I am writing this Friday afternoon, as I just got word from Dan that we will be spending the weekend at The Happiest Place on Earth! Yippee!!!! i am also testing out writing this in advance and having it auto publish tomorrow.
It was a big decision on our part, since the holidays are here and Disneyland is an inexpensive weekend. However, we had a pressing reason to go now, my annual pass expired on the fifteenth and i've never been to the parks with Dan. He's never been to California Adventure.
When I bought my premium annual pass, I was certain that i would get my money's worth of use out of it. I have had AP's many years and have always visited the park a minimum of ten times. This year, I have used it twice. It will be four times after this weekend, which once you factor in parking and discounts, might be a break-even point. Well, it would be a break-even point assuming that you only bought one day tickets and not a several day package, where the per-day-price drops with each additional day.
Okay, so I didn't really get my money's worth this year, but that's okay. it's kind of like visiting a buffet. I never consider it a good buffet visit just because I ate what would be consider the equivalent dollar amount in food. That's silly. I consider it value, if I ate a good meal of exactly what I wanted, in the portions that I desired. This might mean a giant plate of mashed potatoes and some shrimp cocktail and I'm a happy camper. A visit to Disneyland always makes me feel happy and that makes it a good value.
I'm not planning on renewing my pass. We are trying to cut back expenses. Dan doesn't have a pass and very few of my friends currently do, so it's time to take a break. It's something that i would consider having in the future and I will visit the parks when they run a deal or just for a day, but it's an easy thing to cut out.
I've been to two theme parks with Dan and he has passed the almighty Theme Park Pet Peeve Test. This is vital to me. There are a lot of things that might be annoying while at a theme park..line cutters, wailing children, pushy people (especially pushy people who jump in front of you just as a parade or show is about to start)...but there is one thing that gets my goat.
I can't handle people who complain about lines and crowds. It's part of the deal people. You're at a popular theme park and it's something that comes with the territory. Along with that, comes another aspect. I've always viewed theme parks as a place that you go to be with people, specifically the people that came with you. A ride may last three minutes, but the line could be an hour. The rides and shows are secondary to going to the park to reconnect with friends and family. Often, waiting in line is the best part. You're chatting, catching up, building anticipation for the fun ride that's about to happen, but wait a minute.. THE FUN IS ALREADY HAPPENING!!!
A few years ago, a close friend had a pass. Many times, I would go with my friend and her toddler. We would primarily stay in Fantasyland and rotate between three rides- It's a Small World, Dumbo's Flight and the Mad Tea Party. I would go to catch up with my friend and spend time with her daughter. Catching up at a theme park, sure beats going to Starbucks. Her daughter was happy too. She was three and she got it. She never cried or complained about the long lines. she just waited and chatted with us. We had a great time and it always ended up being more about spending time together, than going on the rides. The rides were the gravy.
I feel like you can always tell when someone doesn't really like you, if they complain at a theme park. I'm not talking about someone with a serious crowd phobia or other problem that would make parks a bad idea for them. I'm talking about the average person. I always feel like if they're having a great time with me and I with them, then external factors, like the lines and crowds would cease to be a major issue. I love people who can adapt and have fun in the moment. Why would you want to befriend or date a person that can't hold a conversation with you?
It's the same with traffic. People who get easily frustrated and complain about traffic drive me nuts. We live in Los Angeles, there is traffic. If it's that terrible, you should move. if not, stop complaining about what you can't fix and enjoy the perks of the situation, like great conversations in the car or listening to good music. Traffic in LA and long lines at Disneyland are a fact of life, shift your focus to the positives. People and relationships are often the positives and in a world where we are usually distracted, it's a nice change to be able to have a chunk of time for meaningful conversations.
Right now, as you read this, I might be in the parks. Likely sharing a Dole Whip with Dan while waiting in a line, already experiencing the magic, not waiting for the magic to happen.