Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Happiest Place On Earth.
The Happiest Place On Earth.

For our two girls, a day at Disneyland could only be matched in excitement by the sight of Santa Claus eating ice cream in our living room. I'm not as thrilled by the place, and Rigel even less - crowds, long lines and the close proximity of pasty men wearing tube socks with sandals never fails to put him in a bad mood. In fact, there's only one thing that could possibly make him crankier than a day at Disneyland.

TWO days at Disneyland.


Kira has a friend, D., a boy she has known since the second grade. He's a great kid, and we've become friends with the parents as they are nice normal people who don't have personality disorders and make me want to kill them. This is always a good thing.

D. is an only child and his parents naturally dote on him, and one of the things they love to do is have a special birthday celebration for him every year. Last year they invited nine children and their families to an all-expenses paid day at Universal Studios. Rigel and I marveled at their stealth organizational skills and admired their bravery, since planning an outing with just our two girls requires several hours of motivational tapes and a pitcher of martinis. And that's just for a trip to Target.

So what did they do this year? See if you can guess!

a) Hired an out-of-work actor posing as a magician to come to their house and do card tricks in return for tequila shots.

b) Chose 'The Homeless Epidemic' as their child's party theme and made them donate all their allowance to charity, after which they celebrated by splitting a sandwich eight ways and then sleeping outside. (Oh wait - that was me.)

c) Invited fifteen kids to Disneyland, paid admission for all the children and one adult per family, treated them to lunch, dinner and snacks all day and then put everyone up in a hotel that night so they didn't have to make the long drive home.
Oh, yeah.

The generosity and graciousness of these people is overwhelming, and I couldn't emphasize enough to our kids how fortunate we were to benefit from their kindness. When Kiyomi squealed "I love rich people!" on the ride over I had to give her a talk about the difference between rich and generous, and explain why someone who is rich may not necessarily be generous. And when she said she wanted a Disneyland gala for her next birthday, I tried to convince her that, as fun as a day at The Magic Kingdom could be, an afternoon spent at home with a few friends eating cold pizza and playing Twister and culminating in the singing of "Happy Birthday" around a tasteless cake could be just as thrilling.

The plan was to meet at the hotel at 9:00 and check in before heading off en masse (30 people!) to Disneyland. Rigel and I have a hard time getting anywhere before noon, so we agreed to meet everyone at the park sometime before lunch. This was mostly Rigel's idea, since after doing the math he figured out that even by getting there late we would be spending a whole ten hours in a place he considers only marginally more appealing than the fiery bowels of Hell. (Fiery bowels of Hell is a term I came up with, but if you could see his face during the two hour wait for Dumbo on our last visit you would see just how appropriate it is.)

We still had to buy Rigel's admission ticket, so imagine our surprise when we arrived at the front gates and saw the huge, blinking "Disneyland is SOLD OUT" sign sitting in front of us. He did his best to act disappointed, but I told him doing that little dance, kicking up his heels and shouting, "THERE IS A GOD!" was really starting to annoy me. It was decided that he would go to the hotel, purchase a 2-day pass (which we found out would definitely get him in) and meet up with us later. So much for his alternate plan of checking in to our room, raiding the mini bar and then napping until we returned after the fireworks that evening.

(Okay, I hate to kick a dead horse - no pun intended - but guess who asked me for a ride to Disneyland? I refused on the grounds that I'm not licensed to transport reptiles, but she managed to slither out there on her own. Thank God for the 967,000 other people who provided a buffer.)

We had a great time, in spite of the fact that it was unbelievably crowded. Just trying to walk a few feet was a challenge, and as I made my way through New Orleans Square, smashed between some stranger's sweaty back and the throng of frat boys pushing behind me, I was certain that by the time I reached Frontierland I'd be pregnant, with the sad possibility that the father was some teenager wearing a pair of mouse ears.

Of course, with the crowds comes the long lines and the fact that in ten hours we were only able to make it onto five rides. Enough for me, but certainly not enough for Kira and Kiyomi who used their best puppy dog looks to convince Rigel that his two-day pass could be milked for all its value by going back for a second day. We still had to purchase three tickets for the rest of us, but through some crazy fatigue-induced logic we were able to rationalize that since we had gotten the first day for free, it was as if we were only spending one day there. At the end of our second day I felt like I had aged more than a few years. I came up with the following equation:

1 Disneyland day = 20 human years.

I find it easy to get cynical about Disneyland and the whole Disney empire, but I have to admit that seeing that initial look of joy on your kids' faces when you first walk through those front gates is worth having to stand in line for two hours for a ride that lasts sixty seconds, or having to pay seven dollars for a cup of burnt coffee and a soggy churro. And the best part, or the worst part, depending on how you look at it, was reliving that exact joyous moment again less than twenty-four hours later.

But the sight of this - this nearly pushed Rigel over the edge.

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Thank you, thank you to Pattie at Stolen Moments for nominating me for a ROFL Award for this post. When you wish upon a starrrr....

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  1. You so deserved that ROFL Award! Not that you don't know that already! How generous are those parents. I might have to find myself some rich parents to be friends with.

  2. Oh. My. Gaaaah! Is that Ryan Seacrest wearing a Sweater Vest? You know that phrase people use "I think I just threw up in my mouth a little"? Yeah.

  3. Ok, I really did not see the import of said photo until reading lizzie's comments above.

    and you still were able to use the phrase 'nearly pushed'..?

    I had so thought that Rigel and I were created from the same mold...but his reaction failed the final test...

  4. Oh man, I am NOT looking forward to the day when Peanut asks me to take her to DisneyWorld. Maybe I'll go to Sesame Place but I never did like that weird mouse and his deranged family.

  5. You are a better mom than I. I would have done anything to get out of the disneyland trip, but ryan? Thats a bonus!

  6. I am laughing so hard I am crying about the being pg by fronteer land!...lol... oh my!

    I grew up doing the disneyland thing every couple weeks, so i do still get joy out of the park, but the adult in me and tha past camp councler in me hates the people and the lines form hell!

    You post shows me what we have to look foward too! I give you credit for 2 days with 2 kids!

    Those parents are amazingly generous! wow!

  7. Rich/generous people indeed!! We took the girl for her 4th birthday and as you said the look on her face was worth all the aggravation and the stupid people... But I would have thrown my soggy churro at Ryan Seacrest. I can NOT stand him.

  8. Nice friends! Can I meet them?

    I have the same reaction to Disneyland as Rigel. Although, I have to agree - once I'm there I'm swept away by the 'magic' of the place and how much the kids enjoy it.

    And once again, I am appalled (but amused) by M's mom - that woman has nerve!

  9. I love rich people, too! E-mail me their phone number, would you? Heh heh.

  10. Dude, you went during holiday season, that was your first mistake. I adore Disney, but I hate going on a weekend like that. You guys were nice to take them again, even though you didn't want to be there.

    And um...I love rich people too. Maybe Maya will meet some kid like that at her new school. ;)

  11. Pregnant by a teenager wearing mouse ears--HI-larity.

    Kid's faces definitely worth it, I think since I've never gone when it's crowded.

  12. You're welcome, Ryan Seacrest, because I thought that was Brad Pitt I was looking at. (I know, I know. Something is terribly wrong here.)

    I bet your girls loved every second of it - even the churros.

  13. Okay, I'm going to step out on a limb here and say that I *gulp* like Ryan Seacrest. Must be some sort of latent high school crush thing.

    You deserve a medal for going to D-Land 2x in a row.

    And I see what's missing here is any discussion of favorite rides. Space Mountain, anyone?


  14. ok, I'm a hoping my kids make friends with peeps like that !!

  15. This is too damn funny. Love it.

  16. sounds like you handled disney world much better than i did a month ago. i went crazy, to put it mildly, and that was with me doped up on two xanax every 4 hours.

  17. These friends....they sell drugs right?

    Because I've never heard of anything like that.

  18. I liked our last Disneyland trip, but I'm kind of dreading the Disneyworld trip coming up this spring. I want to go to a spa and relax for a week. Instead we're going to put in 10,000 walking miles.

    Do you invite this kid to your kids' bday parties? What does he bring for gifts? Rolexes?

  19. Ohhhh Myyyy GAAAAWWWDDDD>>>>
    Well deserved! ROFL Award!!!!
    I snorted the whole time....
    Thank you Thank you Thank You....

  20. Is there some kind of list we can sign up on to get our kids set up with friends who have rich parents? And how will these people top themselves next year? I know! I know! Fly everyone to New York! Or Paris! Or, or, or, DOLLYWOOD! Tee, hee!

  21. This is some funny stuff.
    I've linked you on my blog so I can return often.

  22. OMG. I don't say OMG, but I'm making an exception. I've never been to Disneyworld/land -- I just never cared about it enough to ask when I was kid.

    My pennance? I can only imagine how many times I'll be forced to go as an adult.

    The things we do for a our kids. At least they had a good time!

  23. How can I horn in on the generous action? Heh.

  24. Congratulations on winning such a prestigous award ;D. Be sure to remember to thank the Academy. You are a HOOT!

    As for Disneyland, it sounds like both a dream and a nightmare rolled into one. I've been to Disneyworld, but not Disneyland.

  25. You be tooo funny sweatpantsmom. I think I heart you.

    My kids have never been to Disneyland yet, what kind of bad parents are we?!?!?! When did you go? Was it just recently? I don't ever want to go THEN whenever it was. Those long lines sound like a nightmare. Horrible.

    But the story, priceless.

  26. I've done a few marathons, played four hour tennis matches, climbed a few mountains, and mountainbiked 8 hours straight in 90 degree heat. That's nothing compared to a day at Disneyland, the most exhausting place on earth. Both mentally and physically.

    I've been there a couple of times many years ago, long before we had kids. it was nice but the crowds and the stupid people were overwhelming. My son would love it but I'm gonna wait many eyars before he goes there.

    Your rich friends sound awesome by the way. Wish I had friends like that...

    Oh, congrats on the award

    Nice weekend


  27. Ryan Seacrest ranks right up there with Paris Hilton, and who knew that Disneyland could actually be sold out??? I remember when I went for the first time, Sleeping Beauty's castle was closed and I wanted to go home. A 7 year-old girl who travels 16 hours in a car with her parents and little brother does not need to hear that!!!

    Hope it will be fun when we finally take our kids!


  28. Again with the tags! So very funny!

    Am I the only one that is a little freaked out by the level of birthday celebration those parents provided? It makes me feel like a total shlub. My kids are lucky if I let them do something with ONE friend on their birthdays.

    And I love the stuff about transporting reptiles...

  29. your post is hysterical, but wow -- 5 rides in 10 hours!?! That's incredibly depressing. They let waaaay too many people into that park now.

    I used to love Disneyland when I was growing up. I have very fond memories of the place.

  30. Who the heck are you rubbing elbows with? That many kids to Dland must be at least one mortgage payment.

    Thes last trip we took I began to get real cranky, real fast and to take the edge off my daughter and I took photos of ourselves scowling with the castle looming in the background. We were getting such a good laugh out of being mad at the happiest place on earth that it snapped me out of my mood and we had a great time! But, yes, I beleive you're equation is right on.

  31. Congrats on your ROFL award.

    And wow. I never want to go to Disneyland. Sounds like a nightmare!

  32. Snake lady asked you for a drive????? Wow, she has some bits on her!

  33. if you'd given her a ride you could have pushed her out of the car at high speed though ... what a lovely thought!

  34. My 10 year old doesn't even like Disneyland. He had nightmares before we went and was so anxiety ridden he didn't want to go back the second day. We had to bribe him.

    That's okay, while it was fun it was a little much for me too.

  35. I am good for a day... 2 days would have me washing down a valium by drinking vodka straight from the bottle...

  36. "I love rich people!" heeeeee!

    I'm with Rigel on the whole Disneyland / Disneyworld concept. Bowels of hell indeed! But you wrote of it in a very amusing way.

  37. Hee! Those parents sound really nice, and it's cool that the kid doesn't sound like he's spoiled or bratty. Seacrest out!

  38. That post was super funny! I love humor about blogging.

    BTW, I noticed that you linked to Stolen Moments (Pattie's blog) because she nominated you, but you wrote my blog name by accident instead of hers.

  39. Goog god. two days!!!
    I was in Disneyland many many moons ago. I don't think I could survive this today. Oh boy, you were very brave.


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