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McGUIRE'S MUSINGS: Don't be fooled: The Mouse is in Control

January 18, 2013

This little break from winter that we received last week made me think of one of my favorite times of year — summer!

Yeah, you remember it, sunshine, blue skies, warm temperatures and air conditioning.

Last week's warmer weather gave me a reminder that my lawnmower that I purchased for $15 eight years ago died at the end of the mowing season, which prevented me from mulching my leaves in the fall.

And that we finally disposed of our 30-year-old window air conditioner.

Air conditioners have changed over the years.

Our older air conditioner must weigh a million pounds (no exaggeration), while the new one must weigh three pounds and comes with a remote.

The only problem was, I couldn't pick up ESPN on it.

Someday, we'll probably do everything from our cellphones or tablets, even use them as air conditioners.

This past year, my wife, Linda, decided that we should take a family vacation to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., since our sons, Joe and Mike, were in the third and second grade the first time we went.

Following a family meeting, we agreed that we could do this and went with the entire Disney package, including staying at Pop Century, a Disney resort.

Thanks to my wife, this was the most organized vacation I had ever been on, with almost everything paid for in advance.

Basically, we turned our lives over to the mouse 24/7 for an entire week.

We ate the Disney breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

We watched Disney-approved television and, for a change of pace, we would head to downtown Disney for more Disney-approved dining, entertainment and souvenirs.

There are no other stores to shop at — when we needed Band-Aids, we were permitted to purchase a small box for a mere $7.

One day, I witnessed a malcontent who went to the resort desk in the lobby at Pop Century and asked how his family could go about visiting a competing amusement park, Universal Studios.

That person was never heard from again.

There are advantages to staying at the Disney resorts, as there are some privileges at what is called "Disney After Dark," when only people with a resort key card are permitted to ride the rides.

The one night, we rode the Space Mountain indoor roller coaster no less than 10 times in a row and never had to stand in line once.

It actually took more time to walk through the cattle stalls than to ride the ride itself.

We were able to ride the rides so quickly with the resort key that it almost became anti-climactic at times.

The main transportation mode is the Disney Bus System, which transports you from your hotel right up to the gate at the park you are intending to visit.

However, there is a downside. You get to hear the same recorded message that welcomes the passengers aboard with the same music playing morning, noon and night every single time.

Despite these minor annoyances, it's certainly much easier to take your entire vacation and place it into the hands of the mouse.

Now, on another note, this was my sixth visit to the sunny state of Florida without seeing one alligator.

If you watch the television show "Gator Boys" on Animal Planet, the guys who rescue the nuisance alligators — as if there's another kind — give you the impression that the state is overrun by "gators," but I've yet to see a single one in my visits there.

We did take time out from Disney to visit Linda's sister Wendy, who lives on a lake and has a boat and took us tubing.

Despite not having seen a single gator, I asked if there were any in that lake, and I received an ambiguous answer which convinced me that I wasn't participating in any tubing.

Wendy did say we should stay away from the lily pads.

Good enough for me; you won't see this kid going tubing in what could very well be an alligator-infested lake, unless I have the Gator Boys on speed dial.

If you've ever watched the program, the head Gator Boy, Paul Beddard, will dive into your pond or lake to rescue a nuisance gator, which is usually buried deep in the muck.

Meanwhile, his partner Jimmy Riffle stands on shore looking concerned about Beddard, who is trying to fasten a noose around an alligator in very dark and murky water while attempting to wrestle it to shore.

And you think your job is dangerous!

Despite the fact that, once again, I was gatorless, it was still a wonderful time, and the temperature hovered in the 90s.

It's nice to have these wonderful summertime memories to fall back on during these cold days of winter.

By the way, it was easier taking the guys to Disney when they are in their 20s than it was when they were in elementary school.

Well, I've got to run.

For some reason, I have this overwhelming desire to go watch the Disney Channel, to be followed by another episode of "Gator Boys."

Larry McGuire is a news reporter for The Punxsutawney Spirit.

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