Yo, Yo, Yo.

Yo Yo, Ho.


Ho Ho Ho!

I have managed to avoid ingesting, inhaling, injecting, imbibing, applying, or inserting any mind- or mood-altering substances for the past 3 days up until.... now.

That is, unless you count DISNEYLAND!!!!

Yeah yeah, that's right, suckas, Ami, Steve and I represented correct at Disneyland. Steve and Rhea were kind enough to let Ami and me stay at their house while we were down in SoCal, which, by the way, is a super-nice house. They have a bedroom, piano room, and computer room for crying out loud.

Because there is no justice in the world, Rhea had to go to work and could not join us, but Ami, Steve and I struck out on Friday to the happiest Merriest Place on Earth!

Now, I'm not really enough of an expert on mirth to differentiate between Happiness and Merriness, or even Jollity, but I can sure tell you one thing: That place is freakin' crowded! We probably should have gone at a time when there was at least square foot of empty pavement, but what are y'gonna do? It's not often I get more than a couple days off in a row.

Fortunately, Disneyland has implemented this new FastPass system wherein one swipes one's admission ticket at these little themed kiosks next to each of the major rides, and one gets a little ticket indicating which time you can come back and get in the super-short FastPass line. I think this is an extremely good idea, with only a few small problems.

The first ride we tried out this new FastPass sytem on was Space Mountain, which had an extremely long line just for the FastPass ticket distribution. I took all three of our tickets, since there was no need for all of us to wait in line. Apparently, not many of the large families present at Disneyland had the same idea, and thus the line for FastPass distribution was pretty damn long. It's not that hard, really, there's like 6 of these little kiosks, and you put your car din, the light turns green, and your ticket comes out, except when this happens.

So there are piles and piles of these invalid FastPass tickets scattered all around Disneyland, and nowhere near the kiosks is there a recycling bin for them or anything. Now, I also couldn't find any sort of explanation or rule system for how many Fastpass tickets one could hold onto at any given time, not on the admission ticket, the park brochure, or the FastPass tickets themselves. On the tickets it does occasionally say when your next ticket will become available, but not always, and we sometimes were allowed only two tickets and sometimes four. Go figure. So there were many times when people were repeatedly swiping their cards and getting these tickets and I swear to God they were saying, "Duh?" after they stared at each one. If only Disneyland had consulted me first, I would have let them know that they're going to waste massive amounts of paper and ink with this system. Each kiosk should have a screen displaying the current tickets held by the user when the card is swiped, since they're obviously already keeping track, and not give out invalid tickets when the user cannot get one. Sheesh.

Also, and I guess this is not Disneyland's fault so much as a manifestation of the percentage of people who are just so dumb as to screw up any system, people would form lines around the FastPass return line, waiting for the time on their ticket to come around. Now, once you actually hand the cast member at the gate to the FastPass return line your ticket, you wait in that line no longer than about 5-10 minutes before getting on the ride. This resulted in long lines of people with tickets for a window of 7:30-8:30 blocking the way for people with tickets for the window of 6:30-7:30, and similar hijinx. We walked past huge line of people just standing around the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean and asked the cast member at the entrance what those people were waiting for, and he admitted, "I have absolutely no idea why they're standing there."

But all in all, FastPass saved us a lot of time. We just stocked up on as many FastPasses as we could get and then went and enjoyed silly crap that no one likes, such as the Swiss Family Robinson Tarzan Treehouse, Innoventions, and all the stuff on Tom Sawyer island, like the Pontoon Bridge and the secret caves.

Well, so a lot of stuff was out of commission ( though I did find that rare Tom's Sawyer's Island treasure, the fabled loose rock that day, like the Matterhorn (Argh!!), and the King Arthur's Carousel (Ummm… argh.). Oh, and the Rocket Pods, or whatever the hell they took out the People Mover to install is called, was in the process of silently being erased from Disneyland's history. Thank goodness. I waited in line for 2 and a half hours on the New Tomorrowland's opening day to ride that thing, and it was bunk. The people mover was at least nostalgically as well as ironically enjoyable. That Rocket Pod bullpucky did nothing for me.

See, I can enjoy Disneyland on three levels: Genuinely, Ironically and Nostalgically.

Genuine enjoyment is derived from things like the Matterhorn (which was under construction, repair, or re-modeling or something else which meant I could not ride it!!), Space Mountain (to cheaply leave with a picture of yourself in the space vehicle, just take a picture of the monitor as you leave the ride!), Splash Mountain, or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad…. Hmmm… there's an awful lot of mountain-themed rides at D-Land. Anyhow, in essence: rides which are the perfect rollercoasters for someone like me who prefers the fast whips and turns rather than the going upside down… I hate that shit.

Ironic enjoyment is derived mostly from the crowd: I especially dig the people who form long lines at one teller of a four teller restaurant, so that we can walk to register number two and be served immediately. Do people just have some obsolete survival mechanism that teaches them to line up? Also angry families on vacation are to some degree Ironically enjoyable if not a little disturbing. Yelling Dad, Sulking Teen, and Stroller Death Race 2000 Mom are some of the favorite characters I like to spot. Mullet-hunting also remains as an exciting sport.

A little tip to the parents and prospective parents of the world from me: If your kids are not old enough to walk, they're not going to remember the trip, and they're not going to be able to ride anything memorable anyhow. If your kids are surly teenagers, they're going to hold it against you forever if you make them go on vacation with you. Why take them with you? They want to stay home, and your vacation is just going to be ruined by them, unless you let them bring a friend, that's the trick. I don't know why Stanford hasn't offered me an honorary PhD in child psychology yet.

So, if I could just re-direct your attention to the subject and… okay: I also derive ironic enjoyment from such attractions as Innoventions ("The SegWay will transform the way people commute, enjoy long walks during sunset, and perform extreme stunts in the future! You can find out more at Amazon Dot Com."), the ontologically-challenged Rocket Pods, and any given parade.

Nostalgic enjoyment is something like Ironic enjoyment, in that there is a certain amount of "Look! That sucks so much that it's awesome!" in it. This variety encompasses attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean ("Yee-arrr, Mateys! This ride be a bit watery!"), the Jungle Boat Ride (Yes, I know that's not the real name, but I'm not going to bother looking it up, you know what I'm talking about.), It's a Small World (Last time I was at Disneyland my girlfriend at the time and I had read an article on places to get busy in the Magic Kingdom, and were going to give It's a Small World a shot at around 11:30pm, since no one but horny high-school and college students are on it by then anyway. Take it from me: you cannot get in the mood on the It's a Small World ride unless there is something really wrong with you!), and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (I'm sorry, but Mr. Toad's Wild Ride sucks. I don't know why I ride it year after year, I think it's like crack or something, but there's absolutely no reason I feel this compulsion to ride it time and again. It's a bunch of cardboard cutouts on hinges, for crying out loud!).

All in all the rides were totally fun, and we got on a pretty good amount of them. We hit Star Tours, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, The Nightmare Before Christmas version of the Haunted Mansion (Which is cool, but not quite as cool as the regular Haunted Mansion), Pirates of the Caribbean, The Jungle Boat Ride (or whatever its real name is), as well as a number of smaller attractions.

We spent 12+ hours in there, and escaped without spending a terribly ridiculous amount of money, mostly because we didn't buy any branded hats, glow necklaces, or similar foofaraw. I only ate half a veggie gumbo bread bowl, a churro, a couple tacos at the Rancho Del Zolcado (presented by Ortega), and one cup of the nastiest Mocha Latte created, which essentially tasted like warmed-up Karo syrup.

I only had to make one trip to the bathroom in all the time we were there. I overhead someone saying that the bathrooms could sure us a FastPass system as well as I had my Disneyland Bathroom Experience (presented by Ortega). That brazen wench Steve didn't have a problem with just going in the Triton Fountain Pool, though.

At the end of the day we squeezed in the Indiana Jones Ride, at which the line attendant gave us a slip of paper to take up to the front so that they could find out how long the wait was (yes, this is their advanced system at work) , and then when we got to the end and gave the dude the paper, we got… I don't mean to sound like a selfish jerk or anything, but… diddley squat! ..aside from riding the ride, that is. I thought maybe Mickey would come out and shake our hands for selflessly helping Disneyland! I played it off like it wasn't no big thing, just in case they were practicing the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory routine. Sadly, no shady men offered me a million dollars in exchange for the secrets of Disneyland's line length, but if Will Eisner is reading this, I'd just like to make it clear that I would've totally said, "No!" and ran.

After an entire day and 53 miles of Disneyland foot travel (which is 137 regular miles), we finished up at Splash Mountain, hoping we could get some relief for our aching legs from the promised faith healings performed by the ride. Although no ministers were to be found inside Splash Mountain, I was left with one singular impression from the happiest place on Earth: grizzly ass.


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