Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dumbo: A Tragedy in Three Acts, part I

Act I: Disenchantment

When I young, my parents revealed what was at the time the best news I had ever heard: that summer, we were going to Disneyland. Like many kids growing up in Utah, I had never been to this Californian Shangri-La and had only heard legends and tales of it from two sources:

  1) My parents/aunts/uncles/grandparents/other old people who talked about how great it was when they were kids; and
  2) The occasional spoiled kid at school whose families made a tradition of going on a complete California vacation every summer, and who would always brag about his trips and suggest that perhaps this most recent one "wasn't as good as last year's". (Incidentally, these kids would grow up to be the same d-bags who have license plate covers that say things like "My other car is also a porche.")

Given the aforementioned circumstances, you can understand how happy I was to hear the news.

me, circa late-1980s
It also needs to be noted that at this particular point in my life, my favorite Disney movie was Dumbo. (While I'm at it, it also needs to be noted that at the current point in my life, my favorite Disney movie is The Emperor's New Groove. You simply cannot beat lines like, "I'm kind of hard to fit: I wear a 66 long and a 31 waist.") There was just something about that flying elephant that struck a cord with the little version of me. So when my parents told my siblings and me that we were going to the Land of Disney, I was overjoyed; but when my mom told me that I would be able to go on a ride called Dumbo the Flying Elephant, I nearly died of excitement. An entire ride dedicated to my favorite flying pachyderm? Truly, this must be heaven.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant, circa late-1980s
The road-trip to Anaheim was long, and it felt, what with two adults and four children piled into a 198something Corolla hatchback, longer. And for those who have made the drive, you know that the scenery from Salt Lake to SoCal doesn't make the trip much better. But it all became moot the moment we saw the spires of Sleeping Beauty's castle jutting up from the suburban wasteland, hailing all who saw to take refuge within. We had arrived; I was home.

a Toyota Corolla hatchback, circa late-1980s
I practically ran across the miles of parking lot to the front gate. After years of hearing about it and weeks of dreaming about it, I was only a few hundred yards from what was sure to be the end-all/be-all of my (admittedly short) existence. Being the youngest—and, by definition, the most likely to cry when things didn't go my way—I was granted first choice when it came to rides. I already knew my destination and plotted my course.

Taking the helm, I led the family to Fantasyland. We passed the Enchanted Tiki Room, sidestepped the Jungle Cruise, and completely ignored Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Those could all wait, for there was only one ride on my mind. Come hell or high water, I was taking my family straight to...

...a sign announcing that Dumbo the Flying Elephant was closed for repairs.

I could not believe my eyes. Surely there had to be some mistake. After all, Dumbo was my ride. How could it be closed during my weekend, after I had traveled 700 miles just for it? But no amount of pleading or reasoning would avail; the sign stood firm. After coming to the understanding that no matter how many other rides were available, Dumbo wouldn't be, I hung my head in sorrow. Much like Dorothy thought about Oz after discovering the man behind the curtain, I had been brought to a somber realization: perhaps Disnleyland wasn't so great after all.

the sign, as I remember it
Coming up next time: a second shot at glory...


Joe said...

And to this day, I've never been on Space Mountain. I think I've been to Disneyland three or four times in my life, and every time it's broken.

Oh well. Disneyland is kinda like Vegas: not as good as advertised. (Unless they give me a job, in which case, Disneyland rocks!)

Becca said...

So, I guess now would be a bad time to tell you that I have a picture on my wall of Matt and me riding said Dumbo ride circa 1994....

Greg said...

Nice post, though I am not sure what route you took to fantasyland that would take you past the jungle cruise :)

your picture is also from pre-remodel fantasyland and thus cannot be circa late 80's.

I hope you finally got to go on it. If not let me know and u will go in it for you when I take Sarah in 3 weeks :)

lexi said...

i like the sign adam. im sure thats exactly what it said