For those looking for the Sunday school review, sorry I missed it because I took my daughter to Disneyland for her birthday in lieu of hosting yet another party. So that is what my post is about. Disneyland is billed as the happiest place on earth, but I wonder if they actually deserve that title. When I was little Disneyland was new and exciting. They actually had ticket books at the time and our large family would save leftover tickets from one trip to the next. These trips were not frequent, as packing up 7 people into the family station wagon for an entertainment trip was difficult and expensive. I’m pretty sure we stayed at my Grandmother’s house on some trips and hit Knott’s Berry farm as well. But I also seem to remember loading up at 5:00 am and driving there, wearing ourselves out, then driving home at night. Two hotel rooms would have been out of the question.
Five years ago, courtesy of my Father in law, my own family had an entirely different experience there, along with some cousins. We stayed in the Disney Hotel and rode the Monorail into the park. We had 4 day passes, and whenever anyone got tired of the lines, we just hopped the Monorail, went back to the hotel and got into the giant pool. I’m pretty sure my kids thought the pool was the best thing about that trip, at least my daughter, who was 8 at the time. It all seemed like nearly unimaginable luxury to me at the time, with the primary downside being that we had to keep searching for a place to get the next meal, as we only used room service on the day we were leaving. I remember though, being struck by the Pinocchio ride, which had a message that one should not be taken in by gaudy entertainment that diverts one from real life. And yet, that was exactly what we had, a false world built simply for entertainment.
At any rate, last year I offered a trip as an alternative to having a party, and this year, my daughter took me up on it, even though she visited with her school orchestra in May. It was just the two of us and we got a hotel room within walking distance. I would not have been able to get Disney accommodations on short notice, in any event, and I was looking at going more cheaply, but did not want to try the one day thing from my childhood. That was a good choice, since the traffic congestion made the trip longer than it was back then. Also, the hotel came with a breakfast buffet, so that was one meal we would not have to seek out.
Well, the walk was billed as 1/2 mile, but it took us as long as our normal walk to school of a mile, so I’m not at all sure how they figured the distance. But we got there shortly after they opened and enjoyed the relative calm of the morning there. We walked up main street to orient ourselves, took the train around, then headed up main street again, stopping to buy two overpriced bottles of water. At some point I saw a woman crying, though I do not know why and she had family around her. We headed for the Peter Pan ride first as she liked it in the spring and we had missed it entirely 5 years ago.
Well, the line for the Peter Pan ride was shorter than the last time I was there, which was encouraging. It was still at least a half an hour wait, however. We spent the time mostly observing the people around us and their various parenting styles. I was particularly drawn to the family in front of us, who had an adorable dark haired little boy who reminded me of a friend’s son. He was an active little guy, climbing the railings, stepping into small patches of landscape and regularly distracted when the line was moving. After a while though, I tired of the fact that his parents were lost in conversation and kept letting him lag behind for some minutes before noticing he was not there. He was wearing a monkey backpack with a leash, but I never saw them touch the leash. Near the end he swung the leash in front of another little girl, while again holding up the line. Perhaps it was breaking the rules of today, but since I could not communicate with him I put my hand on the back of the monkey and gently pushed him toward his parents 5 feet away, while removing the leash from the railing. Who knows what he said to them, but after that they carried him the rest of the way.
Finally we reached the ride and got in. It has been one of my favorites since childhood. But that day it simply seemed short, instead of magical. The magical ride of the day was found in the other park, a ride called soaring over California. So I admit the day had its ups and downs. I was particularly amused by the number of babies there in strollers. Younger siblings I could understand, but why take a baby there, who is too young for rides and will not remember the experience? Many of these appeared to be first, or only children.
The day was finished off by a bothersome experience on another ride. The sun had come out and so it was hot, but most of the line was mercifully shaded by umbrellas. Of course there were gaps, so being unable to handle the heat, I would hang back in the shade for a bit. Well, someone who was in the early part of the wait told their kids to step into the gap right in front of me. I was moving at the time and halted, thinking they were going to go find a restroom or something. No, they were trying to cut the line! I was incredulous as we had been waiting for nearly 40 minutes! I shooed them aside and marched past, followed by the rest of the line. They went back under the barrier to their mom and moved the opposite direction.
Now the ride was worth the wait, but that very presumptuous action bothered me even as I was trying to fall asleep that night, after watching the fireworks from the hotel. I can not imagine why any parent would think it was acceptable to teach their children to cut the line, particularly when they had only waited 5 minutes or so. It surely did not make me happy! So I can only conclude that the happiest place on earth, isn’t so very happy.