Back in one piece from an entire day of bad food and enforced cheeriness at Disneyland. Truth be told, I did rather enjoy Space Mountain and there is something very sweet about seeing all the happy families smiling together. I had to take the curmudgeon role, stuck between two professionals, Jumby & Minks. They walk fast, talk fast, get their Fast Passes fast, and move on to the next thing. I hang back like a surly teen, trying to get the rhythm of it. I found the Pinocchio ride alarming. Our little brown carts hurtled towards faux walls and at the last minute swerved with a whip-lashing jerk to the right, revealing another chortling Clown or a wall of chattering cuckoo clocks. "Imagine this ride on acid" J whispers to me as we whip around yet another 90degree angle to be face with a red and white candy cane forest with peek-a-boo pop up smiling daisies.
I know people who love this place, who come here seven or eight times a year, who wear the t-shirts and pack the sunscreen and carry Purel on a little climber's clip on the back of their backpacks. It is hard not to find such childlike wonder admirable. (Listen to me sounding holier than thou, o I'm such a hyporcrite!). My friend Lucy, for example, will use any excuse to visit. It's very sweet.
Best for me is the train which ambles around the perimeter of the park, through exhibits of prehistory and indians on paint horses. The wooden benches in the carriages face outwards, towards the park, and you can for a moment, imagine that you are a simple tourist enjoying Paris for the first time, or the Grove perhaps. The jolly ticketmaster rings the bell and announces the stations and chides one to remain seated until the engine comes to a complete stop. I don't know if anyone has actually been killed at 8mph, but I threatened to be the first, jumping up as if I were on the tube in London. "Please take a seat" said the booming voice. "Yes I mean you." I flushed and looked at the man whose legs I was passing in front of. "Oops, I might have to sit on your knee. There's nowhere else to go." I said. He smiled politely and all eyes were on me, the bumbling Englishwoman, with her bag strapped sensibly around her shoulder, who was too eager to disembark.
Minks is fourteen and probably the oldest kid by ten years to get her face painted in the Royale Affaire Princesse Parlore, or whatever it is called. This request made Jumby extremely uncomfortable. (When things get too girly I think he worries that we may suggest he slip into a dress himself.) She had a Tinker Bell, who had a marked resemblance to Thelma from the Flinstones, painted on her cheek and cover in glittery magic. And so we wondered around the park with our daughter in her converse sneakers and her skinny jeans, and her glasses that look like Elvis Costello, with a fairy princess twinkling on her cheek (see below). It made her inordinately happy.