Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Happiest Place on Earth: Part 1

I've never had a huge attraction to things Disney. That's not to say that I don't have my movies: Robin Hood and The Fox and the Hound are still two of my all time favorites. But Disney was never a thing for me. That may have been due to the butchered versions of The Black Cauldron and The Secret of Nimh they released when I was a kid. It's hard to hold any special fondness for the butchers of two of your favorite books.

But that didn't stop me from wanting to go to EPCOT Center when it opened in 1982. I had absolutely no desire to go to Disney World, but I desperately wanted to go to Epcot. That never happened. In 1987, Star Tours opened, and I wanted, even more, to go to that! I mean, it was Star Wars. But, in 2010, they shut Star Tours down to re-design it. I was bummed about that. I'll never get to experience the original Star Tours  attraction. But I still had hope to go to the new Star Tours. That's the only reason I've ever wanted to go to Disneyland. That and the exclusive Star Wars action figures the Star Wars store there has.

Several years ago, the kids' grandmother took them to Disneyland, and they brought me one of these:
It's awesome! But it made me want to go even more (and get all of the figure series).

Earlier this year, my oldest son got to go to Disneyland to perform with his choir (where they received a gold medal ranking), and he got to go on the new Star Tours and brought this back:
I just have to say that I love all the collector's editions of the Potato Heads. I have, well, probably, more than I should. Spuda Fett filled me with a renewed desire to go to Disneyland just so that I could buy the whole Star Tours collection of them. My wife did not find it amusing.

I still had no real interest in Disneyland in general, though. I figured it was overpriced and overrated. Besides, I've been to Six Flags. I mean, I grew up within driving distance of the real Six Flags, which has a lot of attractions and Texas color and isn't all about the rides. Why would I need to "waste" money on a trip to Disneyland? You know, other than Star Tours. And the Indiana Jones ride, but that wasn't as big a deal.

Earlier this year, the grandparents (my father-in-law and his wife) decided to take the kids to Disneyland this summer. During the ensuing conversation, I mentioned that I'd never been to Disneyland. It was an innocent comment, especially so since their grandmother (not the grandmother that took them the previous time (that had been my wife's mom)) had asked me a question that I couldn't answer because I'd never been. It never occurred to me what kind of an uproar it would cause. As it turns out, I was the only one in the family that had never been to Disneyland, a fact my wife knew but neither of us thought particularly important as my wife had not much care for Disneyland, either, a fact that just reinforced my attitude toward the place since she had been there before.

At any rate, a whole new plan was conceived. A plan that involved the entire family going to Disney. People were excited. Well, honestly, 6 of 7 of us were excited. Even my wife got excited. I was looking forward to finally getting to go on Star Tours and going to the Star Wars store, but, really, I didn't have any particular care about the rest of the trip. It was a necessary evil to accomplishing my Star Tours goal.

That trip was last week.

I can't say how wrong I was. Sure, Disneyland is a big commercial enterprise, and they really do a good job of enticing people into spending money. I mean it's a massive money suck, but, oh! it's so much more. But you'll have to wait for Part 2 for the rest...

Oh! And I got this:
I wasn't able to get all of them, but I got the most important one!


  1. Nice collection. I once had a neighbor who robbed the parking lot of Epcot center of $86,000. What a fool.

    I used to collect NASCAR memorabilia, over $10,000 worth. It's still in storage in Texas.

    Did you see the guy on TV, I believe it was "PawnStars," that had a massive Star Wars collection? It was awesome. He sold it for $4,000 but he wanted $9,000.

  2. Ha! I went to Disneyland (Floria?) on holiday a few years ago and I didn't even know they HAD a star wars tour! :) (Please don't throw stones.)

  3. Glad you finally got to go! That's a long time to wait for Disney. I was never a big fan, but I've been to Disneyland, Disney World, and the other three parks in Florida. (Epcot is the best.) I've ridden the original Star Tours. It was - rough. That's all I remember.
    The Potato Head R2D2 is great.

  4. I've never been to Disneyland wither. I've done DisneyWorld a ton though. None in the past decade or so though.

    I should totally go back soon.

  5. I can never remember which is which, but I have been to the Florida one. My husband was much like you, didn't want to go, thought it was uninteresting etc. He hadn't been in the Epcot Centre on a ride (the big golf ball, can't remember what its called) 5 minutes before he was a convert. We didn't do it all in one trip, we visited regularly over a number of years and did the lot. I loved them all and would go back again in a shot.

  6. If you want to meet up someday, Epcot would be a great place to do so. I've never been there but have always wanted to. I think it'd be cool if we could get a bunch of writers together to meet at such an incredible place with tons of stuff to do.

  7. I grew up in the height of Disney mania in the mid-50s. I went to Epcot in 1983 not long after it opened and it was pretty cool. The Disney parks are all very entertaining and well done, but I'm not much on long lines and spending that much money for something of that nature. Guess I'm just getting old and crotchety.

    I live 15 minutes from Disneyland. In the past twenty years I've basically been to the Magic Kingdom and California Adventure once each and several times to Downtown Disney since it's free. Personally I'd rather stay home though.

    Tossing It Out

  8. I have never been to Disney. Congrats on finally getting to the Star Tours and looks like you have a right nice collection of the figures. :)

  9. I've never been to Disneyland, Disneyworld, EuroDisney or any where Disney related...I do love 'Mickey and the Beanstalk' though!

  10. Jeremy: I don't know what my Star Wars collection is worth, but I don't think I'd take $4000 for it. There's too much of my childhood in it.

    Ravena: Star Tours is in CA. Disney World, in Florida, doesn't have it, so you didn't somehow miss it.

    Alex: R2 is great, but I think Darth Tater will always be at the top of my list. Well, maybe. The Indiana Jones one is also awesome.

    Rusty: You should! Or come out here and do Disneyland.

    Jo: We were there (almost) 3 days, and we didn't get anywhere close to seeing everything.

    Michael: Well, in theory, I would love that except that I couldn't afford it. We only went on this trip because we didn't have to pay for it.

    Lee: Bah, Lee! I wish I had known. I could have met you in Downtown Disney at almost any time.

    G_G: Oh, that's just the very tip of my figure collection.

    Eve: A week ago, I would have been saying the same thing.

  11. This whole post, I have increasingly been thinking "NO YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND DISNEY" I mean, sure they're not perfect, but the park is immensely fun; as a total dweeby nerd I had a great time when my family when 10+ years ago. Then you said you were wrong, so now I'm dying to find out what happens in Part 2.

  12. Callie: Ah, yes... well, part 2 is coming...