30 Days of Disneyland – Day 11

The days are starting to blur together, as if it’s one continuous stream of Disneyland that never ends. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what we did for the past week and a half. I think that’s because my focus is so rooted in the present moment.

I’m surprised that we haven’t gotten completely bored with going on rides yet, but even after 11 days, we still haven’t gone on every ride yet, seen all the shows, or done all the possible activities. With two theme parks to oscillate between, there’s just a lot to see and do. Yesterday we went on several rides we hadn’t gone on yet, which was nice for adding more variety to the day. The park was crowded since it was a Friday, but I don’t think we waited in any lines for more than 15 minutes. Being so experienced with the Fastpass system really helps.

I often feel sorry for the tourists who spend 50 minutes waiting in line for a ride when they could have just gotten a Fastpass and skipped the line completely. On the other hand, I’m also semi-grateful that Disney doesn’t put in the extra effort to educate new visitors on how this system works because then it would be less effective. Essentially the new visitors pay a tax to the experienced visitors by waiting a little longer in some lines, so the experienced visitors can skip ahead of them and not have to wait.

This system makes me think about how life rewards experience in general. When you’re just starting out in some new line or work, for instance, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes. But with experience you’ll make wiser decisions, and you’ll be able to get better results. This is why it helps to make some 5-year commitments now and then.

I expect that we will eventually get bored if we keep doing more of what we’ve already been doing. We’ve been on some rides so many times that we’ve practically memorized them. Sometimes I’ll close my eyes on a ride since I can see the visuals in my mind’s eye anyway. Several days ago I did one complete ride of Indiana Jones with my eyes closed, and I didn’t feel like I missed anything. Going on rides is becoming like watching re-runs. Pretty soon we’ll have to change our approach if we’re going to make it to Day 30 without being totally bored.

I’ve observed that my body is automatically adapting to the anticipated motion of the rides to stay more balanced. Through repetition my brain is learning when all the turns or bounces will occur, so my muscles automatically tighten or relax at the right times. On a chaotic ride like Indiana Jones, the inexperienced riders are bouncing all over the place, but my body remains more stable. This isn’t something I’m doing consciously. It’s a natural adaptation to a predictable cycle of movements, much like learning to maintain balance on a bicycle.

I’m still surprised at how extroverted I’ve been feeling, as if this experience is purging the last remnants of introversion from me. I wonder if I’ll want more of this social stimulation when I return home. The feeling of being in a totally quiet workspace for hours at a stretch feels like a distant memory. It feels increasingly normal to be hanging out with tens of thousands of people all day, every day.

We’re spending 70-80 hours per week at Disneyland, so it’s like a full-time job and then some. Sometimes it really does feel like a job since we commute there each day, spend the whole day there, and then commute back to our AirBnb. I’m not used to that kind of experience. I think if I had to drive to the same place year after year and spent each day there, I’d be bored to tears.

Rachelle and I are being exposed to so much Disney music that we constantly have tunes stuck playing in our minds, including in our dreams at night. It’s hard to find any area that doesn’t have music playing, and of course music is playing on the rides too. What’s really odd is that I sometimes hear Disney songs playing in my mind that I don’t recall even hearing at the park, like songs from the movie Hercules. If any part of this experience drives us a little nuts, it would probably be the endless, inescapable Disney music that loops over and over and over again. I should ask the employees how they handle it.

I finally beat Rachelle’s on the Midway Mania games, including topping her best score ever. I did it largely by shooting on her side of the screen at certain times to effectively steal some of her best scoring opportunities. It’s a bit devious, but it works. Now we’re heading into the psychological warfare part of this competition since she’ll probably try to steal targets from my side of the screen too.

One time we went on that ride, and one of the screens wasn’t working correctly, showing virtually no targets for one of the games. I told the ride operator, and he gave our group a free pass to ride it again later when it was working properly. So if you go on a ride at Disneyland, and it isn’t quite working as it should, be sure to tell the operator afterwards, so you can get a free repeat ride and skip the line.

I also learned more about how the Astro Blasters scoring system works, figuring out which targets are worth the most. This will surely enable me to score much better on that game going forward. Even Rachelle got a decent score with ease once we figured out the scoring system.

To add a little more variety to our meals, we went to Whole Foods yesterday morning, ate a meal from the salad bar, and picked up some extra snacks like apples and nut bars. I was recognized by a guy who knew my blog and had read my book, so we chatted briefly. He didn’t even know we were in the area.

We continue to live each day with no advance planning. We’re still going with the flow of whatever we want to do in the moment. It’s an interesting way to live. I like that we have to keep finding ways to make the experience fresh and interesting, so we don’t get bored. We can’t just treat it like a job where we do the same things over and over for too many days in a row.

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