The Happiest Place on Earth Depresses Me!


You can get very dizzy spinning around in the Happiest Place on Earth.

You can get very dizzy spinning around in the Happiest Place on Earth.

Intelligent children (who are well-organized and can understand calendars and priorities) are a dangerous thing.  Yes, I was coerced by little people who cannot vote, serve in the armed forces, drink, drive, gamble or plan a balanced meal – –  but who, with the knowledge that our Yearly Passes expire soon – –  were able to force me to Disneyland.

Yesterday was a Wednesday, so I anticipated the excursion would be rather harmless.  But that was before I realized an entire Los Angeles suburb decided to schedule their school district’s Easter Vacation  (called Spring Break these days?) almost a whole month before the “Bunny Carrying Candy Laden Basket” holiday itself.

Walt would have a Panic attack to see what a (crowded) “Small World” it really is with this mob scene!

As I wandered thru the entrance, congratulating myself for being a Passholder and bypassing the long lines out at the ticked booths, I consulted a custom Disney guide that my older college son had written for me – –  “How to Best Optimize Your Time Without Losing Your Mind.”  He knew me well.

It seems that building one amusement park (centered around a smiling rodent with a squeaky voice) is not enough; someone decided to add on “California Adventures” while subliminally suggesting to parents that they can double their fun if they go back and forth between BOTH ride/show/parade infested Arenas – – thus the two-for-one “Theme Park Hopper” was born.

You must meet a height requirement but you don't need to know American Sign Language on this ride.  (demonstrated by rude guy sitting behind my children)

You must meet a height requirement but you don’t need to know American Sign Language on this ride. (demonstrated by rude guy sitting behind my children)

I sent my children, who meet the height requirements for all the scary rides (“Twilight Tower of Terror” will age a person faster than any menopausal symptom ever will) ahead of me to go on Space Mountain.  Meanwhile, I was supposed to (according to my son’s detailed guide) go stand in a different line, thus reducing the minutes their impatient little bodies would need to stand around in order to ride on Splash Mountain.  Yes! Disneyland likes the mountain theme.  A lot.  So there’s Space, Splash, Thunder and even a realistic snow-capped mountain which is supposed to resemble the Alpine Peaks called the Matterhorn.

But you don’t need to know any of this.  All you need to remember is a made-up word called “FASTPASS.”

Is a FASTPASS A Slow Boat to China?

Me:  Hi there.  Is this long line to go on Space Mountain, Splash Mountain or Thunder Mountain?  My son wrote me a guide specifying that we should ride those first before they get too crowded.

Line-Stander:  None of those.  This line is actually for FASTPASS.

Me:  Oh!  How tall do you have to be to ride FASTPASS?

Line-Stander:  Uh, Lady . . . I think you better consult your guide again.

And that’s when I saw it!  These people were standing in a zig-zagging line all around Tomorrow-Land to obtain an official time-stamped card that would entitle them to return later in the day for a few select popular rollercoaster rides. You’re getting this, right?  A line to organize you to stand in another line.  It’s brilliant in a way that I cannot fathom.

  Essentially A FASTPASS is a reservation for a specific time to Vomit!

And not only that, people were running around all over Disneyland, (standing in these hour-long queues)  to collect bunches of these special little cards, like you would collect valuable property deeds in Monopoly.  In fact, at a ride called “Grizzly River Run Rapids,” the line to get issued a FASTPASS was actually far longer than the short five minute line to get jostled around on the raft itself.photo-268

Me:  Excuse me, but what are you doing over here?  Why don’t you just go floating down this cold, dirty river right now?

Line-Stander:  Our family doesn’t like to get wet first thing in the morning.

Me:  (taking a step back) Oh, so none of you have taken a shower yet??

And get this – – not only do you need to keep track of when you can “check-in” to the attraction you want to visit, but at the bottom of this highly prized card (in teeny, tiny print) is another time-stamp which tells you when you are able to acquire your next FASTPASS.  So my cellphone was constantly ringing and buzzing with different alarms and timers, alerting me when I should do all of these things.

And some of these (Free) FASTPASSES get “Sold-Out” by 10 am.  That’s right – –  You wait in a long line and make your way nearly to the front, (where a revered machine dispenses these hot little devils) when suddenly a very brave Disney Worker (officially deemed “A Cast Member,” possibly because they dress up as animated characters, but more likely because they will soon play the part of a murder victim) places a large placard up that states, “There will be no more FASTPASSES Available today.”  And then he quickly “ducks.”  Yes, like Donald.

IMG_1987Arriving late for your time slot is another total disaster unless you have a good reason for being Tardy.  Captain Hook refused to let us fly to NeverLand with Peter Pan until I came up with an alibi – –  we got stuck on one of their old, broken-down trains, PLUS we had to go to the First-Aid Station after Mary Poppins purposely tripped my youngest with her umbrella.  He bought that story after I told him that he could sue Disney for his missing arm.

Walt Would Have Turned Over in His Grave, But First He’d Need a FASTPASS to Do It!

Now let’s get one thing straight.  I arrived at Disneyland at 8 am. and by 5 pm, I had put in a good day’s work.  My shift was over and I was ready to punch out. I had even taken to whistling that wretched Disney tune, “Hi-Ho, It’s Home From Work We Go.”  The only problem was that we still had those darn coveted FASTPASSES for three of the most insanely wild rides in the park.  And they could not be used until 7 pm.  My children would not budge toward the parking lot.

But of course, this was a non-issue for a clever “Cast Member” like myself.  Nobody here had seen the likes of Acting anywhere close to what this Drama Queen can perform.  I sprinkled water from that disgusting River across my face, flung my hand dramatically up to my forehead, and approached someone in a Disney Prince costume.  I wisely refrained from batting my eyes flirtatiously in Mr. Charming’s direction.

Me:  Excuse me.  My children have waited all day long to use these FASTPASSES that aren’t valid until two hours from now.  As you can see, I feel quite faint and was wondering if you might let these Poor Innocents ride just a bit early?

Prince Charming:  Your skin does look White as Snow.  I’ll make an exception for your “Little Dwarfs” just this once.  Perhaps you might like to lie down in that glass coffin around the corner.

Me:  (Dirty Look) Thank you.  You’re a Prince.

Well, that was easy-peasy, extra queasy!   At the next ride, I feigned a stomach-ache and someone who looked like Goldilocks said perhaps I should go easy on all that porridge.  But Yes!  She would let my “Three Little Bears” on the ride early to help me out.  Bless her little heart of gold, (which was not too soft and not too hard.)

So I was onto something here!  At the third and final ride of the day, I approached an Alice in Wonderland lookalike and made my case of a twisted ankle, limping convincingly up to the entrance.  She admonished me to be careful walking around White Rabbit Holes, but agreed to let my children on if they could smile like the Cheshire Cat for her.

Just as my three well-trained kids were breaking into that goofy feline grin, out stepped Prince Charming and Goldilocks from behind some mouse ear-shaped bushes  (you’ll never convince me they weren’t doing what I thought they were doing back there) and informed a shocked Alice that my legs worked perfectly fine. Still I was a VERY sick woman, they emphasized, proceeding to recount how I already had a headache, a stomach-ache, and I could faint any minute now.  But I definitely did NOT have a sore leg.  For shame!  Was this any kind of example to set for my children??

Alice In Wonderland:  What kind of parent demonstrates your brand of deceitfulness?

Me:  (tossing our FASTPASSES in her face)  An Evil StepMother!  C’mon kids…we’re going home before the clock strikes midnight.

Kids:  (whining) But we’re still Hungry.

Me:  (cackling maniacally) Oh, just hush up and eat your Poison Apples!!

Pluto, giving my son a hug because he has such a "wicked witch" of a mother!

Pluto, giving my son a consoling hug because he has such a “Wicked Witch” of a mother!

 

 

 

 

 

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83 thoughts on “The Happiest Place on Earth Depresses Me!

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  12. Hah! I just found your blog and have really been enjoying the posts. But this one is beyond! OMG. I was cracking up when you said old Walt would be rolling over, but would need a FastPass first. And when you said “It’s a line to organize you to stand in line….brilliant.” Oh, I thought I would fall off my chair. Disney is very good at making you jump through hoops for sure. Also love that you felt you’d done your duties after 8 hours and were ready to leave. Am thinking they (Disney) have cornered the market in socially-aspired-to mayhem! Wonderful post and definitely got across your frustrations. Am jealous though that I never thought of the various maladies approach to line jumping!

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    • Wow! You just really made my day (my month!) Thank you for spending such time here. How did you find me? Disney is used as discipline in my house. “We are not renewing our parkhopper passes if you don’t stop hitting your sister.” Wonder what Walt would say about that? Thank you again – – gonna check you out now. I can say that, right? In the correct context? 😉

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      • Wow! Am happy to have made someone’s day on here! Great, but actually you did it yourself with your outlook and perspective….all I did was back you up! 🙂 OHHHHH, Disney as discipline! Now that I hadn’t thought of either! You are a creative one! As to how I found you, I can’t even remember now. I might have seen you commenting on someone else’s stuff or I might have just found you in one of my random searches on here. I’m still getting my feet wet in all this blogging stuff so have no source of familiarity to recall how I find people, but I’m really glad to have found yours! And yes, I am glad you took the time to “check me out” and enjoyed the bugs! Appreciate the specific feedback on what you enjoyed….helps in future writings to know what I’m doing right (or wrong). Thanks again and a pleasure to meet you!

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  13. I must say, we thoroughly enjoyed Disneyland with our children. It was non-stop smiles all the way, and even when our daughter begged to go through the Small World ride time and time again, we happily indulged her. Children make it more enjoyable as my sister-in-law and her brand, new husband were there on their honeymoon but found it just so-so. Love all your hi-jinks and academy award performances Stephanie. Perhaps I should join you when you next go. Shhh! Me thinks I can be led astray. 🙂

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  16. Thanks for taking us along. I was really glad I got to accompany you – virtually – when I read what you wrote about them expanding Disneyland, sort of like they expanded Disney World. Yikes! However, I would have loved to collect Monopoly cards. Monopoly was one of my favorite games!

    You ARE the best Mom. You WILL be properly appreciated on Mother’s Day for ventures like Disneyland during a Spring Break. If your son’s guide had taken this into account, perhaps your mind would have caught up to you by now. I remember when my kids weren’t the least bit phased by dragging me through dense crowds.On second thought, how CAN your mind keep up with you?

    I wish I had seen your Warning Sign about dangerous kids before my kids grew up.

    Next time (you know there will be one), you can bring your psychic to channel Walt so he can direct the expansion of the Small World to fit all the people? Complete with more verses to the song.

    I love the ads for marathons at Disney parks. The runners get to run a path behind the attractions, then go to the theme parks the next day for free (well, their entry fee includes the pass). Who wants to stand in lines the day after running a marathon?

    When I was 13, I went on a YMCA bus tour of North America. 8 weeks coast-to-coast. Disneyland was the halfway point. We were there for 2 days. It was one of the least memorable parts of the trip. Except I do remember smoke and mirrors.

    I thought your FASTPASS must be related to our EasyPass lanes that we line up at to avoid lines at toll booths.

    So, the FASTPASS line zig zagged around Tomorrow Land. Hmmmmm There must be more to that story.

    I could go on and on responding to how you play with words and Disney characters. Thanks for all that you put into your posts. Thanks for sharing your writing with us.

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    • Hi you. Just caught this variety pack comment of yours late at night and wanted to thank you for being so eclectic. No two of Grace’s comments are ever similar. Some people have a little standard bit they leave but not our Grace. She’s a one of a kind follower and everyone should have a little Grace in their lives. Please check out her well balanced, variety style, artsy heartsy blog. You’ll feel blessed too.

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      • Just keep feeding me great material, don’t delete my comments, and I’ll keeping gracing you with my presence, at least, I think this is how it works. I never met anyone who gave me such funny ideas.

        Artsy heartsy. You are so sweet. ❤

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  17. So funny. The things a mother does for her kids; they should be eternally grateful. When we went to Disneyland, the fastpasses reduced our one-hour waiting time to fifty-five minutes 🙂 Is a FASTPASS a slow boat to China? Go figure!

    Going to Disney should be on my, been there, done that, got the t-shirt, list. Ah, but I never say never!

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  18. Whew, I was honestly worried about you for a while! Though, now I can see you were happily distracted! I thoroughly enjoy this post, though I feel gyped! Where are the pictures of you?!?! I mean, how do I know you were really there? Anyone could have taken those pictures! You’re highly creative, this could have all been a fib. I mean, you went to Disneyland and don’t even have a Mickey Mouse hat to prove it? Next time, I expect a picture of you in a princess hat…or at the very least standing next to Goofy. Missed opportunity 😦

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    • Ohhhh! Just saw this comment. Okay Girly Whirly (no, that’s not a ride at Disney, that’s my new nickname for you!). I’ll play Let’s Make a Deal with you…. Pictures of me at Disneyland in exchange for childhood photos of you! Oh…. and Thanks for coming along with me for the ride by commenting here!!

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      • Lol Girly Whirly- that’s certainly not the worst nickname I’ve ever been given 😛 Whew, reminds me of the Tilt-A-Whirl though…feeling a little queasy now! I completely accept your deal! Whenever I’m at my parents’ house again, I’ll be sure to snag some of my childhood photos. Not sure if they’ll be my early fatty years or my years of towheaded awkwardness! So, I suggest you prepare your best photos of you and prince charming because, Miss Stephanie, it’s on! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Have never been to Disney Land, never really wanted to but it is as of right on the DO NOT GO ON PAIN OF DEATH list. Thank you for your timely warning however I do think those in the park should have offered you a job not berated you – I mean someone who can act on demand and obviously hasn’t left her children in the care of wolves or some such and so could obviously be trusted in the land of the small and loud – should have be straight to HR. Am curious was it pumkin or broomstick that got you home.

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    • I know, I should’ve been hired on the spot, doncha think? And of course it was broomstick, all the way. Then onto spring-cleaning. Buying that? If so, got a castle I want to sell you in Fantasyland. BTW, I am loving the new look on your blog. Reading all related posts with great interest. Congrats!!

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      • Thanks – personally I think spring cleaning is a myth or a trial put about by evil mages trying to keep all the witches out of the skies and sweeping the floors. Just a thought.

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  20. This is hilarious. Never been to Disneyland (I know, I’m awful) & didn’t know about the Fastpasses…sounds like their version of the DMV or something. However I feel like I’d love going on a trip like this with you, if for no other reason to watch/join in on you shenanigans on all the characters & workers and such. Sounds like such a good time. Your kids will have the best memories from this for sure.

    (And in keeping in improvement from a previous post, I did NOT read all the comments before writing my own. Getting better! Woot.) 👍

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  21. What? You’re not renewing your yearly passes? I think your children will be very disappointed… unless you’re replacing those passes with season tickets for their favorite sports team.

    I think that sounds like a great idea and the ex-husband(s?) who lurk around here will surely agree. Plus, you’d have to deal with shorter lines and fewer oversize rodents.

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  22. Ay, yi, yi… Theme parks. Yeah, not on my to do list. Unless hell has special place reserved for me. You have paid your dues for this and upteem lifetimes hence. The kids, though, are adorable, like their mama!

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  23. Brilliant! I can picture every moment. Feels like I done Disneyland top to bottom now. Thanks for the details about the fast pass, because I had thought this ticket was a bit more magical than how it turns out! Your negotiating skills rock. Superb writing 😀 got me smiling into the weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. BTW, my personal theme park meltdown happened in Legoland. It was cold, wet, absolutely heaving and as Boo was only 6-weeks old I spent the best part of the day in the baby feeding/medical room/toilets whilst everyone else went on the rides. But it all came to a head in Miniland when uber-tight Husband refused to pay the over-inflated cafe prices and instead offered me a Weight Watchers sandwich. A tip to husbands everywhere: NEVER offer your wife a reduced-calorie, fat-free, TASTE-free sandwich, least of all when she’s still got a post-baby tummy, is hormonal and already having a shit day. I burst into tears. Loud, snotty, sobbing tears. I’ve never been back to Legoland. I don’t think they’d want me back either. I really don’t think I helped the vibe.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Which Legoland was this?? I live within two miles of the one here in Carlsbad, CA!! I absolutely love the Weight Watcher husband sandwich story!!!!! Oh you must write a post about that- – I’m sure there’s more where that came from!

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  25. Oh, I LOVE this post. Disney really do know how to make people wait in queues. It’s surprising that they haven’t yet worked out how to sell queuers crap, sorry, refreshments and merchandise WHILST they wait.
    And I never understand why adults without kids will queue for the Dumbo ride. It’s never less than an hour’s wait, there’s no FastPass and IT’S A KIDS’ RIDE. Get thyselves onto a mountain-themed ride instead, kid-free grown-ups. You should only be allowed on if you’re either under the age of 13 or you’ve squeezed a human being from your birth canal. Those in the latter category don’t have the pelvic floors for scarier rides any more.

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  26. Oh, thank you Stephanie, that was so funny and soooo true. It was only a couple of years I was there with my Grandson and the fastpast nearly sent me giddy. After I got over that I must say at my age…way up there, I haven’t lost the love of heights and speed and went on everything with him. He did hold my hand a couple of times. Me pushing 70, him pushing 9 🙂 🙂
    Thank you for a laugh, and memories. BTW…you children are sweeties.

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    • Thank you Miss Rose – – you are so NOT random, you should probably become RelevantRose! That’s the nicest vision – – you and he soaring to greater heights together! It’s all I can manage to swoosh down those two stomach lurching water-drops in the Pirates of Carribean ride! But Fastpass really did take me out of any fun moments by making it all so mechanical and “scheduled.” Oh well….they’re trying to help with crowd control. Thank you so much for coming here like you do!!! xo

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  27. Hahahaha this is so hilarious, and brilliantly narrated…like you always do Stephanie.
    I just walked into Disneyland with you 🙂
    Always wondered what it looks like since I live in a different continent altogether, but this has painted a pretty picture for me 😉 Thank you!

    Your kids are adorable btw, and that guy behind them with the finger should be sent to Goldielocks, Prince Charming and Alice…what a dreadful thing to teach children! 😛

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    • Why thank you so VERY much. I have really adored your visits to my blog and feel so happy (and lucky!) the way our paths crossed inadvertently as they did. Disneyland is so many things to so many people. First childhood memories of magic are created there but parents can go slowly insane there if they visit too many times a year! 😉 Yeah, and has to that crude guy – – he needs to get turned into a toad!

      Like

  28. I never went to Disneyland as a child. I grew up in upstate NY and could only dream about it. I guess that’s why, as an adult, I love Disneyland. Especially It’s a Small World…that song drives my husband craaaaaazy…

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  29. So terrifically true and funny! I love the Walt Disney would turn over in his grave line, but he needs a fast pass to do that. Ha Ha. You always take things I’ve done a million times over and make me see it in a new light. A true talent. Thanx.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Hilariously funny. The park certainly looks different when you are a kid who is oblivious to what we parents do to give them a fairly care free day. Oh did I say FREE. . . I’m sure it was not that but it looks like they were having a blast. I can see some of the material from your book is paying off with those creative alibis. Wonderful pictures and very fun reading.

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  31. Love this post. Those amusement parks may be fun for kids but they sure take a toll on us parents. That man behind your kids on that ride wth? Your kids are adorable and look like they had a really great time 😉

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  32. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post!!! I have been there, God in Heaven, I have been there (well, technically, DisneyWorld, but same diff).

    Oh the trials and tribulations of the FASTPASS (similar to Disney’s FastPlay on their DVDs -except FastPlay takes you straight to 20 minutes of previews and not the actual movie, go figure!). The last time I went I had husbands 1 AND 2 and we FASTPASSED DisneyWorld like NOBODY’s business!

    It is crazy though. Totally crazy.

    I also oooooh’ed and aaaaaaah’ed over the pics of your kids. So fricken’ cute! How adorably happy those faces are. I just wanted to pinch every little cheek! They are seriously cute, but I’m sure you’re well aware of this fact. 🙂

    Btw, my daughter got her letter yesterday, so thanks! She was mildly impressed (she is 11, so you know, she’s very worldly now) but I was extremely pleased. So happy to read this post. It was great!

    🙂

    Like

    • Hi! I’m sorry I’ve been so out of touch with blogs. Mickey Mouse took more of a toll on me than I realized. I’m eager to read your new offerings! So I’ve never heard of FastPlay with movies (?) but FASTPASS literally really drove me insane. Thank you for the compliments on my kids. They’re good people, despite my nuttiness. And there are 3 others who survived the house enough to move on to college! Btw, I think it’s been mentioned but we have daughters the same age and if my 11 year old got a letter like that she’d go, “That’s cool. What’s for dessert?”

      Thank you again, Jessica!

      Like

      • Stephanie,

        Why are you apologizing? You have 3 kids physically in your home that you’re responsible for. The fact that you post as much as you do makes me wonder if you feed them regularly! 😉 You must, because they look fantastic in your photos.

        Mickey is an evil bastard that way! The whole FASTPASS thing is really only optimally feasible with multiple adults. Our ratio was 3 adults:1 kid.

        What are the ages of your kids, if you don’t mind me asking? Yup, our daughters are of an age, and I think mine would have been more excited if her Dad hadn’t accidentally opened the letter for her. She likes getting letters. At least until she opens them.

        Hope your trip to Disneyland overall was fun! Your kids certainly look thrilled which is the whole point, right? 🙂

        -Jessica

        Like

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