Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More about Disneyland

One Saturday in February, Mr Koala went out shopping for mundane things, such as medicine and schoolbooks, and came home with a holiday to Disneyland.

I chastised him mightily with my mighty claws, but recognised a done deal when I saw one and settled down to paying very little attention to the details, merely muttering 'mortgage' every now and again when I passed him on the branches of the eucalypt. Soccer Boy inadvertently won additional mothering love with his comment of 'I'd rather go to New Zealand'. Princess was a lost cause from the start. 'Princesses! Princesses! Princesses!'

And so the time came, and we boarded the flying eucalypt and landed in an artificial land of multi-lane freeways and buses with windows you couldn't see out of thanks to the advertising plastered all over the glass. When we arrived in Anaheim my first thought was 'nature - smashed flat'. The artificiality of it all: the motels made to look like ancient castles, the fancy paving, the trees trimmed into unnatural forms. And that's before even going through the gates of Disneyland.

It was a grumpy koala that made her way to the theme park on the first day, mostly sticking her tongue out at Mr Koala's back. But then...but then...wait for it... More artificiality; a fake Main Street with every shop selling a souvenir or sugar overdose. Fake New Orleans, fake Frontierland, fake Tomorrowland - well, OK, that one has to be kind of fake. The artificiality shocked me - even the food was artificial, or made that way - even the bananas coated in chocolate and nuts. The excess, the consumption! Was this really the America our children should see?

'Rides! Rides! Rides!' Well, OK then, baby koalas, I suppose I'll have to go on a ride. I can't even remember what our first ride was. Whatever it was, I loved it. And the next, the next and the next. The whole place was totally dedicated to me having fun. Oh, yes, and the baby koalas too. And, once I got over myself, I did have fun. Heaps of fun. To the point where when I saw people walking around who weren't smiling, I had a little internal surge of anger: 'why aren't you smiling? Everything here is fun! I'm completely won over, why aren't you? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?'

I proudly admit that I am a Born Again Disneyland Fan.

Question: the President's pardoned turkey ends up a Disneyland. In a small enclosure, not sure it's such a great pardon. But...there's only one...what happened to last year's? And the year's before? etc etc. Is the pardon only valid for one year?! Is there no handstamp for reentry to the Happiest Place On Earth for last year's turkey?


Anonymous said...

I am such a Disneyland addict. We used to go every Friday night when we lived in SoCal; but it's been four years since we moved away. *sigh* I'm glad you were converted.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Um, hate to say it, but yes, the pardon is only good for one year though they'd like you to believe otherwise.

And when were you at Disney? I'm about 30 minutes north of there (2 1/2 hours in traffic).

Whirlochre said...

So you're saying it's, like, better than Alton Towers?

fairyhedgehog said...

I wish I liked rides. The only one I really liked was Professor Bubble's Bubbleworks. Oh, and a splashy tire ride. (We live near Chessington, which is far superior to Alton Towers.)

Chris Eldin said...

LOL!!! I'm glad you had a nice time!!! We've been to the one in Florida when Thing 1 was only 2 years old and Disney just looked like a giant Chuck-E-Cheeses. But now the Things have noticed other people going, and want to go too.

(If that bit about being artificial bothered you, come visit Dubai. You'll think Anaheim was a nature preserve.)


Bevie said...

"The excess, the consumption! Was this really the America our children should see?"

I'm afraid that is the real America. Never been to Disneyland, or World. Always wanted to. Just can't afford it.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

God I hate Disneyworld with a passion. I wish it weren't so. I wish I could be like normal people. But I'm just not. The whole time I was there I couldn't let go of the fact that I could be overseas looking at the REAL Germany or the REAL ENGLAND for the money we spent. And I've never seen so many crying kids and shouting parents in one place.

I'm guessing I'll end up at Disneyland at some point.

But I'm glad you had fun. :)

pjd said...

Disneyland! Yay!

SS@S: Disneyland is so different from Disneyworld you wouldn't believe it. Being at Disneyworld last year made me nostalgic for Disneyland.

Bevie, Sarah Palin would argue with you about Disneyland being the "real" America. It's far too close to Hollywood for that. In real America, the rides are operated by 40 year old pedophiles that look 75 and have facial skin the same color as the ash from the cigarettes they chainsmoke.

Gawd, I love Disneyland. I will never, ever, ever, ever forget the look on my older son's face when he was 11 and it was our last day there on a 5-day trip. I still tear up when I think of his hopeful, meekly asked question: Dad, do you think we can come back some day?

Robin S. said...

DisneyWorld downin Orlando is the same fake stuff. Fake Europe, as a matter of fact. English Tudor houses, fake German oompah stuff, French stuff (can't remember, so I'm screwing around with it now), fake grottos for fake Ariel to fake be happy to see your kids and get a picture taken with them. And we stayed in a fake Western lodge and ate breakfast (which cost a non-fake mint) with fake outsized chipmunks. I got through those days without much white wine, come to think of it. Hey, I was younger. I took the girls when they were 5 and 9, or something like that. I sucked it up. But I couldn't do it again.

You were very brave. And your first instincts - the grumbling - were right on target, girl.

But it does feel more fun when you see your kids loving it so much. That's how they screw you in those theme parks.

Robin S. said...


Just posted this and looked up, and Pete had posted a totally different take. Then I read the other comments quickly - we're all over the map - or really, we're not. Pro or con, more like it.

McKoala said...

Wow, so many different opinions on Disneyland! Inadvertently hilarious!

Apart from the fact that Sarah and I missed a chance to make all you London Minion Meeters jealous with a meeting of our very own. Sorry, Sarah, I had no idea you were so close!


Oh yeah, Whirl, oh yeah. (It's a little known fact that I was once part of a team that came up with an ad campaign for Alton Towers; I don't think it ever ran in the end, but AT loved it. It centred mostly around puke and poop. Student audience. Happy days.)

FH, I'll let you and Whirl duke it out between Chessington Park and Alton Towers. I will merely report that alas, I saw no Bubbleworks at Disneyland.

Chris, clearly there is a prestige thing going on between D'land and D'world. It's your call...

Ah, Bevie. Technically we couldn't afford it either. But apparently my husband turns into a mortgage-forgetting child when confronted by a picture of Mickey Mouse in a travel agency window.

SS@S - yes the cost thing is enormous. Unbelievable. I could not tot up in my head how much money must have flowed through those gates on a single day - in a quiet seasonal period.

PJD, I know my kids are hoping the same thing. I suspect their chances are low, unless we move back to the States at some point (we lived in SFO for a year pre-kids).

Heh, Robin, I think the only consensus is that, if you have to go to one Disney, choose Disneyland over Disneyworld!

sylvia said...

I have never had anyone in my life who went out for mundane things and came back with trips to Disneyland. I think I'm doing something wrong. I have been taken to Disneyworld. It's not the same. :P

You went to the REAL disneyland too - I used to live in Anaheim. In the summer, we would sit in the backyard and watch the fireworks. I went once a year (my dad's company used to rent the place out one night a year - yes really - and so you could get on all the rides with no queues, limited only by the speed with which you could dash around the park. It sort of spoiled the place for me for the rest of the year).

Did you take photographs? I'm almost feeling homesick.

Edit: I'm ignoring the part about the turkey pardon only being for a year. CLEARLY THAT IS NOT TRUE!

JaneyV said...

Well I would love to take the kids to Disneyland. But now I am totally confused because I had heard the Florida one was better. I am ever to plunge myself into hyperdebt (we've already reached superdebt) which do I chose?

That said I hate amusement parks with a passion. It all goes back to my suffering a concussion from a ride on a teeny tiny roller coaster. Since then every time I get that "whoosh" feeling I barf. So not much fun. But I do like the gentle "not-scary" for children under 5 ones. Now that my youngest is 5 however I fear I would look stupid lining up for those by myself.