I’m fairly sure that Disney is trying to kill me. I don’t mean they plan to wipe me out with an obvious weapon, and they don’t want me to flop over dead in the middle of the Country Bear Jamboree. That would cause talk, and the paperwork would be a bitch. Instead, I think they intend for my heart to explode like a super nova while I’m mowing the yard in about five years.

You see, we’re on the Disney Meal Plan. It’s not just the Disney Meal Plan, mind you. It’s the Disney Deluxe Meal Plan. My wife’s father, who is hosting this trip, graciously and generously furnished this plan, and I’m grateful to him for his kindness. I knew it was something special when we checked into the hotel. The desk clerk looked at our paperwork, raised her eyebrows, and said, “Oh, you’re on the DELUXE Meal Plan,” just as she might say, “Oh, you reserved a UNICORN to carry you around Fantasyland.”

But I still didn’t appreciate what that meant until our first afternoon in the Magic Kingdom when we decided to eat. We inquired at a small restaurant and were told the wait was rather long. In fact, my wife and her traces of blood sugar would have been convulsing on the pavement at Goofy’s feet if we’d waited that long. So we trotted across the street to buy hot dogs.

I ordered two hot dogs and a small Diet Coke, and I gave the nice lady my meal plan card. The nice lady looked annoyed with me. After a couple of minutes of gesturing and shouting over the 50 other orders in progress, she made me understand that if you have a meal plan there is no such thing as a hot dog and a drink. If we wanted to use the meal plan for two hot dogs, we would get two deluxe hot dogs. Mine had chili and cheese. My wife’s came with pulled pork and slaw. Also, small drinks don’t exist for meal plan owners. We’d get large drinks, and two of them. Didn’t we want the French fries? She hoped so, because we were going to get them anyway. Oh, and we’d better not walk out of there without our mandatory two desserts. Stunned, my wife and I shuffled out of the place carrying what looked like a picnic table full of food, with a cellophane-wrapped fudge brownie clutched in my right hand.

We regrouped and changed tactics, like guerillas who’ve just been beaten by superior firepower. From then on we ordered one meal and split it whenever possible. We still ate like bears in spawning season. The breakfast egg sandwich was as big as half a dozen Egg McMuffins. I am not kidding. That worked out okay when we could order standing up. But if the restaurant was more sophisticated than a taco stand in Juarez, it didn’t let us get away with any of this ordering-one-meal-to-split-between-us bullshit. Two people get two meals, plus appetizers, beverages, and desserts. If we suggested otherwise, we got wry looks, as if they thought we might be socialists.

I left some good food on several tables. Things culminated last night at a wonderful restaurant. I nibbled on my appetizer, knowing I had to pace myself for the entree and the dessert. I’d ordered pastitsio, sort of a Greek lasagna, even though the waitress warned me that it was “heavy.” It arrived in a bowl as big as my face and three inches deep. I now know that in Greek “heavy” means nine macaroni noodles, a shred of ground beef, and four pounds of béchamel sauce.

I began digging through the pastitsio, looking for something other than that mass of butter and milk with the same specific gravity as uranium. I started to think of this meal as arsenic injected directly into my heart muscle.

As an aside, throughout my struggle with this entree, the wait staff was several times forced into frivolous birthday singing and shouting for embarrassed diners. My god, why don’t restaurants allow their servers to retain some dignity? They should just comp the birthday boys and girls a martini and a lottery ticket. Maybe a hooker if you ordered the lobster.

My wife, her step-mother, and I all surrendered to our monolithic tubs of pastitsio after several minutes of unsuccessful excavation. The wreckage looked like this:

I almost rebelled and refused dessert, just to challenge the restaurant into reprisals. My courage failed, and I ordered chocolate cake. How could they screw up chocolate cake? The waitress soon brought me an unfrosted disc of cake, the size, shape, and color of a hockey puck, with a little raspberry sorbet on the side. After one bite I realized this wasn’t the Nestle’s chocolate you might use for Christmas cookies. This chocolate was made from cacao beans picked under a full moon by virgins with hands bathed in lotus nectar. If my wife had reached for a bite I might have slapped her hand. If she’d known what I had on my plate, she’d have jammed her dessert fork into my jugular and let my body puddle to the floor while she annexed my cake.

That cake made up for everything. Here’s how it looked:

We’ve fought hard to keep the Disney Deluxe Meal Plan from killing us at some future time, but I fear we’ve failed. I may die from a butter-fueled coronary in a few years, courtesy of a mouse in a giant, sweaty costume, but that’s okay. It’s all part of the magic.

By the way, this is what they say the magic looks like:

This is what the magic really looks like:

10 thoughts on “The Disney Deluxe Triple Bypass Plan

  1. The other night I was watching Duck Dynasty when they went out and at hot donuts. After scouring the internet for an hour trying to find a donuttery that was open past 10 pm, I finally relented and went the grocery store, bought some donuts, brought them back home and heated them up. It wasn’t quite like fresh hot donuts, but it satisfied. Now I am leaving the house at 11 pm, looking for chocolate cake, that I know won’t be as good as the one you had. Damn you Duck Dynasty and Damn you Bill McCurry!

  2. I Love that picture of the castle! Reflecting in the water – Gorgeous!! And pastitsio used to be one of my favorite dishes in Greece! Luckily it was never the size or consistency of the one you got! But that cake – Mm-mmm!

    • Thank you, Jill. I just happened to catch the castle at the right time to take that shot–with my phone, no less. My wife informed me that her Greek grandmother makes a pastitsio that’s far less like something you’d find anchoring one end of the Maginot Line. I see a trip to visit her in our future. She doesn’t live in Greece anymore, but San Franciso isn’t a terrible substitute.

  3. I’m loving your Disney posts! Heading down to visit the mouse in Florida next month. Been there multiple times in all various stages of pregnancy and spawn-dragging. Never gets old for me, and never fails to bring home a good story to tell!

    • Thank you! Despite my snarky posts, we had a wonderful time at Disney. We made the trip with my wife’s family, who we don’t see that often, so that made it even better. Magic Kingdom stayed open until 3 AM one day, which was special even though it almost killed me.

      • We plan on being there for New Year’s – kids are teens now, so I no longer have the excuse of heading back to the condo early! Will have to tough it out all night! I’m sure it will spur a few posts of my own. Glad you enjoyed!

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