I don't know why I'm saying that but there is something about this time of year that makes me think of Disneyland. I have several groups of friends who love planning a day there. Its just magical. I know some people grumble about the prices and I agree that its getting ridiculous to pay $72 for a 1 Day pass. When I moved here 10 years ago, it was about $40, so it has nearly doubled. I honestly don't know how some people are affording it with children! I sometimes have to scrape my pennies together for myself......and I make good money!
Oh who am I kidding, I buy the Southern California Annual Pass because I usually go so many times a year that it just makes sense. But THAT is ridiculous as well, especially since all the days you REALLY want to go are blacked out and you have to pay the $72 anyway. Whatever. Here is why I keep putting up with the pricing.
Its the happiest dern place on earth. Plain and simple. Where else can you go where the employees are cheerful and thank you and treat you like they are so happy to have you as their guest? Has that EVER happened consistently anywhere else? When you go to Jiffy Lube do those guys practically bust out in a chorus line to thank you for coming so they can change your oil? Never. You're lucky if they even look up....or (gasp)....speak!
Disneyland is a day of sunshine and sugar. I've even had to learn to curb my truck driver mouth at Disneyland because I have been gently reminded by the people that sweep the streets that there are children present. "There are? Where? Here?" Yea, they were right and I have since switched my "Holy sh*ts!" to "Holy Banana Poo!" just for the occasion. Its worth it though. Where else can you pay $3.75 for a churro? I mean seriously folks! I realize I am paying $3 for the smile...and well, .75¢ for the actual churro, but dang-it, its worth it! A sugar high from a person that at least appears to enjoy their job! Do you find that anywhere else? No you don't!
I haven't even mentioned the rides. Ah, Pirates of the Caribbean. Captain Jack Sparrow. Need I say more? Just stay away from the actual character walking around. The guy I met a few years back was wickedly rude. I touched his sleeve to get his attention and ask for a photo and all I got was a nasty "Don't.......touch......Love!" The "Holy Banana Poo" got replaced with "You're an a-hole!"....it happens, we all slip on occasion. Sorry to any children in the vicinity that day. Hope you aren't scarred by hearing such things.
But back to the rides! Where else would you happily stand in line for over an hour to get spun through a dark globe and then have your picture taken as you were about to throw up on the last hill? Space Mountain! Of course you would! Where else would you climb into the most rickety spine slamming rollercoaster that puts your life in danger by putting you face to face with the abdominal snowman? (Like most kids, I used to say abdominal and it stuck.....not that I could even venture a guess as to how to spell....abom...abdon...abbomi....eh, you know what I mean.)
There is just something about Disneyland that lets you escape the world of hell outside its gates. Its cheerful, its clean and even though a cookie costs more than your car payment, you will happily pay it because for once in our lives, someone isn't inconvenienced to get it for you!
So I'm reminded of Disneyland this time of year because if you go when the park is decorated for the holidays, its even more magical than it usually is. It takes you back to being a kid and watching all the Christmas specials on tv like "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", "Frosty the Snowman" and of course "A Charlie Brown Christmas". Its like you get to step into those magical places and live there for a few hours. The lights, the smells and of course, the California "snow". Its just pure magic and I don't know about you, but I am willing to pay for a little "happy reality" for a while instead of the real reality of rude people and bad drivers....who can't seem to find their turn signals......another blog, another time....
This next story will about sum up the reality of Disneyland. Back in 2001, my friends and I, had been planning for months to take a Friday off and go to Disneyland on September 14th. Then, the most dreaded event in U.S. history, for our generation, happened. September 11, 2001. We were all shell shocked and scared. We had talked about rescheduling our visit. Then we decided that we needed to continue on with our lives and not let that day stop us. Yes, it was only 3 days after the most horrific day, but we needed a break from our tv's and the "fear machine" as I like to call the news.
We got to the gates of Disneyland and it was like a weight was lifted. We could all exhale. We could laugh. We could enjoy the beautiful weather and unwind from the extreme horror we had all witnessed. We had a wonderful day and the park was virtually empty because people were still home glued to their tv's. We had gotten out of the house and decided to not let this event stop us from being Americans and being free. We ate junk food till we almost barfed and we rode all the rides at least twice. We felt better. We felt alive and we were thankful for that. Because in the end, we figured, if someone decided to bomb Disneyland, at least we would die at the happiest place on earth and we were all okay with that.