Thursday, March 10, 2022

63 Things About Me - #50, #49 and #48

 All of these pertain to Disneyland, but they represent many different phases of experience. And the combine to make a complicated and inconsistent relationship.

#50 Home (Disney, the Pacific & Palm Trees)

Growing up with my father, we moved. A lot. And so I developed a very different idea of "home" than other kids my age. When I thought of "home" and fitting in, I thought of three things, in reverse order of importance, Palm Trees, the Pacific Ocean and Disneyland.

Original FantasyLand. Including the Sky Cups and original Facades

I loved Disneyland. And, when spending summer vacations with my Grandma Honey on Fridays, she would drop me off at Disney in the morning and pick me up around 5:30 at night.  I had a great time. Quit often I would meet people and hang out with them. Usually adults that were there alone because they thought they should go, and I would drag them to my favorite spots. It would never happen now, but it was fantastic then.

Yes, the Coca-Cola stage rose from the ground. And, on grad night 1974, brought Olivia Newton John to sing. This was one of hee first years on American charts. She sang a bunch of stuff, but the most memorable was "I Honestly Love You" to a Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed bear.

My "Grad Night" trips with Shelly (twice) just were a cherry on top. Including the fact we saw Olivia Newton John there!

I went with so many people and has fun over the years. My mom, Jeanie, Zela, Martha, Jane, Graham and the girls. hell I even took Eddie for the first time and that was extra special.

#49 Disneyland Minus People!

I got to experience Disneyland twice without any people. That was very special. Disneyland used to be closed on Mondays when I was younger. One of the last times I remember this, Greg was taking some landscape architecture class at UCLA. He got to take a few hours touring with a groundskeeper at Disney (and I got to go).

The keeper was so proud of Walt's vision and his own work. He had worked for a while at DisneyWorld during its start up and he explained the differences in plantings. Disneyland had better weather so was able to host many more different plants and trees. It was cool.

The second time I was there without people was with Eddie. When he was working for Disney Imagineers we got to go to "Minnie's Moonlight Madness".  This was (maybe still is) a night for disney employees to sign up a for a combination scavenger hunt and puzzle process. It was late (after the park closed so at least 11:00PM, maybe later if it was on a Friday or Saturday. It was a great time. Eddie did that for me.

Minne's Moonlight Madness checking clues

#48 Corporate Disney Now

Sadly Disney has changed. I mean I understand. It grew from a family orientated set of Theme Parks to a media conglomerate. But yes, it has changed Disney for me - probably not most others. And it is definitely the frog in boiling water thing.

The first change, that I actually liked at the time, was getting rid of tickets. But then things went south.

One reason aI learned to love Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was that it was a B ticket and all other Fantasyland Rides were C tickets.

The downward spiral started with annual pass holders (passholes in employee parlance).  Suddenly Disney filled up with annoying screaming teenagers dropped off by parents. And yes, I do understand I was this way when young (read above), but Honey had to pay every time. At least to let me into the park (of course it was under 10 bucks back then without tickets, but still...).

Then the out of control prices shot up at least every year.

Then they built California Adventure, where you can see outside the park - which was a huge Walt no-no.

Now you can pay to get out of lines, you can pay to skip the lines, you can pay to go in early. You see the common theme here. Disney is now a corporate gig pulling every dime out of you.

Price per day at Disney is now $109 per person. It you want a Genie Plus skip the line package, it is an extra $20 per day per person. If you want to skip some individual lines (Lighting Lane) you can py an extra $7 - $20 per person, per line.

The charges add up and make me a little disappointed in Disney. It no longer feels like home.


  1. I just into a spirited "argument" on a company Zoom call last week because somebody was going to Disneyworld with his family. I argued that there was only one "Happiest Place on Earth and it certainly wasn't in Florida. I turned my camera off and grabbed my Micky ears and Imagineering name badges from the other room. I turned the camera back on and they laughed but I suspected they were more than a little envious. Gosh, weren't we lucky to have such a magical place go to and enjoy? I loved those times. Sweet, sweet Olivia.

  2. Oh my goodness. I have the same reaction when anyone calls Disney Florida "the happiest place on earth". It is Disneyland and only Disneyland. Do not screw with that! DisneyWorld - phfft


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