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September 27th, 2006

Picking up where I left off a couple of weeks ago, about a vacation that happened a couple of weeks before that…

We went to Disneyland. And as so often happens on a Disney vacation, we went again the next day. It is almost impossible to do the whole park in one visit. Our tour book had a plan called “Dumbo or Die in a Day!”

I can die just as easily in 48 hours, thank you. Especially since they’ve doubled the park since the last time we were there. What used to be a very manageable setting, now has California Adventure stuck on the side, and a Disney Downtown shopping and dining space in between the two.

Right next to the tables where they search your purse for weapons before you can get into the park. Welcome to 21st Century Disneyland!

But forget that. I haven’t been on Space Mountain in 10 years. Pat me down, oh uniformed friends of Mickey, and let’s get this show on the road.

They have updated Space Mountain since the last time I was there. I remember looking up into the projected night sky and watching meteors made of baked potatoes and chocolate chip cookies, and thinking it was all very high tech. Then riding in total darkness, hearing the distant screams of people in other cars.

No more of that. You are riding in the night sky, and you hear nothing but the soundtrack piped in from the speakers behind you. It is kind of a cross between being the hood ornament on the Starship Enterprise, and the way the inside of my head feels all the time when I’m writing. Rapid mood swings. Continual surprises. Lots of sudden drops and sharp corners.

And there was no line so we rode it twice.

If it weren’t for the fact that I have to have a real life, eight hours sleep and regular meals, I would be in the cue for Space Mountain, now and forever, until the end of time.

Of course, then we would have missed It’s a Small World. In the guidebook I was reading, they suggested that the ride would be better if everyone got a bucket of softballs.

This is top of my 2006 list of things I wish I’d said first.

And then, there was a trip to the Enchanted Tiki Room, where we sat next to an animatronic Tiki God with lazy eye.

And on to California Adventure! to prove to ourselves that there were things a lot more lame than 60’s era goats on 2-dimensional Alps. CA has a few good rides, surrounded by a lot of walking around in unrelentingly happy California music. The amount of time it will take to be sick of hearing The Mamas and the Papas can be measured in feet, not minutes.

Go to see Muppets 3-D, of course. The world needs more muppets.

But why in the name of Williams Sonoma, are there tortilla or pasta making demonstrations in a theme park? And should it cost $60 a person?

Thank God for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. When I get to heaven, this will be the ride next to Space Mountain. I was in my element. I have been carrying a torch for Rod Serling since the mid 70’s. And the interior design of the hotel lobby entrance, with its dark woodwork, high ceilings and faded furniture, kind of reminded me of home.

Of course, their dust and cobwebs are fake. Mine are real.

But you walk down to the fake basement, and get into the fake freight elevator, and after a couple of false, special effects laden stops to build tension, you are taken 13 stories up and given a quick view of the California sky before the bottom drops out and you are heading for the ground.

This happens several times. At one point, they take your picture. I should have bought that one. My hair was standing straight up and I was clutching my chest. I appeared to be having a heart attack. I rode that twice as well.