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JUL
02

San D after 2

After celebrating my two year mark, here’s what I’ve come up with:

 

Cons

Buying a home (and really accumulating savings in general) is a pipe dream (-25)

Sunburns (-5)

Mysterious yeast-based skin condition (hypothetically) (-20)

Traffic (-50)

No plastic bags at grocery stores (-3)

Lots of black widow spiders (-10)

Drought (-7)

Lots of Golden State Warriors fans (-12)

Total: -132

 

Pros

No snow (+30)

The ocean (+25)

Disneyland proximity (+20)

Family proximity (+35)

Sunshine (+40)

Sparkly job (+18)

Ideal temperature range (+50)

Sports/Oscars not on late at night (+5)

Total: 223

 

Some might say I have screwy priorities. I say, I think I’m doing alright.

MAY
07

Top Ten Lessons from Dapper Day

Most Disney buffs know about Dapper Day, but this was my first time participating. The tradition is, in a word, charming. But then again, could there be any other way to describe thousands of people showing up to the park in circa 1950s Sunday best? Methinks no. A few tips for those looking to join in next time.

10. Arrive early. Like, really early. I arrived before 8:00 AM and they were already re-routing people from the parking garage to the Katella lot.

9. Bring a second pair of shoes. True that as soon as you change into your flats you'll feel about a billion times less cute, but your feet will thank you come about 2pm.

8. Rent a locker. For the shoes, yes, but also for your regular bag or purse. It's nice to be able to walk around the park on Dapper Day carrying nothing but the tiny vintage purse you bought just for the occasion. And the locker rental is super easy, and pretty cheap, too. You'll find them halfway down Main Street on the right side.

7. Bring a compact. So you can reapply lipstick after each churros, ice cream cone, and bread bowl.

6. Don't spend all day at Disneyland. I say this because there are actually more people dressed up in California Adventure than at Disneyland. And being all dolled up feels a lot more fun when you're en masse.

5. Look for ye olde photo ops. Disney doesn't actually sponsor Dapper Day, but they certainly support it. If you keep a lookout, you'll notice they've got multiple throwback photo ops ready (like old car models), complete with Disney photographers standing by. Seriously cute.

4. A hat is a must, but maybe take it off during Space Mountain. My courtesy picture shows me firmly holding my sky-blue pillbox on my head. I'd kept one arm there the whole ride. I should have just taken it off, but those damn pins had been so annoying to get in place.

3. Ease up on the rides. What I mean is this is a day that's all about the experience. The mood is different, lighter. And to me, the most satisfying thing wasn't maximizing ride time (usually I try to go on as many as I can), but rather soaking in the classic goodness. Admiring other people's outfits, listening to the band play, imagining what the park had been like 60 years ago when everyone dressed like this every day.

2. Pace yourself when putting together your outfit. You may find a vintage dress for $13 and think this is really no thing, but then the tailor might charge you $55 to take it in because of the detailed paneling. And the hat and gloves you find at the antique store might run you another $40, a purse $14, and a petticoat another $36. Hypothetically. In short, be prepared to wear the outfit every time you go to Dapper Day.

1. Bring a date. You'll want someone to take your picture, but mostly you'll want a man on your arm looking equally dapper.

Here's to November. I'll see you all there!

 

 

AUG
27

A Very Disney Day

 

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I've recently learned that if a Disney employee actually wishes you a "very Disney day" that they are, in essence, flipping you off. But that aside, I did want to mention as a follow up to this post (Disneyland Annual Pass: Yay or Nay?) that I did get the pass. And for my inaugural pass-holder visit, I was lucky enough to have my brother in town to be my partner in Disney crime. We opened the park (7:30 AM), we closed the park (midnight), we owned the park.

This brother is almost a decade younger than I am, so I wasn't around for much (read: any) of his growing up. I actually had two brothers who were still kids when I left home, and it's one of the reasons why I was such a blubbery mess the morning I drove away, college-bound. Because I was going to miss so much. Of them. Of their games and concerts. Of their laughs and mischief. Of their bedroom door that I'd always pass while on the way to mine...a door completely covered in stickers that I'm pretty sure my mom has never been able to remove.

This was probably the most time my brother D and I had ever spent together as adults (so naturally we went to Disneyland), and while sometimes it can be jarring to think of my younger siblings as having long passed me up (in size, in major life milestones), the way I most often think of them is as the two little boys I used to read Harry Potter chapters to. Fitting then that the family picture I keep framed on my nightstand is a circa 1998 Splash Mountain photo. My brothers, ages 7 and 9, wear priceless faces. One of blatant disgust and the other of sheer terror. Someday I hope we'll be able to recreate it, but even if we do, I doubt I'll ever like any family picture more. It's partly because of the priceless terror faces, but it's also because they were kids. I guess we all were, in a way. And it was magical (yes, I said it) to be with one of them again at the place where you sort of always feel like a kid. Looking forward to your next visit, D.

JUL
14

Disneyland Annual Pass: Yay or Nay?

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It's like this. I live pretty close to Disneyland. As in, I could drive there, like, every weekend if I wanted to. An annual pass seems like a no-brainer, as it should be for EVERYONE who lives in SoCal, but as I've asked around since being here, I've yet to find anyone who actually has one. Worse, the one person I found who used to have one said she didn't use it enough to make it worth it. For clarification purposes, depending on the level of pass you buy, you have to go between 2 and 5 times in order to actually make it a savings. And from where I'm sitting (less than an hour from the Magic Kingdom), I have a hard time believing that ANYONE could find themselves not using the pass enough to make it worth it. Still, though, it's a chunk of change, not to mention that I don't have a plus one. A solo Disney trip is fine once, twice if need be, but every time you go?? Is that depressing? Maybe. Less fun? Probably. But is it worse than not going at all? Doubtful.

There's just such a stigma around "aloneness" and I know I should be doing what I can to push back. I hate that I feel, for lack of a better term, "lame" when at dinner or a movie by myself. Partly because it sucks to be reminded that pretty much everyone else in the world apparently has a date that night, and partly because I picture all the couples and families thinking pitiful, tragic thoughts about the Alone Girl in the corner. I know no one actually thinks about you even half as much as you think they do, but my natural instinct is to avoid doing social things alone. Which means that sometimes I miss out on something I really want to do/see. And isn't that a lot more pitiful and tragic than doing something alone? Yes. Yes, it is. I think I just made up my mind about the annual pass.

AUG
19

After All

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Anyone who recognizes this picture is my kind of people. It's on the outside of the Small World ride at Disneyland, which is where I spent last weekend. I waited in line to see the princesses, got my face painted, and flew my Dumbo car at its full height while beating away the calls of reality with a stick. (More posts on this topic to follow...)

Small World isn't my favorite ride (although it does provide a few glorious minutes of air-conditioned sit-down time), but I always feel a certain amount of tenderness toward it because I remember my dad once remarking to me that he particularly liked it. Last time I was there I took a picture of the outside of it all lit up and sent it to him. It really is neat once the sun goes down and all at once about a billion lights come on and everyone standing in line gasps in unison. This past weekend I outdid myself. While sitting through my second Small World go-round of the day (it was hot, okay?), I thought about dear old dad and how much it would lift his spirits if I sent him not a picture, but a video from the actual ride itself. I filmed several minutes and sent him the longest of all the clips.

When I spoke to Dad and asked him if the clip made his day, he laughed in the sort of way that means, "Are you serious?" Yes folks. It turns out that my dad actually hates the Small World ride, and he thought all of my Small World pictures and videos to him over the years were a joke. He thought it was funny. And that the video goes on and on made it seem even funnier. Whereas I thought I was being thoughtful. And that the video goes on and on made it seem even more thoughtful. To quote Flight of the Conchords, what a hilarious misunderstanding. It's a good thing I didn't buy him a souvenir shirt. Although part of me wonders how long I would have gone on in this manner and had no idea...

MAR
31

California vs. Florida

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Just wanted to say that I spent last week in Florida, and believe it or not (frankly I don't think it's all that unusual although people seem to be aghast when they find out), it was the first time in my life I had ever been to Florida.

I'm an adult. Who lives in the east(ish). Is this normal? Don't answer that.

Bottom line? I can explain. I'm from the west coast, see, so whenever I think warm and sunny and Disney, I think California. I go to California. I dream about California. And why wouldn't I? I was born there and it has my heart in a way no other place does. This western loyalty runs so deep that even though it's much closer, the very idea of swapping Florida in for a California trip seems simply sinful. I've spent my whole life turning my nose up at Florida. It's interesting, isn't it? The things we hold onto. The things we resist.

I'm fully prepared to admit that I found Florida quite lovely. More than that, I wished I were there for play instead of work. And most of all, I decided I'd like to go back sometime and have a real vacation.

Whether or not in the moment of booking I'll be able to actually select Florida over California remains to be seen, but I got on the plane with a strong feeling that I'd be back again...on my terms. (My terms being a bikini and a good book...although, to be fair, if I were choosing terms I would also choose a tan and a more sizable bust. But you can't have everything.)

JAN
14

Out with the Old: Tarzan vs. Swiss Family Robinson

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I snapped this picture a few days ago because I like vintage typewriters and someday aspire to own one. I saw it, of all places, at Disneyland, in the treehouse that for so many decades was known as the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, but which some years ago was converted into Tarzan's treehouse. I know, I know, Disney has to consider its audience and what is relevant to them, but as a person who has been going to Disneyland since I was a little girl, these changes can be somewhat disenchanting.

Take the princesses. I didn't see Cinderella or Snow White or Sleeping Beauty anywhere in the whole park. Not walking around, not signing autographs. But I did meet Merida, Elsa, and Anna, heroines who, prior to this trip, I hadn't even known who they were. But all the little girls were falling all over themselves to meet these new princesses.

This isn't bad. Ok, maybe it's a little bit bad. Mostly it just struck me on this trip that times change, that new stories replace old ones, and that Disney is, ultimately, a business. Don't misunderstand - I love Disneyland. And I love that it can be for each little girl what she needs it to be. I know this because it is still that place for me. Even if I don't know who any of the princesses are.

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