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Monday, June 17, 2013

Mary Poppins is NOT practically perfect in every way... fact, she was a bit of a disappointment.  But Disneyland, overall, was not.

Last week, one of C's friends asked him why I loved Disneyland so much, and his half joking response was "the magic."  I say half joking because, although it sounds cliche and funny, it is actually true.

There are, I think, three types of people in this world: those who love Disney and allow it's magic to take over while they're there, those who can appreciate it for the most part but are also acutely aware of reality, and then those who vehemently keep a strong distance from getting wrapped up in it.  I am of the first type, and have been asked why I would want to keep going back to do the same thing often.  The best way I can answer that is by saying that each time is a different experience, and that is what I love most about visiting the Disney parks.

This time around was no exception to that rule.  We compromised on an arrival time of 9 am - C normally likes to arrive around 10ish, and I really wanted to get there at 8 (I now worry that the park will hit capacity before we get there - hasn't happened yet but I still freak out about it) so 9 am was a fair compromise.  Since we got up earlier than expected, made it through breakfast quickly, and hit zero traffic on the way there, we actually got to the park around 8:15.  C really didn't understand the appeal to arriving so early, and as we walked to Main Street, I tried pointing out how quiet it was.  We began walking towards the restroom around the same time that the Mad Hatter and Alice were heading backstage, and the Mad Hatter asked where we were going.  I quietly mentioned the restroom, and he grabbed my hand and began to rush me down the path, telling me I wasn't moving fast enough.  It was nothing I could have planned and therefore that much more of a "moment," and something we laughed about throughout the day.

My other favorite moment was our trip on the Mark Twain Riverboat.  In all the times I've been, and the times we've been together, we've never had an interest in taking a ride on the riverboat, but the lack of crowds on Saturday (seriously, the park was pretty quiet for a Saturday in June!) got us in the mindset of trying things we hadn't done before.  We walked right on to the boat, and I really wanted to grab a seat and relax, but C wanted to sit on the top deck, so up we went.  As we approached the top deck, I passed two cast members, both in captains gear, and one pointed at me and said "maybe she'll want to help you."  Knowing from experience that a cast member asking you to do something always leads to something awesome, I volunteered, even though I hadn't a clue what I was volunteering for.  The captain then asked if we wanted to help him "drive" the boat.  Uh, yes!

Even though you aren't actually driving the boat (its on a track under water and is propelled by a cast member who controls its speed in a totally different room) you do get to blow the whistle and ring the bell.  We also got to sign the guest book (awesome!) and learn about old attractions and some park history from the captain, Ryan.  Ryan mentioned he'd been working for Disney for 7 years - say what you will about the House of Mouse being an "evil empire" but its employees truly do love what they do.  Seeing the park from this vantage point was very cool, and although we found out that you can always ask to ride in the wheelhouse, we decided to keep this a "once in a lifetime" sort of thing.

Just to make sure I get in a little fitness mention, C wore his FitBit the whole day to see just how many miles we walked.  Want to guess how many?  We were there for 14 hours and we walked... 12.5 miles.  Almost a half marathon!  I'm also of the mindset that calories you consume at a theme park don't actually count, and the FitBit actually proved us right - C entered in everything he had eaten that day (popcorn, ice cream, meatloaf, ice cream, etc.) and because of the mileage we walked, he had burned 3,000+ calories, so even after entering in all that food, he had tons of calories to spare.

I'm sad that the day is over (and it goes by so quickly) but am glad that we had another great experience.  I think I'm finally turning C into a fan. :)

(To briefly reference my post title, the only disappointing thing during our day was Mary Poppins' lack of personality.  She was too consumed with trying to find Bert (I'm not making this up) and by the time I got to take my picture with her, she only asked where I was from.  Yawn.)

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