The Disneyland Jones

It’s the happiest place on Earth. That’s the tagline but I’m not feeling it.

Waited in line to get on the parking lot tram.

Waited in line to go through the shakedown tent.

Waited in line to hand over money for the tickets.

Waited in line to hand over the tickets at the park entrance turnstyle.

Spent the rest of the day standing in lines, each for the opportunity of a few minutes of various amusement.

Suddenly I realize where I’ve seen all these faces before. Tired young parents collectively wiping snot off their crying childrens faces. Sunken eyeballs, bleached and burned skin, jaws slack, hunched backs. It’s the faces of meth.

I know why I’m here and it’s nothing to do with desire. However, to maintain my personal sense of reality I need an answer for why generations return to this over population sore year after year. I think it has something to do with heroin, let me explain.

Addicts say that heroin (or crack or meth) has an amazing effect the first time it is used. It provides a magical experience that can only be felt once in a lifetime. A satisfactory well-being that all is right with the cosmos and your place in it. Anxiety, fear, pain, all gone for a period of time while the drug courses through the vein of its victim. The experience is so profound that a user will spend the rest of their life spiraling into the toilet of addiction in a quest to feel that euphoria just one more time. But of course it never happens.

Disneyland is the opiate of the middle class.

Perhaps we had a normal childhood and got the privilege of going to the theme park during that same time. We had a magical first visit and now spend the rest of our lives trying to recover that experience. Along the way we inadvertently shoot-up our kids with the same D and then can’t figure out why they want to return again and again. It was a brilliant plan hatched by the greatest drug pusher of all time, Walt Disney.

Note that I’ve not had typical responses to drugs, and neither was I affected by the Disney experience as a child. I don’t remember being ‘into’ all those characters. My earliest memory of Disneyland, I was probably 4 and sitting on a random carousel animal (I didn’t care.) Goofy joined me on the ride, going from kid to kid making Goofy gestures. It was no hugs from me, I gave him a karate chop to the nose. I thought it was cool at the time. He didn’t spend any more time with me on my impaled sea horse. But that’s a typical response for an Aspy child. I didn’t know what else to do.

I still don’t know what to do with Disneyland. I’ve taken my family there five times since I’ve been an adult. Each time I think it will quench their desire, but within a couple months they are planning the next trip to Anaheim. I will plead guilty to the fact that I’ve never made enough money to go anywhere more exotic so I can’t blame them for taking the opportunity at hand.

“Hey kids, would you like to go rock hounding near Yuma? … or Disneyland?”

But the lines.

Speed passes are an interesting idea but you still have to trample people smaller than yourself to get a strategic time slot. Then you have to plan the rest of your day around your window of opportunity to jump to the head of the line.

But the lines.

If you hit me in the head with a hammer and take all my money, at least my feet won’t hurt at the end of the day.