Of course, this is a tiny underutilized train station in Southern California, so they could probably close down long enough to roast and consume an entire pig and no one would notice or care.
Anyhow, after spending eight hours in the bowels of the Happiest Place on Earth, it was pretty jarring to be suddenly spat out by taxi into the joyless Amtrak ennui of the Anaheim station. I’d never been to Disneyland before, because I always just sort of took for granted that I’m the sort of person who would fucking hate Disneyland a lot. I mean, of course Disneyland is evil – it’s in Orange County and that’s the epicenter of evil in California.
The problem with teaching kids that mice are adorable is that they grow up to be adults who bitch and moan about animal cruelty every time they see half a bloody tail torn off on a glue trap and say idiotic things like “we should trap them humanely and release them in the wild” like there’s some tweeting bird singing princess happy fucking Bambi forest wonderland we can take them to in West LA where they can run free and sing songs and live happily ever after – and even if there was such a place, you bet your torn off tail they would leave it just as soon as they possibly could and run right back into the city so they could live in our garbage. Seriously, I spend half of my day at work trying to figure out how to kill the little fuckers (the glamorous half) so I’m hardly going to schlep down to Orange County to go to a place that teaches impressionable kids to venerate vermin. And, sure, I don’t really have any say in their lives or any influence over the sort of people they will become – but, guess what – I don’t care!
I mean, sure, there’ll be no one to take care of me when I’m helpless and old but at least I’ll have money in my 401(k) because I didn’t have to pay for college and honestly, as long as I can afford to pay the LifeAlert bills every month, I know somebody will come and get me if I’ve fallen and can’t get up. So, considering how little is asked of me as an uncle, taking a trip to Disneyland was quite literally the least I could do.
I love everything about it except when I’m trying to catch a train when I realize what a frustrating, dysfunctional nightmare it is.
And, of course, I foolishly thought when I saw that my “gate” was open that my train was actually boarding, but, hey, guess what – it wasn’t – and I walked all the way from one sweltering side of the boarding area to another desperate to pee cause I couldn’t find a men’s room that was working, fuming with rage because I spent twenty minutes trying to use the automatic ticket machine before someone bothered to tell me that it wasn’t actually working before spending another thirty minutes waiting in line for the one person selling tickets to condescend to sell me one (thank god she didn’t have to go to lunch) before I finally found someone in an Amtrak uniform to tell me that my train wasn’t boarding after all, and would I please go back to the station and stop yelling “cocksucker” at the top of my lungs. As you enter Disneyland there is a sign posted with a quote of Walt Disney’s: “Here You Leave Today And Enter The World Of Yesterday, Tomorrow, And Fantasy”.
Tomorrowland is based upon the 1960’s idea that the future would be exactly like the present, except we’d all be in space and the buildings would be round. Evidently, in the world of Tomorrow, everyone likes to walk uphill for really long distances in the sun, because in the world of Tomorrow we’re out of fossil fuels and we have no damn choice. And what’s more, when I’m in the midst of a mild coronary because I had to climb up a 2 story ramp is hardly the time for an interactive display about just how fat and out of shape I am because I just crammed my mouth with a bucket of buttery popcorn that I bought FROM YOU ASSHOLES right at the foot of this fucking ramp SO DON’T FUCKING JUDGE ME. Really Important Lesson of the Day: There are only two words you need to know in Disneyland. If “fast pass” are the happiest two words in Disneyland, then “technical difficulties” are surely the most terrifying. And just when you think you can’t take it any more – just when you think your head is going to explode if you hear one more fucking time how it’s a world of laughter and a world of tears. Turned out, actually, that getting stuck in this ride was the best thing that could have happened to us because we got three free fast passes that we could use on any ride in the park at any time for the rest of the day. Thank you very much Disneyland, now my credibility as a miserable, angry misanthrope is totally shot to hell. If you liked this post, please do us the further boon of Liking the Fierce and Nerdy page on FaceBook. Both times I rode the It’s a Small World ride (the second time was to benefit my parents, otherwise once would have been plenty) it broke down and stopped, really close to the end, for like 18 minutes. The last time I went to an amusement park there was acid involved and it was amazing, so I can see that a drunken romp through the park would be amusing- though I do worry a little about the vomit factor. It’s a tiny little depot in the parking lot of Angels’ stadium with a couple of tired vending machines, concrete benches and one small ticket window. I sat on the platform in a daze like a wadded up towel on the Penn State locker room floor after a Second Mile event – sopping wet and rumpled and wondering if I really just saw what I thought I saw and how the hell I’m going to tell anyone about it. Orange County is the underwater lair where evil strokes a cat and plots to take over the world.


Mice are not big, loveable creatures with white gloves and red shorts and oversize novelty shoes – they’re vile little furballs who shit everywhere, carry diseases, get into everything and reproduce at lightning speed like Tribbles with plague. If they were concerned at all with authenticity at Disneyland then there would be heaping piles of shit everywhere Mickey went, and Minnie would be stuck to a glue trap by her cute little bow and Disneyland would be awesome, and I would totally go. There’s a reason why no one ever called Disneyland the Most Plausible Place on Earth (that’s Belgium.) And that’s my real problem with it. Well, of course, the answer is simple – my nieces and nephew wanted to go and that’s the sort of sacrifice you have to make if you want to be a good uncle. Parents spend thousands of dollars every month on housing and Cheerios and ballet lessons and kayaking camp and braces and iCarly DVDs and gummy vitamins and a bazillion other things and all they get from kids is grief because they have to wait for Hanukkah for the latest 3D Nintendo DS system.
So how was my trip to the House That Cynical Exploitation of Childhood Wonder for Massive Financial Gain Built? I love the deep tan leather seats in the waiting area with the dark wood art deco armrests, the Moorish (well, Moorish-adjacent) architecture, tile floors, high ceilings, and tucked away courtyards. The automated ticket selling machines work great right up until you put in your credit card and ACTUALLY try to buy a ticket like some kind of moron, and then they fail completely. As tempting as it was to continue freaking out like a lunatic, I decided that Amtrak jail would actually be a worse place than Disneyland to spend the day and that I didn’t want to lose favored uncle status by missing the trip, so I pulled myself together, walked back to the station and waited for my train to board and mumbled the word cocksucker instead.
They really need to update the sign to read: “Here You Leave Today and Enter the World of Yesterday So You Can See All The Stupid Crap They Used To Believe Back Then About the Future. I shared these prescient insights with my nieces who responded thoughtfully by asking me to buy them popcorn. I always assumed the park would be like a conveyer belt of pre-packaged entertainment for lazy American travelers who just want brainless entertainment shoved down their gullet– but no. No, they aren’t “Magic and Happiness” or “Mickey and Minnie” or even “Imagineer and Innoventions” (is there a douchier job title than Imagineer? The “Fast Pass” is like an appointment you can make to come back and get on a ride at a later time. At first I wrote it off to austerity measures, but then it just kept getting slower and slower until we finally crept into Mexico and heard the announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are currently experiencing technical difficulties. I’ve been known to scream and stomp and swear like an overtired infant with a sailor’s vocabulary.
Even though I took my mouse ears off, I knew that anyone who took one look at me would know exactly where I had been.
Thank god the train went to Union Station so I was able to get good and pissed off again when I arrived because of what a irritating, miserable shithole that place is. Actually, one of the things I found redeeming about Disneyland was that it was old an a little broken.
Plus, if I’m gonna go somewhere and get drunk- do I really have to schlep to fucking Anaheim? You will need JavaScript enabled to purchase directly from this site, or you may contact our Customer Service department. I guess if I really think about it, it’s because Disneyland represents everything I find evil, loathsome, repulsive and vile about the world today. You know it’s bad because it’s the only place in the whole state where Mitt Romney can go to raise money.
There is absolutely no one better than Disney at mass producing and selling synthetic experiences of childhood wonder and joy.
And, let’s keep it real here (like Belgium) it’s one of very few sacrifices that uncles are expected to make. Whereas I can swoop in and buy a couple of ice-cream cones and pink hats with mouse ears on them and all of a sudden the greatest goddamn philanthropist since John D.


It’s a true 20th-century cathedral of rail travel and an authentically great Los Angeles landmark.
This park was built back in a time when people were expected to walk for long distances and use their brains- even on vacation! I mean, the centerpiece of Tomorrowland is “Innoventions” – a large circular building (of course) with a bunch of interactive displays on the second floor that can only be accessed by climbing up a long circular ramp along the outside of the building, which is only slightly shorter than the Large Hadron Super Collider (am I a bad nerd for caring more about the Dwight Howard trade than the discovery of the God particle?
Oh wait, there isn’t anywhere to sit down in Disneyland unless you’re on a ride or spending money. Now, you may think this sounds like a serious pain in the ass because you’ve got to walk ALL the way over to the ride to get the Fast Pass and then ALL the way back later when you want to ride it – but the real secret is to have someone in your party who is terrified of going on any rides at all. If you are currently inside the ride we ask that you please remain inside your boat at all times as the ride may start up again at any moment.” And then the boat just stopped. I totally would have done it again except it was already 6 PM and I had to get to the Anaheim train station to catch the last train out of the day. They would see my splotchy tan, my rumpled shirt, my matted hair and, most importantly the goofy grin on my face and they would know I had just spent the day with kids in the Happiest Place on Earth and, despite my absolute best efforts to be a total cynical bastard, some of that happiness rubbed off. Just like the Cheesecake Factory can take any exotic dish from around the world and make it taste like a shitty flavorless meal at the Cheesecake Factory, Disney can take any book, place, story or experience crush it down, boil off all the undesirable elements like risk, authenticity and complexity, mix in a princess, throw in some singing animals, reconstitute it back into a vague approximation of its original shape, wrap it in plastic and sell it to the public at an enormous profit. I mean, that’s the best thing about being an uncle – you get all the benefits of having kids in your life with none of the sacrifices. They’d all end up digging corn-cobs out of the trash and taking them back to their bed to gnaw on. Turns out eating popcorn is more fun and interesting than listening to me talk (but you all probably know that already). That way, you can sucker this person into going to pick up the Fast Passes for everybody for the popular rides like Space Mountain while the rest of the party is riding a less popular ride like the Astro-Orbiter. That’s really more of a Euro-Disneyland thing- and hey, Mickey already has tight red jeans! Especially when you’re trapped for an indefinite length of time inside Walt Disney’s psychedelic salute to racial stereotypes that passed itself off for a tribute to diversity back during the time when ignorant, well meaning white people used to make all the decisions for everyone (Small World, BTW is located in Fantasyland, because nothing is more fantastical than a world which is tolerant of ethnic diversity.) And especially when that song just keeps playing over and over and over again – you know the song I’m talking about- the one that was recently voted by The Most Annoying Song of All Time not Performed by Ace of Bass or Chumbawumba. And for one quick second you are relieved because you don’t have to listen to that song any more and then, right away you are more terrified than ever because now you realize that you’re REALLY stuck in that ride for the long haul and the staff have absolutely no idea how long it’s going to take to get you out so they took a tiny bit of mercy upon your condemned soul and turned off the muzak in Purgatory. It was in Tomorrowland that I had my Big Shocking Revelation about Disneyland and learned my Really Important Lesson of the Day. I guess I need to haul my ass down the huge ramp so I can buy a $9 slice of pizza and a $4 bottle of water at Redd Rocket’s Pizza Port (they make rocket fuel from the oil on the pizza) so I can sit my ass down for a minute and catch my breath. And when the boat started to move and we heard that song start to play again – that was the sweetest music I had ever heard. That way we can go in the car pool lane no matter what and I’ll totally be able to ride Splash Mountain again. Now if I could just convince Tim Tebow, Jan Brewer and the New England Patriots to move there we could blow the whole place up like the movie theatre at the end of Gremlins and solve all our problems at once. The person getting the Fast Pass gets to feel like a hero and not a lame-ass for not riding the Astro-Orbiter, and the rest of the group gets to have fun and doesn’t have to schlep to Space Mountain twice.
I mean, sure, some innocent people would be blown up, too – but are Republican voters ever truly innocent?
This is why, if you’re going to Disneyland, the most important supplies you can bring are water, sunscreen and a close friend with vertigo.



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