Sunday, March 13, 2011

Haunted Disney

As mentioned before, I took the kids out to southern California last month, and went to Disneyland. I usually go every summer, but last summer we didn't go because we had a lot of other things planned, not to mention a wedding, and a trip to the Azores. When I was a kid, my parents never took us to Disneyland, but don't feel too sorry for us. Instead of Disneyland, we went to either Pismo Beach, or we went to the Azores, and we lived in Santa Cruz, a coastal town known for its beaches, and boardwalk with roller coasters and rides. We weren't deprived in no means, and I don't regret any one of those trips to the Azores whatsoever, but I always wondered why we never got to go to Disneyland as children. So, at the first opportunity as an adult I went, and I've gone ever since.

We usually go in the summer or spring, and this was the first time we actually went in February. It was less expensive to go this time of year, and it was a little rainy and colder, but it all mean't less people and shorter lines. On the first day we were there, we got on every ride with a minimal line wait of 5 to 7 minutes if that. As it got later in the day and darker(and wetter) the lines were pretty much non-existent. As we approached one of the last rides of the evening, the Haunted Mansion, it was easy to see why my youngest, Nicholas was not going to have anything to do with the place. I had to admit, the mansion did look more daunting than usual. The tall mansion, in the rain, lighted only by the dim lights and a full moon in the middle of darkness truly looked like a haunted mansion. So, while Liz and Andrew ventured inside, Nicholas and I stayed away in search of a drinking fountain.

I've heard many stories about the Haunted Mansion, including the disbursement of human ashes inside the ride. Stories of people actually bringing the ashes of their loved ones to the ride fulfilling their last wishes of forever to be in the "happiest place on earth." Here's a link to a related article:

It's a little unsettling, isn't it? I guess some Disneyland enthusiasts would love the idea of having their remains forever locked in the Haunted Mansion, or live with the mechanical pirates on the Pirates of the Caribbean. I don't know about you, but if I had to make a choice of what ride to be "scattered" in, I would pick a happy ride, where I could see smiling faces of children each day, like the Peter Pan ride, or the Dumbo Ride. Oh, and yes, It's A Small World is a very happy ride, if you can handle hearing that song over and over again---it might be just a living hell.

The next day I went on the Haunted Mansion ride with my older son Andrew. It certainly wasn't the first time I've been on this ride, but I wanted to pay closer attention to it. I was determined to find something that I had never noticed before. The ride, in the beginning proved to be pretty uneventful, familiar and predictable, until of course it stopped three times right in the middle of the graveyard, and by the knocking, and vibrating doors that sounded like heartbeats. Lovely.

You know, when you are gliding by through the ride, and it's "spooky" little scenario scenes, it really isn't very frightening, until your buggy gets stuck right there in the middle of it. I have to admit I was feeling a little uncomfortable sitting there in my buggy in the middle of the graveyard, admid the singing and flying ghosts. I found myself wondering, gee, may be there are real spirits of people in this ride having a little fun. Then suddenly, from the ride you hear the narrator's voice go on the loud speaker to announce that the "spirtis" were disrupting the ride again, and that ride would resume once the "spirts" have "moved on." Lovely. Finally, after what seemed like several minutes, the buggy started up again proceeded its way towards the end of the ride.

Right when the buggy starting moving, I heard a small knock on the side of my buggy. I was a little startled by it. I waited to hear Andrew tell me he had heard the same knock, but apparently, he didn't. I didn't want to frighten the boy, but I was left to wonder about this knock throughout the rest of the ride. It didn't help that I was thinking of all the potential scatterings of ashes that may have been lurking inside the ride right before I actually heard this "unexplained knock" that I only heard. And, of course, I did not want to mention this knock to Andrew because I didn't want him to get scared or anything. I still haven't told him about it, because I'm still questioning it myself. I have wondered perhaps if it was the people in the buggy behind us who knocked on our buggy, but I don't think that would be possible, or perhaps it was someone walking around the ride that did it. I've heard that there are actual people who run the ride that dress in costume with the sole purpose of frightening ride goers, but I did not see anyone. Let's just say I left the ride wondering about it. Apparently, I still am. The little ghost doll at the end of the ride, with the mocking voice who said goodbye to us didn't help matters either.

The mysterious knock on my buggy wasn't the only freaky experience that happened during my Disneyland visit.

We stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel near the park, and I ended up having to buy a new pair of sunglasses at their gift shop. You see, we had gone on the Indiana Jones ride earlier that afternoon, and I apparently looked into the eyes of the Goddess Medusa, which prompted my sunglasses to fly off my head, only to be lost in a river of lava for all eternity. I went to the hotel's gift shop in search of a new pair, when I encountered the most strangest woman. I don't know if I looked any more suspicious than the average customer, I mean, I don't think I fit a profile of someone who would likely steal or commit a crime. When shopping a lot of people think I actually work at the stores I shop in. (It has happened to me for years, and I don't really understand why.)

This woman was working at the register and I could definitely feel she was staring at me. I was not the only person in the store, but I could tell she was very intent to watch me as I shopped around the carousel of sunglasses . There wasn't much to choose from as it was, but this woman made me feel so uneasy, that I ended up buying any pair just to get out of the place. When I finally made it to the cash register, she started talking to me, and was pleasant enough, but she still had that weird look in her eyes. It wasn't her appearance, but it was in the way she looked at me, like she knew me for some place or somewhere. She had a sort of blankness in her eyes, and when I explained why I needed glasses (she made a comment about the glasses), she responded with a very serious tone of voice, and went on to say that she always wanted to work on that ride because of all the lost items that are thrown off and lost, but, she then said that my glasses were probably somewhere broken by now with a concerned look on her face. I wanted to tell her that I could care less because they were a cheap pair of $10 sunglasses, but I just wanted to get out of there and not invite more conversation with this weird woman.

I'll have to remember to put my sunglasses in the net in front me on the ride next time, and not look into the eyes of Medusa. This woman at the gift shop wasn't really rude, she just reminded me of a zombie from that movie, the Night of The Living Dead. Her eyes were missing a certain brightness and soul to them. She was just plain spooky. "Come back again!" she called out. I don't think so...

1 comment:

Jimmy's Journal said...

Interesting post! When I was a kid there was no Disneyland or Disney World to even consider. But like you, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a city like Miami where the beach is twenty minutes away.

We always had fun and quite frankly, we didn't know the difference.