18 April 2011

Disneyland Has Proved I Have No Inner Child

Not too long ago I went to Disneyland - my first visit since moving to Orange County. I'll spare you the details of how and why. All you need to know is that it was work-sponsored.

The trip included lunch at Club 33 (the "secret" restaurant) plus - leaving work early. So I figured, WTF not. I'll give this place a second try. Everyone loves it, even people I respect for being totally jaded.

This was my second trip to the magic kingdom. I first visited Disneyland when I was six. I wasn't impressed and haven't been back since. Somewhere there's a VHS cassette with my dad griping "we paid $35 so you could go to Disneyland and all you want to do is go back to the motel pool!" After that I made my dad go on It's a Small World eight times.

What can I say? I grew up in the Pacific NW, an outdoor pool was a big freakin' deal to me. Swimming Outside!?!? I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Not to mention - there was no wait to use the pool. Let those other suckers wait in line 45 minutes for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. I had the waterslide all to myself.

When I moved to Orange County, Disneyland ranked at the bottom of my list of places to visit. Right after jail, but above the emergency room. My flights are regularly infested with Disney-fied brats, why would I spend $75 + parking to see inside their hive?

Nevertheless, fate intervened and off I went.

I arrived at the Disney compound just before 1:00 pm and parked in the "Woody" lot (I'll spare you the pederast joke). It was a 20 minute bus ride from the parking lot to the magic kingdom.  The shuttle bus took such a circuitous route I wondered if my co-workers and I were being taken to a "re-education center" rather than Disneyland.

This parking shuttle would later be the site of a minor existential crisis, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Lunch was okay. The toilet was interesting (see below). For souvenirs they gave us a chocolate mint candy and something that probably used to be a matchbook, but now appears to be rolling papers.

club 33 toiletclub 33 rolling papers

After lunch, we were free to explore the park. After 90 minutes - I had to get out of there. The place made me anxious. I wanted to breathe into a paper bag, and not just because of the 18 fart clouds I walked through.

Actually, I was ready to leave after about an hour, but I couldn't find my way out of the Tomorrowland pavilion. There I was, standing in someone else's fart in the Future Kitchen sponsored by Microsoft / Siemens and thought to myself "The future smells like ass... GET ME THE F*CK OUT OF HERE!"

I retraced my steps to the pavilion entrance and escaped. I didn't feel any better. I wished I could just teleport out of there.

It's not that crowds bother me. I just spent the weekend working a trade show with thousands of people. Normally I would just kick back and enjoy some people watching, but I'd had enough. I called my guy and said "I'm leaving, I know it's rush-hour, but I'm over this place." He encouraged me to stay and enjoy myself and I struggled to convey that I could not enjoy myself.

The main problem is: I don't like amusement park rides or silly hats and of course you know how I feel about a place infested with kids. Truth be told though - I wouldn't like Disneyland if it were filled with well-mannered gays.

I often joke that I hate fun... but maybe there's some truth to that? I like to think I have a fun side. I liked the first Jackass movie and I think the new tacos made with Dorito-flavored shells are hilarious.

taco made with Dorito taco shell

To exit the park I had to walk through Main Street USA. There were happy people of all ages: families  holding hands, couples canoodling, even really gothed out types looking happy. Some of my black-clad brethren were even wearing the mouse ears (un-ironically!).

I became disenchanted with the disenchanted and there my mini-crisis began.

Back on the parking shuttle it occurred to me: I don't have an inner child. I mean this 75% jokingly, but I am 25% sincerely bummed out. I've considered the after-effects of reading The Old Man and the Sea when I was eleven, but I think I was simply born this way.

I remember (vaguely) being in kindergarten. The other little girls wanted to play house and fought over who would be the mommie. I wanted to be the rebellious teen who ran away from home. Before too long I stopped going to recess. They sent me to the second grade to do reading lessons.

Even as a kid I didn't want to be a kid. I'm not saying this to seem superior, I say this because I want to know if there is anyone else who felt this way. Anyone else out there? And what are your feelings about Disneyland...


BookBuster said...

Don't feel bad. The "Inner Child" is a myth. Besides, being a diver and exploring underwater is something kids dream about doing and read about in books.

So you didn't like Disneyland? Big Deal.

I'm willing to bet as a child you were pretty imaginative and played out all sorts of crazy fantasies in your head if not out in the yard. Don't try and tell me you didn't have an imagination as a child, otherwise you wouldn't be the the blog-writing adult you are now. The facades of Disney can't compete with the whimsy of one's own imagination. You shouldn't apologize for recognizing this earlier than most of us.

That said, fuckin' Space Mountain rocked my shit when I was a kid.

- The M.A.D. Hapa said...

Thanks, Bookbuster. I'm feeling better already.

Unknown said...

Your inner child just marches to its own drummer - how else would you have stayed you after (how many years???) in Orange County. There are certain places in America that are just creepy - your post reminded me a bit of the planet Meg visits in a Wrinkle in Time (you with me?). More power to you if you bounce balls at a different rate than everybody else.

Anonymous said...

Geez. I need to make sure my kids don't go to Disneyland. It's too late for me not to have kids...

Kyle G.

Jeff said...

You know what - this is great writing! Love the commentary. Keep writing - love your point of view and descriptions.

"Fart Cloud"... WOW - Good stuff, know exactly what you mean!

Inner Child? Whatever. Keep being you and expressing yourself.