Disney Debacle

After my fiance and I braved a weekend at Disneyland with Krusty and Maleah, I felt obligated to offer some advice to future park goers: If you plan on attending Disneyland, please have the courtesy to leave your children at home. I can’t stress this enough, Disneyland is no place for children. First, watching Krusty inadvertently trample a five year-old girl in the darkness of Injun Joe’s cave on Tom Sawyer’s Island confirmed that children pose a unique safety concern. Second, there are lots of moments at Disneyland that inspire prolonged outbursts of profanity, and sometimes it is difficult to substitute the phrases “frickin” and “gosh-darned” as often as needed. And finally, Disneyland is completely devoid of the most effective method of coping with screaming children: Alcohol.

With that said, our first stop was Splash Mountain. As the ridiculously long lines indicate, this is generally the most popular attraction at Disneyland. Consequently, most people usually depart base camp at the foot of the mountain at first light. If the weather conditions are favorable, and with a team of Sherpas functioning as guides, most can ascend a few hundred feet by nightfall. Reaching the summit, and the front of the line, can take months. In essence, actual mountains are quicker to traverse.

Krusty and I knew we weren’t physically capable of such an endeavor. This is why Disneyland’s latest invention, “FastPass,” is truly a godsend. For each attraction, FastPass enables savvy individuals to reserve a spot at the front of the line by obtaining a special ticket, and showing up several hours later to claim your spot at the front of the line. We also had to join a pyramid scheme, forward on a chain letter to 13 people, and file it all in our tax return. Anyway, somehow it all actually works. We were able to shrink a three-hour wait for Splash Mountain down to 10 minutes.

Simply put, possession of the FastPass is the closest thing in our society to being born into royalty. In essence, you are above the law. There is no greater capital offense in a long-line situation than taking cuts in front of those who have waited patiently for hours. It is a crime worse than murder, because at least in a homicide, the line gets shorter.

With the FastPass, you can cut in line with impunity. There are few things more satisfying than breezing past throngs of impatient people, feeling their murderous gaze of jealousy as you nonchalantly and unapologetically cut in front of them. Of course the human skeletons adorning the sides of the popular rides are not fake. They are either the remains of those who have perished from the long waits in line, or the victims of “FastPass Envy,” the Disneyland version of road rage.

At Krusty’s request, our next stop was the Enchanted Tiki Room. We all objected to this choice, especially since it had a five-minute wait before the next show. It seemed eerily like showing up early for jury duty. We filed in, and Krusty selected four seats right up front. On a rare stroke of brilliance on my part, I advised our party to move and grab the four seats closest to the exit. “These are the best seats in the house,” I declared. As the lights dimmed and a series of animatronic tropical birds began singing annoying songs, I looked over and saw Krusty burying his head in his hands, knowing that his actions had brought unspeakable misery upon his companions.

Thankfully, my exit-seat foresight paid off, and we silently bolted from the Tiki Room four seconds later. The next day, I looked up the word “Enchanted” in the dictionary, and sure enough, it doesn’t mean, “mind numbingly boring,” as my experience in the Tiki Room would suggest.

While we all had reason to doubt Krusty’s judgment in rides after the Enchanted Tiki Room debacle, it was really Maleah’s ride preferences that concerned us the most. Her taste in rides centered around tree houses, petting zoos and the double-decker buses that drove around Main Street Disneyland.

Maleah led us to the Swiss Family Robinson’s tree house, which is now called “Tarzan’s Treehouse.” Frankly, Tarzan has been a pretty lousy tenant. The conveyer belts and water transportation elevators are gone, as Tarzan has generally let the place go. I’m not sure what actually became of the Swiss Family Robinson, and in what way, if any, Tarzan is involved in their disappearance.

Another new attraction at Disneyland is Mickey’s Toontown, also known as “High-Pitched Screeching Whistle Land.” There is never a single moment of silence, as ToonTown is completely devoid of a library or funeral home. Frankly, I am convinced that Planned Parenthood is a major sponsor of this land. Somehow, glassy-eyed parents stand in line with their kids, completely oblivious to the shrill, gratuitous noise around them. Like a dog whistle, noises of this frequency can only be heard by couples that don’t have kids, and it is the most powerful form of birth control on the planet.

Sizing up the ridiculous lines and screaming children all over Disneyland, I realized there are few places on earth that I’ve been more motivated to drink. Of course, we heard lots of rumors about a secret bar located in Disneyland. Legend has it that an unmarked door somewhere near Pirates of the Caribbean leads to a Disneyland speakeasy. Like the mythical Fountain of Youth, many have searched every corner of Disneyland for its location. It’s easy to see why, after about three minutes in the Enchanted Tiki Room I would have preferred a lukewarm beer to eternal youth any day.

Tomorrowland was especially disappointing. First off, Space Mountain was closed for repairs until 2005, unless you used FastPass, in which case the wait is only until November 2004. (On a side note, is Space Mountain ever not under repair?) Gone is the attraction known as Captain EO, a 3-D movie starring Michael Jackson in the very believable role of an intergalactic space hero from the future. I was actually looking forward to seeing this movie again, because like many Arnold Schwartzenegger movies, it has unintentionally evolved from an action movie into a comedy.

The Submarine Ride, (aka The Tiki Room Underwater) was decommissioned as part of a disarmament treaty following the end of the Cold War. The gondola ride high above the park was also taken down, presumably because it violated Fantasyland’s airspace. And sadly, Star Tours is still taking guests to the Moon of Endor, even though both Krusty and I expressed a preference for traveling to the desert planet, Tatooine.

But by far, the biggest letdown in Tomorrowland was Innoventions (another Maleah selection). Their slogan: Come See Last Week’s Tomorrow! Apparently, like their other attractions, Disney only updates this exhibit every 20 years or so. Instead of an exhibit of cutting-edge future technology, we were shown “Future Wonders” that have been obsolete for 8 years. Based on this exhibit, I’m pretty sure Disney’s vision of the future includes a meteor hitting the earth forcing us to live a primitive existence with only Windows ’98 and Nintendo 64’s.

The biggest surprise at Innoventions was the guide’s enthusiasm for a wonderful new invention called… “THE INTERNET!!!” I was actually thrilled by this at first, figuring I’d have a chance to check my email or at least post these complaints on Internet Zillionaire in real time. They had literally 50 computers set aside for Internet demonstrations but none could surf the web outside of the Innoventions homepage. I walked out shaking my head, knowing that this was not the way Al Gore envisioned the Internet.

Based on their exuberance for the Internet and obsolete technology, it’s clear the staff at Innoventions apparently has no contact with the outside world. I was tempted to show the crowd my cell phone or digital camera, but I feared being mistaken for a time traveler or a member of an advanced alien race from a distant solar system.

As we were getting set to leave the park, Krusty and I headed to the monorail station to transport us to Downtown Disney, the shopping area where we were to meet the girls. While waiting in line, I actually had a monorail attendant tell me I could walk to Downtown Disney faster than the monorail could take me there. As I am prone to do, I did the math. Capable of traveling 120 mph, a monorail could have reached our destination in 15 seconds. Of course, one also needs to add on the standard Disney 45-minute Waiting Time. Krusty and I desperately had to get to Downtown Disney, not because the girls were waiting for us, but because it is the only place within 15 miles where alcohol was readily available. So, we jumped out of line and walked in the blistering sun, wondering if we could sue them over their declaration that Disneyland is the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

6 thoughts on “Disney Debacle”

  1. I’ve been waiting for this. What have you been doing, working during the day or something? Anyhow, this was a very good column. Disneyland has changed since I’ve been there last. That might make a good future column, you could take your elderly decrepit parents with you on a trip and put us on that train you hate that circles the park again and again. Can’t wait to see the pictures of your fun day at Disneyland. Good story, very funny, Matt. –your biggest fan, Mom

  2. for God sake if you ever have children let me take to them to the happiest place on earth.
    I have a feeling heaven will be dissapointing to you.
    dad

  3. The unrated version-
    I’m back, once again having to tell the whole story. The busiest place on earth propelled P and I into a state of rebellion. Against what did we rebel you ask? Everything from children to those Matterhorn line cutting families. This trip brought a painfull two hours of music followed by a pleasurable one hour. The house of blues provided this pain along with the most expensive beer in the world. True Zillionaires find a way to overcome and we were no different. After a rough day in the park we decided to sweet talk the hotel guests down at the hot tub. After an hour or so of our sweet alchol induced conversations the guests all retreated to their rooms. Ahh sweet revenge.

  4. One last shout out to a true Zillionaire moment. There is next to nothing more enjoyable than walking into a room that has no bed, only to learn that it folds out of the wall. There is a level of Austin Powers coolness in that.

  5. It makes me feel better that other people have witnessed the “new” Disneyland, or the Crappiest Place on Earth, as I like to call it. It all started going downhill the day I changed from being the screaming child to being the person standing in line behind the screaming child.
    What I want to know is when will someone finally use their money and talents to create a theme park for people like us? bars on every street corner…rides so scary you wet your pants…and a quicker mode of interpark transportation, like maybe a rickshaw.

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