First grade Shaun single handedly planned and lobbied for our first and only family trip to Disneyworld. He pestered, prodded and persisted. He reviewed the literature and came up with a game plan for the major parks. He made a makeshift chart, first column the name of ride, the remainder of the columns had our names. From what he saw on the promotional video and the guide books, he determined which rides would appeal to his parents and sisters. In this pre-internet age, I´m not sure where else he got his information. For example,his dad, an amusement park daredevil, had several checks next to his name. The only checks Dad didn’t have were for rides like Alice´s Mad Tea Party which Shaun deemed too tame for his dad but perfect for his three year old sister. Upon reviewing the chart, I noticed only a very few checks next to Shaun´s name. I didn’t understand, and then I did. Shaun needed coaxing to enter the backyard sprinkler. He requested the sprinkler and hovered ever so close, but he would come in quite dry with a big smile on his face. I think he intended to soak up the Disney atmosphere without partaking in many rides.
No one was more excited the day we arrived at the Magic Kingdom. With the chart tucked under his arm, the parents asked, ¨Where to first?¨ The family was big Buzz and Woody fans so we headed over to Buzz Lightyear´s Space Ranger Spin. Everyone had a checkmark next to this ride! To our surprise and disappointment, Shaun declined. I figured three of us could give it a test ride and give Shaun a full report. Nice idea but our personal endorsement of this video game-like ride did not work. Not long after, I realized that Shaun had no intention of actually going on any rides. I needed to think of something quick.
The family was on line for The Pirates of the Caribbean, another heavily checked ride. Shaun once again declined. Having been on this ride when I was a kid, I knew he would love it. We entered the line, all five of us. I gave the baffled girls the winky eye. We just kept chatting about the characters we hoped to see; the autographs we sought, where we would have dinner that night. Shaun didn´t realize he was on line until the small family boat arrived. His dad hoisted him in, and off we went. We knew the loud drunken pirates would not frighten Shaun. It wasn´t the dark or the mini roller coaster dips. We knew that he simply had to experience the first ride.. Relieved, it worked. For the rest of the trip, he took the lead, just as we expected, still referring to the handy chart.
TI laughed and laughed when Shaun and his friend Chris regaled me with tales of their high school band trip to Disney. ¨You´ll not believe how we got Shaun to go on Space Mountain.¨ Yeah, I think I will! Of course, the end justifies the means…he loved that one too!