There are worse places to be on your birthday than Disneyland. I had to be in LA around this weekend, so I figured that a trip to the parks made perfect sense — I could wear a big “It’s My Birthday” button around San Francisco, but I doubt it’d have the same impact.
I have yet to see the new World of Color thing that all the kids are talking about. I haven’t seen all that much yet, actually, since I got in too late for Fastpasses and I didn’t have enough patience to wait for stuff. But that’s turned out to be a good thing so far, because I’ve seen a lot of the great live entertainment.
At any point, without warning or provocation, I’ll tell you about the differences between Walt Disney World and Disneyland. One of them is that Disneyland feels a lot more “full,” as if there’s always something going on everywhere you look. I’ve only been here half a day and I’ve already seen all manner of parades and other shows break out all around me, plus other stuff I’d never seen before or hadn’t seen in years.
One of the “new” things is the “Captain EO Tribute,” which I’d only seen once before (right before it shut down, if I remember correctly), and which was a billion times better this time. In the line, they have scenes from some kind of making-of documentary showing George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppolla and about a billion dancers who look like they just got finished filming the video to “Warrior” by Scandal featuring Patty Smythe. As for the movie itself: I can’t honestly say that it’s aged well, but it really is just an amazing thing; it’s hard to believe that it even exists. I can’t remember where I saw it the first time (maybe Orlando?) because I definitely didn’t remember all the thumping in the seats and the early 80s 3D that hurts your eyes to even look at it. The funny thing is that I distinctly remember thinking, at several points throughout the 80s, that we were living through a cultural wasteland, and dreading the point at which people got nostalgic for the 80s. But here we are, and I can’t help but love it.
Not long after I saw the College All Star Marching Band playing in front of the train station, and they were terrific. Keeping up the Michael Jackson theme, they did a tribute medley, right down to performing the zombie dance with drum kits, tubas, and saxophones. That was followed by an Earth, Wind and Fire medley that was almost as good.
Over at California Adventure, they’ve got some kind of “Glow Fest” going on that turns the Hollywood Studios section of the park into a big street party/rave. I came into the park while a bunch of dancers were doing faux-Bollywood routines in front of the sun fountain, to several tracks including some from Slumdog Millionaire. And they never stopped, is the weird part — I had to go off and ride something because I was getting winded just watching them. When I came back, they had stands set up all down the street, and each one had one of the dancers still going at it, and a Disneyfied version of Bootsy Collins acting as DJ on the top of a dayglo colored Volkswagen Bus. I could imagine cynics or purists scoffing at it, but I loved every single bit of it. And the crowd did, too — the street was packed with people going nuts, taking the whole “dance like nobody’s watching” thing to heart. (Plus I was totally crushing on one of the dancers, which is completely inappropriate for somebody my age).
So yeah, the inexorable decline towards 40 doesn’t seem so bad, as long as I can keep getting away with not acting my age.