Thursday, May 18, 2006

Now that you're finished with the semester, what are you going to do?

We're going to Disneyland!



No, really, we are. Tomorrow we'll be celebrating my nephew's sixth birthday at the Happiest Place on Earth. Say hello to crowds, blistering heat on asphalt, and $60 a pop for snacks and drinks! The one thing I don't get about Disneyland is why they charge for parking. Right now the entrance fee for a One-Day Pass is near $70 and near $60 for kids between 3 and 10. Every person who walks through those whirly gates will spend a minimum of $150. So why charge for parking? With the costs of those tickets, one would think they'd throw in for the compact-sized spot in the high-rise garage. But noooooo...

Greed is all I can think. Or knowing that tourists and locals will pay ANYTHING to get into Disneyland. I wonder when the park will reach the breaking point? Ever think there'll be a day when the tickets are just "too much"? Imagine Disneyland empty. No lines, free stuff because they can't pack the park if they tried.

"$675 for a One-Day Pass was just too much. Not to mention the cost of gasoline to drive from Duarte to Aneheim at $7 a gallon! How can I possibly afford the $4,000 monthly rent for my 2-bedroom apartment AND tickets for five to Disneyland, the most expensive place on earth?!"

So yeah...no lines at Disneyland. Riding Space Mountain like ten times in a row, shooting through the makeshift space ship and hopping on the little cars, one car per person! Imagine getting apple fritters without having to wait? The mint juleps...right away! Coming up, sir! No wait! No heat! Dumbo...ON! Pirates...ON! The Bear show...ON!

Oh wait, there is no Bear show anymore. Boo hoo. There's also no women chasing men for sex anymore on Pirates of the Carribean, or vice versa. Now they chase each other for food. If that's not a statement on American culture, I don't know what is. Damn political correctness. You know, Disney, if more people chose sex over food, we'd all not be as fat as we are!

Ahhh Disneyland, the place of dreams. I used to go to Disneyland every summer with my parents and cousins. Tom Sawyer Island pickles were the best. The Matterhorn was THE ride. One of the scariest experiences I ever had was on the Rocket ride. Remember that one? Was in Tomorrowland near the People Mover and the Submarine ride. Don't know anymore the actual name but I do remember that it had no seatbelts. Or the guy that put my cousins and I on it thought it would be funny to scare the shit out of us. Well, whatever happened, there we were, W, S, and I, huddled down in the rocket ship as it spun around and around at hundreds of feet in the night air, with NO damn seatbelts to hold us in. We just hung on for our dear lives, depending on the force of gravity. White-knuckled the metal railing inside the pod. I remember looking over the edge down all those feet and seeing the fireworks and thinking, "I'm going to fall." For long minutes, I hung on and grit my teeth and imagined falling. I was probably about 7, and my cousins were 10 and 9 respectively. Boys. They were scared, but thrilled at the same time. To this day, heights give me a shiver.

Shiver me timbers...

For my family and I, Disneyland became the ultimate in defining "vacation." Whenever there was time off of school, Disneyland was first on our list as a chosen destination. I always preferred the Magical Kingdom to Magic Mountain - the former always had an international feel what with all the tourists from all over and the "Small World" attraction. All you had to do was sit in that boat and hear the same song in all those languages and POOF...you were transformed. You were...INTERNATIONAL.

Better than International House of Pancakes.

Muy pequeno el mundo es...
Diese Welt is ja so klein...
E un mondo piccolo...
Car le monde est tout petit...


Yeah, Magic Mountain seemed dirtier, soulless. Six Flags in Valencia had no character. We're talking Sam's Club to Nordstrom's with personal shoppers. Sure the coasters were wilder, more intense, but that's all it was, a collection of coasters with no similar theme, no quality, no soul. Just like the warehouse aisles of Sam's or Costco.

Now, Knott's Berry Farm did have more character - they had great fried chicken and the ghost town was awesome. Good pickles, too. Sitting on those benches next to the "cowboys"? Couldn't beat those photo-ops. But still, something was missing that Disneyland never failed to deliver. A certain friendliness? Classiness? Could be familiarity. After all, we saw the Magic Kingdom every Sunday at 7:00 in the form of a movie or an hour-long program. We lived and breathed the Aristocats when it came to our local theater, again. Remember that? You couldn't just pick up the DVD, you had to wait for the re-release. The NEXT re-release.

Yeah, good times. Nothing was better than Disneyland.

Well, maybe I'll pay for parking. The extra $9 is worth the celebration, I suppose. After all, it's only money.

4 comments:

Diana said...

Oh, the memories I have of a childhood spent at Disneyland. It's an entire post. Thanks for dredging some of that up for me.

(You know something weird? Now that I don't live in SoCal, I go to D-land as a summer tourist, with everyone else. And it's awful. The heat, the lines, the crowds. When I was a kid we'd take a schoolday off when family came to visit, or my high school band would perform on a weekday in a parade and have the rest of the day there, or my dad's company would rent it one night. I saw it that way, more personal and intimate and to see it now as a tourist is NO comparison.)

Danny said...

I still have a soft spot in my heart for Disneyland even though you need a bank loan to go there and it's a horror in so many ways. But boy, visiting there from Chicago as a kid was a magical highlight of my childhood, and I've also enjoyed bringing my daughter there. I realized these days that I can handle it only once every few years and I prefer to go alone with my daughter because if there is another adult with me I will be too tempted to complain the whole time.

I hope you are having a great time and will write about your experience! I blogged about my Disneyland memories last year. Just don't let that satanic "It's a Small World" song get into your bloodstream.

8763 Wonderland said...

It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world

Everybody sing!!!!!

David N. Scott said...

I know!!! What is up with Disney-freaking-land? Parking should be free? At like $50 for a family meal, ADMISSION should be free!!

Ahem. Sorry. Just let the passes lapse, because we just can't keep em up...

It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't cost money to breathe in the place...

Have fun, though! Nothing like it!