The thing that I couldn’t get over with the night shows at Disney and Epcot is that they do this huge, Olympic ceremony caliber production every single freaking night. I mean, am I right? I knew that I didn’t want to miss the electrical parade and the fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom even though it meant keeping the kids up after that marathon of a day. At one point during the afternoon, Mark hinted that maybe we didn’t need to stay to catch the show – I mean we’ve seen fireworks before. Pshaw. We were pretty tired around 6pm, but after we finished a quick dinner and re-emerged back into the park under the night sky, we all perked up because the crowds were thinner and the park had more of a party atmosphere. By the time we found a spot on the sidelines for the parade at 8:30 the girls were fading again, but as soon as the twinkling floats approached us at 9pm, Miss C was waving to all the characters and actors and at one point reached back in a bit of a panic after realizing that she wasn’t wearing her mouse ears. “I need them”, she said as she put them on and resumed waving.
A few last words about Disney: It’s pretty impressive how well run everything is. Just about everything is seamless right down to all the sounds. Being audio geeks, we couldn’t help but note how smooth all the audio scenes from the rides cross faded into each other or all the analog synth sounds that were used so well in the parade. Sometimes when you really observe what’s going on around you it’s completely surreal and even a bit bizarre when you realize that you’re riding in a clam shell on a long conveyer belt of people on one of the rides – a conveyer belt that continuously loads and unloads thousands of park goers in and out non stop for 12 hours a day. But you really do sort of have to suspend your disbelief and buy into the fantasy which we did for the most part, aside from those few moments where you shake yourself into reality and you catch yourself thinking, where the hell are we?
Oh, and I just figured out yesterday why my mom thought it was so important that we take the kids to Disney and why she saw it as such a pivotal part of the American experience. When I was a kid, I used to look at these old photos of my mom wearing one of those black Mickey Mouse caps with mouse ears and standing next to one of the 7 dwarves. She was 25 and had made a layover in Southern California on her way to NYC from South Korea in 1971 when she first immigrated here. Disneyland was her first exposure to America. Arriving from a country that was struggling to get back on its feet from the Korean War, the Disney experience in sunny California must have felt surreal and worlds away from her childhood filled with poverty and a broken home. Can’t imagine what she must have been feeling at the time – all the emotions of leaving her country and her family (including me as an infant), but there was also the anticipation of starting a new life in a new world. That is true magic.