September 21st, 2006

Geek confession

Hello, my name is Lisa...and I'm a Disneyland fanatic.

No, not "Disney", as in all the damn movies and cartoons and all, and not even all the Disney parks. I am specifically a geek for the original Magic Kingdom, the Happiest Place on Earth...Disneyland in Anaheim. I've outgrown most of my other early geek fascinations (okay, yeah, I've got some fan fiction buried in my past, but it was done under pseudonyms, thank god, and you don't need to know anything more about it), but I still adore Disneyland. Maybe because it's been around my whole life, and many of my earliest memories are connected to the place. Hey, I can't remember the string of houses we occupied when I was growing up, but I remember Disneyland (and probably unlike some of the houses, it's still there).

I love Disneyland at a very philosophical level. Really. I love the idea that all these different art forms (music, art, sculpting, writing) were wed to different technologies (robotics, hydraulics, projections) for no purpose other than to entertain and amuse. All amusement parks interest me somewhat, but what other one can claim to have created the audioanimatronic, and employed a genius like Marc Davis to design its look?

I have no doubt that all those early visits to Disneyland shaped me somewhat. I love the blocky, colorful, silkscreened graphics favored in the 60s, and a childhood fascination with the Disneyland attraction posters certainly fueled that. And the first two times I can remember being scared both involved Disneyland: Once, when pop held me up to look out the porthole in the long-vanished "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" attraction, and I beheld the giant squid; and once when the parents forced me to pose with the Phantom of the Opera. Yep, Disneyland used to have a very good costumed Phantom standing in front of the Main Street Cinema. My parents thought that was great fun to have me pose with him. I was terrified beyond words (and damn, I wish we could find that picture now!).

So yeah, you betcha I'm an Annual Passholder. One of the best things about being an adult living in SoCal is that I'm 45 minutes away from Disneyland and I don't have to wait for mom and dad to take me. My pal Brett is an even bigger park geek than I am, but he's introduced me to people like Marc Davis ("tongue, meet floor") and current Imagineer head honcho Tony Baxter.

We went today, since I hadn't yet seen the Johnny Depp additions to "Pirates" (and don't be in any big hurry to see 'em yourself - although the likeness is quite good, the bored expression and even bored-er monologue by Depp himself just don't belong in the world's greatest and liveliest ride). Being geeks, we get totally into crap like, "Oh my god, they've drained the water around Adventureland and closed the Frontierland bridge!"

We don't do the usual things - I mean, okay, truthfully, how many times can you go on "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride", as great as the trip to hell at the end is? But shopping's a big must, and every trip must involve a visit to the Disneyland Gallery, where my wallet is seriously endangered by purchases like this:

(That's a print of an original concept drawing of the late great "Adventure Thru Inner Space", by Disneyland artist X Atencio).

So, there's a daytrip through Lisa's inner geekworld. I actually think it does relate to my life as a horror writer, since Disneyland provided my original frights.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go attempt to be an adult again...after I'm done staring at those spanky new Shag prints of "The Enchanted Tiki Room" I also bought today.