By Ryan Berry
If you know me at all, you will know that I am a huge fan of Disney theme parks. They truly are the happiest place on earth. Before you get your weekend underwear in a bunch, I know there are naysayers. There are people that don’t get the alure of Mickey and his pals, nor do they get the ever-escalating cost of getting in. I get that. You have your happiest place on earth and I have mine. If I could, I would be there several times a year. For me, it’s just a sense of euphoria that I feel as I drive onto the grounds.
I’ve been to the parks in Anaheim and Orlando, and I feel like a kid every time I walk through the gates. The other parks around the world are on my bucket list, but sadly, that is probably where they will stay.
My fondest memories are going to the Magic Kingdom in the mid 1970s with my family, including my grandma and grandpa. The only disappointment then was my parents would not purchase enough E tickets. E tickets were reserved for only the best and most thrilling rides like It’s a Small World, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Okay, they weren’t that thrilling unless you consider having the It’s a Small World song stuck in your head all day. I am still stunned that Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress were not E tickets. By far, those are the best attractions. My family disagrees and groans every time I want to go.
The last time we went as a family we were in the Carousel of Progress and a gentleman that was about my age was singing loudly – It’s a great big, beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day… My wife and daughter looked at me like I was the one singing. I just smiled, but on the inside I was singing as loud as he was. As luck would have it, the ride broke down and we got to listen to it on repeat until they made us leave.
Now that you know my background and somewhat disturbing affection and infatuation with the mouse’s house, you can probably understand my shock, astonishment, dismay, astounded horror, disgust and consternation I felt when my wife and youngest daughter hinted on the Thursday before Labor Day weekend that they were going to Disney – without me. (You’ve got to love the thesaurus when trying to make a point.)
In all fairness, they did ask me if I wanted to go. Yes, yes I did want to go. I’m kind of suspecting they only asked because they knew I couldn’t. How would they know that you asked? Because I had already told them I had an event to cover that weekend and we agreed to watch my oldest daughter’s two husky puppies while she went camping. My wife quickly pointed out that “we” didn’t agree to watch her dogs. “You agreed to watch her dogs,” she said.
While my wife was arriving in the Sunshine State, I was putting the dogs out. When my wife was driving through Ocala, Fla. I was cleaning up puppy poop from two dogs that just came back in from being outside. As she was pulling into the Disney resort where they were staying, I was kicking my oldest daughter’s other dog out of my bed. As they were preparing to go to EPCOT, I was cleaning up poop. As they were swimming in the resort’s swimming pool, I was cleaning up poop. As they were getting ready to go to bed, I was cleaning up poop. Magic Kingdom – poop. Disney Springs – poop. Carousel of Progress – poop. Country Bear Jamboree – poop. (I’m not sure they went to either of the last two, but if they did, I was cleaning up poop.)
Do you see a recurring theme? It didn’t matter how many times I put the little poop factories out, I was still on my hands and knees scrubbing carpet. Hey Ryan, how was your Labor Day weekend? Crappy, literally!
Here’s where I should say that I’m happy they were able to get away and have a good time. Yep, I should say it. The cute Mickey shaped food they ate, the rides they rode, the fun they had – nothing but smiles. The stories I wrote, the carpets I cleaned, the dogs I wrangled, the work I did – yeah, that sounds even. I will give my wife credit – she was very careful to not overload me with Snap Chats of their trip and rub salt into my wound deeper than it already was.
On the bright side, me and all five dogs, four mice and bunny really bonded. By the time my daughter picked up her dogs, I knew where each one liked to poop. It was my own version of the Animal Kingdom theme park. It was like going through a safari every time I had to go to the bathroom. I should note that only one of those animals is owned by my wife and me.
In reality, I am sorry I missed the opportunity to go, but I really am happy they were able to get away and have a little fun. They needed it. I did learn a lesson. I will not be volunteering to watch puppies again unless “we” are watching them.