My wife and I have two daughters, 4 and 2, and we were beginning to start thinking about possibly taking the insane little hellions to Disneyland. We live in Oakland, so even though we are in California, getting to Anaheim is still at least a six-hour drive...Or we can fly and torture all the other passengers for an hour to get down there. I just read where Disneyland is raising the price of a single-day admission ticket to $92 for adults, and to $86 for kids aged 3 to 9. Our younger daughter would be 3 before we would possibly go, but...That's $356 goddamn bucks just to walk in the door and kiss Old Walt's Nazi-sympathizing statue! Even with places like AAA and Costco offering things like three-day packages for the parks and hotels, it's about $2K for three days of wandering in, standing in lines for hours, then getting mad at your wife for going on this shithole trip just so your kid can get a picture with Cinderella, who probably hates all kids anyway. Seriously...Why the fuck would any sane person do this?
I know many parents who have done either Disneyland or Disney World (usually Disney World, since I live on the East Coast). In many cases, it was the parents' idea to go, which is insane to me. I figured Disney World was something you did after your kid screamed at you for YEARS to go and you finally caved in just so that they would shut up. But no! No, some parents conceive of the trip and then go of their own volition, which is bonkers. There is usually a passable amusement park within 90 minutes of any major American city. A day trip to Six Flags seems like a far better way of limiting your misery.
Every parent I know who goes to Disney World says the exact same thing about it: "It wasn't THAT bad!" They always come back having convinced themselves they had a good time because the thought of dropping three grand to spend five days in line for a fucking monorail is too much for any sane person to bear. They say that Disney World appeals to parents because they know how to accommodate families better than most resorts. There are activities. There are changing tables all over. There are no dirty looks when your child cries at a Disney World restaurant. You are in the family-friendliest environment of family-friendly environments. And that's all well and good, but still: Fuck Disney World. Unless your name is John Jeremiah Sullivan, I can't imagine that spending that much money delivers that much more memorable of an experience for you. The only way to make Disney World WORK is to stay at the park, have a crippled person with you to help you cut in line, and go off-season, on a Tuesday in Jancember (seriously, there IS no offseason). And that still a VERY expensive undertaking.
Disney World is, at heart, a sacrifice. The parents who go do so because they believe their children will have the greatest time of their lives, and that's worth enduring lines and airports and what not. And that's very noble, but I'm farrrrr too selfish to make that kind of sacrifice. FOR OUR VACATION WE'RE FOLLOWING QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE AROUND THE COUNTRY, CHILDREN. DEAL WID IT.
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Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also buy Drew's new book, Someone Could Get Hurt, in time for Father's Day through his homepage.