Saturday, December 15, 2007


When I was in my mid teens we lived near Disneyland. You could see the Matterhorn on the way to school (if you knew where to look). During summer the fireworks boomed nightly at 9 pm.
In 1984 my parents bought annual passes for my brother and me. We could go whenever we wanted! Disneyland became a weekly treat that I never tired of. I knew every detail of the park and the attractions within. I soon came up with a scheme where I could hit nearly every ride in one day by hitting the popular ones (Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion) when the park opened and the less busy ones (Peoplemover, Monorail, Mark Twain (the steamboat) and the Enchanted Tiki Room) during the day. I knew where to get a burger without standing in line. I knew where to see the Electric parade without waiting on the curb for three hours. When crowds or parades jammed the park, I knew the alternate routes to get where I wanted.
Disneyland never bored me. Each land and attraction put you in a remarkably believable world. For example, when you were in Adventureland, you weren't in a place with jungle decorations- you were in a jungle, thick with palms, broad leafed plants, and thatched roofs. Step a few yards away and you'd be on Main Street, with fresh paint, flower beds, and trolleys. The Pirates of the Caribbean didn't take you past a parade of pirate scenes- it put you in the action: a skull talked to you, bullets and cannons fired over your head, and the burning town seemed ready to collapse on you.
Sometimes my brother and went to Disneyland after school. We'd take the city bus, check into the park, put our homework in the lockers and stay until they shooed us out (politely) at closing time. Then we'd hang out at the Disneyland hotel until our parents got off work and picked us up. Years later they told me they figured we'd get into less trouble at the park than hanging out, unsupervised at home.


Sally said...

By the time I got to Disneyland I was in my thirties so I never had that kind of experience.

I just ordered Steve Martin's autobiography. I read a review of it that made me think it might be really good, though most of his writing seems pretentious to me.

You know he got his start working at Disneyland, I think for many years. He was one of those guys on the jungle boat that did the patter and also I think did song and dance. I'll let you know if it's any good-- from other interviews with him I know he credits it with putting him on the comedy road. But you may be too young to remember when he was a really funny stand up comedian and on Saturday Night Live?

ps let's get together soon! I'm in town for months now. email me!

Linda said...

YOU LUCKY DUCK! What an incredible childhood.

p.s. I wish I could get together with you & Sally.

Namowal said...

I remember when Steve Martin did stand up. My parents wouldn't let me stay up for Saturday Night Live but the library had cassette tapes of his act. I remember a lot of it had him starting of on a solemn note, then throwing in a ridiculous element. You mentioned his bio seemed pretentious. That'd be funny if the book did the same thing- perhaps getting extra weighty and philosophical, then you'd turn the page and suddenly it's a pop up book!
I wish you could get together with us too.

Linda said...

Namowal, what a great idea for Steve Martin's book.

When you & Sally get together (at the diner?) will you have the waitress snap a photo so I can see you?

Namowal said...

Sure thing, Linda. :)

Danielle Pluzsik said...

Do you remember the TRON segment in the Peoplemover?

Roo Mika said...

Remember Captain Rex, the droid pilot on the Star Tours ride? That replaced Adventure Thru Inner Space (which you remember).

TOM the Robot said...

Oh man, do I remember Disneyland. Yeah, I lived near there too, and I got annual passes in 1970. Hung out there every day, especially after school, hitting on the girls and riding Adventures Thru Inner Space and Haunted Mansion with them, smoking marijuana with my friends when the staff weren't looking, riding the Peoplemover through the world of Tron (very fun under the influence) and then later on in the late 80s, going on Star Tours and I remember a time where I almost got in trouble there. Damn now I must write a journal entry about my Disneyland memories!