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Mike Tasos: The Happiest Place on Earth a miserable experience
Mike Tasos

Before you invest any time in reading this column, here’s a warning: some of you are going to be really angry.

Trying to stay positive has been a Herculean task. Finally, I can no longer stay silent. 

There’ll be little neutrality here. Middle ground went “Poof,” like the genie in Aladdin. Bring to mind your nastiest villain — Darth Vader, Captain Hook, Cruella de Ville — and you might lump me in there.

My views on the subject, based on recent events, have made me do a 180. Respect for me will go out the window. Friendships will be lost. I might even get a “How could you?” or “Shame on you!” 

And that’s from my family!

I’ve changed camps. I’ll not be swayed. I might be disowned at home. And this has nothing to do with those chuckleheads who get rich while holding a political office. We’re stuck with them for a while.

After years of drinking mouse-eared Kool Aid, I have had an epiphany: I hate Walt Disney World.

Recently, after the Disney machine laid a pity party of deception on me, I wanted to help the Florida economy. Greg cashed in a two-year-old promised graduation trip, and it was “off we go,” just like Peter Pan heading for Neverland.

At Hollywood Studios there was plenty of pre-visit deception. The crowds were small. The pandemic had been devastating. Disney can’t be hurting. Falling for that line is like believing you can win at 3-card Monte.

Disney doesn’t have rides, rather they are called attractions. There’s nothing attractive about being subjected to this clip joint.

It defies belief that you’ll fork over a mortgage payment with 90-minute waits being the order of the day. I was taken for a ride, all right. Just like the one Carlo Rizzi took after his meeting with Michael Corleone. 

Only instead of a garrot around the neck, Walt and his boys made me an offer I should have refused.

The new Star Wars-themed are, “Galaxy’s Edge,” is like being on I-85 at rush-hour in the old days. You’re in a sardine can, with no escape.

The Disney folks make you fork over $100+ for a ticket into this park. Then trying to experience “The Rise of the Resistance” is like playing craps with shaved dice, roulette when the ball always lands on “00,” or blackjack with a dealer who deals off the bottom of the deck. 

In order to ride, you must get on an app at 7 a.m. What happened to me, happened to other angry guests, all prepared to storm the castle.

At 30 seconds after 7, all slots were filled. Told to try again at 1 p.m., it was more of the same: 30 seconds after 1 p.m. proved your efforts had been futile. It was worse than trying to score Garth Brooks tickets.

There was nothing magical about the experience. Instead, it brought back memories of my youth, getting snookered on a carnival midway.

That’s not an exaggeration. Want to build a custom light saber for $200? You’d better make reservations 60 days in advance. 

Don’t think I’m making up a fairy tale when I share that there was a one-hour wait to enter a marketplace. That’s right. We were expected to wait an hour to spend some serious money.

Mind you, there are no discounts at the Happiest Place on Earth. Whoever coined that term probably used the Bataan Death March as a measuring stick.

At the Magic Kingdom, the most prevalent store or restaurant window sign was: “We’re closed.”

Getting to Tom Sawyer’s Island featured no such sign. There was no need. The body of water used to ferry guests was as dry as West Texas sand.

The official language is screaming baby, with frazzled parents voicing despair and misery in a worldwide menu of languages.

As a former member of the Disney Vacation Club, I’m glad I dumped my membership and actually made money on the transaction.

As a family, we had some great memories for all those years. As a guest, park workers, or cast members, made you feel special. They were an asset and took pride in their roles.

Disney has dumped its fantastic college program and replaced youthful, committed enthusiasm with crochety old geezers talking about how they’d rather be at a casino or a dog track. 

There will be no more Disney World for me. There is no shortage of Disney critics who lambast the organization. Before this week, I never understood their chagrin and vitriol.

Now, I’d have to be Goofy to ever go back.

Mike Tasos’ column appears every other weekend. He can be reached at He is also on Facebook.