Monday, November 24, 2014

Death, dying and Disney on Ice


From the title of this post, one would think it was about fulfilling some one's Make-A-Wish dream with a trip to Disney on Ice.

It's not.

Last week started off with me yet again walking into the vet's office and holding yet another of our geriatric cats as she was euthanized.  Lahaina had been diagnosed (to the tune of $600) with cancer a few days earlier. At 12, she was the youngest of our cats. I had a sense of deja vu as I held her and stroked her head while her life ebbed after the vet gave her the injections. I'd stood in the same vet's office back in July to hold my 17-year old cat Bailey while she slipped into whatever afterlife there is.



We now have one cat left -- Keliki. He is the gray cat with his arm around Lahaina in the photo above. My wife rescued him from a golf course in Jakarta 15 years ago when she was teaching abroad.  I picked him up from the airport when she shipped him home from Jakarta. He made an unscheduled stop in Amsterdam and spent the night in a pet hotel (I never knew they had them) before arriving in Seattle.

We actually though Keliki would go before Lahaina. He has always had a weight problem and chronically pukes more than Linda Blair in the Exorcist. We'd taken him into the vet a few days before Lahaina because he'd stopped eating and was crapping all over the house. After X-rays revealed nothing (other than that more poop was forthcoming) we brought him home. That's when Lahaina took a turn for the worse.

After we took Lahaina away, Keliki seems to have made somewhat of a recovery. I think it might have something to do with him observing two other sick cats being taken away and never returning.

What does any of this have to do with Disney on Ice? Nothing really, other than I started last week having to kill my cat and I ended it having to sit through an hour and a half of Disney on Ice. I'm not sure which was a more traumatic experience.

It's not that I have anything against talented ice skaters. I can admire the skill, talent and training it takes to figure skate while dressed like Mickey Mouse. I just am appalled at the commercialism of the whole thing.

It wasn't that I had to shell out $60 for four tickets. They were actually discounted because my kid's Campfire group bought them in bulk (for which they also got Disney on Ice badges so the kid's could be living billboards for the franchise).  And it wasn't that I had to pay $10 to park in a county owned parking garage that is so poorly designed that it is virtually impossible to exit in under 45 minutes anytime an event let's out more than 50 people who are parked there. That's not Disney's fault.

And it has nothing to do with my introverted self being subjected to throngs of harried parents dragging crying kids dressed as their favorite Disney Princess into poorly managed lines only to be searched by security (because god knows ISIS is targeting Disney on Ice performances).  And I can excuse Disney for starting their performance before all of the people stuck in the security lines could get to their seats. The show has to go on, after all.

And I am not really going to complain too much about the performance itself. I am a father of two relatively young children and watching a parade of Disney Princesses, Lilo & Stitch, and Nightmare Before Christmas themed acts is just par for the course. Though I do resent reinforcing the myth that some day a prince will swoop in and rescue my daughter and she'll live happily ever after. We're raising both my son and daughter to believe they can function very well on their own merits thank you very much.

It was the concessions and sales that put me over the edge. Any parent knows that once your kid see other kids with lighted toys, plastic swords, neon cups and LED mouse ears, they aren't going to sit their passively enjoying the show. Even the food was exploited. A Disney themed bag of popcorn cost $12. Cotton candy was $10. The lighted toys that revolved and blinked when you pushed a button were $22 a pop.  I made my way to the restroom during intermission and passed photo booths where screaming kids were getting $25 photos taken standing next to cardboard cutouts of Disney characters. And there was also face painting booths that would require taking out a quick loan to finance.

And the selling wasn't confined to outside the arena. Armies of staff were working the aisles hawking toys, food and programs.

We managed to get out of the arena after only buying $14 dollar plush Lilo dolls for each kid.  They were still pissed.

We ended up at a McDonald's with a play area after the show where I basked in the second level of hell for the day.

That evening, I decided to flex my new found Twitter skills and fired off a snarky Tweet about the shameless commercialism to @DisneyOnIce.  I figured the 600 or so followers I've traded seeds for on Twiends in the last few weeks would rally behind me in solidarity.  But not a single like or retweet. And I didn't even get a "Thank you for your comment" corporate response from Disney.

I suppose I should have turned the whole thing into a top-ten list of things that Disney on Ice doesn't want you to know. But I would have had a hard time working in dying cats.

Not that anyone would care. You've got to love social media.

1 comment:

Alex Seaford said...

So sorry to read about your cat; I had to do the same four years ago; in the middle of chemo. They become such a part of the family, and leave a hole when they go.
As for Disney on Ice; good for you ! It is shocking how as a captive audience, we paid vastly extortionate sums for overpriced goods! I would definitely have starred that tweet... More power to your elbow ;)