It’s been a busy couple of weeks. The Friday after Labor Day, I boarded a plane for California, Los Angeles to be specific to do work out on the west coast for a week. I left early because I wanted time to adjust to the time change and also to take the opportunity to revisit a place I had not been to in 40 years:
Before a week ago Saturday, the last time I was in Disneyland was in July of 1977 during my second class cruise. In one of those vagaries of the way they scheduled Midshipman cruises, I was scheduled to fly to Corpus Christi for Aviation week, then on to San Diego for two weeks of subs and ships. I was a young man of all of 20 years, very thin ( 115lbs) and excited about the idea of seeing the “real Navy” up close.
To put it in some perspective-remember that Elvis was still alive when I arrived in California. It was my first time in San Diego. In probably a fitting epitaph, Elvis died the same time our Marine week ended.
But, I digress.
Anyway, one guy in the group, from MIT as I recall was a bit older,24 as a matter of fact, which meant he had the ability to rent a car. I forget how we came up with the idea, but since we were out at Point Loma staying in a Rodeway Inn or something at Mother Navy’s expense we came up with the idea of using our free Saturday (for whatever reason they had brought us from Corpus on a C-9 on a Friday night and told us to stay out of trouble until Sunday) to drive up to Anaheim and go to Disneyland.
After all, in those days, “stay out of trouble” meant, “road trip”.
So Saturday morning armed only with money and a rental car, 4 of us set off for the land of Mickey Mouse. Today, I still have some vague memories of that day so long ago, recalling it as a sunny day and not too hot all things considered. Having grown up on the Wonderful World of Disney TV show on Sunday nights-I was really excited to see the park. I don’t recall the park being quite as commercialized as it is now, and it certainly was not the monstrosity of shopping and other parks that the Disney Area has grown into today.
So on Sunday, I walked from my hotel at the convention center up to the front gate of Disney having already forked over a 100 buck for a ticket. Spent the day in the park.
There are some distinct differences between then and now. Specifically:
Americans are much fatter now. Seriously, I don’t recall seeing as many fat people as one will see in just a casual stroll around the park.
Tomorrowland really was Tomorrowland in 1977, fulfilling Walt’s vision of a place that showed the idea of how technology was going to make our lives better. Now? All Star Wars, All The Time. They might as well change the name of Tomorrowland to Coruscant.
In 1977, girls were wearing halter tops. 😀
The creation of the cell phone has created a whole different way people experience things, and not necessarily for the better.
#$%ing scooters! 1977 did not have them. ( Which also gets back to the American obesity epidemic).
I think the park was much more crowded in 2017 than in 1977. Maybe I just don’t remember well though.
As the day wound down, I decided to take one last ride, on Splash Mountain. After dutifully waiting in line, I finally was able to get on a boat (car) and the boat set out on the track in the water. Going up the first incline, it came to a wrenching stop.
I thought to myself, ” Hmm, this isn’t supposed to happen”. To say I was a bit concerned was an understatement.
The young people in front of me, two girls and a guy, had different ideas. “Let’s take selfies!”.
After about 30 minutes of sitting with my back pressed against the seat at a 45-degree incline, someone finally came out to us, informing us that the ride was under repair and they would have to take us down. Helping us out, which is a bit of an effort when the car is not level, we walked on those stairs you see, “for emergency only”. Didn’t get a thrilling ride, but got to go down a lot of steps and inside the mountain till they could get us to a safe exit.
I took it as a sign from above that I should go home. And sure enough to add insult to injury-I came down with pneumonia a day later. I found this out when the doctor said, “I think we should do a chest X-Ray”.
So, I checked a memory square and have been recovering from it ever since. That will show me.