Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mickey Teach Me Your Ways

On our first full day in Los Angeles my sister got the chance to decide what the agenda would entail. She had one word for us: Disneyland. So we took I-10 to 5 or something and made our way to Anaheim, California to visit, what some suggest is the happiest place on Earth. Well, technically that would be Disney World what with the delightful Epcot Center, and MGM Studios. So perhaps "Earth" is a misnomer. Perhaps it would be better to state that Disneyland is the happiest place on the California coast. Yep, that seems about right. Point is that we spent a fun filled day and night riding the rides and enjoying the fireworks. While waiting in those seemingly short but actually sneakily long lines (Sure it says only 30 minutes for the Peter Pan ride, but I didn't realize that 30 minutes starts when the winding line reaches the ramp up to the ships and not at the actual sign. And 30 minutes doesn't account for Manuelito's cousin Jose and his mother, father, uncle, grandmother, and second cousin Maria Conchita Selena cutting in either) my brother and I discussed the cash cow Walt Disney has created in his theme parks. Our discussion after the jump

Truth is I don't know a better well oiled machine than the magic of Disney. While my brother went ahead and ordered our hamburgers from the Enchanting $15 dollar Burger Bungalow in Fantasyland, my duty was to get seating. Now seating is tricky. Oh and I actually ordered a veggie burger that tasted like mung beans, but that's neither here nor there. Thing is one has to walk around for like 20 minutes just waiting to see any sort of upward movement from the patrons actually sitting down enjoying their own $15 burgers, churros, mickey shaped ice creams, and funnel cakes topped with crumbled brownies, whipped cream, and sprinkles (yeah, that one looked delicious). Of course one sees said patron rise and you have no choice but to make a mad dash for the table, fighting grannies, six year olds, and the japanese tourists along the way only to find that the person getting up simply had to get ketchup. Sidenote: this is why I always insist on getting more ketchup than a small village can consume in a week when you're at the condiments table. I agree that it's wasteful, but at least it doesn't get the hopes up of the poor schmo, read: me, who thinks standing up signifies done eating. If a plethora of ketchup had been acquired then I wouldn't have had to trip the grannie risking a ticket straight to Hell to get to the table first. Inevitably though, when no free table is available, one is left hovering over a random family of four that you notice has only two more bites of their burger and five and 1/2 fries left on their plate. They look up and notice that you're in their personal space and radiating a death glare so they pack it in early, grabbing their children's hands fearing the worst on their way out. You turn around and say ever so gently " Oh, you're done? Thanks!", then plop down on one of the chairs before the aunt has time to lift her tray up. You stare at those five and 1/2 fries and it takes all the strength you can muster not to say, "Are you going to finish that". You hang your head in despair as you see those little guys slide into the trash can. A sad moment.

But clearly not what I was aiming for with this post. After I made the woman in crutches hobble somewhere else I noticed that the Enchanted Burger Bungalow was sponsored by Minute Maid. What?, I thought to myself, what does that mean? I pondered this thought for another 50 minutes while I waited for my mung bean burger. Finally when my bro sat down he told me that Minute Maid must pay Disney a million billion dollars a year to have their little name etched on the cottage sign. "But wait!" I said. Almost every restaurant in the park, every ride, every stand has a "sponsored by" sign! All of a sudden my eyes opened up to the reality of all realities: Disney is the greatest business scheme of all time. With my super special finance senses awakened, and you know, the map, I started picking up on other things. Did you know that Disney allows McDonald's to sell their fries, just their fries, in little food stations through-out the park? Cha-Ching! Did you know that Disney has cameramen sponsored by Kodak at all the perfect photo spots to take a lovely picture of your entire family. No more will a Dad be left out of the shot. Nope, let the random dude take it and give you a number so that you may purchase that photo on your way out. Did you know that Disney provides it's visitors free aspirin, Tums, Pepto, and other medicines, sponsored of course by Bayer, at the First Aid Center. Yep, they even thought of that. I had a migraine around 4pm and was seriously thinking of calling it a day. I figured I should at least attempt to purchase some Exedren at some shop on Main Street. When I went asking for a place that carried my happy pills an attendant smiled and said, "Oh I'm sorry you feel so bad, just mosey on down to the First Aid Center, they'll take care of you so that you enjoy your stay with us". WTF?! So I entered the cutesy First Aid Center and some nurse, in a nurse costume ripped out of a cartoon, cause every employee is dressed up in ridiculous possibly Crayola sponsored polyester getup, just handed me some free meds. All I had to do was sign their "guestbook". I thought to myself, Wow. They don't want you to leave either. Did I mention they also have a daycare for the newbie babies. Yeah, I know, right. A place made specifically for kids, has a place to dump them when they're being annoying. I didn't check but I'm sure it's sponsored by Pampers or something.

Bottom line is that every little inch of this theme park was methodically thought out. It's a heck of an idea I'll give them that. And honestly I didn't mind because I had fun. More fun than I'd had in a long time. So as the fake snow fell in conjunction with the new Celine Dion song, available for purchase on Main Street, I said, I wanna come back again next year!

Success is theirs.

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