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Yesterday Rachelle and I spent the first day of our 30-day experience at Disneyland, roughly from about 9am to 9pm. As we drove from our AirBnb to the park through the remnants of rush hour traffic, I joked with Rachelle that we were commuting to work or school. It’s been a long time since I had that feeling of being a part of society that does this every day. Since the experience seemed novel at this time, it felt mildly stimulating.
What I noticed right away was the total lack of urgency to do anything in particular. It felt like we had a ridiculous amount of time ahead of us to do whatever we wanted many times over, so why rush? Consequently, we took our time this first day, spending a little time at both parks (Disneyland and California Adventures) without any pressure to maximize the value.
I felt varying levels of resistance to this experiment throughout the first day. I thought about some interesting work projects I could be sinking my teeth into instead. I didn’t sleep that well the previous night, so I was drowsy a lot during the day. And even though it was relatively uncrowded by Disneyland standards, I didn’t like being surrounded by so many people all day.
Knowing that we have so much time ahead of us at Disneyland feels a bit daunting, like a dream world endurance test. I reminded myself that such feelings are common when beginning many types of 30-day trials, and those feelings often pass after a few days. Sometimes it’s just a matter of settling into the experience and surrendering to it.
Part of me also feels a sense of possibility for the upcoming month. I’m curious about how it will affect us.
I saw my own mixed feelings reflected in the park employees throughout the day. Many seemed genuinely happy with their work, especially the seniors. But then I’d catch glimpses of that oh-so-common employee look of “what am I doing here?” when it seemed like no one was looking. The mixture summarized how I felt inside during that first day. This could also be an invitation to tip one way or the other, towards resistance or surrender, with surrender being the happier outcome.
As we rode on some rides with animatronic characters, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, I thought about how these rides use automation to provide passive value for the park visitors. The humans who assist with the rides blend seamlessly with the robots, which makes me wonder where the human part ends and the robot part begins… and how this border will continue to shift in the years ahead. How many humans still play robotic roles in someone else’s passive income system?
I sometimes like saying things to the employees to interrupt their patterns, just to add some variety or humor to their day. For instance, when asked “how many?” for a ride, I might say “one and a half.” The ride attendant will pause for a second and then chuckle, although Rachelle sometimes punches me in the arm for it.
We did have fun throughout the day, gradually getting into the mood as the day progressed. One thing we also like doing is making ridiculous faces for the ride cameras, which often makes the tourists laugh when they see our photos on the TV screens as they exit the ride. We can’t help adding some silliness to the pics if it makes people laugh.
Starting Day 2
Due to the nature of this experiment, there are some other layers to it. We’ll be spending 30 days mostly outdoors, 30 days walking a lot, 30 days in an AirBnb, and 30 days surrounded by thousands of people.
As we’re getting ready to head out for Day 2, I’m thinking about how to make today a little better than yesterday. Surely we’ll pick up some simple optimizations along the way, like knowing that when the line splits for Pirates, it will be a shorter wait if we fork right instead of left. But I wonder how much our daily experience will shift from Day 1 to Day 30.