Trip Log Day 1
We hop off the plane at L.A.X. with a dream and tickets to Disneyland. Welcome to the land of fame, excess, whoa! are we gonna fit in? Waited at the curb for Relay Ride to pick us up, here we are for the fifth time. Look off through the smog, and I see the Hollywood sign.
The traffic is all so crazy, everybody seems so famous. My tummy’s turnin’ and I’m feelin’ kinda sick. Too much pressure and I’m nervous. That’s when we turn on the radio and they’re playing something vaguely familiar.
We sit, we drive, we sit, we drive in LA traffic. 15 miles is a short distance on the map. It’s a short distance if you are in Utah. It’s an hour and a half “drive” in Los Angeles. We arrive at our destination – the Walt Disney Concert hall. The architecture is jaw dropping. The parking lightens your wallet balancing out the effect. A quick scan of Google maps show the Griffith observatory is a only short distance. We are technical sort of people. Our children deserve a science education. We point our minivan towards the Hollywood hills.
Eight miles and 4 hours later we escape grid lock as we enter Griffith park. The trees feel like home. The crowds feel like the state fair. We move freely for an entire mile. We start to feel lonely. Lucky for us our solitude ended quickly and we were in the good company of several hundred thousand other vehicles for the final 500 yards of the drive. At observatory the lawn is filled with 10s of amateur astonomers. We look at the moon. We look at the sun. We look at all the tatoos. We are happy our children are receiving an education.
Unable to make it any longer on rice crispy treats and granola bars our pioneer youth demand sustanance. We head for a highly recommended mexican restaurant. The wait will require an hour and a half of patience. We do not posess such patience. We discover a Chick Fil La on Sunset Blvd. The children dine on nuggets and ice cream. We are victorious! We need modern art. To LACMA! The lighted poles are a strippers paradise. Devin and Brennan entertain themselves by climbing each one. The security guard entertains himself by yelling at them to get down. We laugh. It’s fun. Good times. To the hotel!
Trip Log Day 2
No Disney today. We love LA traffic so we drive back to the California Science center just a few miles from LAX. We eat lunch in the parking garage. We see the space shuttle Endevour. We touch the shuttles tire. We see a zero G toilet. I feel my eyes well up with tears. Tears are salty. Salt water is salty. We go to the beach. It’s 100 degrees. No one told us September in LA is hot but the life guard tells us to stop swimming among the surfers. Having learned so much we attempt body surfing. My diet has payed off. I look good in a swim suit. We are impressive. I see the locals point, talk and smile. They are impressed too.
Trip Log Day 3
Day 1 at Disneyland – first day in the park! We wait 45 minutes in the hot California sun to get into the park. Everyone is very kind. We are very happy. Happiness oozes through the front gates. We ride Buzz Light Year first. I score 140,000 points. Austin scores 160,000 points. We are amazing.
Excitment builds as we prepare to use our fast passes for Space Mountain. We all get on. Devin gets off. He is not excited. He is angry. He will wait at the exit. We twist. We twirl. It’s dark. We are scared by flaming demons. It’s fun. Beckett will not be riding Space Mountain again.
The thick air gives us super powers. I can run for ever and I do. We move from ride to ride abusing the Fast Pass system like pros. Careful logistics planning means we rarely wait for anything. I openly mock the chumps paying exoborant prices for measly sandwiches and disgusting turkey legs. I grab a granola bar from the pack and prepare to get on the Jungle Ride. We rush past the fools waiting in line for Indiana Jones. We have fast passes. We will not be waiting. The Balls bounce from ride to ride. Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Pooh Bear, Thunder Mountain Railroad. Nothing can stop us. The park closes at 10pm. We are wise. We ride until close and then move into the shops for another hour. We will not leave until forced. We breath Disney. We absord Disney into our blood. We are Disney. We make it through the door of the hotel. I have no memory after that.
Trip Log Day 4
Day two we “park hop” to California Adventure. Early in the morning no one is on the Grizzly River Run. Fast passes to World of Color and a dozen River Run passes will ensure continued happiness through the day. Over and over we brave the rapids. Round and round and round and round and round we go carefully keeping our hands and feet inside the ride at all times. Yellowstone? Hah. We have cast members to carefully ensure our 3 seconds of boat ride through geyers are safe and happy. We do not unbuckle our seatbelts until told to do so. We do not exit the ride until instructed. I retrieve crayons from a pack and begin to carefully color inside the lines. I am a good boy.
We move on to California Screamin. We experience 0G on the Tower of Terror. We carefully pose as the camera fires. Saluting with the middle finger of both hands seems to be a tradition among California youth. We attempt to claim our picture. The hotel staff refuses. The photo “fails to meet Disney standards.”
We consume dinner at Flo’s V8 Cafe. It is exciting to be dining at a gas station next to giant oil cans. A side of macaroni and cheese costs $3. That’s like getting it for free. I order 10. I can’t not save this money.
I hear happy tunes in my head but I can’t quite place the melody. I shrug it off. It’s part of the experience at the “happiest place on earth.” The park closes at 8 but Disneyland is open until 11. We’ve paid our money. We will not be going back to the hotel. We move on to Happiest Place on Earth. We find joy in the Haunted Mansion. We get soaked on Splash Mountain. We do it again. We get stopped on Splash Mountain. It is customary to show one’s boobs for the camera. The staff does not understand this custom and pushes the stop everything button. Everyone now stuck with us at the bottom of the last climb must now carefully make their way through the inside of the mountain back to the outside of the mountain. The inside is considerably less magical.
We are alone. We take photos in front of the haunted mansion. We stagger to the front gate. I have no recollection past that. Should I be worried?
Trip Log Day 5
Day 3 back to Disneyland. Zipadeedoo don’t won’t stop playing in my head. The CIA wants something I know it. I refuse to crack.
We move about but our pace has slowed. The Balls are beginning to weaken. We ride Thunder Mountain. We refuel on $20 ice cream sundays. The calories provide sufficient boost for us to make it to the Matterhorn. On the way we ride the teacups and then vomit ice cream. Good times.
All memory has now been wiped. I find myself in a hotel. I’m not totally sure what city I’m in.
Trip Log Day 6
Day 4 at Disneyland
I hand the “cast member” a fifty. She hands me a churro. I smile. You can get anything you want in the park with this worthless green paper. I get in an elevator to watch Aladin from the balcony. We arrive at the top floor safely. There’s no drops. No flashing. I’m very disappointed.
We no longer bother with showering. What a waste of precious minutes that we could use to be in line preparing for the next ride. Other guest don’t comb their hair why should we? Shaving? Out of the question! We are part of an exclusive club. We get to the park before the crowds swell. We stand in line for Peter Pan. We done gas masks but to no avail. They are no match for the ethnically diverse B.O.
We continue to race from ride to ride. My memory has stopped recording events. There are bright lights. I hear happy music. I smell fried sugar and cinnamon. I slam into person after person. The smell of a sea of sweaty humanity permeates the air. I stumble in the darkness for a place to sit. Relief does not come. I bid farewell to the this cruel, crazed, mayhem and throw myself in front of the Thunder Mountain Railroad. It stops immediately and I’m escorted off the tracks. Damn you safety features.
Trip Log Day 7
Day 5 at Disneyland. Our last day.
I score 877,000 on Buzz Light Year. No one gives a crap.
It’s a small world won’t stop playing in my head. I confess all my darkest secrets to random strangers hoping one of them is the CIA agent that has been torturing me. The music won’t stop. Please make it stop. Please make it stop.
Guests begin showing up in costume. I wonder if the monorail has transported us to Comicon. We move from the Disneyland to California Adventure to escape the crazy people. (And they were going to throw us out anyway.) We ride the rapids again. It’s OK to be fully dressed and soaking wet as long as we are within a mile radius of the ride. I didn’t wet my pants. Other guests understand this.
I run for Cars fast passes. They are gone (duh). I run for Tower of Terror fast passes. They are gone. I run over small children, old women, strollers, men with canes. I laugh maniacally. This is fun.
We pay $500 for a sandwhich, soup in a Boudin bread bowl and 4 bowls of of macaroni and cheese. I determine this mac and cheese must be made from gold so it’s worth the cost. We gulp down our food in order to avoid the World of Color crowds. We have fast passes to Soarin over California. They must be used.
We push through the crowds to arrive just in time to become the World of Color crowd. Fountains, fire and lasers leave us in awe.
We chose Cars as our last ride. The line lasts 20 minutes. We have time for another ride. We sprint to Tower of Terror. We arrive just in time for hotel bell hop Aubrey to load us into the elevator. We fill the back row and are serenaded by F-bombs from the local youth. I feel immersed in the local culture.
Up we fly, down we fall, up we fly, down we fall then a sudden stop. We are lowered to the ground very, very slowly. The doors open little Aubrey is gone, replaced by a very large, menacing looking TJ. TJ requests that the gentleman in the front row exit the ride. They begin a heated discussion about keeping your arms inside the ride. We fly up again, then down, then up, then down. We all keep our arms safely inside. We exit. TJ and said young man are still engaged in lively conversation.
At 12:30 am California Adventure is dark and quiet. I decide I very much like dark and quiet. We meet our party in the stores. We shop until 1 am. They ask us to lock up on our way out. We cannot give up this happiness. We wrap our bloodied feet in bandages to prepare for the return trek to the hotel. I can no longer feel my legs.
Trip Log Day 8
Time to go home. No one wakes up before 10 am. I am happy to see that we made it into the hotel and didn’t fall asleep in the street on the way home. You have to appreciate the small victories.
The children can barely walk. Our Disneyland tickets are all used up. Fearing this might be the end for several of them we do the best we can and take them to Downtown Disney. It lacks rides, but Disney is merciful and has established stores with Disney merchandise on the park perimeters. Surely this will help perk everyone up.
I happily pay $55 for pizza at the airport. It’s a total bargain. Take off feels like Star Tours. I complain that the video is really crappy and doesn’t seem to change. The stewardess is not amused. Landing in Salt Lake involves a number of drops. I forget I’m not on the Tower of Terror and pose for the photo. The flash never comes. The stewardess giggles. The side to side motion of the aircraft wipes the grin from my face. Am I back on the Matterhorn?
Unable to stop the fiscal diahrea we visit the Lego Store. We exchange piles of currency for piles of plastic. I am happy.
We pull into Zuppas Cafe right before they close. The prices are crazy! I can’t not save all this money. I buy everything my everyone wants. I spend $45. This Utah is an oasis of finance.
11:59pm. We pull into the driveway. The only thing more exhausted than my credit cards are my little Balls. We haul them into bed.
Trip Log Day 9
Trip is over. I miss the Matterhorn. I have my wife punch me in the back several times and push me out of bed. I fall on the floor. I hand her my wallet. The sensation of being at Disneyland returns. I am so happy.