So what do we have in common besides the groupies? We’re going to Disneyland! Woo-hoo. Yes, I’m dreading it. And no, I don’t like being this way. But I blame my mother. When I was a kid all my mother would ever do was complain about some event coming up. “Uccchh, why do we have to go to that brat’s Bar Mitzvah?” or “Who has a party on a Sunday night? Idiots.” or “Yeah, I feel like spending big bucks for a dress to go to a wedding of two ugly people — sorry, they are — whose marriage probably won’t last six months.” My father was an uncomplaining saint. Guess who I took after.
But here’s the crazy part. My mother ALWAYS had an amazing time. Always. “How was that crappy Bar Mitzvah, Mom?” And she’d answer: “Crappy? What the heck are you talking about? The food was to die for, I danced up a storm and even Mean Marge told me I looked good. I had the best time ever.” It was this pattern every single time. Complain about it in advance, rave about it after. I found it to be quite an annoying quality. And yet…here I am.
So, Disneyland. You out-of-staters can’t imagine not wanting to go to the infamous amusement park. I get that. But you locals know what I’m talking about. Gearing up for Disneyland takes a lot of effort. First of all, I have to take a day off from work. You have to be either an idiot or a foreigner to go on a weekend day. So this means an extra day with my kids. Oh joy. And it ain’t cheap. Hundreds of dollars for a family of four, plus the ridiculous amounts of food that I somehow justify getting to ease the pain of spending that money. Doesn’t make sense, I know, but I love to eat, so…
Then there’s the traffic getting down there, the insane parking, the long lines, blah, blah, blah. But guess what? I’ve never had a bad time at Disneyland. In fact, every time I go I become weirdly upbeat and yell to my family, “This IS the happiest place on earth!” They look at me oddly, but I’m used to that. Me, my wife and my kids are a family at Disneyland. We do everything together, even though they’re teenagers and in the “real” world want nothing to do with us. It’s as if they’re different people while we’re there, which is hugely appealing.
We stay till the end, watch the fireworks, then are delightedly carried down Main Street by the cheerful mob and somehow get to our cars and head home. I’m still smiling the next day. But after about a month (during which time I don’t think I’ll even see my kids), if anyone even mentions Disneyland I sneer and say, “Ucchhh, why would anyone in their right mind go there?” Thanks, Mom.