Tag Archives: Disneyland

Nightmare on Main Street

Main Street

By Jack Edwards

Our family had a brilliant idea. We would spend New Year’s Eve at Disneyland watching fireworks explode over the castle. Only, one little problem. Eighty-four thousand, nine-hundred and ninety-six people, people we didn’t even know, and certainly never invited, had the same brilliant idea.

That’s the cut-off. 85,000. This is proof that Disney runs Anaheim like the Mob runs Vegas. Just kidding! The bones in my legs are perfectly fine in their current, unbroken condition! (I’m referring to Disney. Not even the Mob is heartless enough to charge you $5.00 for a small soda.)

In order for 85,000 people to simultaneously experience the Wonder and the Joy that is the “Magic Kingdom,” each of the theme park characters is contractually required to carry at least one guest on his or her back to conserve foot space.  (Snow White is required to carry seven.)

There are only two possible explanations for Anaheim’s Fire Marshal signing off on Disney herding 85,000 victims into this human corral. Either old Walt had some dirt on the fire marshal, or the fire marshal is currently driving around in sparkling new Lamborghini with a bumper sticker that reads: “I brake for Mickey!”

The tragic result of this story, which will soon become ironically, and sadly, apparent, is that our family didn’t even need to suffer this tragedy.

Let me explain. When our family checks into a hotel, we ask for the best view available. Unfortunately, the best view available in our price range is a view of the hotel’s dumpster. Imagine our shock then of getting a room with a panoramic view of the Disneyland castle. We briefly discussed staying in our room to watch the fireworks, but decided that wouldn’t capture the full New Year’s celebration experience. As we soon learned… No, indeed, it would not.

We were warned that Disneyland usually cuts off entry around midday on New Year’s Eve when it reaches capacity. (Did I mention capacity was 85,000?) A Disney representative told us that if we left the park there was no guarantee of being allowed to reenter. This meant we had to head in early in the day, and remain in the park until midnight. If you’re beginning to get the sense that our whole plan was a bad idea, you would be sadly and absolutely correct.

Once in the park, warning signs were everywhere. We were 14 hours from midnight, and people were spreading blankets and staking out territory like it was the Middle East. Those of you familiar with Disney parks know that they have what they call a FASTPASS system with their more popular rides. You can go up to them and get a ticket to return at a later time (usually two or three hours when it’s busy) and then bypass the regular line. We struggled to Space Mountain for a FASTPASS at about 11:40 a.m. Our FASTPASS told us to return for the ride at 10:45 p.m. We were like those buffoons in the horror movie who stumble across a dead body stuffed into a dog house, but instead of fleeing for our lives, we simply shrug our shoulders and go, “Humm, that’s odd. The landlord told us this vacation rental didn’t allow dogs.”

The good news was, the temperature was nearly freezing.

Finally, midnight arrived. You know those pimentos that they shove into an olive? Yeah. We were 85,000 pimentos shoved into a gigantic Disney olive. In the end, the best view I could get was watching the fireworks through the thick branches of a tree on Disneyland’s Main Street. I stood there freezing, longing to be in my warm hotel room gazing out at my customary of the hotel dumpster.

Secret Travel Tips for Cheapskates: LA Edition

Final Rodeo

Every city has a major landmark.  St. Louis has a giant Arch.  San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge.  And Los Angles has the Smog.  The special thing about LA’s landmark is that it cannot only be seen but experienced.  This experience alone is reason to visit the City of Angels.

And Los Angles is the smorgasbord of family friendly experiences.  It’s home to Disneyland, Paramount Studios, and, of course, Knott’s Berry Farm.  All offer the same prepackaged antiseptic fun that Americans seek for their annual National Lampoon Vacations.  Unfortunately, these experiences also share one unpleasant quality.  They each charge actual money to gain admission.  That is unless your family is stealthful and can scamper beneath the back gate, which my wife has of late been refusing to do.  What do you get for an entrance fee just slightly more expensive than the down payment on a three bedroom suburban home?  You get the privilege of slapping down five bucks for a small soft drink, the one without the souvenir cup.  That and the pleasure of loitering in a line for two hours waiting to plunge to your death.  The sunburn is still complimentary at all of these amusement parks… for the time being.

So, here is my LA travel tip.  It’s called going to Rodeo Drive and walking around pretending you’re rich.  It’s LA’s best kept secret.  Drive over and check it out.  It’ll remind you of the primate exhibit at the National Zoo, only the animals are wearing “skinny jeans”.  Special travel note: Even some of the sale’s clerks on Rodeo Drive pretend they’re rich.  Stop into a few shops, and you’ll see what I mean (but please, suppress your grin; it’s all they’ve got – don’t take it away from them).

Rodeo Drive Amusement Park’s Do’s and Don’ts:

  1. Do park your moss green Ford Focus rental a block or two away.  Remember, you come from old money.
  2. Do tell your kids to keep their fingers out of their noses (and other orifices) while trying to look rich.  Rich kids also stick their fingers in their noses, but they do so with a richness and flair middleclass children cannot master during a short visit to the land of the rich.
  3. Don’t buy any artwork.  Yes, that life-size bronze Stallion rearing back majestically looks magnificent in the art gallery with a thirty foot ceiling, but it isn’t going to fare so well in your family room next to the bumper-pool table.  And the money is probably better off staying in your kid’s college fund anyway.
  4. Do, toward the end of your stroll along Rodeo, when you’ve grown tired of pretending you’re rich, put on a pair of really cheesy sunglasses and start asking anyone within arm’s reach where a guy from Akron can find a “classy” (pronounced ‘claaaas-ee’) t-shirt that says Hollywood on it.  Tell’em you’re willing to spend whatever it takes, and volunteer that you’ve got a ten dollar bill burning a hole in your pocket.

Staying with the Rodeo Drive theme, next week’s travel tip will be how to get the most out of your family’s visit to the primate exhibit at the National Zoo.  Sneak preview:  It involves cheesy sunglasses and skinny jeans.

Please take a moment to share!

Click here on Jocularious.com to access Facebook, Twitter and other “share” buttons. Earn good karma!


It’s free and easy, and Jocularious will arrive in your inbox each week.

It’s a Three Minute Vacation for your Brain.


Check out these great books for gifts:

The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the legal wilderness at –


Seven Rules for the College Playground –


Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –