November 15th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Val with Micky

Life awoke in us again at getting on for 9 o’clock – then it was time for the big enterprise of the day, the outing without which no trip to America is complete, essential for the understanding of the US sub-culture – we were off to Disneyland.  It was easy to find, being right next to Highway 5, and then it was simply a matter of parking the car in a vast parking lot, + joining the throngs of people heading for the entrance.  We bought a Disney passport each – unlimited use of the place for $10.25 – + zoomed on in.  We weren’t in 5 minutes before we ran into Michael Mouse Esquire, so I took a picture of him + Val.  Then a succession of rides + events.  I’m sure I can’t remember the exact order of doing things, but here they all are, more or less in (my) order of enjoyment.  1. Runaway train.  Not much more than a roller coaster really, but fast + fun.  2. Matterhorn bobsleds.  I liked this because Val sat in front of me between my legs, so I had something warm + soft between me + disaster.  Just a rollercoaster again, but in + out, + up + down this huge man-made mountain which dominates the place.  (We went on both these 2 twice, once at the beginning + once at the end of the day – the second time was fun-est.)  3.  Space Mountain.  The best parts about this were first the queuing up (!) when they really built up the atmosphere of a real space flight by the use of sounds + props, + then the part of the ride at the beginning where you are dragged up the long first slope in order to begin the run-down.  Then, by using lights cleverly, it made it appear both as tho’ you were being fired at by laser guns, + as tho’ you were spinning.  After that, it was a roller coaster ride thro’ the dark, with a few special effects.  Val liked this best.  4. Pirate ship.  A sort of a boat trip, thro’ a whole mass of special effects – a short couple of runs down ramps at the beginning as well.  Lots of mechanical pirates, plus parrots, treasure, burning houses etc.  Val liked this 2nd.  5. Haunted house.  Similar to above, with variety of “ghosts” – mechanical, some holographs.  Best bit was at the end where you looked in a mirror + saw a ghost riding in your car with you.  6. Bear jamboree.  Inordinately silly stage show, with a variety of mechanical bears singing various country songs.  What else at Disneyland?  Oh… a train ride, a journey to Mars, a trip thro’ a shrinking machine into a microscope, a ride on a people-mover, a raft trip to Tom Sawyer’s island, a look at the Swiss Family Robinson’s home, a ride (for me) on a flying Dumbo, + (for Val) on a carousel, a trip on a rocket, a 360 degree film of the US, a journey thro’ the 7 Dwarves’ mountain, + in Mr Toad’s car… + a parade (tho’ just a short one.)  Yes, we certainly were determined to get our money’s worth.  And yet…

Chris with some flying Dumbos

When we first got in, we were really excited, like a couple of 8 year-olds.  And then… well, very quickly, it seemed to wear off.  Probably it had a lot to do with the enormous queues for each + every ride, + maybe it was something to do with the enormous crowds (tho’ they were entirely understandable.)  Also, tho’ it was true that the place was really well laid out, it seemed to suffer from a certain lack of imagination, especially in connection with the rides.  They really only had 3, with variations thereof – roller-coasters, roundabouts, and a sort of slow-moving ghost train.  Still, it made a fun day, + we both enjoyed ourselves.  Meher had given us the phone no + address of her cousin in LA, + we tried to call him earlier, to see if we could stay there tonight.  He wasn’t in, but we tried again just before we left the place, + after some umming + ahhing he said sure, come on over.  We managed to find the place with not too many littler problems, + Akhbar + his wife were very friendly – giving us food, conversation, + a bed.  Nice ‘n friendly.  PS We also took a ride in a submarine.

Just a little embarrassed at the enthusiasm – and detail! – with which I describe our trip.  Disneyland is a little passe nowadays, but at the time we had seen nothing like it, as theme parks had not yet really arrived in the UK.  So this really was a taste of the strange, exotic, and exciting… though it wore off quickly enough.

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