Tuesday, June 22, 2010:
On the morning of our 3rd day, the kids woke up and went swimming at the hotel pool. I appreciated the extra moments of silence and slept a little longer. When they came back and dried up, we went to have a meal at a local Chinese buffet.
Normally, buffets are not my cup of tea. It’s not because of the food, necessarily, but because I feel I can’t take advantage of the whole “All-You-Can-Eat” thing. I generally don’t have big meals. I’m a buffet owner’s dream client, since I usually eat way less, and they don’t let you take a doggy bag for whatever you don’t eat at the time. What works for me is to eat smaller amounts. This means I’m the king of reheating leftovers. BUT – this morning at that buffet wasn’t bad. I had a little soup (with a warm, soothing broth), some chicken, orange wedges, and plenty of jello. Plus, I picked off a couple things here and there from my wife and daughter’s plates. In other words, I don’t feel as though I wasted money eating there.
Then it was off to Disneyland again. I admit, I was tired, but this was an opportunity to experience more pockets of joy. So I went.
I asked the group (or maybe it was their suggestion, I forget) to go on rides that I missed from the first day when I left early. We went on Pirates Of The Caribbean and I was impressed with how well done the animatronic Jack Sparrow is. It really looks like Johnny Depp.
We also saw the Haunted Mansion ride. Last time I saw that ride it was decked out with Jack Skellington and the Nightmare Before Christmas crew, so I liked that I could see the ride as it was originally intended. It’s a little creepier, which is a good thing.
In case you don’t know, having a wheelchair gives you special access to many rides/attractions in Disneyland. The place was built before the Americans With Disabilities Act, so originally, none of the lines were built to accommodate wheelchairs. Many rides have either stairs or tight aisles if you go through the standard, walking queues. In order to allow wheelchair folks (and FATTIES ON SCOOTERS WHO CAN USE A GOOD WALK INSTEAD– yeah, I said it…) access to the rides, they have alternate entrances/lines for them. Usually, the way into the ride is through the exit, or a side entrance with elevator access, or a combo of both.
We headed to Space Mountain, and waited near the exit area (wheelchair entrance), while some of us took a bathroom break. My wife and I both noticed a guy with a big, gold chain walk by, and we did a double-take.
“Was that – ?”
“I think it WAS!”
“The Black Eyes Peas dude?”
It was apparently, Taboo, the guy from Black Eyes Peas that walked passed us. He was going the wheelchair shortcut way also. This guy (the one with the straight long hair):
No, he wasn’t in a wheelchair, but I can get why someone famous wouldn’t go through the regular lines. He went ahead of us and once our group was together again, we kept going through the wheelchair entrance. As part of the wheelchair experience, what the Disney attendants did is pull a coaster car off the main track and to the side, where we then stepped into it. I “parked” my chair on the side and got on board.
Once we were all in the Space Mountain car, we waited a bit for another car to go ahead of us (after that, our car rolled back onto the main track and followed the other car). I turned to see the passengers on the car that pulled up next to us and what do you know? It had that same Black Eyed Peas dude on it, and in the row in front of him was Kobe Bryant, with his daughter.
Not that I care about either of them, but hey, it happened.
Later that night, in California Adventure, we went to an area that was lit up with black lights and blasting loud, kid-friendly, dance music over a pretty sweet sound system. In the daytime it looks all fluorescent with neon paint and banners. At night, all that neon glows under black lights. The hilarious thing is that there were a bunch of kids totally into it. Literally just dancing in the street. A kiddie rave. Some of them even had glow sticks! It didn’t take my daughter but 2 seconds to join the dance party. What I loved most is how she danced. It was plain fun, silly, goofy, and thank GOD – innocent. She went to a section that had a video wall where she could see a psychedelic version of her own body (and the kids around her). I literally just smiled looking at her have fun. I got so lost enjoying her fun, that I didn’t get any of it recorded. No worries, though. It was definitely the highlight of the night. So much so that it will be forever etched in my memory bank. This song, which Lexi LOVED, isn’t my kind of music, but I like it now for the memory it brings back:
That moment – her having fun dancing and being carefree – gave me ammunition. To put it in perspective, she gave me a nuclear arsenal. I was as happy as I was proud. And now, I know what it REALLY was. Appreciation. No child should have to suffer. Kids should be kids for as long as possible. I am grateful for her health, her goofiness, her smile, her self.
So, good day. Tough day also, with the difficulty in being able to medicate (cameras everywhere, I’m telling you, EVERYWHERE – ugh!). But I’ve got more ammo, baby!