My family spent an entire Saturday traversing two parks, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, using complimentary employee passes left over from my tenure as a Disney speechwriter. All of us enjoyed the outing, from the dizzying drops of Expedition Everest and our close encounter with giraffes on a faux safari, to a drenching ride on Splash Mountain and my daughter's exuberant interaction with Sleeping Beauty.
But my son's most animated moments came when we discovered Webkinz for sale at various shops throughout the parks. He played for a few moments with the colorful stuffed animals at each location, fussing between displays about how much he needed another Webkinz (he has 13 of them). Finally, after being broken down by his persistent badgering, we bought a small Webkinz blue jay just a few steps from Pirates of the Caribbean. From that moment forward, we might as well have been strolling through Peoria. My boy promptly named his new friend Jay Jay and was rendered oblivious to the happiest place on earth.
Granted, my son suffers from a serious addiction to Webkinz, like a good many other kids I've learned. But a tiny stuffed bird trumping the magic of a Disney theme park? Yep, it's true. I saw it with my own two eyes.