Misery loves company. Gluttons deserve punishment. Fathers with young daughters inevitably find themselves drawn to Disneyland; much like lemmings to the sea. Ours is not to reason why, so go tell the Spartans that if you can't do the time, don't do the crime.
The third movie in a trilogy is supposed to be bigger, better, and more exciting than the first two put together. Surely these reasonable expectations would make this ill-advised return to the Mouse Cult successful beyond our wildest imagination.
Forget the fact that I hate people. Despise crowds. Get mildly homicidal whilst standing in line. This time would be different. This was a whole new experience. I'd get to take my family to Disneyland unshackled by cane nor wheelchair.
What the heck was I thinking?
It was cold, dark, and waaaaay too early when I became aware that the wife was already up and at it. She confessed to getting up at 4:30am because she was too excited to sleep. Madness.
While I downed coffee and loaded the car, she helpfully fed the girls donuts for breakfast. Ah yes. That should keep them suitably docile for the long drive down. And away we went.
Unlike previous trips, for this one we had the benefit of a built-in DVD player. Brilliant. Absolute genius. If we weren't meant to use the tv as a stand-in babysitter, why did we invent fire in the first place? Exactly.
So instead of listening to the kids squabble, I got to daydream about being a space marine dropship pilot. The drive itself went rather smoothly until just past the grapevine. Insert "Ihatethegrapevine" and "IhateLA" on endless repeat. We usually pitstop at Tito's Pupuseria in Buttonwillow. But last time, we noticed that the granny who makes said pupusas was slowing down a bit. Unwilling to sit for 90 minutes, we opted instead for Chipotle over In N Out. We managed to convince ourselves that it was marginally healthier…and the tiebreaker went to the 805 ales that we cheerfully toasted as the proper start to our vacation.
I'd explain the trip in detail, but that would take too long. I'll sum up:
PTB got to go on Radiator Springs Racers and Soarin' for the first time. She kept insisting on re-riding Cars because she wanted to win. Not sure whether to be amused or alarmed that she kept shouting "Kick him in the head!" while riding Soarin'…
She also convinced me to go on the Ariel ride ad infinitum. I…probably could have handled this better.
1st Ride: She squealed, waved, and blew kisses to Ariel. Then boogied to "Under Da Sea." I felt a flush of fatherly pride. All was well in the world. My spawnling was happy and I had been A Good Dad.
3rd Ride: "Ah…Yeah. Maybe this time Ursula will win…" I joked weakly.
Seagull: "Let me tell you a story about…"
Me: "I WILL END YOU, SEAGULL!!!"
Oops. But that's what I get for being PTB's wingman while Little K did the faster rides like Goofy's, Screamin', and Tower of Terror.
For the record, the worst ride we went on was Monsters, Inc. It was neither funny, nor scary, nor exciting. Basically just a mailed-in waste of time. There's a reason why no one is waiting for this one. Avoid.
Enter the PewPewPew:
PTB and Little K had a lot of fun on the Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story rides. What they lacked in accuracy, they made up with enthusiasm and volume. PTB carried over her knowledge of pewpewpew to other rides. Mrs. Kod may sigh, but my work here is done.
Oh, and they were proud of their old guy; top score in the vehicle and for the day on Toy Story. Then qualified as Space Scout on Buzz. Yeah, it's the little things sometimes.
On Your Left:
Surprisingly, the girls weren't as keen on meeting princesses and fairies. They were more interested in meeting Captain America. And their favorite little mini-game was to run past each other shouting "on your left." Kind of cute and the mayhem was disguised by the chaos around us.
Pretty darn bad for the most part. We did Goofy's Kitchen and requested a birthday cake for PTB. Huge rip-off. It was somewhere between Circus Circus and a shady Indian casino for the buffet. To duplicate their special cake, start with a Costco cake. Cut off a row, then cut that in half. Shove it in a $1 plastic box from Walmart and shove in a generic $1 princess flag w/ candle. Then charge someone $17. Eesh. Sadly enough, this was only the 2nd worst rip-off of the trip.
The worst was the poolside cabana rental. Mrs. Kod was afraid that it would get too crowded and planned to let the girls play by the pool and watersides from 2-6 on Sunday. The promised "drinks and fruit platter" amounted to five half-sized plastic water bottles, two apples, two bananas, and a pear. And lest we deceive ourselves into thinking that we were some type of big deal with our fancy cabana, they made sure to assign us the least attentive waiter known to mankind. We had to constantly pester the floor manager and other waiters just to get some semblance of service.
We were smarter on the next day. We grabbed a _free_ spot under an umbrella, and enjoyed margaritas and mai tai's while the spawnlings splashed about happily.
For her indulgent meal, Mrs. Kod dragged us to try the infamous Monte Cristo sandwich at Cafe Orleans. It's essentially ham and cheese that's been battered and deep-fried. Or the equivalent to two and a half small arteries.
The fried chicken at Plaza Inn was surprisingly not awful, and our typical go-to meals of corn dogs and turkey legs did not disappoint.
Our last meal before heading home was at Surf's Up located in the deceptively named Paradise Pier. It was bad cafeteria food made somehow excusable simply because it wasn't quite as awful as Minnie's breakfast at Plaza Inn. Plus the wife arranged to order two Bloody Mary-like substances. The costumed characters were friendly enough…probably because they felt sorry for us.
The Really Stupid and Crazy Thing We Did:
Mrs. Kod and I had agreed not to pursue the Holy Grail of meet 'n greets, the fabled 3+hour wait to see the Frozen princesses. Naturally, this all went out the window when Mrs. Kod got up at 6-something and snuck out with, "Don't worry about getting up now. It'll be 8:30-9 at best." Minutes later, my phone blows up with, "OMG. I'M THIRD IN LINE. GET THE GIRLS UP. GET THEM HERE NOW. ELSA IS HERE AND MAY LEAVE SOON!"
Oh sure. Get sleepy kids up, fed, potty-ed, and dressed. No problem. Then I realized that PTB couldn't walk while wearing her Elsa dress. No way would we make it in time with her doing the penguin waddle. So, I flung her on my shoulder and jogged/power-walked the mile and a half trek up to the line. And then I died and my ghost watched the kids take their pictures, exchange hugs, and get their autographs. The end.
Upon arriving home, the wife plied me with wine while I iced my legs. Then she went out and brought back sashimi and IPA. Ha! Nice try. I am not so easily bribed. My will cannot be twisted by such mundane means. Am I so weak-minded as to be led astray by winsome glances and cold beverages? … .. . Yes. Yes, I am. The eyes may be the window to the soul, but the stomach remains the steering wheel.