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Friday, 27 June 2003: In the Haus of Maus

Ah, Disneyland. The stuff that dreams are made of. Or, at least, that's what the numerous flyers, commercials, and billboards tell us. What joys await us within?

Kevin and I awoke at about a quarter to seven in the morning, since my family wanted to make the eight AM opening at the park. Exhausted and sore, I endured my pains for the good of the rest of the group. But frustratingly, no one else was even awake by the time we were enjoying our semi-continental breakfast from the hotel. Why do they call it "continental", anways?

I think we made it to the park Resort at 0930 or 1000. Keep in mind that I have not seen this place for many years, even before California Adventure was merely a dirt lot. It's completely different, and more reminiscent of Disney World... there is no longer the endless parking lot, there is now a larger-than-Paul-Bunyan parking lot to handle the masses. Patrons ride in a stinky gas-powered tram through the Resort area, past hotels and shopping areas... all reeking of sickly Disney commercialism.

It's so freakin' American.

After I got past the initial shock of the park's metamorphosis, we were headed in a beeline to the park, tickets already in hand. I ran with my 2 year old niece, Maddie, to visit Mickey Mouse. She had never been to Disneyland, and I don't think she's ever met a character. She was more patient than all the other (and older!) kids, and even their parents! I was sickened by how everyone pushed and shoved to get a glimpse of Mickey Mouse... how no one seemed to have any regard for the next person. All they wanted was to touch the round-eared one, to get his scribbled autograph, to hug his polyester suit. It was incredibly adorable to see Maddie's bewildered face as she watched the huge cartoon character in awe. It made me forget all the chaos happening around us... for a few seconds at least, when we were shoved aside after getting a single photo.

Of course, there were many more opportunities throughout the day to get character photos... way more than I ever remember. We saw Alice, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Captain Hook, Pocahontas, Woody, Jessie, Chip n' Dale and probably a lot more that I can't remember. Oh, and of course, Lilo and Stitch, who was the only one I was really interested in goofing around with.

Lemme just say that I am seriously diggin' on this whole FastPass thing. It really helps you maximize your time at the park. I absolutely cannot stand waiting in the queue for hours at a time, so the FastPasses were true blessings. We rode Indiana Jones 3 times (the third time because the ride actually broke down halfway through on our second ride... whoo hoo). I think I rode every ride that I wanted to go on, except Space Mountain, which is closed until 2005. Gah!

We were lucky that we went to Disneyland on Friday instead of Saturday (a last minute decision), because they were preparing the New Orleans Square area for the Pirates of the Caribbean movie premiere on Saturday. This results in a 6PM closing on that Saturday! I woulda been pretty ticked off if we were kicked outta there at 6.

Instead, we enjoyed a full day (till 12:30, save an hour or two to go back to our hotel to refresh), and had a lot of fun. It was really cool for Kev and I to go without the kids to Disneyland, so we could do stuff that we wanted, but at the same time, incredibly tiring to go with seven other people. I think we all had a fun time, regardless.

For the curious, here are photos from the premiere, even though we weren't there on that day. I post this link for the sheer opportunity to state that Keira Knightley is in serioius need of a sammich. Don't get me started on how I feel about big movie premieres. I'll save that rant for another day...

Day 3 is coming up: Movies are the Universal Language

In the meantime, you can view more photos from our trip at my photo gallery.


I like anyone willing to admit they're a geek. Geeks are cool. We have imagination even as adults. We don't start fights. Generally, we're not cruel. We read cool shit and have many many many different kinds of dice. Okay, that last is a really geeky thing to add, but hey.

Anyway, I like your blog and if you'd blogroll me, I would blogroll you.

I think they call it a 'continental' breakfast because it's basically the kind of breakfast you eat a lot in France. I think the term 'continental' originates in Britain. But I'm not entirely sure and could have simply made that up on the spot. I know everything, but I can't remember it all at once.

transmitted by Handsome on July 4, 2003 07:15 PM

Disney is the model for commercialism everywhere, it's not what it used to be if you ask me. When I went around 10 years ago with the family it was bad enough, I can't imagine now.

The fastPass thing looks pretty cool, I wish they had that when I was there. The lines are KILLER...especially on a 90 degree day when the park is packed. We saw a couple people pass out from the heat and standing so long.

Cute pics...especially the SpongeBob ones. I wonder who's in the suit? (they seem to be pretty short)

transmitted by Izzy on July 5, 2003 01:22 PM

I agree fast pass is the way to go in any amusement park these days. Better yet they should like schedule patrons a time when they will actually get on a ride. Waiting in like is just attrocious! Last week, my friends and I went to Six Flags Great Adventure and we waited an hour on both the Batman and Robin and the Superman.

transmitted by netpanday on July 5, 2003 09:44 PM

I gave this some thought a couple of years ago, after an excessive line wait experience at a waterpark I went to with my girlfriend, and realized that, unfortunately, there is really nothing to be done about this.

The major problem is an essential conflict between the theme park patrons (us) and the theme park owners and managers (them). We hate long lines. They, on the other hand, love long lines... it shows that the park is operating to capacity and there is a demand for their product. We would love to be able to go to a park and just get on the rides whenever we felt like it without any waiting; if a theme park manager took a helicopter flight over his theme park and saw that situation (no lines at any of the rides) he'd probably know he had to declare bankruptcy.

What we all really want is some kind of Royal status that allows us to simply walk to the head of the line... except most of us would actually be embarrassed to use it, if we had it. There's really no solution.

I recently went to Islands of Adventure with some friends and we used Fast Passes there. Even the Fast Pass lines were extremely long; I pitied the people waiting in the REAL lines. And around noon they stopped giving out Fast Passes; the park had filled up to capacity and they can't give out Fast Passes when they have too many people there already waiting for certain attractions (like the Spiderman ride, which we stood on line for for 90 excruciating minutes).

The only real solution is to move all real-world thrill experiences into virtual reality. When they have VR plug in interfaces, you can do anything you want, whenever you want, simply by sitting down in your chair and putting the helmet on. No lines (unless you want to activate the 'feature', but I don't know why you would) just roller coaster after roller coaster, all day long. Make sure your glucose drip is set up and full before you go under, though.

However, when VR rolls around, I won't be doing the 'theme park' stuff. I'll be fighting Dr. Doom in the trademarked Marvel Universe VR half the time, and hanging out in the Adult World VR with a virtual reality Katherine Heigl the rest of the time.

I suspect I'll be a big glucose drip customer when that happens. ;)

transmitted by Handsome on July 6, 2003 12:00 PM
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