Journal of Alice

Nonbinary at Disney

22 January ’16

Ah Disney, the happiest place on earth. From the first ride of the day to the last fireworks show at night, when Mickey tells Minnie she’ll always be his princess, or Donald Duck starts believing in dreams, it’s pure Disney magic. Except sometimes it isn’t.

Sometimes princesses get called prince, and that sucks.

I’ve recently been to Disneyland Anaheim, Disneyland Paris, and Disney world Florida. Let’s take a look at some of the things you’re likely to notice as a non-binary adult travelling alone.

To begin with, a trip to one of the Disney parks is an amazing adventure. Don’t do it to tick off rides, do it to have fun. Do it, but be prepared that like in the real world not everything will be perfect. Disney cast members are almost always friendly and helpful and want you to be happy, but that doesn’t mean that everything is perfect.

Depending on your apparent age, you may get called prince or princess. Cast members are trained to do this, but generally only for younger guests. Most cast members won’t remember seeing you previously, they see so many guests a day that it simply isn’t worth you remembering them (unless they are particularly good/bad).

Disney World in particular has a lot of families who are quick to strike up conversations, but they’re usually limited to where you’re from or “cool costume!” unless you keep it going.

What can get annoying after a while is all the announcements which begin “ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls” and the grownups telling kids their choice of toy is not gender-appropriate. This is nothing unique to Disney, but something to be aware of.

At the end of the day Disney is what you make it. Go there expecting an adventure with Disney magic and you’ll have a great time regardless of who you are.

i found some cheap flights had some free hotel

20 January ’16

I found some cheap flights, had some free hotel nights to use, and got some good Hilton rates. So I’m off to try out Amsterdam Schiphol’s new Hilton and visit Houston and Atlanta in April.

Any recommendations on what to do in Houston or Atlanta would be great.

One single from Gatwick please

19 January ’16

I suspect I’m the only person ever to have bought a walk-up fare single ticket from Gatwick airport to my home town. Partly because of the look of shock the conductor on my last leg gave me, and partly because it doesn’t actually work the way it should. Apparently you’re not supposed to take the most direct route of Thameslink to St Pancras, you’re actually supposed to take the less direct Gatwick Express to Victoria; this may explain why it costs more than a single to Manchester which avoids London.

The story of why I bought this ticket is indeed a good one. It started with turning up at Orlando airport early, only to discover my Virgin Atlantic flight had been cancelled.

How major airlines handle disruption:

American: phone call in the middle of the night, airport staff take pity and reroute you onto a more direct fight. You miss out on a bunch of points.

BA (a month later): the whole of London was affected by this issue, here’s a refund.

KLM: automated SMS and email, receive a phone call to agree a rerouting, receive a second phone call to check the rerouting doesn’t have visa implications.

Virgin Atlantic: uh, we can send you to the other side of the country. That’s all we can offer.

Needless to say I’ve been mostly flying with KLM and their partners recently.

on safari at disneys animal kingdom

16 January ’16

On safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

theres more than one way of doing disney world

15 January ’16

There’s more than one way of doing Disney World, and some are better than others. You can do a park at a time, ticking off attractions - and that’s fun for a while, but it lacks magic. I keep bumping into a guy with a big unofficial guide to Disney book full of post-its, and I want to throw it away for him.

Today I completed the four park challenge and it was pure magic. The challenge seems mostly known about by Disney College Program (DCP) Cast Members (CMs), it’s ill-defined but at its most basic involves a ride and a food item from every single park. Some people add rules about using Disney transportation, or seeing a show or parade, or insisting you must finish with a Mickey Bar while watching Wishes. But strip back to the bare essentials and you end up doing the best bits of every single park and taking in whatever magic comes your way.

I started with a walk-on to Test Track and a mickey cupcake, and left Epcot before it officially opened. The cast at Hollywood Studios were in a particularly playful mood, so I stuck around for my favorite rides and a showing of Frozen sing along (I was the only one singing along at times). I had a delicious meal at the Yak and Yeti, saw Baloo and Dug and Russell, and rode all the coaster rides at Animal Kingdom (on a full stomach) - I may know more Disney character names than colleague’s names.

And finally Magic Kingdom, where a combination of fast passes and timing got me onto many of the best rides. Mickey sung about dreams while I ate ice cream, Peter Pan fought the pirates, Tinkerbell blew me a kiss, Wishes taught me to believe in magic. Pure Disney Magic.

I almost want to leave now while I’m on a high.