The Alexander Home Page presents
Alexander in Florida
Walt Disney World
The Magic Kingdom

Joshua, Alex, Alex's mom, and Joey in Disney's Magic Kingdom.
Above, Alex and his father in front of Cinderella's castle. Below, Alex in what became a familiar pose.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Even if you've never been there, you almost certainly know somebody who has. It's the world's biggest tourist draw, and it strives to bring to life the wondrous world of a child's imagination. The litany of attractions at the Magic Kingdom is well known. Cinderella's Castle, the Haunted Mansion, the Jungle Cruise, the Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain. And on top of all that, familiar Disney costumed characters can be found everywhere, greeting and signing autographs for adults and children alike. You might say that every child everywhere would enjoy a day at Disney's Magic Kingdom.

You would be wrong.

His parents thought that Alex would absolutely love the Magic Kingdom. He is familiar with the characters, and has become quite a connoisseur of Disney's classic animated films. The Disney Store is one of his favorite stops at his local shopping mall. But the Magic Kingdom, for all its aura of fantasy, is actually a real place in the real world. A place where young children can get over stimulated by their surroundings, and stressed and cranky from the relentless noise.

And the Magic Kingdom is nothing if not noisy. Almost immediately after passing through the park's turnstiles, Alex and his family were assaulted by the sounds of Mickey Mouse and the "Kids of the Kingdom" performing "We Go Together" from the movie Grease. (You know the song -- it's the one that gave us the immortal lyrics "Shoo-bop shoo-wada wada yippidy boom de doom chang chang changity chang shoo bop.") Alex angrily clamped his hands over his ears, which was certainly an understandable reaction. Alex was clearly not enjoying the show, and since there's really only one valid reason to be in the Magic Kingdom -- so your children can have fun -- Alex's parents broke off from the larger family group and whisked Alex to the relative quiet of Liberty Square.

At this point, Alex said he wanted to see where the ghosts lived. Since it was a weekday morning in early January, Alex and his parents were able to enter the famous Haunted Mansion without having to wait on line. That was the good news. The bad news was that Alex hated the Haunted Mansion. While an older visitor could admire the special effects, still fairly impressive after all these years, to Alex the Mansion was just a dark noisy place, and he kept his cap pulled down over his eyes and his hands on his ears, while flanked on either side by his guilt-ridden parents. Once the ride finally ended, Alex and his parents all agreed that "that wasn't a very good idea!"

As the morning progressed, Alex's misery continued. And, needless to say, Alex's parents were not enjoying the Magic Kingdom very much, either. After lunch at Pinocchio's Restaurant, with Alex taking a much-needed nap in his
Alex pilots a ship on Tom Sawyer Island.
stroller, he and his parents escaped the Magic Kingdom and headed to the much more tranquil EPCOT.

The next morning, hoping that a new day would bring a better experience, Alex and his parents once again entered the Magic Kingdom. And the Haunted Mansion experience was repeated at Pirates of the Caribbean: Alex expressed an interest in the "pirate ride," but once underway he put his hands over his ears, and his cap over his eyes, as his parents again rode along sheepishly. And once again, upon exiting, Alex and his parents all shook their heads and said, "That wasn't a very good idea!"

The best thing we can say about Alex's two mornings in the Magic Kingdom was that they failed to achieve the rank of total disaster. He did have some fun. He seemed happy enough on the Jungle Cruise, and he enjoyed flying over London on the Peter Pan ride. Alex seemed to like the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House a little bit, but on a normal day, a day in which he wasn't completely stressed out, he would have loved it. Alex had the most fun on Tom Sawyer Island, walking through the woods, climbing on the playground equipment, and exploring a recreation of an old fort. Alex actually found peace and quiet on Tom Sawyer Island, and in Disney's Magic Kingdom, that is the most elusive commodity of all.

Alex and his father face each other across a checkerboard on Tom Sawyer Island.