Ha ! Intriguing title. Provocative possibly. So let’s get that out of the way early on. I have nothing against tattoos. It would be rather hypocritical in any event, being the owner of a couple of modest examples of the genre. And I have little patience with people who get themselves tattooed but only in a place where nothing but a very intimate body search would reveal said work of art. In the UK that tends to be the norm for women. But not here apparently. Already on this trip I’ve noticed what would seem to be an untypical number of younger women in the parks (and by ‘younger’ I mean anyone under 55) sporting what would be ‘career limiting’ tattoos in the UK – that is, tattoos which would be difficult to conceal even under normal business dress.
I’m not sure why this struck me as being worth mentioning in the blog. It is by no means the most striking physical observation I could give you. Only yesterday, a family group had to get up and leave ‘The Mummy’ before the ride could begin because at least one of them was large enough to make it impossible to secure the restraining bar. Demeaning and humiliating for sure. But there are signs all over the place very discretely suggesting that people of ‘certain bodily dimensions’ check beforehand that they can get into the seats – and Disney provides test rigs outside of all its main rides so that this can be done without full-on public humiliation. So there really isn’t any reason why anyone should get to the start of a ride without a good idea of where they stand (or sit in this case). Unless of course, they don’t see themselves as having ‘certain bodily dimensions’ – actually, when we came here last time the phrasing was ‘abnormal bodily dimensions’, so political correctness has marched on here as everywhere else.
Don’t get me wrong. I will absolutely defend anyone and everyone’s right to be who and what they are and want to be, regardless of size, gender, sexual preference or orientation. The only areas I draw the line are football allegiances, but that is only right and proper. What fascinates me is self-image and how it operates as a regulating mechanism. Let me give you an example. I know I am at least a couple of stone overweight. This is something which has come upon me gradually. Well, not entirely true. I’ve been aware for a month or so that I should be eating (and drinking) less and exercising more. But my self-image doesn’t register the changes immediately. For a while I just look more or less the same, and if I suck my stomach in then I can hold off the day of reckoning for a while. But sooner or later, I look in the mirror and realise that, well….. that I’m fat. And realising that, that I must do something about it.
I have a few more examples closer to home. But what I’m getting at, I suppose, is that in a society where ‘large’ is the norm – or to be more precise, perceptions of what ‘large’ means – then peoples’ calibrations of self-image become distorted, and they end up at the start of a roller-coaster getting turned away because the restraining bar won’t go down. Which is hurtful for all concerned.
Otherwise, we have been re-acquainting ourselves with some old friends.
The Aerosmith Rock n’Roller Coaster is one of the best and most enjoyable rides on the park, and when coupled with the Hollywood Tower of Terror provides a great combo. One of the most iconic views on the Disney Hollywood Studios:
However, this park provided an early disaster. In the process of pulling my hearing aids out of my jeans pocket after a particularly noisy ride, one of the them fell on the floor and has not worked since. Numerous attempts at repair having failed, I’m riding out the trip on much depleted hearing (not in itself a problem) and hoping that things don’t get worse on the tinnitus front. Irritating, but not at the moment a major disaster. And frankly, not a lot to be done anyway.
One of the delights of this trip so far has been that – 2 years on and a few inches taller – the boys have been able to do some of the rides they were not allowed to do last time. So Tom was able to tackle the amazing Harry Potter ride, so long as we were prepared to wait 100 minutes to get there (yes, you read that correctly). We queued as far as the main entrance point (about 20 minutes) whereupon a Universal employee noticed Tom measuring himself against one of the minimum height sticks and, having found out it was his first time sent us straight through the Fast Pass route which meant that around 10 minutes or so later we were on the ride ! God knows why he did this – nothing in the Universal rule book about it, but kindness is very much part of the ethos so….. We are considering whether singling him out for praise in our feedback is likely to do him good or not ! Very grateful nevertheless.
And finally, to bring me back to my first point. We ate last night at Appleby’s – free as it turned out, since the management company for the villa had left us a 100$ voucher to compensate for the first night inconvenience. Lovely meal – only place I’ve ever come across to do a BOGOF deal on Stella Artois, even though I was not wearing a white vest. However, I was goaded by the waitress who declared that my choice of dessert was ‘tiny’, only to find out that the full version (brownies with ice cream) was stupendously large and designed for two-people to share. No wonder people get to be the size they are……