By Leila Baez / Matthew staff
Disney World and its affiliates now belong to the stroller mothers and their costumed newborns, crazy Karens and their entitled adolescents, and the hordes of affluent family units that boast their twice a yearly trips and how they love bringing their Brady bunches to Disney. What came over me to agree with Mother that a trip to Disney World for Thanksgiving would be a good idea? I was a college student, nineteen, and would remember this trip without the repressed childhood trauma of earlier trips.
It was Mother, me, and my cosplays. A character for each of the three days: Gamora the alien warrioress, America Chavez the first Latinx superheroine, and Robin Williams’ Genie from the lamp. While the parks disallowed adults from wearing costumes, they did allow Disneybounds, off-brand closet cosplays.
The first night was spent exploring the hotel. It had a lobby that belonged in a crossover of Star Trek and The Great Gatsby. The smells from the restaurant two floors down floated up and everything smelled like perfume, pine decor, and a home cooked meal. It was Thanksgiving. The next day I rushed into my Gamora outfit, grabbing some pineapple water from the drink dispenser by the elevator, and making it to the shuttle. We started in Epcot, landed in Magic Kingdom. The hour wait for It’s a Small World left me nauseous and done with anything that was reminiscent of a puppet or smelled like metal, paint, or salt.
The second day was America Chavez’s. We explored the rest of Epcot. By the end of the day, I was liable to throw any child overboard on the Titanic, bright colors or the smell of baked goods would send me into a frenzy.
Day three: we changed my outfit to Squirrel Girl, loose hues of brown. We started in Adventureland, everything smelled like TexMex. I took a picture with Captain Jack Sparrow who asked if I was Puerto Rican. When I said yes, he called me beautiful, said I looked like a pirate. Mother and I endured character lines because most of the rides were two hours’ worth of wait time long. Instead, we waited an equally long time with wailing toddlers and entitled eight-year-olds who fought for the right to cut in line to Belle. A day of avoiding monster strollers and the monstrous parents who used them, crowds of people from who knows where smelling like who knows what, and the godforsaken children had Mother and I done. The last ride was an Aerosmith coaster with the exit leading into the Hollywood Studios gift shop. Amazon knock-offs were somehow nicer than $200 limited edition sweaters, tote bags, or Mickey ears tearing at the seams. I managed one souvenir: a $50 photoshop of me and Once Upon A Time’s Rumplestiltskin. Mother and I were silent for the fireworks, shuttle back, going to bed, and flight to New Jersey. I still have that photoshopped picture to remind myself the fairytale is over. I am too old for Disney World.