Friday, March 25, 2005

We're blighters and beggars and ne'r do well cads

Yesterday a friend of mine and I went to Disneyland. The Happiest Place on Earth. The theme park of our childhood. The envy of 10 year olds everywhere. It took us forever to get there, but then if you live in SoCAL you know that no one should ever drive the 91 for anything. EVER. Nuclear holocaust headed your way and the 91 is your ONLY escape route? Forget it and take the hit. You were going to die eventually anyway. At least this way it would be fast.

We finally get to the happiest place on Earth and realize, "It's Spring Break!" Yeah! A gazillion people are here today! YEAH! No one likes standing in line for "120 minutes from this point" like I do. HOLY HANNAH break out the balloons this is FUN!

Let me back up just a tad. We arrive at said "happy place". It's 3:30 by the time we are frisked, cavity searched, metal detected, x-rayed, shoe removal-ed, virus scanned, (o.k. so I exaggerate here... the rest is REAL) ticketed and allowed to stand in our first line of the day - the bathroom.

On the tram from the parking structure we met a family from Wisconsin who were there for the first time. How bad do I now feel for these folks and their three tiny kids who are now here for probably the only time in their lives and will now wait (in your best "Sandlot" voice)
FOR EV ER! to ride each and every "attraction"! I bleed for these people. $50.oo to stand in a Disney-freaking-line! Yo ho my sorry Pirate! This is absurd!

Add into the mix that these folks are seeing Disneyland -the theme park that started them all, the one that sets the bar, for the first time and they are greeted by rusted poles on the Monorail, peeling ceilings in the Pirate's of the Caribbean, and torn and stripped wallpaper in the Haunted Mansion to mention only a few 'problems'.

This is not the Disneyland we grew up with. It's a mess. In the coffee/cookie/hot cocoa shop on Main Street (right next to the fruit stand and the lockers) we stood under very filthy fire sprinkler heads (hello Health and Fire codes) while we waited to be waited on. As we looked up at the dangling dust flowing off the sprinkler heads like moss in Magnolia trees we also noticed that the fruit holding glass display jars obviously hadn't been dusted in a good year or 2. They belonged over at the haunted mansion with all the other old dusty stuff. Problem is: this dust and grime is real. When it's my turn I lean over and whisper to the gal waiting on me, "Is there a manager available?" "No, can I help you?" "Well, I am just noticing how the place needs a little attention in the cleaning department." "huh?" "Well, the shelves over there are draped with hanging dust as are your sprinkler heads; and the fruit jars behind you are so thick with dust we can't see the fruit through the top of the jars." "Oh." (play elevator music here, maybe "Ceilings...nothing more than ceilings...") "O.k. then! Well my work here is done. You have a nice day now." "Um, o.k. ma'am, you wanna bag for that?" "No, no thank you, bye now." Problem solved. I am sure they are cleaning it up as we speak.

This year mark's Disneyland's 50th year in operation. A gynormous celebration is to begin on May 5th. There have been ads and flyers and promotions sent out to pretty much every Californian and probably the same things are being used to bring in the tourists from out of state and country. Walt Disney is rolling in his grave. I enjoy the fact that I am blessed enough to afford an annual pass. I really like going there just for dinner and sight seeing. I think Disneyland can bring a lot of happiness to people. But for heaven's sake, these people are making a huge profit off of sentiment and hype. Back in the day Walt made sure things were perfect. PERFECT! It was a true fantasy land. No one ever saw a mess, rust, dust, real rodents, decay, repairs or the construction. It was behind decorative wood barricades, painted prettily to conceal the mess and usually with some story line to match whatever the theme of that area was. Now it's a huge blue or grey structure, of wood, but just there -looming- with a large sign saying they'll be glad to take your money while maintenance is being had. We're all being had.

C'mon Disney. Get it together. I know that you are succeeding on the out of state market and foreign tourists. But hey, after a while, they too will get tired of the steadily declining product you are selling and tell their friends. It's a Mouse Trap.

P.S. Highlight of the day was Scott. A low on the totem pole employee who went out of his way to make my friend and I extremely comfortable in an embarrassing situation. Thanks Scott. If Walt were alive, you would get a promotion. You know what Disneyland is -or was- all about.

add to sk*rt