Big ears, big nose, big hassle

Evil MickeyAt least, that’s my initial reaction to the family’s upcoming trip to Disneyland. Yes, I know that I’m the dad, and if I so dread a journey to the Magic Kingdom, then I have nobody to blame but myself. But the fact is that we get to punch three tickets on this trip: We take Tony to a place that is, admittedly, a childhood Mecca, we visit my father-in-law/step-mother-in-law, and we visit my mother-in-law (never the twain to meet, lest a massive fireball consume much of the LA area. Come to think of it …). That is, we’re packing an awful lot of grownup pain into one week in order to clear the schedule for the rest of the year.

Now, I have to admit that I had a great time at Disneyland when I made my own childhood pilgrimage. Of course, that was … err … something like 38 years ago. My tastes have shifted a bit since then. I seem to remember my father grimacing a lot and searching — in vain — for a drink.

In vain, I say, because you still can’t purchase alcohol in Disneyland. A more sadistic policy I can’t begin to contemplate. But booze is blessedly available, I’m told, at something called Disney California Adventure Park, which used to be one of Disneyland’s parking lots. We’re getting park-hopper passes, which allow us access to the neighboring venues, so I’ll get to see which is magicker — and grab a much-needed drink.

I’m going to need that drink, I’m sure. Let’s see, two days of ricocheting like a pinball off the wife-beater-bedecked hordes from Middle America and their ill-bred spawn. And the soundtrack will be, “It’s a Small World…” over and over again. Yep, I’m going to need that drink. Or electroshock therapy.

Do I come off as a snob? Damn straight, I’m a snob! I also hate crowds, and I have a low tolerance for kid-oriented activities (hence holding off on fatherhood until I was 40.) Frankly, if there is a Hell, and I wake up there, I’m convinced it’s going to be a theme park. A really crowded theme park.

Tony is going to have a wonderful time, I’m sure, comparable to the joy I felt lo those many years ago, when I first discovered Pirates of the Caribbean and the wonderful world of Tomorrowland (I’m still waiting for the punchcards I’ll need to access the home terminal connected to the community super-computer!) For a kid, the only thing that beats rides and cheerful characters is rides and cheerful characters geared towards lovers of pirates and Star Wars.

The kid scores across the board.

Who knows? I may even shed a bit of my accumulated curmudgeonliness and enjoy some of our time at The Happiest Place on Earth.

But then there’s Legoland. Crap, we’re going there, too … Well, at least I’m told there’s one place to get a drink …

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