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This Day in My History


Disneyland celebrated its 40th anniversary by burying a time capsule. They say it will be dug up in 50 years - or when the last person in line at Space Mountain gets to the front, whichever comes first.

~  Jay Leno

Yesterday's Entries

2000: Pampering Myself 
 Only a Year Late
2002:  I Can Do It
2003:  My Life as an International Spy


A Walk in the Woods
Bill Bryson



Buy my stuff at Lulu!



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These people don't seem to have any feet...just those boards with wheels on them.  Very strange.

Sheila Video 1 ("See Sheila Run")
Sheila Video 2 ("Meet Barkley")



27 July 2004

The local news ran a special segment recently on how to get the best value for a family when visiting a theme park.  They then went through several of the most popular theme parks, including the nearby Marine World, and others. Obviously Disneyland was on the list.  They gave hints for how to be able to afford to take a family to visit The Magic Kingdom, starting with the admission price which was something like.....forty dollars????? for kids up to 9 and sixty dollars????? for those over 10?????

I checked the web page and your "best buy" is a 5-day pass, for $100 each for the little kids and $130 each for the adults. For a family of five on a moderate income, Disneyland is totally out of the question. At those prices, if we had taken all five of our children to Disneyland for one day when Jeri was 9 (and David was too young to appreciate it), it would have cost us $320 just to get in the gate. Then there would be food for 7 for two meals (because you can't bring in your own food), and other "incidentals" ("must have" copies of the soundtrack to It’s A Small World, Mickey Mouse ears, etc.)

Affording to take us all to Disneyland was out of the question back in the 70s, when it was cheaper. But we didn’t want to cheat the kids out of the experience and so we found a way to do it. Each year on or about the child’s 4th birthday, they got a one-on-two weekend with Walt and me, to go to Disneyland.  We came up with the idea because at age 4, Jeri was already getting lost in a sea of babies and we wanted to spend some special time with her alone.

It was fabulously successful. We bought her a hat with her name on it and she wore it the whole day. Everyone who met her greeted her by name and she just glowed. Her one wish had been to meet Mickey Mouse and we thought she was going to burst when she finally did.

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Going with each of the kids was a whole new experience each time. The least pleasant was Paul’s trip. We happened to get to the park on a day when there were long lines for everything and Paul did not do "waiting" all that well.   I still remember the tantrum he threw when we arrived at the line for the submarine ride.   "Not another LINE," he screamed.

Several years later, when we were hostingforeign students, that meant a whole slew of trips to Disneyland, since everyone wanted to visit the park. Since I’m not a "ride" person, these were not trips that I relished, but we had some nice memories and one horrendous memory of an ungrateful Brasilian who was spoiled and demanding and so entirely impossible that after driving all day long to get to the park, I let everyone stay inside until closing while I slept in the van and then I drove home, all night, because I wasn’t going to spend one more penny on this ungrateful wretch and refused to go to a motel. After he returned to Brasil, he wrote to tell me how I’d "ruined" his trip to Southern California.

We also visited the park several times during the "jazz choir" years. The kids performed at the Carnation Plaza around lunchtime, which meant they couldn't go out on their own to see the park until after their show, but they needed to pay full price to get in and for their "payment" for performing received a hamburger and a drink. When I think how many millions the park takes in every day, it always struck me as the height of cheapskate-hood to make the kids pay to perform there, especially since they were cheated out of half a day of play.

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Kag and Paul performing at
The Disneyland Hotel

However, we did get to ride through the backstage area to get to the park proper. Security was tighter than visiting NASA, I swear! They threatened to draw and quarter you if you photographed anything in the backstage area.  God forbid someone should discover that there were actually human beings inside those Disney character costumes.

Disneyland also became a sad part of our family's history.  Members of Lawsuit had done a concert in Los Angeles and were spending the day in the park when David had his accident in San Francisco.  David's friend knew that the gang would be in Disneyland and called the park, trying to reach Ned and Paul.  Disneyland Security managed to round up all 10 of the guys in less than half an hour (it was made a little easier because they were wearing matching t-shirts).  In his monologue shows later, Paul would remark wryly that he learned of his youngest brother's impending death in "the happiest place on earth."

The last time I was in Disneyland was when Peggy was visiting in 2000. An amusement park filled with children is perhaps not the best place to take someone who admittedly doesn’t like kids much. We visited some of the attractions, but I kinda didn’t tell her about the more scary rides, since I don’t do scary rides well. I did agree to go on the Matterhorn and it was not my favorite moment. At least I didn’t throw up on anybody.

If I don’t go to Disneyland again, it won’t be a tragedy. I might someday like to visit the site in Florida (or at least Epcott Center), but not at the prices you have to pay to get in.

These days, with only a four-legged child, my "magic kingdom" is closer to home. Sheila’s favorite place to visit is the pet store, a palace of doggie delights. So much to see, so much to sniff, and if she’s lucky, another dog to sniff at the same time. Everyone pets her. The clerks give her treats.  What more could she want?

Of course, considering how much I’ve spent on the damn dog in the past month, maybe it would be cheaper to go to Disneyland after all!!!

Today's Must-See Web Site

Too cute for words---
be sure to check the complete site, especially the photos.


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Sheila likes to run with the skateboarders when she's at the dog park.

For more photos, please visit My Fotolog and My FoodLog

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