Saturday, May 31, 2008

Transitions are hard, part 2

The improved American highway system isolated the American-in-transit. On his speedway he had no contact with the towns which he by-passed. If he stopped for food or gas, he was served no local fare or local fuel, but had one of Howard Johnson's nationally branded ice cream flavors, and so many gallons of Exxon. This vast ocean of superhighways was nearly as free of culture as the sea traversed by the Mayflower Pilgrims.
--Daniel J. Boorstin

A few too-short hours after we arrived, I was in my seminar, marveling that an eight-fingered mouse could make such good coffee, while Mama and 3B got some well deserved sleep. When they got up, they headed out to the pool and beaches to play. Along the way, Mama discovered that the effect of all of 3B's swim lessons had worn off--he was much happier walking around the pool than going in, although he did finally give into and enjoy the temptations of the kiddie pool.

Mama also discovered that the beaches are merely well-groomed flats of sugary sand built on top of steep piles of boulders. This means that they're nice for lying on and scooping sand on, but you're not allowed to enter the water from them. Fortunately, Mickey provides half a dozen or so pools right by the beaches. 3B wasn't bothered by the lack of swimming off the beach; he was too busy figuring out what this sand stuff was and being fascinated by the waterfall in the pool.

After my seminar let out, Mama and I were busy figuring out how that eight-fingered mouse could make such good margaritas.

The next day, my seminar let out at noon, and 3B was too wound up from his morning with Mama in the Magic Kingdom to nap, so we all headed back on the monorail and were immediately greeted by a parade.

3B was happy to dance up and down the closed street and amuse the waiting crowds. And, even though 3B didn't know who anyone in the parade was, he was more than happy to see them.

Unfortunately, Mama and Papa weren't much help introducing him to the characters in the parade--"That's Mickey and Minnie, and those things dancing behind them are...uh...dancing turds? phalluses? oh...brooms from Fantasia!

Poor 3B. Next time he should take chaperones who aren't so mainstream-impaired as we are.

And then we had a full day in the Magic Kingdom--let me summarize: if it goes fast, flies, spins--or, ideally, all three--3B loves it. If it involves standing in a mass of sweating, slowly shuffling people, 3B doesn't love it. Mama reported that when they were in line for Dumbo, 3B cuffed the man in front of them. For the record, when he was waiting in line with me at the teacups, there was no cuffing.

What are all those people doing on my ride?
Also, props to my sister, California Girl, for the warning about the transitions after rides. We thought getting 3B to wait in line was bad only until we tried to extract him from a ride. The only one we could get safely away from was Buzz Lightyear, but I think that may be because he was in a stupor from all the lights! aliens! flashing! guns! spinning!

Tea cups!
But, trying to leave the teacups?

The waiting is the hardest part...
Screaming, body flinging, heart-breaking pleading...but we kept to our stick-and-move strategy and rolled out as fast as we could after each ride to the next shiny thing. Fortunately, Disney provides a few of those, although not all were of great appeal to a toddler.

In fact, all of ToonTown was a wash except the plane smashed into the water tower, but that's just because it's a plane, not because it's a Toonplane. It doesn't help that Disney has locked all the characters away in pay-to-play events. I remember going to Disneyland back in the not-so-distant day when it was possible to find the characters wandering through the lands, but we didn't see a single character outside of a parade or stage show. However, there were plentiful breakfast/lunch/dinner events with Mickey/Minney/Pooh/princesses.

Not only does Disney make a pretty penny from those "special" events, they make money from kids like 3B, who were told that they were going to a magic place where they would see Mickey Mouse. On his first visit, since there was no parade, Mama had to buy 3B a plush doll, just so 3B could see Mickey. Nobody ever said Disney was shy about making a buck, but even with that reputation, this seemed a bit crass.

Or am I just becoming an old man, complaining about how "Things aren't like they used to be when I was growing up..."?

And then, the next day--up at ohmigawd dark thirty, bus to airport, fly home, find car, drive home, meet Grammy, dinner, bath, books, bed, unpack, laundry, grocery shopping, catch up on work, wake up, more laundry, packing, books, nap, goodbye to Grammy, taxi to airport, get on plane, eat food, doze, wake up in Brussels.

What now?

The saga continues tomorrow...

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  1. Mmm, margaritas.

    I used to love the interaction of the characters out in the park- it's still that way at Disneyland, but even there not as much.

    They have places in Toontown, like Mickey's house where you stand in line forever to get a personal audience with the mouse. It's free but the line is always huge.

  2. If you read your program (AKA the map they hand you with your change, or as you enter the park, in small print somewhere is a list of who you can meet when. When you get really savvy, you learn where the cast enters the park and hang out there. If you are going again, I can point out a few likely spots. Some days they have more cast appearances than others, and the breakfast ones are pricey but really fun. We did that exactly once. You should bring 3B to Balboa, we have lots of sand there, and it is free. It is close to the mouse if he needs that again, or if you and Mama need more margaritas.

  3. Whit: Yeah, we saw that Toontown stuff. The wait was over an hour, so we left. Anything over 15 minutes was already challenging with 3B.

    CAGirl: If we go again, we'll hit you up for those tips again. By then 3B might even know who he's looking at. Or even be able to go to the park by himself while Mama and I sit on the beach.

  4. I am old enough to remember what an E ticket meant.. it meant the really good rides. Now of course it is one price admission and then pay for everything else. I hope you got him some ears. Everyone in my family has ears with their name on 'em.

    Next time you go maybe he will be able to tell you what the characters are in the parade. My kids were handy with that information... of course we only went 2 years ago when they were much older, and could probably get there themselves, however I went with them so they would all make it home.

  5. KMoo: Hey, I remember E tickets too. Does that make me old?

    We didn't get ears for 3B yet. His favorite thing to do with hats these days is destroy them, so we thought we'd wait a bit before getting those.

    But yes, someday.