My family survived Disney World amid a global pandemic | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

My family survived Disney World amid a global pandemic

click to enlarge Me (in yellow) on my second trip to Magic Kingdom in a single day. - CP PHOTO: JOSH OSWALD
CP Photo: Josh Oswald
Me (in yellow) on my second trip to Magic Kingdom in a single day.
Last Wednesday my family left for Disney World, and there were a lot of unknowns. Would the food be good? Will my family survive four nights of sleeping in the same room, sharing two beds? And, of course, will the real world around us end from an unprecedented virus, as I’m blissfully floating through It’s a Small World in the aptly named Fantasyland?

It’s hard to be whimsical under even the most normal difficulties of life. Everybody has tough situations to deal with, and the uncertainty presented by the coronavirus disease can really skyrocket your typical anxiety levels.

So let’s try to distract one another with my interpretation of Disneyland, where everything is $30, each branded toy is equipped with a bubble machine, and there are more novelty T-shirts than in all of the Hot Topics combined.
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JOSH OSWALD
CP Photo: Josh Oswald
The first thing to remember when embarking on a day at a Disney park is that each day is a marathon, not a sprint. Start slow. Sip those hotel room K-cups, stretch your hammies, and savor those powdered-egg breakfasts, because you could be away from civilization for anywhere from a couple hours to what feels like days — I was convinced during our time at Hollywood Studios that we missed the New Year.


I am not obsessed with Disney. But there are definitely people who are, and I admire that level of release. But I was excited to be there for my kids who enjoy the movies, which has grown my appreciation for all of it. You can’t count on the magic to completely command their attention, though. They’re kids, and they are going to want ice cream, soda, stuffed animals, etc. So you have to manage some meltdowns and at times medicate with ice cream before dinner.  There are way too many ins and outs to sum up Disney as a singular experience that anyone can expect or plan on. But as an initial skeptic, I can say for sure that it is a one-of-a-kind experience, and the employees are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. And, of course, I met a park guide from Castle Shannon. Wear that Pittsburgh team gear when you travel like you’re supposed to!

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