Ellen, Walt and Mickey
We visited Disneyland this past Friday. I have a serious case of Kidvision. Kidvision is the way you thought you saw things when you were a kid. Kids always remember everything bigger and better than it actually was. I have been to Disneyland as an adult, but not in over 10 years. I was looking for the Disneyland of my youth. I saw a beautifully maintained theme park, lacking in wonderment. I guess I'm jaded. The rides were all great, but where were the scientific and historical attractions? So many of the old features of Walt's vision are gone: Mr. Lincoln, Circle-rama, Skyway to Tomorrowland, Flying Saucers, Monsanto House of the Future, etc. I wanted to be educated as well as entertained and thrilled. One of the reasons Disneyland was different than any old amusement park was that it offered visions to the future so that kids could imagine on their own what the world could be like. Today's theme parks seem to be all about hurling kids into the air, eating junkfood and making them buy souveniers.
I expect all of the historical 50th anniversary
items will disappear soon
It was a perfect day in Anaheim, about 75 degrees, puffy clouds, slight breeze. Mr. Larry and I got to Disneyland at about 11 am. We parked and walked in. It wasn't crowded, mostly Moms with small kids in strollers and retirees with their grandchildren. We headed right over to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. We wanted to get the big rides out of the way before the after-school crowd descended on the Park. Pirates is about the same as I remembered it except they added the Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) character. There were Depp wannabes all over the Park...even kid pirates.
Captain Jack Sparrow Character
We raced over to Space Mountain. I don't ever remember going on that ride. Mr. Larry is a huge roller coaster fan, so he was delighted that we only had to wait about 10 minutes to get on. There's this disclaimer at the beginning that if you have high blood pressure, heart problems, etc., you should not go on the ride. I don't have any of those problems, but after 2 seconds on Space Mountain, I knew I should have waited for Larry on the ground. Oy! It was so fast, wild, dropping into nothingness, windy, frightening. At one point I thought I was going to be hurled out of the car! I was clutching at the sunglasses held in the top of my shirt. When we finally got off our spaceship (it was probably only about 2 minutes long, but seemed like forever), I was so happy to be on solid earth. Disney-digi photos are snapped of guests as they're in mid-space that they want you to purchase. I took a blurry photo of our picture on display. Larry is smiling with glee. I'm clutching at my chest with a look of horror on my face.
Space Mountain was windy and frightful!
Next stop: I insisted that we visit an attraction that doesn't move much. We ended up at the Enchanted Tiki Room. We had a yummy Dole pineapple juice while we were waiting to go into the tiki hut. It was perfect. Just like I remembered it. All the birds, flowers, tikis and animals singing cheerful songs. Now, that's magic! Disney music is really the happiest music on earth.
I must say, I'm still in awe of the architecture and landscaping at Disneyland. Every building is meticulous and historically correct. New Orleans Square really does look like pre-Katrina New Orleans; Storybookland really has storybook style architecture and Tomorrowland is extremely futuristic. We delighted in some of the newer architectural innovations too, like the Space Lounge and the Disneyana art gallery. The landscaping is incredible. The way that the topiary bushes are trimmed and maintained is truly fantastic.
Small World landscaping
We went over to Bear Country and had lunch at the Critter Cafe. Burger, fries, Coke - $10.75. It was a little high-priced, but tasty. Remember the Country Bear Jamboree? It's gone. The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse is now the Tarzan Treehouse. I suppose that's progress.
We sauntered over to Fantasyland. By this time, the Park was really getting crowded. We walked around and snapped a few shots of my childhood rides. These have remained the same. I was disappointed that the Storybook boats were closed for repair.
I snapped a shot of kids on the Dumbo ride. Of course, there was a dad on his cellphone high up in the air, oblivious to the enjoyment of his little boy.
The Matterhorn was closed. We spent some time shopping on Main Street. I purchased a bag designed by Shag
and a Nightmare Before Christmas
ball ornament for my new car's attena.
Antenna Ball, perfect for the Halloween Season
It was 5pm when we were finally worn out. We really did have a nice time, but at $50-$60 per ticket, I won't be visiting for another decade or so. A few parting shots of the day:
Bronzed Chip and Dale
Walt's first cartoons on view
50th Anniversary Landscaping
Too Many Strollers
Consumerism at it's finest
Mr. Monster Man
Some things never change - Petrified Tree
They don't embroider your name on the hats by hand anymore
For the workers at Disneyland, it seems to me that a job is a job. In my youth, much more attention was paid to the kids wanting their photos taken with Disney characters. This past weekend, I saw a lot of the Park employees looking at their watches, chatting among themselves and generally looking bored. Yeah, I know it's just a job, but to a kid, Disneyland is Magic Land. Help make this the adventure of their lives, please!
Average Disney Employee, Punching Out for the Day
Tomorrow.....all about our visit to Joshua Tree.