Sunday, August 07, 2011

I'm going to Disneyland!

Hello from Anaheim, where I'm on the road with the Mariners.  So while I'm here, thought I'd repost my trip to Disneyland from three years ago.  It's also one of the entries in my hilarious book (which you'll notice I haven't been hitting you over the head with lately) that is still only $2.99 and you can order yours NOW by going here.   Thanks. 
My wife and I went to Disneyland. Since becoming an adult this was the first time I was ever there without kids or a joint. No strollers, no giant diaper bags, no getting home and realizing we had left somebody. Also, we had never seen the adjacent California Adventure so we wanted to go before it eventually shuts down or is completely rethought.

We figured: go before the summer begins and kids are out of school. I guess that now means February. Disneyland was packed. There were lines for everything. The biggest: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Waiting, Space Mountain, and churros. The Small World attraction is closed for renovation (thank God). A big fence surrounds it. So the line was only a half an hour.

I wore a golf shirts and long pants. I was waaaay overdressed. Come on, people! At least the ratty t-shirts and torn plaid shorts should fit! You’re going to be taking pictures in those rags.

As always, the park was immaculate… although I could swear one of the 60-year-old maintenance men in an elf suit was a former producer of TAXI. And the teenagers who work there remain the nicest, perkiest, helpfulliest David Arhuleta and Carrie Underwood clones you could find this side of Stepford.

I’m guessing the teens with major imperfections like acne or no dimples are assigned to wear those bulky heavy character costumes. It was 90 degrees and Winnie the Pooh was staggering around, tripping over strollers, kicking little tykes, occasionally sticking his head in an ice cream pushcart for relief.

Happy to say that the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride wasn’t ruined by the improvements. There were a few Jack Sparrows added and a nifty Davy Jones hologram but otherwise it’s pretty much the same. Oh maybe a little less raping but the spirit of fun is still there.

To avoid standing in endless lines Disneyland now offers “Fast Passes” for most major rides. It allows you to return for wait-free boarding. We got our Fast Passes for Space Mountain at 1 PM. Our reservations were for 9:30, thus saving us fifteen minutes had we stood in the normal line.

I was a good boy this trip. I did not stand up and ask Mr. Lincoln a question nor did I buy a Mouseketeer hat, have them scroll “Vincent” then rip off one of the ears.

With all the spectacular photo-ops Disneyland provides, all day long I saw people taking pictures of each other while standing in lines. We are truly a country of idiots.

Then there are the women trying to walk all day and night in ankle strap wedges. And they wonder why they’re crippled by Fantasyland.

Gas prices are so high that for the Autopia, the cars are now just being pushed by Disney employees.

In a nod to health conscious California, Disneyland eateries now serve healthy food along with the usual fast food junk. My wife ordered a salad. It was the third one sold this year!

The irony of the Indiana Jones ride is that Harrison Ford probably can’t ride it. It’s way too violent and rugged for a 66 year-old man.

We moved over to California Adventure, which is like going from Times Square on New Year’s Eve to downtown Flint, Michigan a year after they closed the GM plant.

The only thing worth seeing is “Soarin’ Over California”. It’s a simulated hang glide tour over the state. If only I could simulate flying on American Airlines instead of actually having to fly on American Airlines.

Wandered around the park. Don’t know the names of the “lands” per se but there’s one that’s kind of rustic that my wife just called “Wilderness Shit”. They pipe in this real stirring John Williams type music and I must say, coming out of the restroom I thought there’ve been times when I could have really used this.

Next we encountered a beach boardwalk themed land. The John Williams music gave way to Beach Boys tunes on a calliope. All these years I never knew that “Surfer Girl” was a circus song.

Disney – the company that brought you “Song of the South” and tar babies now presents “Pizza Oom Mow Mow” on the pier at California Adventure.

There’s a big classic Coney Island style rollercoaster and something called the “Twilight Zone Tower of Terror”. Not wanting my first major stroke to be in a place where the paramedics all wear Peter Pan costumes I passed on both.

We returned to Disneyland, nostalgic for the days when California Adventure used to be a parking lot.

Night fell on the Magic Kingdom and it got a little chilly. No worries. There’s a clothing store every hundred feet. Me: “Excuse me, Tracy/Stacey/Kaysee/Lacy, do you have a men’s sweatshirt that doesn’t have Tinkerbell on it? Or Mickey in a wizard’s cap? Or Mulan? Or a fucking fairy castle!?” I bought a Davy Crockett coonskin cap so at least my head was warm.

Even in the evening when the crowd thinned out there was still a 45 minute wait for the aptly named Dumb-o ride.

No trip to Disneyland would be complete without a harrowing bobsled ride down the Matterhorn. It always takes me back to my idyllic childhood, going on it once with my dear sweet grandmother and hearing her drop the f-bomb.

The Haunted Mansion is now inhabited by a bi-lingual ghost. He gives spooky instructions in both English and Spanish.

Never got to Toontown. There were enough over-stimulated, sugar revved, screaming, out-of-control little hellions in all the other lands.

And I always wonder – how many of these children were conceived on Tom Sawyer’s Island during Grad Night?

Following the fireworks and “Disney Dwarfs on Parade” or whatever the hell that noisy thing was, we dutifully reported to Space Mountain to take advantage of our Fast Pass. Wow! Space Mountain was always great but this new revamped version is awesome. You know they mean business when they tell you to take your glasses off. As I was crawling off the rocket sled on my hands and knees I said to my wife, “Now THAT’S a thrill ride!”

Finally, it was time to leave. Where did twelve hours and hundreds of dollars go? A half hour to catch the tram and another half hour to find our car in the parking structure the size of Liechtenstein, and we were merrily on our way (to hit massive traffic on the Santa Ana freeway at midnight).

I have always loved Disneyland. I’m not ashamed to say it. I am ashamed to wear any of those sweatshirts but even as a five year-old curmudgeon I marveled at the imagination, scope, and vision of this wondrous (albeit highly profitable) world. So I will be back. Soon. My Fast Pass reservation for the Little Nemo Submarine Voyage is November 21st at 6:30 AM.


Infauxtainer said...

This made me laugh out loud, It must've been one helluva ride! Would have loved to see the look on your face. Thanks!

"It always takes me back to my idyllic childhood, going on it once with my dear sweet grandmother and hearing her drop the f-bomb."

Infauxtainer said...

Man, I hate when a naked girl walks by, really distracts me. Reposting:

This made me laugh out loud! It must've been one helluva ride! Would have loved to have seen the look on your face. Thanks!

"It always takes me back to my idyllic childhood, going on it once with my dear sweet grandmother and hearing her drop the f-bomb."

RCP said...

Very funny, Ken!

Last time I visited Disneyland was in 1976, and I remember my younger sister holding my hand tightly in the Haunted Mansion - she turned 45 last week. This week, I finally finished digesting the meal I'd had at Disneyland on that last visit - so now it's time to go back!

Kirk said...

Why would Disneyland have an Indiana Jones attraction? Weren't those movies made at a different studio?

Ted said...

Hilarious post - thank you. Now I don't have to go there again.

Friday question. Have hour-long dramas now become room-written like sitcoms? Like you, one of my new favorites is "Justified." And I'm currently watching an excellent older show "The Wire." Both shows feature a lot of crisp and funny back-and-forth dialogue.

Mac said...

You have a book out? How come you never mentioned it before?

I'd love to go to Disneyland. When I was last in LA I tried to get a bunch of people to go, but they all thought it was far too uncool. Next time I'm going by myself and these hipsters can stay home and be miserable. I grew up on Disney films & books, and I'm going to enjoy it, dammit!

HogsAteMySister said...

Your post made me fondly look at a photo we have on the wall of our trip in 1990 when my son Eli was 2. I remember the long lines, ack, expensive t-shirts, ack, and that Universal Studies left Disney for dead, yay. But glad you had a good time. Now move before the Visa bill comes.

Jack Regas said...

Was (Un)fortunate enough to be part of a corp. convention/gettaway at Disney World in Jan., 2009. Was looking forward to some warm FL sunshine, but unfortunately, record cold temps set in. During one evening's mandatory celebration in some freezing part of the park, I went in search of something warm to wear and like you, came up with only Disney characters on sweatshirts/jackets. So I bought a sweat and turned it inside out. Worked just fine and I still wear it occasionally, but always inside out. Have you thought of writing a book?

doyke said...

wow... it looks like you have much fun??? huhuh it was my dream to go on that place... and maybe it still on my dream.. Disneyland when can i visit you there hu hu hu

Cap'n Bob said...

I went to the Disneyland Hotel for a comic con in '72 but never entered the park. I recall doing a Frisco Speedball and stepping into a fountain outside the hotel. The rest is a blur.

Anonymous said...

I went to Disneyland for the first time ever as an adult two years ago - it was AWESOME. I had on my "First Visit" button and got some sage advice from a 9-year old season pass holder while waiting in line for the bathroom. Classic.

Still laughing at "Wilderness Shit"!

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

It's been an year and a half since I last visited Disney. It doesn't get old, no matter how many times.

Michael Carrington used to do the voiceover at Space Mountain. I don't think they use that track anymore though.

By the way, Harrison Ford is 69.

Jessica Parker said...

I read that the best day to visit (least amount of visitors) is the Tuesday after December 7th.

Anonymous said...

I went to Disney World in August of '73 with 3 girlfriends from high school. Can you imagine 4 18 year old girls wandering the park? We got hit on by Goofy, Mickey, and often by Donald. Very often by Donald. Hilarious hearing in a Donald Duck voice, "Hey, honey, wanna share my costume? And no we didn't report him. It was too funny.

The Haunted Mansion was the best. We waited in line forever, but we were talking to a couple of 12 year old boys were in front of us. One of the guides whispered to my girlfriend and me that at one point in the ride, the car in front of us will swing around and ended up behind us. She said we should lean forward and pound on the back of the shell (the car was like a tilt-o-whirl shell) and scare the crap out of those boys. When my friend and I banged on the shell, they let out the most amazing blood curdling screams. As we left the ride, they were so shakey telling Mom, "That was the best ride. It was so scary. Lets go again." We about died. Never could find the girl to thank her for telling us what to do. But we did pass it along to other people who had children in front of them.

I can only imagine the nightmares...hahahahahahaha!

Pam aka SisterZip

Doug said...

First ... it is always good to hear Ken doing the Mariners' games.

Back in the 1970s and early 1980s I always seemed to visit Disneyland when in Los Angeles.And it always coincided with the likes of Harry James,Les Brown,Count Basie etc. playing Disneyland for people a generation or two ahead of moi.Being a big jazz fan I was thrilled to be in close proximity to these musical legends.The old folks(my age now!)just danced.

D. McEwan said...

"Kirk said...
Why would Disneyland have an Indiana Jones attraction? Weren't those movies made at a different studio?"

A good question, or was back when the ride was installed back in 1995, though now, 16 years later, one wonders why you waited so long to ask. You might ask the same question of the Star Tours attraction, which opened in 1987.

Let's see if we can work out this mytery. Who greenlit Raiders of the Lost Ark at Paramount? Michael Eisner. Who was running Disney in the 1980s & '90s? Michael Eisner. Hmm. I wonder if there is any connection. At least he didn't rename it Eisnerland.