Sleeping like Cinderella, text-messaging monsters
The hot word at Disney World in Florida is "Magic." Not that Magic is a new Disney word. It's as old as Mickey Mouse in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (1940). But Magic is working overtime in the Disney kingdom near Orlando.
Maybe it's just a coincidence that Disney's focus is on hocus-pocus while the hottest celebrity in America is a boy from the world of magic.
Harry Potter, hero of the series that ended in a final book installment in July 2207, was not a figment of the fertile Disney imagination. But the magical boy from the United Kingdom would fit right in.
Planning a Disney vacation now is called "Magic Your Way." Riding a bus to Disney World from the Orlando airport is called the Magical Express (it does not stop anywhere near Hogwarts). Even the mundane is Magical. At a little convenience store where I bought a newspaper, the clerk wished me -- and every other customer -- a Magical Day.
If your vacation includes a stop at Disney World, you will be wished a Magical Day so often you may be tempted to take out a magic wand and wish your wisher away. Unfortunately, magic wands are issued only in Harry Potter's world.
Cinderellas hang out
Disney World focuses its major magic on Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom. Thanks to a Magical Makeover, the castle now includes a private suite. Nearly every day through Dec. 31, 2008, a guest at Disney World will be selected randomly, tapped on the shoulder -- it's called a Magical Moment -- and told that he or she has been chosen to sleep that night in the castle, which has been Magically Transformed.
The winner may bring up to four friends to sleep overnight in the suite. They should be close friends, because castles are known for their tight quarters. The Cinderella suite has two double beds and a salon with a couch that pulls into a third double. All residents share one bath, with one magical tub.
Cinderella's cozy suite, decorated with stained-glass windows, rich wall coverings and a familiar glass slipper, is well worth dreaming about. Who wouldn't want to live a night in a 17th century French chateau where the clock never strikes 12? It is ... magical.
Joking with monsters, send a text message
Below Cinderella's Castle suite, on the grounds of the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland, is a magical experiment that all guests can experience. On the 400-seat Laugh Floor at Monster's Inc., kids -- and adults -- may converse directly with animated monsters. It's a technological marvel.
Characters are from Disney's Pixar movie, "Monsters, Inc." The show features a one-eyed Mike Wazowski as monster of ceremonies.
Key to the story: Monsters have discovered that laughter is 10 times more powerful than screams from scaring people. What a great idea, especially if you can persuade your little ones that the monsters they fear under their beds only want to make them laugh.
Don't forget to bring your cell phone, if it allows text messaging. As they wait in line for the show to begin, kids are encouraged to send a text message of their favorite joke for possible use on the show.
One May afternoon, McKenzie, from New Hampshire, offered this joke that was read to the audience.
Question: Why did the cookie go to the doctor?
Answer: Feeling crummy.
Even the monsters laughed.
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The writer: David Molyneaux is editor of TravelMavens.net