Your Souvenir Guide

Disneyland Ex Machina

The curse of the camera-phone zombies

Castle Wolfenstein

Here’s the news: I was at Disneyland exactly one week ago. May not be a big deal to the Southern Californians and Central Floridians who constitute nearly eighty percent of this bl-g’s readership, but for those who don’t live in a Disney Park state (literally- or metaphorically-speaking), it’s kind of a big deal. I went to Disneyland, boys and girls! This isn’t me sitting in a Seattle coffeehouse, ruminating over how awesome it would be to be at Disneyland right now; this is field work!

Unfortunately, I mistimed my visit and caught the spring break attendance bounce head-on…and with scarcely two days to visit, a lot of attractions/lands got short shrift. The Matterhorn broke down just as I got near the head of the line. I missed the Enchanted Tiki Room (how? why?!) and its corollary, the Dole Pinapple Whip. And I didn’t go on a single Fantasyland dark ride.

Luckily, I did manage to do the holy trinity of Indy/Pirates/Mansion, got on Space Mountain twice and caught Soarin’ Over California just before I had to fly out. Pinapple whip or no, that should be enough to hold me for a few months.

Now, I know it’s customary in the Disney bl-gosphere to write long, detailed “trip reports” that feature an itinerary of every attraction experienced, annotations on every meal consumed and itemized lists of every souvenir purchased. Once I read one that even listed the bathroom breaks, and notes on the cleanliness thereof. I ain’t gonna do that for three reasons: 1) Trip reports by people you don’t know are bloody boring; 2) why God why; and 3) my friend Greg D., a Disneyland virgin until last week, wrote a pluperfect first-timer analysis that neatly sums up how I feel about the Park, and also humanity in general. I quote it here with his permission:

The rides are super-cool (and) the focus on theatricality and experience over G-forces is refreshing. Some really, really well-done classic theater effects in play, like the enormous room in Pirates so that the cannons really have a chance to echo when they go off.

However, outside the rides the park is fairly insufferable, mostly due to the teeming masses of people. You know, you’re in that ante-room in Haunted Mansion waiting to go in, and everything is staged really fantastically – the flashing “invisible” paintings, the rain in the windows – but it’s really fucking hard to maintain any kind of mood when you have 200 people packed together and half of them are texting their business partners/fuck buddies/moms. “DUDE IM IN HAUNTED MANSION.” It’s worse than those assholes who get on their cell phones and wave behind home plate at ball games.

Also flash photos during rides. Also stroller-pushing moms who feel they have the right of way in every situation. Also screaming children. Etc etc etc.


Space Mountain (has almost nothing to do with the coaster and 100% to do with the experience)
Haunted Mansion

Also enjoyed some smaller rides like Winnie The Pooh. At some point I decided that any dark ride would be worthwhile and I wasn’t wrong. Didn’t make it on the Matterhorn, which was my only regret.

In comparison, Universal Studios is a total pile of fucking shit.

I would add something to that, but I haven’t been to Universal Studios in years. Welcome to the cult of the Mouse, Greg.




  1. Because I am the contrary type, I am of course incredibly tempted to gmail you from my Blackberry next time I'm in the anteroom at the Haunted Mansion!

    But generally I try to avoid being a douchebag, so I'll resist that temptation.

    – Jennifer (from Broke Hoedown)

  2. Craig Hermann

    2008/04/16 at 2:58 PM

    I'm scheming like a madman to get down there for the Tiki Room anniversary and art sale in June. I've been away for far too long.

  3. The Tiki Room is awesome. The closest thing to time travel I have yet experienced. When I'm there it's like I'm back in another era. Beautifully restored, it's a must-see for the next trip.


  4. LOL, I've lived here for almost five years and I've still never made it to Universal Studios while they were open. Someday. If someone else is buying.

    Your next Dland trip is in November for Bats' Day, RIGHT?

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