My Thoughts, Exactly » Jim Chase

Our Mickey Mouse Experience

So, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary this month at Disneyland Park in Anaheim. But you figured that out already, right? Being old school types, we opted not to do the whole “Park Hopper” thing and stayed within the original, classic Disneyland. Then again, I’ve never really understood the concept behind California Adventure. I mean, why would tourists and especially Southern California residents, spend close to $100 and precious vacation time to see what Southern California is like? Um, it’s pretty much like what you just drove through to get here.

As far as Disneyland being the “Happiest Place On Earth,” I can’t vouch for that. There were lots of screaming (and not in a good way) kids and more than a few terminally frustrated, out-of-patience parents who could’ve used more Hakuna Matata, if you know what I mean. That said, Disneyland certainly might be the Most Crowded Place On Earth. But to be fair, we did unknowingly time our visit to coincide with what had to have been spring break for the majority of school districts in North America.

Besides the teeming masses and lines that stretched to San Diego for many of the most popular attractions, I’ll always remember the vast, endless ocean of strollers either parked in front of each attraction or barreling towards us head-on as we walked from one “land” to another. Which reminds me, when did strollers become the size of Winnebagos? For crying out loud, I’ve seen smaller hybrids than the baby-bearing behemoths responsible for traffic jams all over the Magic Kingdom! These things could mow you down without even disturbing the Disney onesie-wearing, Disney sippy cup drinking, Disney pacifier-sucking little person inside.

Which brings me to the subject of merchandising, which nobody does like Disney.

Walking around during our anniversary visit, I saw countless versions of the Disney logo and the legion of Disney characters on hats, caps, sunglasses, shirts, jackets, sweatshirts, gloves, hoodies, pants, sweatpants, strollers, shoes, sandals, wallets, purses, drinking cups, coffee mugs, key rings, cell phone cases, plush toys, flashlights, pillows, linens, salt & pepper shakers, dishware, wheelchairs, baby wipes and … okay, I didn’t see a Disney wheelchair or baby wipes, but it wouldn’t surprise me. And I haven’t even mentioned the Matterhorn-sized mountain of toys available for purchase with – you guessed it – your Magic Kingdom Visa or Mastercard.

And then, there’s “Fastpass” – Disneyland’s questionably named system which issues priority tickets for its most popular attractions to park guests who – yep, wait in line – for a Fastpass. Now, you can’t have a Fastpass for any given attraction if you’re already holding one for another attraction which theoretically allows you to bypass the so-called “stand-by” line (which is what everybody else and their brother has to wait in for all of eternity) and get closer to the head of the line and then finally get on the attraction that lasts all of two or three minutes at most and then you have to dash across to the other side of the Magic Kingdom to wait in another Fastpass line for a different attraction and then come back again two hours later so you finally use your Fastpass to bypass all the losers in the stand-by line and … whew, I’ll bet getting U.S. citizenship is an easier process.

On our anniversary, in addition to waiting in line, we had dinner at the Blue Bayou restaurant in New Orleans Square. In all of our many trips to Disneyland, neither of us had ever dined there and I’d always wondered if a Blue Bayou meal would taste like the chlorine that wafts through the air as you ride the Pirates of the Caribbean just under the noses of diners.

For the record, there’s no smell of chlorine while you’re dining. And no Captain Jack Sparrow threatening to ‘blast yer scurvy scuppers’ while you eat your gumbo, either. Just excellent food, good service and really high prices. But hey, you only celebrate a 26-year anniversary once in a long while, right?

I’ll see you ‘round town.

© 2011 WordChaser, Inc.
Jim Chase is an award-
winning advertising copywriter and native of Southern California. Readers are invited to “friend” his My Thoughts Exactly page on Facebook.  Also visit Jim’s new blog with past columns and additional
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