Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 15, 2014

Happiest place on earth isn't really so happy at all

Hendricks County Flyer

---- — I recently went with the famdamily down to Dizzily World.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Me. At Dizzily World. With the mouse and everything.

Figure it this way: In every group, be it vacationers or dwarves, there has to be a Grumpy.

Truth be told, this was not my first trip to the hap-hap-happiest place on earth. I’ve actually been there several times, including a few radio junkets back when I was a Bigtime Indianapolis Media Dude and it was pretty much required that I decamp for Orlando every winter for guest appearances with one radio morning gang or another. Oh, the sacrifices you make for your craft.

What I like best about Walt Dizzily World is its diversity. Only there can you see fully grown men of every nationality walking around wearing shorts, sneakers, black socks, and mouse ears while their embarrassed offspring follow behind, eyes averted. Only there can you see people from all over the world eating Pennsylvania Dutch funnel cakes in front of fake France or artificial Italy. Only there can you hear parents yelling at children in a variety of languages unmatched outside the United Nations building.

(I did notice, however, that even though parental yelling might have varied by language, whining and tantrums sound the same no matter where the kid comes from.)

My favorite parental language to overhear was the Brazilian edition of Portuguese, because from a native speaker, even “Young man, you get back here this instant, or so help me I will ground you for the rest of your life!” sounds beautiful, rhythmic and melodious. When I try to speak Portuguese it sounds like me mangling my customary Bad Spanish after my mouth has been numbed with Novocain.

Dizzily World does some things superbly — rides, shows, guest relations, you name it. It is amazingly good at moving human beings from one place to another via bus, trolley and monorail.

But jiminy crickets, what Dizzily World seems to do best (not that they set out to do it) is bring out the worst in people. A lot of folks just lose any semblance on manners once they get into the place. It’s like they’re afraid everyone else is going to use up all the fun and they won’t get any.

As crowded as the place can be, these visitors seem to take no notice of the fact that there are other people in the park. Pushing, shoving — or they’ll walk right into you and then look surprised that you dared to be on their path. I even had my foot run over by a scooter driven by an enormous man who yelled over his shoulder that I should watch where I was going. And I had hot soup spilled onto my jacket by a man in such a hurry to get to a buffet line that he tried to push me out of the way — as I was lowering myself into my chair. To my satisfaction, he wore more soup than I did.

With a getaway like that, maybe you can’t blame me for being a little Grumpy. But I must admit Dizzily World also made me, by turns, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy. I make no claim for Doc or Bashful and will have to stop there, since they didn’t have dwarves named Nauseous or Footsore. Besides, that would be Dopey.

© 2014 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.