I know that a lot of you wonderful people who read this blog are also parents, and so I thought I would take this week’s post to let you benefit from my experiences when deciding whether to take your child to Disneyland vs. having fun at a hometown fair.
The Five Day Disneyland Experience:
Day One: After spending over $2000 to get your family to the Happiest Place on Earth ™, your child will fight you to be able to stay in the tiny, non-descript hotel pool. You will find yourself begging her to return to Disneyland for the evening fun. Pleads will turn to stern commands and eventually to threats of “you’re going back to that Goddamn place to have fun if I have to drag you there myself.” The child may still win, California child welfare laws being what they are.
Day Two: When every meteorological predictor has assured you that the weather will be warm yet mild, be prepared for record breaking heat waves and $1300 in bottled water costs that you never budgeted for. The light crowds that were supposed to accompany above balmy weather, will actually mean standing in a 90 minute line up at 8am on a Sunday morning to stuff your butt into the “revamped” submarine ride, combining original 1950’s animatronics with clips from Finding Nemo, a movie that you will have seen 4,037 times. No. You will never get that time back.
Day Three: Your marriage will be on the rocks.
Day Four: While waiting to meet Mickey, do not fall for Minnie’s invitation to cast your wish into her wishing well. When you call out “I wish for a job to pay for this madness”, hearing Minnie trill back “Wishes Are Wonderful Things” is as heartening as asking a Magic 8-ball if you should jump.
Day Five: If you must take your child to the princess breakfast, or any type of meet and greet featuring these plastic Barbie dolls (one of whom actually spelled her name wrong when autographing child’s book) – leave your husband at Space Mountain.
On the plus side, now that you’re a single parent, the trip you’ve promised when they’re 9 is going to cost a lot less.
After all that, we figured how could we go wrong with the hometown fair experience. How did it compare, Tellulah? Let me tell you.
When a favorite children’s performer announced a concert at a street fair benefiting the homeless, we couldn’t wait to attend, knowing we were assured of good entertainment and a good cause. No corporate greed here.
And while the trade off was big budget thrills there was a big thumbs up for atmosphere. The fair was held in an area that was rapidly being gentrified. This one section of it, however, was not. It was in a back street I liked to call Crack Alley (because it was). We left the clean streets for a dubiously slick cobblestone alley where homeless, families, and elderly all cheerfully mingled to the strains of warped Hawaiian music.
On the plus side, there were no line ups! And our choice of two beloved classic rides: decimated ponies, stopping for the afternoon before the glue factory and a mini Merry-Go-Round with metal benches instead of painted horses.
My daughter raced over to the horses first. Wedged between a dumpster (complete with discarded needles) and a construction fence (where thuggish teens busted wood for no reason), we got her on the horse. With a sluggish start and a stumble, the pony managed to make it around the ring slightly faster than a snail. My daughter looked at me, concerned then perturbed. The horse sighed with relief when she got off.
Next it was the mechanical ride. After burning herself on the metal seat, the ride gave a lurch and began its spinning trajectory. As a decorative touch, the organizers had enclosed the perimeter of the ride with concrete flower boxes. They put them a bit too close. Her first time around, she let out a wail as her shin cracked the concrete and began to bleed. All the kids’ smiles turned to fear as they hurriedly pulled their legs in – the slow ones really learned a thing or two about force and motion. So hey, entertainment and education.
I was frozen in a kind of slow motion horror, watching my girl go around and around, sometimes barely missing the solid barriers, other times, taking a good whack to the leg. I looked to the blue sky as a calming effect but could only see a tangle of electrical pole wires. The man now smoking crack behind the dumpster however, did give me a jaunty wave, bringing in a sense of community you won’t find at those big name parks.
At last, rides over, performer having performed, all the (legal) fun there was in this alley had been had.
As we pushed our way back to the mouth of the alley, I stepped in an unidentifiable sticky substance. So there we were, me sticking to the ground with every other step and my daughter bleeding as we hit the main street, only to run into a PAC mom and her kids; shining, clean and trying not to look at us with contempt. They’d gone to the aquarium.
After all was said and done, what would I advise? Let them stay home and watch TV. That’s all they’ll remember anyways.
Subscribe for bonus content and insider scoops!
Husband just remembered that once, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, my kid replied, “I wanna be on stilts!” #soproud
- Friday Feb 23 - 9:25pm
https://t.co/1UHQhm57rN Cautiously optimistic about the premise
- Wednesday Feb 21 - 9:20pm
SPOILER ALERT! A fabulous video that you absolutely SHOULD NOT WATCH if you have not yet seen The Good Place s1 fin… https://t.co/Jqf3UnxHg3
- Tuesday Feb 20 - 4:15am
Lose yourself in a funny, sexy urban fantasy romance! The Unlikeable Demon Hunter: Crave releases Feb 20 and to cel… https://t.co/WPcUSnVRRu
- Sunday Feb 18 - 4:56pm