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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Column: Happiest place on earth

My spring break was way better than all of yours. I feel like I can confidently say this because I went to the happiest place on earth. No, not Vegas. Disneyland! Probably the only place in the world where you can eat foods shaped like mice and not want to throw up. Tell me that’s not magical.

A trip to the park was long overdue. I was still closing my eyes on the Haunted Mansion ride the last time I went – so it’s been like five years. I was more than ready for some giant walking characters, overpriced souvenirs and at least a churro or two.

The previous trip to the land of Disney was with my family in high school. Needless to say the experience was a little different than this last visit with my boyfriend, CJ. Let me tell you why.

First of all, when you go with your parents, you’re not really noticing things like the $14 parking lot you’re forced to use or the $72 entrance fee to the park. The Disney magic casts its spell and you forget the fact that your parents dropped major bucks for you to spin around in a teacup and puke up that $10 corndog.

When you go with another broke 22-year-old, however, you realize that it will take you a month to earn that money back. You try to minimize costs by smuggling in food and you have to hope the drinking fountains around the park won’t give you mouth herpes.

Another thing you don’t really notice as a kid is the number of trashy people roaming Disneyland. I lost count of how many moms I saw double-fisting giant turkey drumsticks and 32-ounce sodas. Usually they had a little mouse ear-wearing, obese kid trailing them with lollypop smeared all over their face and a leash on.

(If I ever have to resort to leashing my children, I refuse to use those leashes with the animal backpacks. At least be open about what you’re doing and use a metal chain or something.)

Then there were the random groups of Gothic high schoolers wandering around in their Nightmare Before Christmas sweatshirts. They try their hardest to look miserable, even when they’re on a bobsled speeding through the FREAKING MATTERHORN. I love when people go places that are meant to be fun and try to act like it sucks.

There were definitely tons of positive aspects to the day, though. The Buzz Lightyear ride with the blaster guns was pretty amazing. If you ever want to watch grown men instantly devolve into five-year-old boys, you should go on this ride.

If you’re not familiar with this attraction, you basically ride around in little spaceships and shoot targets with laser guns. About three minutes in, CJ was shooting anything that moved – including the elderly couple in the spaceship next to us. Yes, I told him he wouldn’t get points for that.

The Haunted Mansion was also awesome, especially considering I finally kept my eyes open the entire time. At one point, however, the ride broke down in front of a dead bride for an extended period of time. We awkwardly sat there and had a staring contest with her while all the little kids on the ride were having panic attacks.

Finally, the best part of the day was probably just being in Disneyland in an even numbered group.

I’ve unfortunately had the experience of going in a group of five. Inevitably, someone always ends up alone or being straddled by some creepy old man on Splash Mountain. For some reason, that someone was usually me. This time, the creepy man I was stuck with on all the rides was one of my choosing. (I’m kidding, CJ.) So I was perfectly fine.

After nine hours of Disney magic, we decided to call it quits and head home. It was a great day of people watching and ride riding, and I can’t wait for next time. Perhaps in 10 years, I’ll be wearing mouse ears and gnawing on an animal limb, too.

AMANDA HARDWICK wishes she was at Disneyland instead of the MU. If you feel the same way, give her a holla at aghardwick@ucdavis.edu. 


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