All the while we traveled the Disney paths, my girl regaled me with tales like the Morse code operator's. She is not only knowledgeable about the current state of Disneyland, but its past as well, because she has been regularly visiting since she was a child, and has brought her own children up steeped in its lore. She knows many amusing anecdotes about Walt and his wife. She already has a PhD, but if they gave one out for knowledge of the Mouse Kingdom, she could easily add it to her collection of degrees.
"Let's go on a ride," I said again, and this time she agreed. "This one is great," she said, speaking of a series of rocket-like capsules rotating around a center pole. We were stopped at the front of the line. "Are you going together?" the attendant asked. "Yes," we said. He didn't reply "Bad idea," or even smirk, but he should have.
As soon as I saw the rocket up close, I realized it was going to be a tight fit, the passenger compartment being designed to accommodate a couple of young children or one adult and a toddler at most. My S.O. is still hobbled by recent hip surgery, and I am not a small individual. The sign read "Smaller person in front," which we misinterpreted to mean "Smaller person goes in first," so she hopped in and I tried to cram myself in behind her. This resulted in her being wedged painfully between my knees and me not really being inside the ride. Another attendant came sullenly to our rescue. "You should have got in first," she said to me. "Let's try it again."
We tried, but we were pretty well stuck. "Maybe when another one of those fake fire trucks comes around again somebody can jump out of it with the Jaws of Life," I suggested. This didn't sit well with the attendant, or with any of the other riders. "Okay, put your left leg out of the ride," she told me. "Now use your right hand to push yourself out of the seat." I hadn't anticipated being ordered what to do with my body parts by a much younger person before I was actually admitted to a nursing home, so it was good practice for that. After floating circularly in silence after finally getting ourselves arranged congruently, we disembarked the ride. "That was embarrassing," my girl said.
"They deal with stuff like that all the time," I said of the attendants, although judging by the way they were pointing at us and snapping pics with their iPhones, that might have been an overstatement.
It's tough to stay moody in Disneyland for long, though, because you are surrounded by music, not to mention roving bands of singing salty dogs and barbershop quartets. I couldn't help dancing a little and skipping along to the happy beat of familiar Disney songs. At least I couldn't help it until my girl remarked "Got your dork shoes on today, I see." Then I stopped.
It was time for lunch. We had made reservations for it the day before at a place called the Blue Bayou. My girl had specifically asked for a table on the water, so I anticipated a spot on one of the sun-dappled artificial lakes Disney uses to float its steamboats and river barges. That was not the case. The water tables at the Blue Bayou are entirely inside, and the water they look out upon is the stream on which the boatloads of people enjoying the Pirates of the Caribbean ride are launched forth. We diners at the Bayou are the first thing they see before they are transported into a world of singing skulls and mechanical Johnny Depps. Man-made frogs croak background music in an artificial swamp on the far side of the waterway.
The Blue Bayou serves no booze, and I agree with this policy, despite being thought of by most of my family and a fair sampling of bartenders as a desperate alcoholic, because the dinner rolls the restaurant serves are of an ideal shape and weight to hurl at the passing Pirates, and I guarantee it wouldn't take me more than a couple of beers before I thought that was a good idea. Even sober it occurred to me that it might be fun, but I was restrained by my beloved. "They would kick you out of the park," she said. "For life!"
"Wow, it would be that easy?" I replied. For this I was scowled at, because I had promised to make no anti-Disney remarks during the outing. So for the rest of the day I was good. We went on more rides. We watched the parade, which consisted of movie-themed floats celebrating distinct Disney characters, and one float which jammed together characters from older Disney movies that haven't been generating enough Facebook likes lately, I suppose, because Snow White was crowded in with Cinderella and Rapunzel. I called it the Float of Leftover Princesses.
We stayed until after dark. All day we were surrounded by mostly beaming children and really, who can argue with their endorsement? Wouldn't we all like to live in a world in which every girl is a princess and every boy a hero, where the animals talk and the trees sing, where evil doesn't have any complicated backstories, but is perpetrated by colorful villains simply because they signed up for that side, and whose plots only seem unstoppable until they are utterly defeated by the first plucky orphan who can carry a tune that they run up against?
Sure we would. It's well worth the price of admission.