Disneyland during the holidays is an exercise in self abuse, that is all there is to it.
Living in Bakersfield, Ca. One must travel some distance to the Magic Kingdom… about 2 hours and change, to be approximate. And once you arrive, you are anything but enchanted.
When I was young, I lived off of Katella, a street not far from the Happiest place on Earth, and back then, Disney was a great place to go. People seemed genuinely happy to work there, and the place was always clean.
This latest trip was a disappointment, to say the least. I would complain about the crowds, but let’s face it, there are very few popular places that we can go these days that are not crowded.
No… My complaint is mainly about the PEOPLE factor of Disneyland… not just the employees, but the other guests as well.
After entering the park, we decided to get breakfast… in order to not draw negative attention to the specific place, I will not mention the name of the place we ate at, but for a reasonable sum of $50, my wife and I were treated to a breakfast that we could have easily found at a local Denny’s for a quarter the price, and it would probably have been better.
The park itself (i.e. the attractions) was pretty good… Not much to complain about there, with the exception that you better not be too close to retirement age, because you will be collecting your pension in line. We were lucky, I suppose… my mother-in-law was with us, and she is in a wheelchair… anyone who has been to Disneyland knows that that puts you right at the front of the line, thusly turning a 60+ minute wait into a couple minutes, and subsequently pissing off the rest of the line.
My biggest complaint about the part, as I have said, was the employees. Very few of them smiled, and their attitude was, on average, negative. I understand that your job is not always great, and you will not be a happy employee on a daily basis, but you should show the appearance of being happy. I worked retail for the better part of 15 years, and trust me… I do have some idea of not being happy about your work. Try working at Circuit City during Christmas season.
While I am sure that there are differences between regular retail and that of the “Cast Members” of the Enchanted Kingdom, that is all the more reason to “Fake it.” People do not go to Disney to pay $20 for two hot dogs, two pretzels and a drink to share, to listen to the person behind the counter bitch about the fact that they were supposed to be off that day and are angry about it, to another employee.
This is usually were I lose my composure. But I was proud of myself, and simply told the person that they should be glad they have a job at all, and that there are a lot of people out there that would love to have her job because they have none.
I am not sure when the magic left the Magic Kingdom, but if there is any left, then it is not as easy to find as it once was. The only exception to this was the veterans… When I did run into some of the minority of people there whose nametags said that they had been there in excess of 20 years, they seemed to truly be happy. Whether this was very good faking on their part, or a happiness as the result of skilled pharmacology, I am not sure, but the smiles and the attitude that I got from them was enough to offset most of the disappointment of the others.
In closing… Disneyland still holds a special place in my heart, because it was such a big part of my childhood. I will continue to go there for as long as they remain. I also feel that the best thing to happen to them was the loss of Michael Eisner from the family, though him putting a puppet in his place probably means that there will not be much of a change, but who knows… we will have to see.
Just remember… It’s a small world after all!!!