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Our eighth day at Disneyland yesterday was pleasant and fun, especially because the crowds were much lighter.
Around the third or fourth day, I was having doubts about my ability to enjoy this experiment. With so many days left, it seemed like an endurance challenge. I was worried that I’d get bored of it quickly and regret taking on this challenge.
But after finishing eight days there, I’m feeling pretty good about this challenge. I feel there’s an odd intelligence to this that I’m not fully grasping yet, like somehow it will turn out to be a much wiser idea than I could have predicted. I can feel that it’s having some effect on me, but I’m not sure how to articulate that yet. The best I can describe it for now is to say that this experience is making me think in different directions.
Rachelle and I often have these freakout moments when one of us will exclaim, “What the heck are we doing here? This is NOT a normal thing to do! And we still have so many days left of this.” Then we remind ourselves that we’re not normal, and we keep right on going.
I like to frame the remainder of the challenge in silly ways, such as by saying to Rachelle, “Just think… after we finish today and tomorrow, we’ll only have three more weeks to go!” That does seem like a lot of time to spend at Disneyland, but with eight days already done, it seems a lot easier than it did on Day 1. We’re even joking about doing this again next year, which is a little scary because a lot of my joke ideas eventually become reality.
Incidentally, Rachelle finally broke a score of 100,000 on Astro Blasters for the first time, although it was mainly due to the ride stopping partway through at one point, so everyone could keep shooting the same targets repeatedly. I consistently trounce her on that game, but she usually outscores me on Midway Mania. Both of these are rides where you travel along in a moving buggy, and you shoot targets to score points along the way.
Noticing the Details
Having spent eight full days in a row at Disneyland and California Adventure parks, I’m noticing more subtleties that I didn’t notice before. For instance, I noticed that one of the dwarves on the Snow White ride has his hand in front of his mouth like he’s supposed to be holding something to his lips, and his mouth is puckered into an O shape. Rachelle and I surmised that perhaps in the past, he was holding a pipe, and maybe Disney removed it to stop promoting smoking. That’s just a guess though, but it’s one of many details I hadn’t noticed before.
Overall I’d say that noticing more detail increases my enjoyment of the experience. It’s a way to find newness in the familiar. Once I see details I didn’t acknowledge before, I can’t unsee them, so they become a part of the experience for me.
It’s obvious to me that Disney pays a lot of attention to detail. It’s possible that Steve Jobs even influenced Disney to raise the bar higher since Steve was involved with Pixar and had many dealings with Disney, and then Disney bought Pixar and started integrating many Pixar properties into its theme parks. You’ll see Pixar movie characters in all the parades and shops, and there’s a Monsters Inc ride as well… and of course Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters. Toy Story is an especially popular Pixar franchise that Disney leverages, essentially turning it into a Disney franchise. On Halloween we saw a lot of visitors dressed up as Toy Story characters like Woody, Jessie, and Buzz.
We’re also noticing just how often various rides malfunction. We’ve seen stalls or breakdowns on perhaps half a dozen rides so far, sometimes while we’re stuck in our seats for several minutes. There are also times when we’ll notice that some parts of rides aren’t working as they should, but most one-time tourists wouldn’t notice because they aren’t familiar with the details that are supposed to be there. Other times the malfunctions are bigger, like when the boulder on the Indiana Jones ride didn’t roll down towards our vehicle.
The Halloween decorations are gone now – no more giant Pumpkin Mickey on Main Street – and Disney is gradually transforming its park for Christmas. The giant Christmas tree wasn’t there yesterday, but I’m sure it will be put up soon since Rachelle and I saw it hiding behind a fence nearby. We’ve already seen garland, wreaths, and other Christmas decorations popping up around the park. One of the shop employees told me this transformation takes weeks because it would be too much to put up overnight without closing the whole park.
This reminds me of how the casinos work in Vegas. They’re 24/7 operations that never close. At least Disneyland can close for the night to do some maintenance and redecorating.
Spending Time Outdoors
I really enjoy spending so much time outdoors. It’s a nice contrast to working in my home office. The weather has been mostly great – a mixture of sunny and cloudy days with the highs averaging close to room temperature. Yesterday was slightly cooler, and today will be warmer.
We’re doing a lot of walking too, average about 10 miles and 20-25K steps per day. I’m not sure how accurate the step count is though since much of our walking is at different paces, like when we’re navigating through heavy crowds or slowly moving through lines. But 10 miles per day feels about right to me. I think our daily max so far was just over 11.5 miles.
We’re also continuing to do intermittent fasting, which has been surprisingly easy. Yesterday we ate all our food within a 6-hour interval from 12:30 to 6:30pm. I don’t even feel hungry this morning, so I think my body is getting used to it. This has been easy to combine with the Disneyland experience since even if we did get hungry, there are so many things to distract us from food, and most of the snack stands we’d pass along the way sell unappealing junk food anyway. So there really isn’t much temptation to eat in the morning, unless you think cotton candy, churros, or popcorn would make a good breakfast.
Today we’re meeting up with a couple from the Conscious Life Workshop who decided to pop down to Disneyland to join us, so it will be nice to share the experience for a while.