Saturday, February 21, 2009

Significant Facades and Fantastic Symbols

While at Disneyland, my sister asked me whether I thought most of the people there were happy or miserable. "Miserable," I said after only a moment's hesitation, and my sister agreed. No-one knows how to feel emotion properly anymore. The people in the parking lot, walking towards the park, looked studiously stoic under their neon coloured ball caps.

When did we stop being a country of fast walking thin people in fedoras and dresses and become a country of overweight people in ball caps and t-shirts they got for free from Monster Energy Drinks and In and Out Burger (two shirts I actually saw)? An old man at the ticket booth seemed really excited to see my fedora. "Hats are coming back into style!" he said happily in a way that made it clear what he didn't consider the ball caps real hat wearing, whether he realised it or not. He was right, though--you can wear a hat, or you can just collect the layers of neglect of a thoughtless modern culture.

I hadn't been to Disneyland since high school, but before that I'd gone almost annually with my family, often for multiple days. So this was great nostalgia for me, and just fun in its own right.

This was my sister's Christmas present to me, but it's been raining so much lately this is the first chance we had to go.

I was surprised by all the really beautiful trees.

I might turn this one into a desktop wallpaper.

The monorail track in the background.

Another great tree, this one just past the entrance.

The arch into Main Street. Second Life, at its best, often reminds me of Disneyland for the buildings, lighting, and weather effects carefully crafted to create specific impressions. Second Life has slightly fewer people walking around in bad clothes not knowing how to role play. Probably because Second Life is bigger.

The tourists miraculously cleared for a moment when I took this picture on Main Street.

A more candid view of Main Street

Esmeralda, the mechanical fortune teller in the Penny Arcade. I gave her a quarter and received this fortune;

Makes me sound like Anakin Skywalker.

There was one real antique inside the Penny Arcade--well, unless you consider this whole part of Disneyland an antique, which you probably could;

Another fortune teller. This one told me my lucky colour was green (it figures) and gave me this fortune;

Like most people, I tend to ask just what the silken cord is running through the pearl of all virtues, anyway, so it was nice to finally get a straight answer.

A fascinating glass elephant. The place had good coffee, too.

I love the buildings on Main Street a lot more than I did when I was a kid.

A particularly nice building.

The Pirates of the Caribbean, with a green blob that may be Slimer making a cameo.

The ride was still great, with its wonderful treasure grubbing skeletons and the sabres left stuck through their invisible guts, and the burning town with rum soaked pirates singing and having their way. But now characters from the movie are all over the place, and practically every character felt compelled to mention Jack Sparrow at least once. Sparrow himself appears twice, most prominently at the end, lounging amongst booty and singing.

The Columbia. Not one of my best pictures.

After The Pirates of the Caribbean, my sister and I got lunch in Critter Country by Splash Mountain, and were surprised to find ourselves surrounded by scavenging cats;

There were three, and apparently they lived under the floor boards. They seemed as comfortable as pigeons around the humans, but were very picky about the food scraps people tossed to them, and didn't seem to want to be pet. When I finally did make one comfortable enough to let me pet him, he seemed completely indifferent; "Pet me, or don't. It's your call."

The Haunted Mansion, mercifully cleared of all tie-ins to the Eddie Murphy movie.

I loved these tentacle-like plants--another shot of the Columbia incidentally in the background.

A haunted carriage.

The pet cemetery. The statues seemed sort of Cocteau-ish to me.

This was the only picture to come out from any I took inside the rides--inside The Haunted Mansion, a portrait of a woman that turns into a gorgon when lightning flashes. I happened to get the picture right when the lightning flashed, simulating the camera flash I refuse to use.

This one didn't come out, but I still thought it was sort of interesting. The stretching room, inside The Haunted Mansion.

Sleeping Beauty's castle. It was nice to see the happy young couples, like the one in the lower right, who were kissing just before I took the picture.

The side passage through the castle is for some reason usually pretty deserted. It's quite eerie with the white statues and Snow White's tinny, high pitched 1930s voice coming from The Wishing Well, singing, with each line echoing;

I'm wishing
(I'm wishing)
For the one I love
(For the one I love)
To find me
(To Find me)

The Wishing Well.

The bottom of The Wishing Well.

My sister going through the side passage. There used to be a bench there where I remember resting years ago when I was approached by a Belle in a bright yellow gown who said to me, "You look like you're not having very much fun!"

"I am now," I said, wanting to flirt with to her suddenly. But I guess I didn't realise how creepy that sounded, because she walked away abruptly.

Props from Sleeping Beauty. I do love the look of that movie. That's my blue reflection there.

The only picture that came out from inside the castle.

I love the look of the Fantasyland section.

Remember when to-morrow looked like that? It seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?

My sister and I went on Star Tours, but I didn't get any good pictures, which is too bad because the thing was amazing, and wonderfully unchanged since 1987. The Star Wars droids still work perfectly as animatronics, and the place holds some of the wonder and mystery of the Star Wars universe in the 1980s, or at least an echo of those qualities. One of the kids in the back row on the ride sounded like he was going out of his mind in amazement, screaming "Oh my god!" whenever we went into lightspeed like he'd never dared to hope experiencing something like this.

I took a picture of people in line to take a picture.

Outside Disneyland now, there's Downtown Disney--basically a bunch of lousy shops, of which this was by far the creepiest;

The woman working there was oddly baby-ish herself.

How scary would you imagine the person is who'd buy this?

"What have you done with his body?!"

How would you like to feel embarrassed by what you put prominently on your shelf? How'd you like to pay 200 dollars for the pleasure?

Or maybe you'd like to pay 650 dollars for an incredibly bad acrylic painting of Jack Skellington wondering where he's left his keys meant to be romantic somehow?

Next to Disneyland now is The California Experience, which I thought was going to be a pretty pointless place, but actually turned out to be cool. It's divided into sections, like Disneyland proper. This one was some kind of Old Hollywood;

At sunset we were in an old fashioned carnival section--probably the best time to be there.

And here's the filthiest thing at Disneyland;

Of course I'd find it. Still no nipples, though.

That great tree again.

My sister's kitten, Saffy, in a picture I took when we came back. It's the closest one of her I've taken to not being blurry. That cat likes to move.

No comments:

Post a Comment