There. That's out of the way.
Sweet Girl and I ventured down to Orlando yesterday. We didn't go to the Magic Kingdom or the Happiest Place on Earth or whatever sappy name it has this week. We went to the Boardwalk area and then to Downtown Disney.
The Boardwalk is one of the GAZILLION different themed resorts scattered in and around Disney World. I have no idea how close we were to any of the theme parks because all of the roads look alike. Crowded. Full of buses. And happy little traffic signs.
What occurred to me was that even though we weren't actually IN one of the parks, there was STUFF to buy. Everywhere. Mouse ears, princess tiaras, costumes, t-shirts, ornaments, clothes, sports memorabilia, coffee mugs, shot glasses, wine glasses, kitchen aprons, Mickey Mouse-shaped pasta (I'm not kidding), jewelry, pins, and on and on and on and on and on and on. And we weren't in the park.
And that's why I think it's a racket. (Okay, maybe that's too strong a word.)
Some families save for years to bring the kids to Disney World. The pay to travel from who knows where, they stay at one of the resorts because that's what you DO, they buy 3- or 4- or 5-day passes for the various parks (parks that keep reproducing at an alarming rate), and the fun never stops. NEITHER DOES THE SPENDING.
Sweet Girl and I were walking down the boardwalk in the Boardwalk (I had to say that) and I saw a hot dog vendor's kiosk with an advertised price of $9.75 for a hot dog and whatever came with it. I was hoping 14-carat gold earrings came with it, but I didn't get my hopes up. And then I went and bought a brownie for $3.95. (It wasn't even that good.)
I was amazed at the number of ADULTS who were sporting the Disney attire. Everything from WDW shirts to Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts (I suggested to Sweet Girl that we get those, and she didn't even humor me with an eye roll). I had on my Georgia sweatshirt (yes, the same one I wore to the meet Friday night, why do you ask?), and I fielded laser-beam stares that were positively HOSTILE from some of the grown-ups. Especially the ones wearing mouse ears or those little things on springs that you wear like a headband. They looked at me like I had some nerve, wearing a standard old college sweatshirt and not sporting the requisite Disney-themed clothing that costs more than a small car. Maybe a medium-sized car.
Sweet Girl says it's all a matter of supply and demand, but I'm not buying it. (I'm hilarious.) I think it's a cruel kind of peer pressure (kid pressure?) that forces parents to buy that expensive
I suppose Sweet Girl is right in a way. It's not like the "cast members" (give me a break...please) force anyone to buy their stuff. They don't have to; they just have to manage the rock-star-concert-like lines of people who can't wait to part with their hard-earned money.
I guess once you've spent one gazillion dollars, it's just as easy to spend another gazillion.
Recession? What freakin' recession?