Amusement Parks Rule


Anyone who has lived in Utah for any length of time has undoubtedly visited the states prime amusement park, Lagoon. I first visited it when I moved here in 1978, and thought it was pretty fun. I ended up working there that summer and the next summer, but two summers in a row was enough. They had started changing things, and it wasn't as fun.

I came from amusement park capitol, California. I supposed other states might have plenty, but California has it's entertainment. I grew up in the bay area, and we had Great America, which was a Warner Brothers park. It was great fun, and I went there whenever I could wrangle someone to take me.

I've also been to Knottsberry Farm, but that's not known so much for being an amusement park as it is a producers of great jams...grin...at least to people that live outside the state. When I went there, the new ride Montezuma's Revenge had just opened, and it was one of the first roller coasters that went totally upside down. It was basically just a loop, you went forward through it, then backward. It was great for those of us who had never experienced that before. Once was enough though... They also had a great ride with parachutes. They had baskets that you stood up in, and then were pulled up and dropped. It was scary! I'd like to take my hubby there because it's characters are the Peanuts characters, and he collects anything and all things Peanuts.

But when I was growing up, it was always Disneyland. I went a couple of times before moving to Utah, but as I mentioned in my last post, I really don't remember it being that big of a deal. Everyone else always seemed to have fun, but perhaps they had more money to spend...grin.

When I was in college, we did a student trip where we went on a three day weekend by bus. We spent one day at Disneyland, one day at Knotts Berry, and one day at the beach. It was fantastic, and I remember we were crazy at Disneyland. Space Mountain was a new ride, and since we'd gone in the middle of February, there was no one there. We were able to get off and run to get right back on -- something totally unheard of today. It was chilly, but we didn't care, we were college kids loose in a kids playground.

As I've grown into adulthood, I've gone through different stages of feeling about amusement parks. There is a whole cycle, you see, of liking them, appreciating them, hating them, and wishing they'd all go away because all they want is your money.

While that's what keeps them in business, and why they all went into business in the first place, I think Disneyland is one place that doesn't make it feel as if that's the only reason they exist. I honored Walt Disney in my last post, and I wanted to highlight the park today. I realize there are many Disneyland parks around the world now, and I have a neighbor that's been to almost all of them. She wants to go to the one in Paris now -- she's going to the Tokyo one in February with her daughter and hubby. Initially I figured she was just a little fanatical about things, and figured she could have her passion.

I now understand some of it a little. There is just a feeling about the park. The ambiance, the look, the way life seems to look a little brighter and things don't seem so dark. There is an art to running a successful amusement park. If it's really tacky and run down, you might still make some money but no one is going to come back. I'll best most people go to Disneyland more than once in their lifetime. It's one of those bucket lists some people have -- Visit Disneyland. Granted, it is geared toward little children, but I found a lot of grownups there without little kids.

But most of all, it was the reluctance to leave. The first day we went, we were so tired by the end, that I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel room. It was the first boring New Years we've ever participated in -- my hubby didn't even wake up to drink sparkling apple juice with me, poor man. But I knew we were going back. I knew if we missed something, we could catch it the next time.

Our second day (the last day) I knew we had to try and do everything we'd missed and wanted to do. There was a little more pressure, but we weren't as tired or burned out and were reluctant to leave. I remember walking down the main street toward the entrance as we were leaving, wishing I could take a sharp video of all the images so I could look back on them later. I took a last shot of us in front of the huge Christmas tree that my husband said would have worked in the movie, The Grinch.
It was a fun photo, but now we can't find the picture. Heartbreak. sigh.

Anyway -- there is something of magic in the feeling. The magic of Disney.

It's art in the creative imaginative form.

If you ever get the opportunity to experience it (without young children in tow or you really won't truly appreciate it...grin) take the chance. You'll never forget it.

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