I came across this gem while unpacking boxes a few weeks ago. This photo was from a Disneyland trip the Cat Daddy and I took with our parents, shortly before he joined the Air Force in 2001 (click the pic to enlarge).
Have I mentioned that I love Disneyland? It is by far my favorite of the Disney parks. Most of my reasons are purely biased, having grown up in the West and having been to Disney World only once, in 2003. I simply have more experience with Disneyland. And in no way am I bashing the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. It is a fabulous place. In many ways it's impossible to compare the two, especially when you factor in everything else that is a part of Disney World (eg, the MGM park--FANTASTIC).
But still, being the oldest park, and much smaller than any of the others, Disneyland is crammed with something exciting in every corner, which to me is quite charming. I think the smaller size also makes it just a teeny bit more effective at maintaining "The Show," and maybe even gives it a little bit more of the magic.
I have two secret dreams when it comes to Disneyland. First, I would love to get stuck on Space Mountain when they have to turn on the lights. I've heard it's lame and totally destroys the experience, but to me I think it would be more like an inside joke or shared secret. "Don't worry Space Mountain, I've seen you with the lights on and I love you just the same." Or something.
Second, I would love to traverse the secret underground tunnels. What it boils down to is that I like to know things, and to be in on things, especially things that most people don't know. What I don't know is whether or not I'll ever make it down there without actually being employed by the park. If that's what it took though, I'd do it. Just to say I did.
Now admittedly, I do think Disneyland (and even Disney in general) has lost a little bit of its magic over the years as everything has gotten more mass-marketed and mass-produced...it's hard to find items and aspects that are uniquely Disneyland these days...but even so, I always love a trip to Disneyland. If anyone wants to take me, please let me know--I'll be there in no time!
Anyhoo, about the picture--it was our first trip on Splash Mountain that day. It might have been our first or second ride all day, in fact. I remember we got right back on it, strictly instructing Mom-in-law to please keep her head up so we could see her in the pic, and within the time it took to walk the queue it got busy enough that they stuck a sixth rider in with us for our second time through. Ah well.
I like this picture because it is quite candid. In fact I think it's more effective than most in capturing each person as they are. Let me illustrate:
--In the front we have Mom-in-law. Also a Disneyland lover, she knew full well what was likely in store for her in the front seat--a big ol' splash--and didn't mess around with pretty poses or funny faces. She just hunkered down to weather the storm.
--Next is my mom. My mom is big into "the moment." You can see that she is also anticipating a big splash, hence the closed eyes, but also notice the wide grin and the arms reaching forward to comfort Mom-in-law in the midst of her plight. This is not just a ride for Mom, this is a moment, and she is enjoying it to the full.
--Followed by yours truly. I had fully planned to give a big cheesy grin and two thumbs up to the camera. I rehearsed on the way through the briar patch scenes and everything. However, the drop always gets me the first time through. Every, single, first time. By the second time I was calm and ready, but for this shot I instinctively grabbed the sidebars and let out a yell. You might say I was genuinely thrilled by this thrill ride.
--The Cat Daddy of course stuck to his gameplan. He is determined that way. I belive by this time he'd been officially accepted into the Air Force. You can see the intensity of a person who knew he'd better make the most of his fun, since he was about to start three months of absolutely-no-fun officer training. Everything about his pose, from the pointing finger, to the excited yelp you just know is escaping his lips, to the hat defiantly left on the head and complete lack of a waterproof covering, is entirely what you would expect to see from a 24-year-old man on a photographic mission, making the most of Disneyland. And I do appreciate his inner drive to make the most of Disneyland.
--And finally my dad. Dad stuck to the gameplan as well, but his pose has a more laid-back quality that people tend to acquire over time. After they take one foot out of the rat race, and realize they don't give a rat's [derriere] what people think, and consequently find themselves feeling much more at peace with the world. He's on vacation and he is obviously enjoying himself. With both arms raised, he doesn't even care if he's sucked right out of the log. From experience he knows that everything will probably turn out just fine.
And so this concludes my little nutshell-psychological-analysis of my family on Splash Mountain. We are a crazy bunch, but let it never be said that we're a bunch of sticks in the mud...
UPDATE--11/03/08--In the comments it was mentioned that the Cat Daddy was 26, not 24. Actually at the time this was taken he was 25. The management regrets the error and restitution has been made.