oh no big deal, we do this every night

February 27, 2013 |  Category:   family life travels













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.

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  • arounna February 27, 2013 at 12:32 am

    so glad it was a great time
    beautiful story about your mom

  • Jamie Tidwell February 27, 2013 at 2:51 am

    I worked for Disney for 6 months as part of a college program. I saw a lot of kids crying, but I also got to see truly magical stories take place- many people have experiences like the one you shared of your Mom. I also saw a lot of people get proposed to, a lot of kids hugging Mickey Mouse for the first time. I could see parts of all 3 fireworks shows every night from where I worked at Downtown Disney.

    I don’t know how much longer you will be there, but if you guys like audio and sound effects, the Dinosaur ride at Animal Kingdom is the best they have when it comes to amazing sounds. It makes the dinos seam real which is a little scary even for me- I wouldn’t take a kiddo under 7. I hope you enjoy your time! Your photos are beautiful, thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Kiana February 27, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Oh Jenna, how wonderfully put. I’m a Floridian so I forget what Disney feels like for others and how magical it can seem. I’m glad you guys had a great time.

  • cantaloupe February 27, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Haha, when you said the conveyor belt bit, I pictured you and your family as one of the little families that used to visit the parks I made in Rollercoaster Tycoon. Although sadly none of my parks were as epic as Disney’s parks.

  • Sora February 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    “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.”

    I am passing along your observation to our friend, Greg, who is the Chief Engineer / Sound Mixer Principal at Walt Disney Imagineering! He is always traveling the parks and riding the rides numerous times after mixing.

    And a great story about your Mom’s experience at Disneyland. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jenna February 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    @Jamie We’re back in Brooklyn now. This was last week. We didn’t go on the dinosaur ride because we thought it would actually be too scary for the girls. Based on you comment, I think we were right!

  • Jenna February 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    @Sora That is so cool! Tell him that we kept remarking about it.

  • hnahk February 27, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    that last paragraph got me all teary eyed. thanks for sharing your disney experience!

  • Jennelle February 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Glad you guys had a good time! Those pictures are amazing. How do you get such great shots at night? Tips please 🙂

  • Jenna February 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    @Jannelle Thanks! I don’t really have any specific tips except I don’t use flash and just have the lens wide open of course to let in as much light. Also as steady of a hand as I can manage!

  • Melanie February 27, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Beautiful story, and good for you to remember to be present in the moments. Thanks for sharing.

  • yent February 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    That was a really fabulous series of posts on your experience that has been the only thing I’ve read that makes me really reconsider my no-Disney stance. I like how once you decided to do it, you were all in, and I think I would have to be the same. You found magic where I didn’t think it would be possible to!

  • Kim February 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Your pictures made me smile. Living in Northern California, I went to Disneyland every summer when I was a kid and the magic really stays with you. When you return as an adult, not only do you notice the amazing quality of every presentation, but when taken together with the happy childhood memories of being there, it provides an awesome ongoing and evolving experience.

    The happy memories that you’ve provided for your children will always be with them and when they return with their own kids, it’ll be every bit as good as they remembered.

  • Katherine February 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    I truly enjoyed your posts on Disney. It really is a pivotal experience as a child and part of the “American” experience. So glad you went! Even in my mid-twenties I still enjoy going there when I get the opportunity.

  • Jenna February 28, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    @yent ha! I think I’ve converted quite a few people into reconsidering their no-disney stance.

  • peneloping March 3, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    The story about your mom made me tear up. So touching. Gorgeous photos too!

  • yj March 4, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Your pics are great!

    I went last year with my bf (no kids!) and we totally enjoyed going, since I got to be the kid. :o)

    I had just downloaded some chicklit onto my kindle, so even when there was a wait for a ride, I happily read my novel then jumped on the ride.

  • Karyn March 6, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I loved all your posts and pictures about Disney World — these night parade ones are spectacular! Thank you so much.