Friday, November 14, 2008

Disneyland on Just $700 per Day

We just got back from a mini vacation at the happiest place on earth. No, not Wal-Mart. Disneyland! We spent three magical days at Mickey’s place, and I have the empty bank account to prove it.

Now, Disneyland probably isn’t the most expensive place you can go, but it has to be in the top three. You could go to Atlantic City or Vegas, but you’d have to be on one heck of a losing streak to match the wallet draining power of Anaheim, CA. “Let’s see…. Give me two hot dogs, three waters, and a box of popcorn. What’s that?? $84.50? That sounds reasonable. Why don’t we throw in some mouse ears and make it an even $200. Thanks!”

It really doesn’t matter how much it costs though, when you get to take your two year old on the Matterhorn Bobsleds to thwart the abominable snowman and you get to take your four year old down a 50-foot waterfall on Splash Mountain. Where else in the world can you do that? It’s all worth it when you hear “Daddy, I was pretty scared, but that was fun!” To see my little boys being brave as they got strapped in for the wild rides just melted my heart and made me proud!

I say it really doesn’t matter how much it costs only because my wife booked the whole package on Costco Travel and I really have no idea what admission to the park really was. It may be a total rip-off. You should look into it before you go. My boys probably could have had just as much fun if I dragged our mattress into the back yard and threw them off the roof.

One thing is for sure though. Old Walt really knew a thing or two about how to run an operation. In my opinion, every company in America should have corporate retreats at Disneyland. The customer service is second to none, the place runs like a Swiss watch, and the fact that my kids knew every character’s name speaks volumes about their marketing. (Or it means my kids watch way too much TV in the morning…)

And is there a more popular corporate brand out there? If you had to rank the most well known figures in the world, the list would probably go Jesus first and Mickey Mouse second. And if Jesus had charged people $9.75 for a diet Coke instead of giving away free wine who knows how that list might go.

Amid our reveling in all things Disney what ended up being one of the most entertaining parts of the trip was not the rides at all. It was the crowds. For two days, mixed in with all the other families like ours, were hordes of pale white face havin’, pitch black clothes wearin’, every available orifice piercin’ Goth freaks. They were having a convention somewhere in LA, and what appeared to be the entire convention felt the need to come to Disneyland. Two things about that surprised me. First, how are the socially disaffected, disenfranchised youth of America so organized that they can put together a convention? And second, why do the members of a super-weird, “I’m constantly unhappy and pale” death cult want to come to the happiest place on earth in the middle of the day?

I had never given the pale ones much thought, but seeing them all at Disneyland got me very curious, so I did some research. I always thought it was “Gothic” people, like the historical period. But that isn’t it at all. The entire club is based on a series of books about a fictional bat named Goth who talks and happens to be a cannibal. I’m not sure how that translates to the women dressing like Elvira the meth addict hooker, but I haven’t read any of the books.

After learning about the cannibal bat, I’m still unable to make the Disneyland connection, but go figure. Who am I to judge? Mickey rocks, and evidently everyone knows it! Even the frowning suburban see-through night creatures who are incapable of purchasing clothes in any hue other than black as coal.

Disneyland seemed to be making some of them smile though, but I’m thinking they might be a little happier if they looked up the first name on the popularity list. He has a Book also, just no theme park.

See you soon,

Copyright © 2008 Marc Schmatjen

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