Friday, December 01, 2006

Off to Disneyland… Again

For about two weeks, I had been putting off working on this project for a client with whom I had a meeting scheduled for this morning, but a couple of days ago, I finally put the spurs to the horses and got down to going through it. It means many thousands of dollars for me in 2007, which is nice, so I figured I should give it a cursory glance before I sit down and try to explain the best method of tackling above said project. As a result of this meeting, I would have to leave early on Friday morning, miss dance class and have to arrange some sort of sitting for the kids (they don’t go to school on Fridays). Instead, Kara had decided to play hooky from school so Natalie wouldn’t miss her dance class (because of the big show next Saturday), and she was looking forward to a nice quiet day off with the offspring.

Right: Matthew and I take a self-portrait at the Hungry Bear while we wait for the girls to get back from the restroom.

As luck would have it for me, the scheduled meeting with the client was cancelled on Wednesday due to lack of time for a “face to face,” as the client put it, which meant two things: 1) I didn’t waste a couple of week’s worth of work and effort pulling together a presentation for an eventually cancelled meeting; and 2) I could make it to dance class and then convince the rest of the family that a Disneyland trip was in due order. For the good of the family unit, we needed to go to the Magic Kingdom. It seemed paramount, a destiny.

And that’s exactly what we did.

Left: Matthew and Natalie decorate a Christmas cookie with Kara, and (below) Matty enjoys playing with the box. Of course, Matthew got it all over the place and Natalie was a little less than impressed with the experience. Go figure. I enjoyed the $5 cookie, however. That's right, $5 for a freakin' cookie!

However, much to our chagrin (and expectation), the park was quite crowded today, which meant that we didn’t do a whole lot and I got to reinvigorate my disdain for the average knuckle-draggers, mouth-breathers, double-wide-stroller-pushers, flip-flop-wearers and, my favorite, the stuff-my-butt-into-these-jeans-because-I-think-a-size-65-waist-must-look-just-as-good-as-the-size-4-I-saw-in-the-magazines-but-I-can’t-see-that-it-really-looks-like-I’m-smuggling-sides-of-beef-in-my-pants people who shuffle their way around Disneyland because they either don’t have a job or they were given $50 as a gift and they can’t think of any quicker way to spend it.

Left: Natalie looking cute while waiting in line for Dumbo, most excitedly, I might add. Below: As luck would have it, Pluto wandered into our proximity while we were decorating cookies and since he wasn't immediately hoarded by kids, we had a nice chance at a photo-op.

And I noticed that it must have been ESL day at the House of Mouse, but it wasn’t coming from those foreigners who seem like interesting and classic not-from-this-land kind of people, the ones with the great accents from far flung regions of the world, like an old couple from Switzerland who find the uniforms worn by the Matterhorn crew quaint and reminiscent of their youth, however incorrect they are, or the group of strangely dressed Japanese girls on tour with some spelling bee world competition who giggle at everything they see and each sentence they speak sounds like one really long, high-pitched word. And they’re all wearing Mickey Mouse ears. Instead, Disneyland today was just lousy with those foreign folk that smell. C’mon, your hotel has a shower, man, and it’s not for cooling down your goats on hot summer days. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, take a shower when you know you’ll be shoulder to shoulder with other people. For the love of Irish Spring, you’re giving your fellow countrymen a bad name.

Left: Lovin' Dumbo, Natalie can't wait for the ride to begin, and when it does, she powers that elephant straight to the top to enjoy the view.

But we did have a good time, of course, and we’re turning Natalie into quite the little Disney freak, and she had a specific agenda for today’s activities. We had to go on Dumbo (which we did), we had to go on the merry-go-round (which we did, two different ones) and we had to “go on another ride” (which we could only do for so long). Every time we stopped, Natalie would complain: “I wanna go on another ride, Daddy.” We stood in front of California Screamin’ in California Adventure and watched the roller coaster rocket across the horizon, catapult into the sky and summersault over itself in the big loop in the middle. Natalie exclaimed: “I wanna go on that!” I told her that she had to grow a little bit bigger, and Kara added, “A lot bigger.”

Right: Kara and Natalie (Matthew's in the back asleep) take a break at this picturesque waterfall in California Adventure.

Matthew had a better day today than he did the first time we took him to Disneyland. We didn’t do any of the “dark rides,” so he wasn’t freaked out from the start and we avoided the train. In fact, he only went on “It’s a Small World” and the merry-go-round in California Adventure. Other than that, he slept or watched as one of us took Natalie on “another ride.” He did enjoy sitting on Santa’s lap in the Big Thunder Ranch converted to Santa’s North Pole Ranch… or something like that, but couldn’t make heads or tails of Mrs. Claus. We lunched at the Hungry Bear Restaurant and ate overlooking the water, the ducks and the occasionally passing “Mark Twain”

The day grew long, as it usually does.

Left: Matthew in his bought-especially-for-a-cold-night-at-Disneyland outfit makes him look like a rugby player, doesn't it?

We visited California Adventure for the first time since it was first opened, and it felt as though we were going to a theme park we had never been to before, as everything looked out of place, new, different. It was a pleasant experience of discovery, but we were getting tired. At around 6:30, while Natalie—obviously working on borrowed time and energy and was about to either pass out or burst into a screaming fit of exhausted rage—wanting to go back into Disneyland and ride “It’s a Small World” again because she wanted to see it all lit up for Christmas (and so did we). It was a good idea and a nice night-cap to add to the day, but as we started toward the front gates we stopped short of the throng of after-work masses of humanity streaming through the turnstiles. Assuming it would amount to nothing more than a well-populated hell, especially deep into Disneyland were “It’s a Small World” was perched, we, as the good and honest parents that we are, convinced Natalie that the park was closing and it was time to go home. We told her that it would be a good idea to see if we could find Santa Claus, and she was all for it at first, but then she remarked, much to our laughter, “We don’t need to see him again,” as if to say, I’ve made my requests to the Big Man already and reiterating myself would be a futile waste of resources…plus, Santa smelled like Daddy did when he came home from his concert. Just kidding.

Right: Like a scared little rugby-playing monkey, poor Matty holds on for dear life as if at the mercy of a merry-go-round run amuck. Below: On the contrary, Natalie's loving every minute of it.

So we left. Natalie zonked out seconds after putting the truck into Drive; Matty held on as long as he could but then soon slumped over in his seat as Kara and I listed to AM talk radio and sat in about an hour’s worth of Friday night traffic.

Now, everyone in the house—Elsa too—is asleep, and so soon shall I. It was a good day at Disneyland, and enjoy some of the pictures. Below is a new trick to add to my site, video clips. If this is working properly, below is a small clip of Natalie on the Dumbo, complete with a dizzying overview of FantasyLand. Let me know if this addition works... it takes forever to upload and I don't want to waste my time doing it if it doesn't come out right.


Anonymous said...

Great story and pictures, but the video doesn't work!

Le Anne said...

I love all of your pictures. My favorite is the one of Matt on the Merry Go Round!


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