Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Magic Kingdom Mayhem

I had a sneaking suspicion it wasn’t a good idea to go to Disneyland on a Friday, the week after New Year’s (last Friday), but it was a nice alternative to work. Of course, I had an article due in a couple of days and it didn’t thrill me too much to work on it at that moment, so I proposed a Disneyland trip. My enthusiasm was deftly matched and then exceeded by Natalie’s, who needs very little in the way of an excuse to visit Mickey Mouse and all the splendor of his house.

From an adult’s perspective, it didn’t go right from the start: We didn’t leave the city until 11:30 (after dance class), and when we got there, I knew it was going to be busy when the parking attendants pass out tissues for possible bloody noses, as they directed us up to the top floor of the parking structure. Throngs of people crowded onto the trams like it was the last train to Clarksville, and the line for strollers was twice what it usually is. We decided to walk instead, and I’m sure we still made it to the park before the last people in line. Good for us… at least until we got there.

(Right) Bright but chilly, Kara, Natalie and Matthew ride It's a Small World... still Christmasized (but nary a mention of the word "Christmas" to be found).

Years ago, back before kids, the house, the dog… this shirt I’m wearing… Kara and I had annual passes (which cost a fraction of what they’re fleecing today) and if the park was slightly crowded we’d either sit on a bench and make fun of Midwesterners as they walked by in their black socks and sandals or we would simply turn around and go home. Nothing lost, nothing gained.

(Left) Natalie, in her Addie Pray hat, awaits her turn behind the ears of Dumbo... we were almost there.

Now that Natalie’s in the picture, crowds be damned, we’re going on Dumbo…and then It’s a Small World… and then the carrousel… and if you parents are really good, I’ll let you take me to California Adventure and we’ll go on a host of rides over there even. The economics of waiting 40 minutes for a 30 second ride is lost on her; she only sees a purple saddle on Dumbo and the chance to fly. And tricking her into leaving because the park “is closing” doesn’t work when the sun’s out. Yep, we were committed to fishing the stroller through the crowds like a salmon swimming upstream, to stand shoulder to shoulder with the many faces of humanity, to absorb astronomical prices to our bottom line and to walk and to walk and to walk. I never complained before, but then again, I wasn’t weaving 60 pounds of children, stroller and more equipment than on an Oregon Trail covered wagon through hordes of people for six solid hours either.

(Right) Once on the ride, Natalie takes control and then says "Hi Mom!" every time we circled around to where she was watching us.

Of course, we did have fun—how can you not?—and Kara and I shared “let’s make the best of it for the sake of the kids” looks all afternoon when one string of people in line followed another.

We stopped at McDonald’s for dinner, a nice nutritional meal for the family, and I was surprised at how hungry I was, like I’m supporting a family of tape worms, but I had two Big Macs, fries, two large Cokes… and then I went back and got two more hamburgers for the ride home. I guess since I limit myself to eating at McDonald’s only once or twice a year, I’m allowed to splurge when I do go. But the sick part is that I had a bowl of ice cream when I got home; and the next morning, I didn’t gain a pound. I feel sneaky, like I got away with it!

The kids conked out on the ride home. We got stuck in some predictable traffic and listened to AM talk radio.

Typical family outing.

(Left) For some reason the Little Hippie just hates the Casey Junior train ride and merely holds on for dear life until it's over. Some tears were shed.

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