Tuesday, April 17, 2018

"Is It The Place That Changed... Or Is It Me?"

Preempting Answer:

It’s both.

I never liked Disneyland’sfast rides that whip you wildly around every turn.  (Including the “Teacups”, where you whip yourselfwildly around.)

Over the years, the rides have become faster and whippier.  

What then were my chances of liking them better?

After struggling through the Carsride, which started benignly but gradually increased to the “Let me out of here!” speed of an actual stock car race – I (unwisely) tried a few otherattractions, all of which I handled with the oppositeof consummate aplomb.  

Or intestinal comfort.

I elected to pass on “Ladybug Boogie”, encouragingly described to me as being a “baby ride”, the description suggesting there were babies out there who were braver than than Iwas. 

As I watched from the sidelines, I wondered, “What kind of baby would not immediately upchuck their “Formula” riding ‘Ladybug Boogie’?”

And I would.

Here’s me, being “old” about Disneyland– which I once excitedly dreamed about – but not necessarily incorrect.

The new theme park rides, generated from recent Disneyhit movies – as they always havebeen – seem to have lost – as perhaps the movies themselveshave – their trademark mesmerizing “enchantment.”  

The attractions I continueto seek out, like, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and “The Haunted Mansion” – which are acceptably queasy on the “Pomerantz Scale of Nauseatic Inducement” – contain more skillfully planned “magic” than rides named after contemporaryDisneyblockbusters, which I find to be unimaginative variations on “We will make you throw up.” 

Or come perilously close.

Which, judging by the extended lines for those attractions, 

Mostpeople seem to enjoy.

I guess because the jolting experience is temporary.

Although for me, while I am experiencing it, that “temporary” feels like it is never going to end.

Before Ido.

Making my most rewarding experience on our recent Disneyland visit the benign but always reliable 

“Jungle Cruise.”

Where I not only had fun but learned an unexpected lesson about comedy.

Contrasted with funnyjokes – which can easily become dated – cornyjokes apparently have a permanent “Shelf Life.”

It seems to me that the insistently corny “Jungle Cruise” “script” has not noticeably changed in over fifty years. And people still laugh.  The way you laugh at cornyjokes, but they laugh.


CRUISE GUIDE:  “Ladies and gentlemen, the most exciting sight of all – the ‘back side’ of water!

I think the reason people laugh at corny jokes is that, unlike realjokes that become gradually passé, these jokes were unabashedly corny in the firstplace, placing them in a special category of comedy – the “Immortality” category.  

I mean, they‘ve been doing basically the same material on “Jungle Cruise” for half a century and people – including me, a comedic professional – are still simultaneously chuckling and groaning.

“Funny” is precariously “time sensitive.”  

“Corny” appearsto be forever.  

Come back in fifty years and they will stillbe doing “the ‘back side’ of water.”

One word about the Disneylandrestaurant cuisine.  Okay, morethan one word.  

The menu includes selections from the major food groups… if the “major food groups” are pizza, spaghetti, chicken nuggets and hotdogs.  

It’s like the official Disneylandnutritionist is eight.  I can imagine them, like, four feet tall, their professional lab coats dragging along the floor, going,

“Spaghetti’s a ‘Super Food.’ For real!”  

It is troubling to write this without sounding inexorably septuagenarian.  The Disneyland’s souvenirs and confections are labeled “Artisan”, “Crafted” and “Hand-Crafted.”  As opposed to what– “Nose-Crafted”? 

And there are my usual extraneous “noticings.”  

A posted sign next to the hotel pool reads:

“Maximum Capacity – 109 people.”

How, I wondered, did they arrive at that “Maximum Capacity” number?  The hundred and tenthperson got in and the swimming pool blew up?  You think about these things… if you’re me… trying to digest a "replica" brisket sandwich, which bore a passing resemblance to brisket but missed badly on the flavor.

You see that?

Grumpy!  Grumpy!  Grumpy!

Which reminds me, I found a character-exposing t-shirt with the emblazoning:   

“Guaranteed GRUMPY”– showcasing the curmudgeonous dwarf of the same name – “It’s not a Mood; it’s a Lifestyle.”


Finishing cornily – but genuinely heartfelt – it’s not the placethat matters.  It’s the people you’re with.

If I had not been in the company of almost-four-year-old Jack during “The Haunted Mansion” attraction, I would have been absent when he reacted to the ride’s ominous “Voice-Over” introduction with:

“He said he didn’t mean to frighten me.  But he didmean to frighten me.” 

For me, that’s worth the price of admission, right there.

As long as I steer clear of “Ladybug Boogie.” 

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