I’d Like To Have a Word With Walt.

by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor


Today my friend Diana asked me if I wanted to go to Disneyland this weekend. “Yeah, NO.” Many of my friends including Diana are big Disney fanatics; several of them own season passes and think nothing of simply going for the afternoon. I am not one of those people; I have my reasons. When the twins were first born, in an effort to show Elby that she is still king of the castle figuratively and literally, her daddy and I decided to take her to the magical place where dreams and wishes come true - Disneyland. But when we got there we were dismayed to find out that admission for a three-year-old was sixty bucks! So obviously we immediately taught our daughter the fine art of lying about her age. Elby, you are two years old.


"No, I'm three!"


"Not today you're not! Let me see your game face!" Apparently the second you turn three, Disneyland thinks you're going to be having sixty bucks worth of fun but until then, you're still the equivalent of a carry-on bag.


Our scheme kind of reminded me of when I was sixteen and trying to get into bars with a welfare ID given to me by a coworker at Burger King. I always felt a little nervous that I wouldn't pass for Dawn, twenty-six year old single mother of two on the dole. But it worked nine times out of ten. Ah, memories.


The entrance to Mouseville went down smoothly; no one even questioned her age. So once inside the park we were sixty bucks richer, in great moods, ready to show our big girl the time of her life. We headed immediately to the Princess Pavilion. Problem one: the line to have a short meet and greet with the Princesses (and I use that term loosely because is Pocahontas officially royalty or does she just wear a cute dress?) was over an hour long –which is like four days to a three-year-old. But we waited because she desperately wanted to meet Ariel, her bar-none favorite princess. The other princesses are okay in her book but Ariel is the sweet spot. Finally, after a good half hour, I let Jon hold our place in the winding line and I went to investigate just what was in store for us after our interminable wait. Turns out, Ariel is not even in the Princess Pavilion; she resides in her own personal cove on the other side of the Matterhorn. So we grabbed Elby and dragged her meet her muse. Another thirty minutes later, Elby got her ninety seconds of face time with Ariel, who was sweet in the way a celebrity might be if you approached them at dinner at a restaurant, said you enjoyed their work and asked them to sign your napkin. But we still got our picture.


Is it just my imagination or did Disneyland used to be totally different when I was a kid? Characters would be trolling around the park on a constant basis. You couldn't walk five feet without slamming into a Goofy or Eeyore. The Princesses were friendly in the days of yore and would walk right up to you and eat out of your hand. Now everything is just for the photo op. You have to wait in a long line to meet every character.



You are right on the money with this one. We're L.A. locals, but decided to stay at the "posh" Grand Californian Hotel for Mother's Day weekend. OK, I'm also not clear on how MY Mother's Day weekend turned in to a 2 day jaunt at an amusement park I see entirely too much of the other 364 days of the year, but I digress. Would you believe the sodas in the vending machine at this hotel run by Disney were $2.75!!! I could buy a crate of soda at Costco for $2.75!!! We had to divert the cash flow from the kids' 529 to fund this trip and they want $2.75 for a soda!!! Needless to say, the kids' were sucking on tap water for the day!


I agree with you in principal but the truth is that people would flock around the characters like paparazzi snapping photos. This stopped the flow of foot traffic as well as becoming dangerous for the characters. There are so many more people in Disneyland on any given day than when I was a kid.