Sunday, October 08, 2006

Disneyland - at 50

We took the family to Disneyland over this weekend. At 50 and counting the place is a bit different than I remember it. First, it is not as clean as it once was. Second, for some reason, they celebrated the 50th birthday of the place for more than 20 months. I thought that was a bit odd. But third, there are still lots of things to do there.

We only went on a few rides yesterday. But Disneyland, one of the unique notions that Walt Disney had, is not about the rides. We took Mason on Small World - which is a floating tour of the world with a mind-numbingly repetitive song. But it is safe and nice for a first ride. Then we went on the Toon Town Coaster. This is a mad mouse which runs only about 39 seconds - but like rides of its genre whips and turns all sorts of ways. Mason loved that more than any other ride. I was able to get a small video clip of him - shrieking with delight.

Then we checked in for Space Mountain, using something called a fast pass - which allows you to bypass lines if you agree to come back at a specified time. Then we left the park to give Mason a nap.

In the intervening time we went to a pretty good Vietnamese restaurant in Anaheim for lunch/dinner.

When we returned for the evening, we went back to Space Mountain. They seem to have upgraded the ride a bit. It is also a mad mouse except this one is mostly in the dark - with a star theme. Mason was a bit scared of that ride - I think because he could not see where he was going. We bought the pictures of the end of the ride and Mason (and Quinlan) have their head ducked.

Emily, Quinlan and Michael and I then went on Pirates of the Carribean. We went into that line when one of the shows was going and thus zipped through the line. I thought that the ride seemed about the same except for a few images of Johnny Depp. But Quinlan and Emily thought it had also been refurbished. The park is showing its age a bit. I have never noticed that before yesterday.

Then we took Mason on the Jungle Cruise, which he thought was a bit scary. It is noisy and I think he was not sure whether all of the animals were real or not. That was the day. The Jungle Cruise is almost the quinessential Disney ride. It meanders through all of the jungles of the world - in a boat that reminds one of the African Queen. But that is not the point. The pilot of the boat has a set of really bad puns - which last night's person delivered poorly - but the ride is about stepping back away from reality and enjoying the experience. I think that is what Disney's original conception of the park would be. This was not meant to be an amusement park - but something different. It has some great rides (although the Matterhorn is closed for maintenance) but the experience is more important than the rides.

It was especially delightful to experience this through our grandson's eyes. His unbridled delight was an inspiration.

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