When Disneyland Becomes A Whole New World

Disneyland.

Spinning and spinning at Dizzyland…

I haven’t visited the Magic Kingdom in at least a dozen years, when I was surrounded with kids and baggage and baby wipes. When I spent the day slathering sunscreen onto wildly waving body limbs and handing out fruit gummies to dodge the imminent threat of spending five dollars for an ice cream cone that would not last the wait in line to the next ride that two out of five kids didn’t want to go on, which didn’t matter because the baby STILL wasn’t tall enough to ride, which meant I was going to stand this one out regardless…..

Hubby splurged that year and bought family passes. They got us in four times, but not on weekends or holidays or Spring Break or months ending in “y”.

And still, it was too much.

Last week, I used Park Hopper Passes – courtesy of my employer – to take my sister and I back to the Happiest Place on Earth.

As we both carry battle scars from previous visits, we kept the jumping up and down with glee to a bare minimum, and made a firm pinkie promise: this time was going to be different.

There would be no dashing madly, elbows flying, between rides.

There would be no baggage: no strollers, no totes, no jackets “in case it gets cold” or hats “in case it gets hot”, no cameras or video recorders, no toys for when we’re bored in line, no grocery-store-in-a-backpack if one of us starts screaming for a giant lollipop shaped like Mickey.

There would be no whining. If we wanted to spend twenty minutes in a shop staring at Mickey ears, we would. If we wanted the dang lolli, we were – understand this – going to buy it.

And eat it.

And not share even one lick with anyone else in the whole world.

There would absolutely positively be no waiting in line for a ride we didn’t want to ride. We would avoid Mr Toad’s Wild Ride and Tom Sawyer’s Island and why do they even keep Autopia? Toontown and the “tune” that lives next to it: definitely out.

(It’s stuck in your head now, isn’t it?)

This time, we would saunter into California Adventure and figure out what the hype was. Little did we know that just getting there proved to be as much of a California Adventure as I am willing to take on any given day. 

The LA freeways, true to form, were once again under construction and what map quest said and what the patched up freeway signs said were totally different things.

We ended up trapped in the HOV lanes, going lickety split past appalling traffic. We could not get out, and as each sign warned us that we needed a transponder (whatever that is) and to have at least three people in the car (say what?), we had several rounds of hysterics before finally escaping. It easily replaced the Radiator Springs Racers, which weren’t racing that day.

I’m fairly certain we’re going to jail.

We practiced our Thelma and Louise by going on – hands down – the scariest ride there: Soarin’ Around the World. There was nothing about the boring wait in line to indicate that we were about to wet ourselves. No screaming or thunderous roaring from inside.

You sit in a row and get lifted maybe ten feet off the floor. You are surrounded by an IMAX theater screen and an overhead panel that customizes what you are about to do: jump off a dozen cliffs around the world and hang glide over breathtaking beauty.

When you swoop down over a herd of African elephants, you can smell the earth and the trees and feel the wind in your hair. When you glide above the Taj Mahal, you can see every tile and smell fresh jasmine. When the whale breaches right in your face, you are spritzed by water.

When you climb up to the top of the Eiffel Tower and leap from it, you scream like a little girl and close your eyes and grip the handles and your sister thinks it’s hilarious, all of ten feet up.

Whatever. I need my feet on the floor.

In return, I made her ride the Disneyland Railroad all the way around the Park. She had never done that and it was my secret weapon back in the day. You can ride it as long as you want, and we ate Dole Pineapple Floats and cheered the old school dino animatronics.

Just go. Trust me.

We took the Jungle Cruise for old time’s sake and it occurred to me that I missed my calling as a tour guide comedienne. You can keep your Disney princesses; my fantasy is that you can be paid to tell goofy jokes all day.

When you can’t put your cellphone away for the night…

We lounged around New Orlean’s Square, visiting Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion twice. We were happy to be running away on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and even happier to hit light speed on Star Tours.

The fantasy came to a halt at Space Mountain. Someone had forgotten to turn on the light display inside, and the ride was entirely in the dark.

If I wanted to be in the dark and jerked around randomly and come out feeling confused and vaguely nauseous, I could’ve stayed home.

We wrapped the day up nicely with dinner in the Blue Bayou, a place harder to get into than an old pickle jar. We sat in the Louisiana twilight, watching boats drift by, and ate lamb and steak and fresh bread that made your eyes glow like fireflies with delight.

We spoke of treasures and teacups, castles and carrousels.

It was a whole new world, going to Disneyland without the fam.

A smaller world, perhaps, but one glittery with pixie dust.

Tea at the Blue Bayou…so so so nice.

Post Traumatic Panty Syndrome

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a bona fide fiancé, must be in want of a shower. Or ten.

Not sure how your weekend went, but unless you had panties hanging from your curtain-rods, mine is the clear winner.

One of my nieces threw a lingerie shower for another one of my nieces and as my daughters’ generation moves inevitably onward with the business of growing up, I am lucky to still be considered cool enough to play hostess to some touchstone moments.

An awful lot of time goes by when you blink.

This shower being only one in a series of events which must be marked with squeals, sighs, and rolling of eyes, was an opportunity to set a precedent for myself.

Whoopsie. Was that out loud?

It was a real crisis.

“Exactly, specifically, how naughty can I be for this?” I texted my daughter.

I wandered the store, drifting through piles of pink and lace and puffs and perfume.

Considering I carry thirty-ish years of boudoir under my belt, it was a bit anti-climactic.

“She likes baby-doll styles,” came the reply.

My daughter knows with whom she is texting and in her wisdom, tried to mitigate the estrogen war within her mother.

I couldn’t decide which generation I was allowed to represent. I was torn between Queen Victoria’s bloomers and Madonna’s cone bra.

Between minding my own business or sharing it at the party.

The reality is that, while everyone agrees that a bridal shower is about rallying around the bride’s bedroom, no one is willing to enter it with her.

Not while your mom is watching.

Or – dear Lord – when your kid is watching.

I was pouting in the general direction of the garterbelts and suddenly had a flash-back to 1988…

I’m a 19 year old bride, and my tribe throws me a shower.

There is no internet, there is no registry, and purchasing anything naughtier than a thong requires ID and shadowy, shifty stores with neon lights in the windows.

Considering sex ed was something you picked up reading bathroom stalls or from magazines found under your friend’s parent’s mattress (because everyone knows that your own parents do NOT have marital relations…they adopted you, and that is why your mother doesn’t understand you), it’s no surprise that my bridal shower was traumatizing.

Not because I missed the thorough education that my wild single girlfriends went on to acquire, but because my grandmother was hosting, and my mother and aunts and all their generation were mingling with them in the room.

Keep in mind, everything was pastels in the 80s. Peach, padded lingerie hangers, a crystal makeup brush, a little yellow lace teddy and a satiny rose kimono. It all made me blush.

Dusty blue, dusty rose, dusty sage…I’m surprised I didn’t receive an ostrich-feather duster. My grandmother was a neat freak (big shock) but had she gifted me with one, she would have given me the only risqué thing at the party.

Everyone, regardless of age, nodded vaguely in the direction of the rumpus-room, but no one stood up and reached for the doorknob.

And so, this weekend, we gathered around and squealed over tiny packages of little jammies, potpourri and wine, flowers and folderols, and maintained our delicacy.

I am still calling a win on account of the panty-lined curtain-rods and three teapots that were dispensing happiness.

In honor of my blushing bride memories, I gave her a generation-proof gift card.

‘Cause girls just wanna have fun…just not while their aunt is watching.

Disclaimer: the shower was last month, the wedding is next weekend, and I apologize for going postless so often. I will be more faithful this month!