Tag Archives: Disneyland

Disneyland

At the end of August we took Logan to what’s turning out to be an annual trip to Disneyland. Since it’s been a month and a half, I figured it was just about time to share the trip with you.

There will be no new king today

On our previous trips Logan didn’t really seem to understand what was going on around him, and seemed overtly traumatized by some of what he saw. His reactions were pretty dramatic to what I perceived as simple illusions. In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense. As parents we spend the first few years teaching our children the rules of the universe, how things look and operate, and Disneyland has a way of breaking reality for a mind that’s only just got used to bipedal locomotion.

Not impressed with Stitch

This year was different though. Logan had a very good grasp on what was going on around him, and was exceptionally keen to do things like see some of the characters. Some of whom he recognized.

Hugging Tigger is much better than accidently being kicked over by Tigger.

Minnie didn’t make much of an impression.

Don't bother me when I'm eating pancakes Minnie

When he saw Pooh though, Logan launched himself at the poor old bear and engaged him in a fierce and warm bear hug. It was hard to get him to turn around enough to take a picture.

Hugging Pooh.

When we posed in front of the statue of Walt and Mickey in California Adventure Land, Logan wanted to high five Mickey.

Logan wanted to high five Mickey

Instead of being afraid of the rides, Logan was insistent on visiting some. We had to ride Mater’s Junk Yard Jamboree twice, and I suspect he could have ridden it all day long.

Lightning McQueen

I let him drive the car at Autopia and he cackled and laughed uproariously nearly the entire time. He is not a good driver. I should cut him some slack though, he’s still only two years old.

Disney Adventure

Logan had a two week break from pre-school, and Cameron and I had our 8th wedding anniversary. It seemed like the only appropriate thing to do was go to Disneyland. When we took Logan to Disneyland for his first birthday in October of last year, he didn’t really seem to enjoy it much. The rides mostly frightened him. When he wasn’t strapped into the stroller, he was strapped into a high chair. The only time he appeared to really enjoy himself was when he was let loose in the hotel room.

Riding Heimlich's Chew Chew train

I vowed that we wouldn’t return until he was older and more apt to enjoy himself. Cameron reminded me of that vow in the car while we were winding through Cajon Pass. It’s been less than a year since our last trip, and here we were returning.

Dinner at the Wine Country Trattoria

Luckily, Logan was more engaged this time. He still put up some fuss about the stroller every once in a while, but the rides seemed to interest him a lot more this time. In particular he really seemed to enjoy the Tea Cups and, surprisingly, Pirates of the Caribbean. After both he made the hand sign for “more” and demanded “again! again!”

AAAAR!
My mother came along this time, to provide some extra hands, and to babysit so we could go on some of the more adventuresome rides together. She brought along her friend Jenny. The two of them met through the penpals section of Western Horseman Magazine when they were 12 and have stayed friends ever since. This week was the 50th anniversary of their first letter.

Grandma and Jenny

Naturally, they wanted their picture taken with a horse. The horse begrudgingly allowed it.

Grandma and Jenny pose with a horse

We visited Toontown to see Mickey and his friends. I rarely go to Toontown, and I realized on this trip why. Toontown has essentially no shade. Other parts of the park are lush with foliage, and while still hot during the summer months, there are places to rest out of the sun. Not so in Toontown. In Toontown there are barely any trees, and everything is made of painted fiberglass that sits in the sun.

Logan taking the whole family for a ride

Still, we got to meet Mickey.

Meeting Mickey

And Logan got to spend 20 minutes being hypnotized by the dishwasher in Minnie’s house. Interestingly, the kitchen was the focal point of Minnie’s House.

Logan was entranced by the dishwashing machine in Minnie's house.

Mickey’s house, by contrast, didn’t even have a kitchen, and sported things like a writing desk, and a barn area featuring chickens ready for the slaughter.

Sitting at Mickey's desk

At first I chalked this rather blatant sexism up to an anachronistic Disney world view from decades past. Then I discovered the Toontown was opened in 1993. I’m not sure what to make of that.

Logan was entranced by the dishwashing machine in Minnie's house.
Despite my politically correct criticisms Toontown is a fun place for kids, who are neither intereseted in the social and political commentary of adults, or properly respectful of the fearsome ball of nuclear devestation that hangs 93 millions miles above our heads. Naturally, Logan beheld all the craft and spectacle of Toontown, and spent the most time playing on a slide.

Mom! They totally have a slide!

We did the usual meet and greet of characters.

Princess Aurora made an impression on Logan

Pooh and Tigger were tracked down in their normal spot, as well as Eeyore. Tigger caused quite a stir when he bounce bounce bounced Logan to the ground accidentally, as Tigger’s are wont to do. At first Logan had no reaction, but when the 7 foot tall anthropomorphic animals in pastel shades of terror attempted to console him, he figured on crying just to be sure.

Grandma and her friend Jenny pose with Pooh and Tigger

Because it was a Disney family fun adventure, I was forced to ride It’s a Small World again.

Daddy is stoic about Small World, Logan is cautious.

Last time we went, we stayed at the Grand Californian hotel. It’s a nice place with a direct entrance into the Disney California Adventure park. I decided to stay at the Disneyland Hotel this time, for the simple reason that we’d never stayed there before.

The early morning view from our room at the Disneyland Hotel.

The Disneyland Hotel is under major renovation. The rooms were nice, but the rest of the property was divided up into inconvenient construction zones and the noise during the day was cacophonic. The pool was nice, the part that was open anyways, with interesting water slides and a zero entry area that kids could enjoy. We have no pictures of this, because cameras don’t like water.

Mommy and Logan on Flik's Flyers

In the end, it was a long and tiring three days, but a good time. I seem to have a relationship with Disney that is conflicted. On the one hand, I grew up on Disney films and many of the properties are deeply rooted in nostalgia for me. I love the parks, the sense of magical relocation, and wonder of the spectacle. As I get older, I find myself more and more interested in the craft and engineering of the park and it’s attractions.

Logan crawls through a tunnel

On the other hand, I loathe the crass commercialism of the entire escapade. From beginning to end, I find myself assaulted by the hypnotic appeal to consume for the sake of consumption. I hate the abhorrently long lines that are measured in hours sometimes, with a reward measured in minutes. With a murderous hatred I despise the enormous crowds, most of whom seem to have no idea that they share their immediate surroundings with other people,. They gleefully rebound off other pedestrians, or vapidly block entire traffic ways while their extended family stand in a large circle to discuss how best to get more fat and stupid.

Logan ponders the deserts

On the gripping hand; Soarin’ Over California never fails to erase all that ugliness and paste a nirvanic smile across my face.

All tuckered out after a long three days at Disneyland

First Trip to Disneyland

With Logan’s first birthday coming up in less than a week, we took the little fella to Disneyland to celebrate. When we started planning the trip, it seemed like a great idea. Disneyland is one of Cameron’s favorite places and I enjoy it as well. I enjoy it most when I’m not standing in line or eating terrible food, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Including our son in the family tradition of listening to me complain about the crowds and long lines felt like the right thing to do.
L is for Logan

In retrospect, he may have been a little young to really enjoy the trip. The took him on a few rides that had mercifully short lines and were geared toward the younger attendees. Attractions like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Peter Pan’s Flight, some new Winnie the Pooh ride, It’s A Small World, and the carousel all seemed like low key low impact attractions that he may find visually stimulating without being too stimulating or chaotic.

A typical reaction

His reaction to these rides ranged from astonished disinterest to disturbed terror. For some reason, Peter Pan’s Flight was highest on the list of Rides That Terrified My Son.

Zonked out

The carousel, was at first startling, but he soon settled into a state of unaffected boredom, bordering on confused detachment.

Confused detachment appeared to be his primary state for the entire weekend. Interactions with costumed characters earned scowls of disbelief or outright impassive stares. At first I was concerned about it, but after some consideration I realized that to an infant, Disneyland is probably a lot like an extended hallucination where your fragile understanding of the world around you is constantly challenged if not outright fractured.

Logan and Meeko

Forest creatures are animated, enlarged, anthropomorphized, and personally engage you. The laws of physics are constantly breached. You are stimulated by visions of things that can’t possibly exist and constantly bombarded by auditory and visual stimulation that is difficult to process at the best of times.

Logan and Chip take a breakfast meeting

Disneyland for infants is like a bad acid trip that lasts for days.

No wonder he was upset by the idea of flying over London in a sailboat. Add to this the fact he spent the majority of the weekend strapped into either a car seat, a stroller or a high chair, and it should be no wonder that Logan’s favorite Disneyland attraction was our hotel room. It was the only place where reality wasn’t warped and he was allowed to move around under his own power. Looking back on the weekend, it may have been more interesting to him if I had just piled a couple thousand dollars on the floor of a Super 6 and lit it on fire.

Birthday cake towel

Interestingly, one of the few attractions that held his interest and he seemed to enjoy, was the Ferris Wheel, a contraption that I find simultaneously and dichotomously boring and terrifying. He appeared mesmerized by the motion and altitude.

It's a long way down from the Ferris Wheel

Mommy and Logan on the Ferris Wheel at Paradise Pier

His mother and I had fun though, and I suspect that the trip was largely for our benefit anyway. Logan is unlikely to have any coherent memories of the weekend, but we will cherish the memories of his first trip to Disneyland for years to come.

Logan and Mommy with their favorite bear

I think we’ll wait a few years before going back though. Maybe until he’s old enough to go on roller coasters with his mother. That’s a chore I will willingly abdicate so that I can enjoy my favorite ride at Disneyland. The bench.

Father and Son