I know, I know. Disneyland is a magical place where you can feel like a kid again, and see Mickey and Donald Duck waltzing around while you indulge in the wonder of it all. It’s all smiles and excitement and unicorns. But that rainbow-tinged fantasy couldn’t be further from the truth for me.
Partly, this may be because I am not in the age range Disneyland is really marketed to, mainly 5-13 years old. It doesn’t help that I am a 24-year old woman with no children and a severely underdeveloped maternal instinct. I am so sorry to the parents out there; maybe one day I will lose my mind at the sight of a baby stroller and coo excitedly over tiny socks, but for now, any human being under the age of 13 registers only as a highly developed form of noise pollution. When I was 17 I moved into my college dorm, a place happily devoid of young kids, and when I was 21 I moved to the most ‘young & single’ neighborhood of the perpetual-bachelor-and-kid-free-capital of the USA, Los Angeles. I’ve been actively setting up a life where my interaction with kids is restricted to ‘in passing’ and ‘relatives’. I find Disneyland to be a strange, alien, exhausting environment, because…
1. Kids are everywhere! Being around children for me is like being at a dinner party with a priest; I have to keep reminding myself I can’t curse or tell inappropriate jokes/stories, and I just don’t know how else to be.
2. I don’t appreciate a 2-hour wait time at the DMV, and I don’t see why I should appreciate a 2-hour wait time for a ride after paying $137 for the privilege of entrance.
3. I get to pay gourmet prices for a quick snack of awful food, and for the next two days I will feel this alleged ‘food’ still writhing in my stomach. Similar side effects can only be experienced by pica sufferers after a trip to the hardware store.
4. The only rides that don’t have a ridiculous wait time are the slow, boring, spinning ones for kids, which nevertheless induce severe motion sickness in me.
5. If I wanted to walk all day and have my leg muscles seize up by late afternoon, I would take one of the 3000 hiking trails in LA and enjoy better scenery.
6. I don’t like being spoken to by everyone from ride operators to service employees like I’m 5 years old. I’m a grown, mature(ish), person. You don’t have to force your smile past your ears and your voice an octave higher to greet me, ma’am.
7. The people. Oh my God, the massive, jampacked, throngs of people. Screeching, bumping into you, cutting you off while you’re walking, and stopping suddenly in front of you for no reason. I deal with that on the freeway all day. I don’t need it at places I go to for ‘fun’.
8. There will inevitably be one person in the group you go with that is so overly enthusiastic, it makes you damn near homicidal. And they will always throw you dirty looks when you sit down to rest for even a minute, disregarding the fact that your body is crying out for sweet, sweet, relief. If you ARE that overly enthusiastic person, stop reading. And make all future Disneyland plans alone.
9. The bathrooms are hidden in the hardest-to-reach, most out-of-the-way places in the park. You will pass them 5 times without seeing them, and then wait 35 minutes to use them, because diapers take a long time to change, and the occupants of half the restrooms are 2-year-olds and their parental units.
10. And, finally: Because no matter how much I rant and complain about my seething rage for Disneyland now, I know that one year down the road I will have forgotten all these negatives, and instead remember the 10% of the time I had fun on the cool rides, or actually thought for a second that it was nostalgic and sweet to see Disney characters walking around. Then one of my friends will suggest we go to Disneyland, and I will stupidly, ignorantly, agree, while figuratively wearing my rose-colored glasses. Then the whole irritating, vicious, cycle will start again. And I will have no one to blame but myself.
Now, I recognize a lot of people probably disagree with my feelings on Disneyland and still love visiting the park, so I apologize to any Disney enthusiasts that are deeply offended. Therefore, if you have disregarded every point in this article and cynicism has not yet gotten the best of you, I have provided the relevant links if you still insist on booking your trip to Disneyland/California Adventure Park.
You have been warned.
For my great friend who contributed that striking image of my ‘leave me alone’ face – check out Iris Fernandez’ cool blog on her adventures while digging through ruins in Egypt!