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February 4, 2020 40 mins

Political commentator and community organizer Sally Kohn grew up on a steady diet of Disney World visits. Though these days she spends a lot of her time talking about political division, diversity, and identity, she also builds a strong case for vacationing in The Happiest Place On Earth, and shares tips for how to make it magical. Go ahead and act like a kid. It’s what you’re here for.


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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Part of what's cool about going with kids is that
you get to act like a kid yourself, and that
is like, we don't have enough opportunities to do that
as an adult. When you run through real Paris, you know,
squealing and jumping and like laughing with powdered treg girl
of your face, people frown on you, right, But you
can do it in fake Paris and nap cotton and
it's okay. I'm Pavia, I'm Jarlyn. Where the co founders

(00:24):
of Fathom, the travel website that celebrates all the reasons
why we pack our bags, get on a plane, hitcherette,
and explore beyond our backyards. Welcome to Way to Go,
the podcast that makes vacations easier and better. Today, we're
talking about with some seasoned travelers full disclosure myself included.
Considered to be a very divisive subject, vacationing at the

(00:46):
Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando, Florida. Can you
believe are doing this episode? Pavia, Um, I'm no comment yet.
Vacations for kids and for adults? Okay, really, I mean Carolyn,
don't get me wrong. I have incredibly happy memories of
trips to Disney World when I was you know, ten,
But I have no idea why I would never go back,

(01:07):
given that I do not have children. And to help
turn the tides for Pavia today and any other reluctant
adults listening, we asked journalists and political commentator Sally Cone
to join us at the studio. Turns out she's a
big fan of Disneying with and without the kids. But
in addition to being a political commentator regularly seen on
CNN and the author of the timely new book The

(01:28):
Opposite of Hate, a field guide to Repairing Our Humanity,
which has been hailed as quote an eye opening read
for both liberals and conservatives that could not come at
a better time. She is, as I've said, a diehard
Disney fan. The two things are probably related. Thank you
for joining us. Yes, thank you for joining us. Vale

(01:50):
really really just got to my depths right there. Thank you. Hi. Yes, So,
before we dig into this segment and the pitch for skeptics, Sally,
please share your Disney credentials. When did you first start going?
How many times have you been? You know? Why is
it special? Um? So, y'all, I just want to preface
this by saying I have really good parents, that they're
really responsible parents, loving. I was safe through my entire childhood,

(02:16):
and uh, you know, it was a different time, right.
I mean, despite the fact that it's actually safer to
be a kid in America today than it was in
the you know, nineteen late nineteen seventies, early eighties when
I was growing up, we we felt safer then and
did things with our kids. People do things with their
kids that they wouldn't do now. Anyway, So starting from
which is all to same, which is all to say

(02:39):
because this kind of tends to shock people, which is
also that from starting at the age of like ten
and a half eleven, My mom worked for a T
and T at the time. She had a couple of different,
uh sort of divisions that she was responsible for, and
one of them was in Orlando, and so she would
have to go to Orlando a couple of times a
year for business, and she would take me and drop

(03:00):
me off at Disney World while she went to work.
So but I mean, this was like before cell phones, right, So,
like we'd stay at a hotel attached to Disney World,
we eat breakfast together. My mom would like go off
the work and I would walk or take the bus
or whatever, like get myself to Disney World, spend the

(03:22):
whole day by myself at Disney World, going on rides
single rider, line back, and somehow show up at like
five o'clock back for dinner, safe and sound. Yeah. I
just feel like you were taken care of, though. I
mean when you were on the park, were there ever
any moments where you were like, She's like, this is

(03:43):
the magic of Disney World. We're gonna get to the Okay, alright, alright,
so let me begin with a pitch for this. If
only could see everybody could see their faces. But I
should say that then in total, this included like from
age eleven to maybe sixteen, I went three times or
so a year. That added to the time who went
before and the times a gun sense, including before I
had a child and I now have a child. I've

(04:04):
probably been to Disney World. I lost camp, but somewhere
in the neighborhood of forty one times. I'm gonna be
the skeptic for one second. And I love all the
Disney movies. Yes at my age and talking to you,
Coco Um, and I think Walt was an undeniable genius.
But let's be honest. When you hear someone talk about
something being too Disneyfied, it's not meant as praise. It's

(04:26):
usually some sanitized version of reality that's too optimistic, too
commercially and altogether to princessy. And there's ground for that skepticism.
I agree that from the outside the Disney gates. From
outside the Disney gates, a vacation can feel a little
sentimentalized and contrived, and if you haven't been, you could
really find the whole thing kind of depressing. I can
see that, but this is again where the Disney magic

(04:49):
comes in. So I come from a pro Disney family
and extended family, and when a handful of time Sally
as a kid um, but then I didn't think much
about it as an adult because I wanted to see
other parts of the country in the world, and kind
of got back into the Disney game once they had
nieces and nephews strategically located in Florida past So at first,

(05:11):
you know, when I think my brother pitched out the idea,
I was like, I don't I don't know, I don't
know if this is for me. Really, We're gonna take
them to fake France and we're gonna eat fake food
and we're gonna take pictures, and it doesn't make any
sense for me. But then I went, and I had
an amazing time, and I was kind of born again,
born again Disney. Listen, you make a good point, because yes,

(05:35):
I'm you know, I believe more travel is better than
no travel. And I suppose that millions of American millions
of Americans being exposed to a small piece of France,
even if it's faux France, is better than not being
exposed to any France at all, beyond French France. But
you know what, I also think that it's not an
either or. I don't think Disney should be the only

(05:55):
vacation that you go on, but I think that it's
a fun vacation to go on and an easy one
for delighting children. Sally, what do you think? Okay, So,
I mean, you know, there's a kind of semi separate
conversation about Disney with adults, you know, without kids, and
Disney with kids. I will say that I think I've
been now to disneyl with my daughter three times, and

(06:15):
uh she's now ten. I think we first went she
was maybe four and a half or five. I think
that's right. And part of what's cool about going with
kids is that you get to act like a kid,
you're saying, and that is like, we don't have enough
opportunities to do that as an adult. When you run
through real Paris, you know, squealing and jumping and like
laughing with powdered tu girl over your face, people frown, right,

(06:37):
But you can do it in fake Parris and apcotton
and it's okay. Um. The other thing is as a parent,
and as a parent of a kid who you know,
uh takes after her mother. Ah, it is so refreshing
to go somewhere where the whole place is like ready

(07:00):
for your kid to do whatever. So like normally you know,
our kids pretty good in restaurants, Like there's certain restaurants
that you're like, oh, if you're really better, keep it
together in this restaurant. We can go to like any
restaurant Disney World, and if our kid hasn't meltdown on
the floor, no one cares. That's because there's like eight
other kids kind of men on the floor and it's

(07:22):
designed for that. And there's some freedom as a parent
to being in a place that is like three sixty
degrees designed for your kid and his kid proof in
a way. Yeah, I feel like there's bubble wrap all
around Disney. There's like this psychological bubble wrap, you know.
I will say, I mean honestly, having a long history

(07:43):
on Disney that I have, it's become homogenized in a
way that makes me sad. I mean, I remember when
I would go to the Magic Kingdom as a kid,
there were certain things that were unique in every little
corner of the park, Like there was this bakery on
Main Street. It made this seven layer chocolate cake. Is

(08:04):
still the best cake I've ever had in my life,
and it was the only place you could get it.
You couldn't get it anywhere else in all of Disney World.
And now you go and it's pretty much the same
food at this place, at that place, at that place.
There's a few unique things here and there, but a
lot of it's become homogenized. And you can see, in
a way, a reflection of in Disney World. You can

(08:25):
see how much more corporate. I was going to ask,
it's a reflection of our culture in general. So listen,
I have that I can turn that switch on and off. Right.
It's funny when I first this is like a confessional
for crying out, Like like when I first brought my
I brought my partner there soon after when we were

(08:45):
first dating, and maybe it was like a year or
something to end. And she, you know, she's a very
refined person, world traveler, exquisite taste. Uh like just pooh pooh,
the whole experience, like everything you could find fault with,
found fault with. And though, oh yes she's that person,

(09:08):
it's okay, I love her And she would say this
if she were here. Maybe he went too far by
having her wear of the matching making many T shirts
through their holding hands. Also like I you know did
like at the time, all I could afford was the
what the heck is the New Orleans hotel, which was
and of course because she loves New Orleans, I was

(09:30):
like that so perfect anyway, whatever, But then when we
went back with a kid, both she was able to
see it through the kid's eyes and also turn off
the critic. Right, you just have to turn off the critic.
You have to recognize, yes, this is a corporation, Yes
it's indoctrinate, and her culture with certain ideas of masculinity
and femininity and good and evil and all the things

(09:51):
that Disney's done to us, and they have some really
freaking awesome rides and it's kind of cool to live
in a fairy tale for a few days. Right, Yeah,
I would say to that. One of the things, aside
from it, does bother me that they call every girl princess.
That's one thing that does drive me crazy. But but really,
aside from that, I do feel like there's a general

(10:12):
sense of inclusiveness that really exceeded my expectations and continues
to do so, where people of all different kinds of abilities,
with different disabilities, talk about multigenerational families, everyone has something
for them and they really really make it easy and

(10:32):
accessible and seamless, and I think that is really nice,
and it's meticulously planned so you you can have these
nice spontaneous moments but without having to get over the
hurdles of everyday life. Let's say, if you are somebody
in a wheelchair, like everything is a d A accessible,
you can go to the front of the line, your
whole entire family can go with you. And I really

(10:55):
appreciate those little tiny details. I've also never seen so
many employees with disabilities as to and also seniors. They
have a whole like there's a universe of people who
retire and go work at Disney World, and there's a
lot and it's really wonderful to see so many septagenarians
and even octogenarians working and and and you know, listen again,

(11:19):
bearing in mind everything I know about Disney and wages
and benefits and whatever, um, that's completely true. And they've
got gay Day at Disney World. Every you think, like,
these are things to your point about the princess thing.
By the way, my kid did do the princess thing boutique.
I did write a piece about this. Yeah, I wrote
a piece about this for the Times, the New York Times.

(11:40):
But at the end of it, you know, she like
lectured the basically ends with she lectured the fairy godmothers.
They're not beauticians, they're fairy godmothers and told them and
they were like, well, you just have to go find
your prince. And my daughter, who was like five, was like,
or my princess, because I can marry a boy or
a girl or not, get right if I don't want to. Literally,

(12:02):
they all just started plotting, and you know, like that's
also the paradox of Disney world in a way everyone
there is also you know, you're seeing families who are
grandparents with kids and right and gay families and whatever,
and they're in this place. By being there, they're exploding
the convention what Disney has enforced. So I know, it's

(12:26):
so crazy. You guys are echoing the theme that you're
just living in a fairy tale when you're in the
Magic Kingdom, aren't you. Sorry, must be clear, A Disney

(12:48):
vacation is not cheap, and you know, my family is fortunate.
We can take a couple of trips a year, including
it isn't trip. You realize there are families especially I
only have one kid. If you have three four kids,
I don't know why you have more than that. But
if you do, um, I'm not really sure why you
have one. But that's another podcast. Uh, you know you're

(13:08):
really saving up the tickets alone the field that's really expensive,
and you know so as much as you know you
were saying earlier like yeah, you want to see other
parts of the world. I want to take also taking
my daughter to India and and to Spain and the
France and whatever in Mexico. But for people who aren't
going to be able to do that and for who
maybe logistically uh not to mention financially that's impossible. There

(13:30):
is really something about like when you stop and appreciate
even just what EPCOT is about that it was about
being able to bring little pieces of the world to
people who might never otherwise experience it. And we look
at you know, I was thinking all the way over here,
like just geopolitically, what's happening between our country and Mexico

(13:52):
right now? And to go to this little tiny bit
of Mexico. You're coming from Michigan or Wisconsin, and your
kids are never gonna get to go to Mexico and
they're never gonna and and actually, you know, look, it's
it's flocky, but when you're on those places, you're in
a little bit of those country and you really the
little piece of that country. And it's for a lot
of people that's going to be their reference point. And

(14:15):
you know, to bring a full circle when we look
at what counteracts hate, it's actually getting to know people
and being exposed to people in places that's a piece
of it. And it's a little tiny drop in a bucket. Yeah,
and you know, in terms of in terms of those
places having some mode of authenticity. They are staffed by
people from that host from those countries are always going

(14:37):
to ask that I always loved Mexico and I always
loved Morocco because when it smelled like vegetable dyed leather.
And also you could talk to all of these cool
girls about the things that we're going on where they're from,
and they sold all the things that are sold in
those little spots are exported from that place too. There's
that they're only in Japan and upcut, it only exists

(15:01):
in Japan, I mean in the Epcot Japan and in
Tokyo it's the department store. Yes, it's very kai. It's amazing,
it's so cute. It's actually the only reason now my
partner will go. They have an incredible snack section. Um
So this is an off topic thing, But the people
from Morocco who come to America to spend a year

(15:22):
working at Disney World, I wonder when they go back
home what they think of America Slice of Life, because
because well, but if their version of America's Disney World,
and I'm sitting here thinking that Disney World is like
so not America. I'm fascinated by the yeah, by the
because there must be thousands and thousands of people at
this point. Because I remember going to Epcot when I

(15:44):
was ten, and that was not that was a long
time ago. So I am a Disney neophyight, and you
guys are doing a good job of convincing me that
maybe go there. But tell me, um, what are the
things that make this trip easy? And I remember when
I was young, I was nasmerized by the monorail. I
thought that was like the most incredible, amazing thing. And

(16:05):
they probably don't still have this anymore, but was there
a mono rail that goes through a hotel the contemporary?
Is that still there? Still there? You know? The first time,
the first time my nephew, now he's tim but the
first time he went to disney World, there was no
park passes even bought. Was just writing the monorail, that's it.

(16:25):
And then my brother and sister in law went home.
It was awesome. I mean, I think that's so cool.
But in terms of how to make it easy. So
I think one of the main things that travelers don't
realize is that Disney World is huge. It's choice the
size of Manhattan, and you're going to be uh, you're
going to have to really figure out how to get

(16:45):
your way around, and also you're going to be walking
more than you're you are used to walking. So I
think that choosing your hotel location wisely is is probably
one of the biggest choices you'll have to make that
that can kind of make or break the trip, right,
I mean, if you have little kids and it's in
the budget, I would say if you can stay at
a Disney resort that's near one of the parks that

(17:06):
you're into, that's the best bet because it means that
then you could take advantage of that hotel for naps,
for early dinners, you can watch your fireworks and your
light show parades right from the grounds there, and you
don't have to schlept back and forth, because traveling from
one park to another can take can take a while,
especially when it's busy. I have my favorite hotels. There's

(17:27):
no first of all, stay at Disney hotel. Everybody says that,
but even if if their budget choices like the early
park access that you get, you get a lot of it,
and the ability to whether it's monorail or a bus
to get dropped off right close to the park, that
really is a big deal that combined with the early
or late access is huge. If you stay at a
Disney hotel, they give you perks as if sorry, so

(17:50):
you can't. And two of the most important ones are
there early park hours for people staying at the hotels
can wake up in the morning. Well, if you have
five year old, you're much choice. And uh you know,
so there's that and and that crowd wise can make
a huge difference. And then the second is that either
with the monorail or with the bus system, you are

(18:11):
transported literally from the front of your hotel as close
to the park entrance as you can get, whereas everyone
else has to go to a parking, a parking lot
or transport parking or whatever. So now I will say
my favorite somebody at Disney is gonna yell at me
for those of My favorite trick trip trick is to
book breakfast at a hotel, at a Disney hotel that's

(18:33):
near the park you're going to, and then use their
valet parking, pay the twenty bucks and then just take
the monterail or if it's you know, if you're at
the you know, Disney Beach Club, walk to Epcot or whatever.
Can you pay the valley parking in the morning and
then just leave it there. The second pro tip thank you. Now,
I will just say I have favorite hotels at Disney.

(18:55):
Um if you're in the classic Disney hotel. I really
love the Yatton Beach Club, especially at the Chat Club.
But it's where I went as a kid. I think
it's the coolest pool, one of the coolest pools in
the world. I love it. The Cred Bottom pull us
a sand bottom. It's like a three mile there's slides,
there's Lazy River has a sand bottom. It's really cool.
And you're right between the Magic Army, sorry, right between

(19:17):
Epcot and Hollywood Studios. So that's a good if you're
in that zone. But my new favorite I am now like,
we will not go to Disney World anymore and not
stay at the New four Seasons, which is technically a
Disney property, but it's a little removed. It is technically
Disney property, you get early access and all that. It
actually does have the best pool of any hotel I've

(19:39):
ever been to it. You know, it's like a higher
nice hotel that parents can feel good about. Four season.
It's a four season, but it's a nice for you
know what I mean. It's a new four seasons. It's
nice four seasons. The restaurant on the top has the
best steak I've ever eaten in my life. I'm not like,
I'm a devotee. And then you also get you're in

(20:00):
Disney World, so right, the sort of it feels like
a vacation for everyone, right. I think the other major
let's see, the other major tip that I would say
to make it easy is to book everything in advance.
And this is specifically I was trying to explain this
concept Pavier earlier with fast Passes, which is a free

(20:21):
access to line skip three Disney attractions per day. And
and this is where definitely the early bird gets the worm,
because if you book a Disney resort, you can have
sixty days in advance to scroll through the Africa and
and check out which are the attractions, probably the most
popular ones like the Avatar Ride or Space Mountain or

(20:42):
whatever it is, and you can book them. You can
book your time and your day, and you can switch
this up up to the last minute, so you can
keep checking and switching. But it's great because you can
plan your day around them and know that you're not
going to be waiting online for two hours. You just
show up at your time and you go right into
this other line and go to the front. Let me
just say that as a traveler, I think you know this.

(21:04):
I am overly ambitious and annal retentive, and so I
always want to do too much and pack in too much,
and every time, especially with the kid, every time, no
matter what age she's been, I later kick myself and say,
I wish we'd planned a day in the middle to
just chill and hang at the pool, like especially it's

(21:28):
a great they will serve you a drink on the
Lazy River. There's a kid's club. Ah, I forgot, Hello, parents,
there's a kid's club so that you can like check
the kid in at the kids club and they're occupied
for several hours. You mean at disney World or at
season good? Do you think anybody is dropping their eleven
year olds off at disney World and picking them up

(21:49):
at the end of the day anymore? If anyone is,
please let us know so that we can compare notes.
I really wonder, right, but like, statistically, it is safer
to be a child in America today then it was.
You know, when I'll see I was eleven and nineteen eight.
It is safer now, but we don't feel safer because

(22:11):
of the nationalization of news and every single local crime
is now a big story and whatever and helmets. So
people should be right, yes, and in general the sort
of bubble wrapping of our kids. I do remember, Genlyn,

(22:36):
the last time that you went, you came back and
you just looked at me and you're like, the Avatar ride.
I can't even describe it to you. It's too perfect.
You know, it's very safe that I haven't been on it.
It's extremely safe. You don't even go anywhere, you're just stationary.
But the way that this ride operates. I went on,
I think it's five minutes long, and I was like, Okay,

(22:56):
this is the future. I understand now. It's virtual reality
experience in a chair, and it is. It is incredible.
The line is I think when we were there the
line was four hours maybe, but we had we had
fast passed it, or I shouldn't say we. My sister
in law does all of this stuff and she planned
it and it was incredible and I wish I could
have gone on twice in a row or three times

(23:18):
in a row. It was really really sensational. But even
the whole world and I think this is just this
is a cool thing for somebody who cares about good design.
The whole world that was created, this Avatar world is beautiful,
and I think it's next to in the Animal Kingdom Africa.
So you're in Africa and you're hearing African sounds and

(23:40):
the vibe of all of the kiosks or that way,
and there's African dance happening in the streets. And then
slowly you're making your way over a footbridge and you
notice that all of the flora and fauna is changing. Slowly,
the water is changing, even the ground underfoot is changing
from some dirt path to this kind of futuristic botanical zone.

(24:04):
And that's incredible. And this is what they do between
all of their lands, and the sound changes, the scent changes,
and all of a sudden you're like in the middle
of this futuristic jungle which is wild, and even even
on Main Street USA and Magic Kingdom, going from there
to adventure Land, the same thing happens. And going from
adventure Land to Americana Village or what, I don't know,

(24:26):
you know what I mean, And it's it's really wild.
It's kind of details are beautiful authenticity. Stop it if
you want to like google this stuff. Like actually, there's
also stuff that they did around design and scale right
so that you know, there's sort of optical illusions that
are built into various parts. You can really experience it
our main street. That gives a sense of like the

(24:46):
buildings are built eight tenths the actual size of a building,
so that it feels safer and cozier, so you feel
like you're in a quainter place. My other highlights, let's see,
in no particular order. I really like the Animal king
them Lodge. It's just fun to go and experience. And
they've got you know, sort of animals all around it,
giraffes and so and so forth. And they have a

(25:08):
restaurant there that is a African buffet, and it's like listen,
if you got a picky, eat your kid. They've got
mac and cheese and chicken and whatever. But they actually
have food from you know, four or five different regions
of Africa, so like, you know, my partner spent her
did her study abroad in Kenya, and they've got really

(25:30):
good goo Gali and like it's you know and again
for us, especially like if some of the Disney food
can leave a little something to be desired nowadays, but
it's a really good meal. I really enjoy that. It
can't all be hakuna matata at Disney World, Right, is
there anything you are there any dark clouds? I mean

(25:52):
Sally touched on some of these things. Right, you have
to suspend disbelief about some things politically, and some of
the overtone on some of the rides. But right, and
there's just general things to avoid because at the end
of the day, you are at a theme park with
a million other people, and it can be an intense place,
and you're traveling with your kids and you're dragging them

(26:13):
around and everyone's you know, walking around for a long time.
I think that, like you had said, don't skip the
down downtime. If you if you have a few days
and you could take one whole day where you don't
buy a park pass and you're just chilling out at
the pool, that's great because you could still take advantage
of tons of things that are going on outside of
the park. Gates of fireworks, they have parades on the water,

(26:39):
there are lots of Disney. Disney activities at hotels, even
the hotels that are associated with Disney will have events
and things like that every day, multiple times a day. UM.
I also think that a lot of times the best
restaurants are not the sit down restaurants in the parks.
And so if you want to sit down meal, go

(26:59):
to a really pretty hotel and have your meal there.
You could also have character meals, so you could book
too have I think it's the Tusker Restaurant or something
at the Magic Kingdom, and I know the Polynesian Hotel
does it to where you know, all of the characters
will be wearing like lays and little cute shirts and
you know, doing the hula as you eat your Mickey

(27:20):
shape pancake. So there's ways to have the Disney experience
without having to go all in every day all day.
And I think that's really that's really a good tip.
I think your point about downtime is also taken well
with UM in the day too. It's like, don't try
to do too much because there's nothing that ruins the
Disney magic more than you being hungry or your kids

(27:42):
being cranky or you know, and you just gotta suck
it up that you're going to spend a lot of
money and you're gonna do like five or six rods
in a day and enjoy the experience of it, and
that's that's going to be it Like, that's a good day. Yeah,
And I think this this kind of is a good
transition in to what to know before you go, because
being able to set that expectation also gives you a

(28:04):
chance to say, let's enjoy this show that's going on,
or let's stop and take a look at this neat experience.
And there's tons of those things happening all times. There's
also a lot of great games within the games within
the world. So there's scavenger hunts that you could do
within a world. There are there's like a detective game
you could do throughout Epcot Center. There's a hidden Mickey

(28:27):
uh situation where you find Mickey's in the designs on
all the rides. And I was suddenly thinking about hitch
that's like finding Hitchcock in the Hitchcock movies or right
exactly counting the no. One of my favorite Epcot rides
is to do the Figment in the Figment Ride and
the Imagine It. Sorry, it's about the imagination. I've gotta

(28:49):
be careful because I haven't been in two years, so
like I are, family favorite Figment is like a ride
about the imagination and how it's good to use your
imagination and whatever. And then when after the ride, you
could spend like an hour in these activities where you
can make music and play with light and paint with
like your hands on a big computer board and that's cool.

(29:11):
There's no line, and the kids aren't psyched to do
that for but if you look through it because it
gives money rise as we can, they're gonna miss that, right.
So I think definitely knowing that it doesn't have to
be all right to the minute you wake up to
the minute you go to bed, that's that's a great
that's a great way to set yourself up for a
successful trip. I also think that if you are into

(29:34):
waking up early or are into staying up late, you
could you should take advantage of those special park hours
by staying at the resort. So let's say that you
cut the night early, the night before wake up and
chase the rope drop that's what they call it, which
is where you can you can get before the before
the park opens, and they'll be the dress characters, those

(29:55):
cast members lining up and they pull the rope aside
so that you can go in, and by by doing so,
by getting there when the park opens, you really are
beating a lot of the crowds. Likewise, at the end
of the night, when there's two sets of firework shows,
and at the end of the first end second said,
there's a huge, like a massive crowd that leaves, and

(30:16):
so the park does feel like empty out a bit,
and that's a good time to get on rides or
to see a show you haven't been able to see.
So there are these like little in between moments that
you have to I can ask around about or just
look into, and then you can kind of find your way.
I've actually never done either of those, by the way, Well,
I mean because I grew up as a single and

(30:40):
now if my kid isn't waking up at that hour,
I'm not waking and we do not make it that late.
I like, That's why I like a hotel, you know,
where you can stand on the balcony and see the yeah,
which is also also really good. The the other thing
that I just wanted to add in when we're talking
about the food is um you know, you can bring

(31:01):
in any any snacks that you want to Disney World.
So a lot of people bring picnic lunches, which is
probably a super economical, a great way to save money.
And also if you have food allergies, though, they are
very very accommodating of all of those things. Um. And
the other thing is you don't have to buy a
four dollar bottle of water. You could bring in your
water bottle. And also you can go up to any

(31:21):
kiosk ride anything and say can I please have some
ice water and they will give it to you. So
that's just that those are easy things that you know,
when you were waiting online for two hours and you
have a cranky husband or a crinky kid or cranky
wife or whatever it is, you're like, how about the snack?
How about a cool drink of water? Arlin, You're such
a good traveler, You're so nice to travel with. UM. Sorry,

(31:42):
is that an inevitability in a Disney day? Will I
be standing for two hours somewhere? I don't think. So
it depends on when you go. I mean I have
to say, like again, as a diehard Disney person, I
will never ever ever go. I don't care if it
was free I'm not going at Christmases again. It was
just too much of a buzz kill. And I would

(32:03):
imagine Easter and spring break weeks or I think I'm
going to terrible, terrible times to avoid those two. So now,
if that's the only way you get to go, then go.
But just you have to I think adapt you know,
if you go and look at the color calendar, like
the calendars of the crowd times sort of one of
the busiest days, uh, you know in general, and the calendar,
I think, you know, they color code them, right, so

(32:24):
like red is really crowded, then there's yellow, then there's green,
and I think you could sort of expect your mood
to be similarly color coded, right, if we're gonna go
on a green time, you know we're gonna have a
green day. We've gone times where we can go back
on popular rides and not the weight. The amount of
weight is literally how long it takes you to just
get to them to the headline again. Yeah, there's also

(32:45):
there's a tool that my that we've been using, which
is called line and it's through Touring plans dot com
and it gives recorded Disney times versus the actual weight
times and there's people riding the rides and sending in
real time data, and so you can get a really
good it's kind of like ways for Disney rides and
so and Disney attractions, so you can get a good

(33:08):
idea ahead of time of you know, what what's going
on and what you should do and what you should avoid.
But there's tons of these things for this park, you know,
these parks in general, and I think you know it
just takes a little bit of a little bit of
exploration too to make the trip your own. It sounds
like and I you know know from just what you've

(33:28):
been saying and what I've read that Disney really does
a lot of work to make planning meaning Disney offers
a lot of tools and solutions and options to make
it easier to have a good time at Disney. Whether
that is whether those are these calendars that tell you, yes,
you should go between the end of August and the

(33:49):
end of October, that's the sort of best time a
year ago. UM, calendars like that, these easy past things. UM.
I know they also have a v I P Tour
guide program. I mean, they'll add a couple of thousand
dollars to your trip a day because it's you know,
several hundred bucks an hour for the service. But these people,
but if you do have the money to spend on this, this,

(34:10):
these v i P helpers will do everything from the
pre trip planning to giving you easy you know, early access,
advanced seating, all the suff What you're doing is you're
paying to be able to walk onto the rock. And
don't get me wrong, if you got the money, that
is an easy way to do. Right. But but but
but what it sounds like is that Disney, you know, again,

(34:32):
as corporate as it is, as professional as it is,
as technologically advanced as it is, is also using all
of these resources to make it easier to navigate Disney. Yes,
so it's so you know, everybody's always like what's the
inside scoop? It's almost like Disney makes it easy to
figure out what the inside scoop is. They're like, here,

(34:52):
we will tell you. Yeah, yeah, no, I mean there's
something again if we don't think too much about there
these magic bands, right that as he came out with
a couple of years ago, and instead of you, instead
of having your tickets in your hand, just payper tickets,
you can have them on your band. If you're staying
at a Disney hotel. It also unlocks your room. You
can have your credit card on it, so you can

(35:14):
be able to your band and buy your lunch and
the balloons. You can give your kids five books that
they can spend whatever. Um. Now, privacy people are rightly
concerned that a lot of the data is you know,
what's happening to the data you're being spied on inside
the park. It turns out even after you leave the park,
they're still on, right, I mean there's no off button.

(35:36):
So there's all that um And what is cool, As
with the exception of the few people who can pay
for that v i P service, everybody's getting on sixty
days in advance and thirty days in advance to get
those same fast passes. Everybody gets to ride the ride.
The minute you get off that ride, everybody's hitting refresh
on their phone to try and get the next fast past.
But everybody's doing it together. And there's something a little

(35:58):
there is something like you're right, they design it to be,
you know, it's it's a little bit more of a
fairy tale than real life. And I kind of like that. Yeah,
we live in a very very very unfair world. And
at least we all have a chance to ride mind
train when we're at Disney World. That's all we could
ask for really to global inequality, Well it is Disney's mind,

(36:22):
you know what. And also living in a place that
like Disney is incredibly I mean Jerlyn mentioned this earlier,
how a d A accessible, the whole thing is, how
just inclusive of abilities and ages. I love the idea
that there are eight five year old who are beginning
their second careers at Disney World. Right for a place
that can have feels antiquated in some ways, they're ahead

(36:44):
of the curve in a lot of other ways. Yeah
we should all. You know, you haven't lived, honest to God,
you haven't lived until you've seen No, until you've seen
a kid doing like from the Make a Wish Foundation
as many times as I've been as jaded as I
can be, right until you see a kid at like
the front of the Magic Kingdom who you know is

(37:06):
on a walker in a wheelchair, is you know, has
to make a Wish T shirt on and you see
like this is this is their dream, this is this
is it. This is the happiest place on earth and
where they want to be and they believe. When my
kid met Elsa and Anna, she believed it was really
them and it brought tears to my eyes. It was

(37:28):
so sweet and lovely and there's an innocence and I again,
we could probe that forever. But you know what, as parents,
I think we want a little bit of our kids
lives childhood to feel magical. I'm feeling under the influence
of Disney. It's not bad feeling, No, it's pretty nice.
Come with us. Yeah, Disney really does everything it can

(37:52):
to make sure that there is emotional impact out the gate,
and that is the thing that is really to manufacture
um on a regular old weekend weekend trip anywhere. And
so for anyone who's considering going, I would say, if
you go with an open mind to spend a little disbelief,

(38:14):
you really will feel like you have had a really
happy vacation. Sally, what do you have to add? I'm
just like, you're talking in my head. I'm thinking about
February and like, how many part you know? I'm just
I'm like, you're planning, you guys like got me wanting
to go fat It's fine, you know, especially it is

(38:37):
it's I understand again, like there I understand the twisted
psychology of escapism, and yet here I am. Sometimes we
all just need a little escape, and there are way
worse ones than going to Disney World. Yeah. I don't
want to have to wrap up and say and send
us back to the real world. So I just I
want to capture this magic. I hope everybody who's listening

(38:58):
is feeling it too. Thank you so much Sally for
joining us today on our little Disney trip. When you
do travel, don't forget to post your pictures of your
trips on Instagram with the hashtag travel with Fathom because
we want to see where you end up. And um,
if anyone can take pictures of the Avatar ride for me,
I'd be especially happy because Geralin didn't. Please follow us
up to experience yours to experience it well, please follow

(39:21):
us on all the socials at Fathom Way to go.
And if you want more from Sally and really who doesn't,
please find her on Twitter at at Sally Cone that's
s A L L y k o h N and
be sure to pick up her book The Opposite of Hate, which,
to think of it sounds like an appropriate Disney theme
to thank you for listening. From a magical guy and

(39:43):
that's our show. Thanks for listening. If you like what
you heard, please subscribe, and you know, leave us a
five star review. Oh Wait Ago is a production of
I Heart Radio and Fathom. You can find the details
we talked about in the show notes and on our
website fathom away dot com. Don't forget to sign up
for our newsletter. When you're there. You can get in
touch with us anytime at podcast at fathom away dot

(40:04):
com and follow us on all social media at at
fathom Way to Go. Please tang your best travel photos
hashtag travel with Fathom. If you want to really go
deep on the travel inspiration, pick up a copy of
our book, Travel Anywhere and Avoid being a tourist. I'm
Jarrelyn Gerba and I'm Pavio Rosatti, and we'd like to
thank our producer, editor and mixer Marcy to Pena and
our executive producer, Christopher Hasiotis. For more podcasts from I

(40:28):
Heart Radio, visit the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. H
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