working for Imagineering in the first place (it’s not to make tons of money and climb up the management hierarchy, contrary to what the LA mentality may suggest).

This was my first real trip to Disney World as an adult. Going with the family doesn’t really count, since I’m stuck in perpetual 16-years-old-ness whenever I’m around my family, and also we end up just going around doing the same stuff we always do for nostalgia value more than anything else. And the last trip for work didn’t count, since I only had a couple hours here and there to rush into a park on my own and try (unsuccessfully) to treat it like a working vacation.

This time I got to see it as an adult would see it, and it’s pretty damn impressive. Disneyland is still more fun in a lot of ways, and there are a lot of things it gets right that Disney World just doesn’t master (Pirates of the Caribbean, for instance, and the Magic Kingdom at WDW just feels a lot more cold and empty and imposing, somehow). I guess the corny comparison would be that Disneyland is a single theme park done perfectly, while Disney World is an entire city built around the concept.

I’m sure that if I’d been spending the whole time worrying about how much everything cost, or how I was going to keep the kids well-rested and entertained, or any of the other genuine adult concerns that people have that make them critical of Disney, it would’ve been different. But as it was, I was free to just go around and be impressed.

Burbank is going to seem a lot more mundane, I’m sure. Tonight is a comedy show with Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, and others, which I’m expecting to be anti-Disney. After that I’m going to do as much sleeping in my own bed and playing with my own videogames as I can until I have to get on another plane.

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