Today is January 28, 2020 -

Magic Kingdom vs. Terminal 4

At the 2017 Daughters of Sarah Mystery Challenge silent auction, I purchased tickets for Disney World. (Note: this year’s challenge is on Saturday evening, November 23.) The tickets expire soon, so I went down to enjoy the Magic Kingdom a few weeks ago.

My daughter Bina left on Monday night for a gap-year (between high school and college) in Israel, and so we spent Monday evening in Terminal 4 of JFK. I’ve written before about the phenomenon of Terminal 4 when I’ve dropped off my different children for different programs: high school summer programs in late June, Birthright programs (registration is now open for this December) over winter breaks and summer breaks, semester-abroad programs in August or January. This was my first gap-year drop off and it did not disappoint. 

I had never really given the matter much thought, but the similarities between the Magic Kingdom and Terminal 4 are uncanny: It takes between 3-5 hours to get to either of them. Of course, there are variables with flight times, traffic, bridge-crossing delays, airport delays, etc.  But overall, a comparable trip. It costs $25 to park your car for a day at the Magic Kingdom or for 2.5 hours at Terminal 4. And, of course, both have long lines.

Disney cast members (employees) are the best. They’re always smiling. They entertain you while in an hour-and-a-half line. At the front of the line, they ask you, “how many in your party?” And then, three minutes of sheer joy as you explore the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. 

Terminal 4 employees did not receive training from Disney. “One companion for each ticketed passenger. Everyone else–get out of the way! Keep these aisles open!” At the end of the hour-and-a-half line, El Al security begins the interrogation: “Who packed these bags? Who was the officiating rabbi in the synagogue where you had your bar mitzvah…”? And then, a quick “goodbye” to your loved ones as you head over to the TSA line. If you survive Terminal 4, you are then off for an amazing life-altering experience.

Best of luck to Bina and to several of your peers who left this week for their gap-year trips. We can’t wait to hear about your experiences. 

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