Thoughts on weddings and Disneyland while I get myself back in the game

content_DisneylandSorry for the silence today. We got home from our trip late last night and I’m never at my best the day after a trip, even a short one. The occasion for being out of town was a wedding in the family, followed by a trip to Disneyland. I have a few thoughts about both.

Regarding the wedding, it was, of course, lovely. The bride and her mother, both thoughtful women with very good taste, had put a great deal of effort into the wedding and it showed. It was a beautiful and gracious experience. The setting was lovely, the food delicious, and the company congenial. Family and friends came, not just from all over the country, but from all over the world. I really enjoyed seeing everyone.

It was especially great to see that, as my nieces and nephews leave childhood further and further behind, they continue to be truly good and decent people. I’m very fortunate to be part of a family that’s produced such a great generation of young people.

By far the nicest thing about the wedding was the bride’s face during the ceremony. Of course, she was beautiful, because she’s a beautiful young woman and her dress suited her to perfection. But it wasn’t the dress or the lovely hair or the makeup that stood out. It was her beaming smile throughout the ceremony. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a happy bride. And to his credit, the groom (whom I don’t know that well) seemed to appreciate her happiness and to be deserving of it. I can’t think of a better start to a happy life together.

Since the wedding was in the south-land, we naturally had to spend an extra day at Disneyland. I happen to be very fond of Disneyland, and that’s true despite the fact that I dislike Disney’s corporate ethos a great deal. It’s not just its little habit of firing all its American workers to get cheap foreign labor. That was a business decision and one can debate the morality behind it. What I really don’t like is its stealth advance of Leftist values and its denigration of family in its Disney TV shows. I have other issues, but I won’t address them here.

Having said that about the Disney company, I just love the Disney parks, and that’s despite the fact that you can easily go bankrupt at them, whether because of $99 admission tickets, $14 cafeteria food, or the endless merchandise shoved in children’s faces. Disneyland and Disney World are just wonderfully thought out places.

I love how immaculately clean Disney parks are.  I love how there is no detail too small to get the Disney magic touch.  I adore the clever crowd control, which starts at Disneyland with the best-designed parking lot I’ve ever seen. The parking garage can hold 10,000 cars, but is so perfectly executed that you will park faster there and leave it more easily at the end of the day than you ever would in a smaller (much smaller) lot. In the morning, the cars are funneled effortlessly into their spaces, one after the other, second by second. At the end of the day, no matter which floor you’ve parked on, a single ramp will take you all the way down and out of the garage, in the direction of the freeway. Talk about Disney magic.

Once in the Disney parks, the way Disney uses zigzag lines to keep people constantly moving (because people get restless only when they’re standing completely still) impresses me too. And because of Disney’s constant attention to detail, while you’re standing in line, you can admire how the ride’s theme is carried out everywhere — in wall decorations, music, the ground surface, clever vignettes, instructional videos for slightly complicated rides, etc.

It was while standing in line waiting for the Indiana Jones ride that both kids said to me, “That’s really good music.” This is the music that quite suddenly appealed to them:

Had I tried to get them to listen to Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade,, they would have run for the hills. Listening to it in the “set” of the Indiana Jones ride made the music natural and appropriate, so they were able to enjoy it.

The other thing I love about Disney is the people watching. I should preface this by saying that I never wear logo wear. My feeling is that, if I’m a walking billboard for someone’s product, that someone ought to be paying me. Disney guests, however, sure like their logo wear.

By far the greatest number were wearing Disney logo wear (some of it very creative and attractive), but people were also advertising their favorite schools, sports teams, bands, unions, life philosophies, foods, athletic events, etc. Americans seem to have a real yearning to use their clothes to tell the world about the things that matter to them. Perhaps I don’t simply because I’m hyperverbal and have a blog. I’ve already told enough people too much, right?

Watching people also makes one aware what an extraordinary cross-section of people want to spend a day in Disneyland. By rights, one would think that a Disney theme park would appeal primarily to families with children, but the attendance roster goes far beyond that. Biker types, gang-banger types, Muslim types, overtly Christian types (including a young married couple with the bride and groom looking about 17 years old), cool teens, dorky teens, newlyweds, workplace colleagues, older family groups with no young children, elderly couples, gay and lesbian couples (always in matchy-matchy outfits and always making a point of public displays of affection), high school and college friends — they were all there.

Languages? I heard Spanish, German, French, Tagalog, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, and a whole host of other languages that I couldn’t immediately identify from the mere snippets that came my way. Disneyland’s attraction may not be universal (I didn’t hear any Martian or Venusian), but it certainly covers the globe.

My favorite ride at Disneyland is It’s A Small World. I’m crazy about its 1960s design sensibility, which starts with the exterior that dominates a huge, sunny plaza:

Small World Ride

Could anything be more 1960s than that? I also adore the smell of wed wood, wet cloth, paint, and chlorinated water, which reminds me of the water shows I was in when I was a kid in — yes — the 1960s. And that brilliant fluorescent paint used on the figures inside! It’s just so, so . . . 60s.

The Small World ride reminds me that Walt Disney had an unshakable faith in the future, something about which I’ve blogged before. Despite the Cold War, Walt truly believed that Americans had the ability to make the world a better place through their intelligence, ambition, creativity, ingenuity, and good will. I think I was one the last of that optimistic generation.

Today’s kids are being raised to believe in a completely apocalyptic future, not because of the scary reality that we’re facing off against an apocalyptic faith, but because of the provably false doctrine claiming that our earth is going up in flames. They don’t view the future with hope, they view it with fear — and for all the wrong reasons. If they’re going to be fearful, at the very least they could worry about ISIS and Iran, rather than hot weather.

Oh, and there’s one more thing I love about the Small World ride: That song. I think there must be something mentally wrong with me — maybe some dementia or other organic brain problem — but I never get tired of that song. I’m the one in the ride singing along to it, over and over and over and over and over and over. . . .

And that’s what I did on my weekend vacation and it’s why I haven’t blogged more today.