Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day One-Hundred Four: Yesterland

It's already late. Jonas Hiller is drinking the San Jose Sharks' collective milkshakes tonight. They're going to overtime. Sharks score, they live. Ducks score, and a whole lotta folks got their Stanley Cup Champ wrong.

Pens eliminated the Flyers today, and the Aeros are going 7. Of course. Hawks won, too.

We're gonna delve a bit into my childhood tonight. That should be fun.

I was born in Torrance, California, in 1982. We moved to Wellington, Kansas in the summer of 1988 (just before Wayne Gretzky was traded to the L.A. Kings, I believe. Or else just after. I was six, I don't remember exactly) We've had family living in southern California pretty much ever since. Therefore, there have been many, many vacations in SoCal over the years. As a result, I was most definitely a theme park kid. Six Flags Magic Mountain. Knott's Berry Farm. Later in life, Paramount's Great America, Universal Studios, etc. There were lots of options, and I have got memories of just about all of them (though my Magic Mountain memories are very faint, if anybody's keeping score). I'm serious, I was obsessed when I was younger. There was a span of probably close to eight years when a younger cousin and I would send ride ideas and maps back and forth for a park we were to one day design (most commonly, it was named Pizza Land, though at one point I had a family of no fewer than ten parks across the country, including a small one in Wichita, KS). If I ever get in to making movies (and that is not currently a part of the plan), I will make one about kids in an amusement park so that I can see some of these awesome ideas come to life someday.

In fact, I may have to do a Pizza Land blog post someday. That will be fun.

(Sharks just scored, Ducks now lead 3 games to 2)

Of all the parks, however, and all the hours logged waiting in line for rides, shows, games, whatever, the one that holds first spot in my nostalgia-craving inner-child's happy place is the original Magic Kingdom: Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.

Blah, blah, blah, Disney World is so much bigger and better, I know, I know. That's just peachy. But you don't mess with a guy's childhood, so there. ;-)

Took Kim and Robbie there for the first time last summer and found the place hasn't lost its magic at all! Everything's much more user-friendly at Disneyland than any of the others I've been to, from more restrooms and free water fountains to free fast passes and entertaining line-waiting atmospheres. Theatricality rules the day at almost every turn. Every corner of the park is a part of some story, and you really gotta respect that (at least, if you're a storyteller at heart and by trade).

The reason I'm bringing all of this up is that I went on a bit of a nostalgia trip last night on and found lots of videos of some rides and shows from my pre-Kansas days that have been closed for years. Peoplemover? Submarine Voyage? America Sings? (Note: I think America Sing would STILL be awesome if it were open today) Absolutely fantastic.

I've also come across this fantastically detailed and maintained website: This site gives you a pretty detailed description, usually with pictures, of virtually every attraction ever to close its doors in the Magic Kingdom since it opened in 1955. I'm talking some really obscure stuff, too. Did you know the Happiest Place on Earth opened with an intimate apparel shop on Main Street that featured a history of underwear lecture delivered by the animatronic character The Wonderful Wizard of Bras? Do you remember the Michael Jackson action/sci-fi 3-D rock movie Captain Eo? And were you aware that the really lame pizza place smack in the middle of Tomorrowland used to be an equally lame trip to the moon (and, after that wasn't futuristic enough anymore, to Mars)???

Hours, friends. Hours of fascinating and random information. Pics, old rides, new Disney park news, urban legends. It's all good.