I am a fan of Disneyland. I have also been known to enjoy a cheeseburger from time to time. Those last two sentences are examples of what is known as "understatements." When it was time to plan our honeymoon, my wife's father wanted to send us on a cruise, which I gratefully accepted when we added Disney World as a port of call. One of the proudest moments of my life as a parent was the moment when my son finalized his purchase of a year-round pass to The Happiest Place On Earth. The next little piece of information comes as a notice about irony: I am a fan. This is also an example of understatement, but it should be pointed out that something truly magical happens when I set foot on Disney property: My irony muscle begins to atrophy. I am at once swept up by all the sights and sounds and captivated by the cast members' insistence on bringing me the best and most magical day possible.
Which is why I shudder to think about some ne'er-do-well climbing off their car in Space Mountain while it is in motion. Last week, that's what someone did. Suddenly my mind went back to discussions I have had with friends and family about troublemakers who have escaped their restraints, mostly mild, to go hobnobbing with the animatronics. Stepping out into the world of Caribbean Pirates or a Mansion that is Haunted seems like a really amusing prank, but it means the usually smooth entrance and egress of these rides stops while bad boys and girls are rounded up by the Disney Police and then things can be returned to the hands of the imagineers. To some degree, I think it is odd that I would be one of those grumpy old coots sneering at "those darn kids," but that's where I live.
But Space Mountain? A high-speed turbulent roller coaster type ride in the dark? I have seen pictures of the inner workings of this beast when the lights are on, but only in pictures and on video. You want to jump off in the dark? Bad choice. Of course what this means is that the attraction, a favorite for anyone tall enough to ride, had to be closed for days while security and safety were checked and enhanced. Space Mountain sometimes malfunctions for minutes or hours at a time, usually as a consequence of a passenger who required a "wet cleanup" in their car, but for days? I wasn't even standing in line and I am still offended.
Next time I go, things will be better. And magical once again.