I had a great weekend. For one thing, Pam got married. Beautiful wedding. And the next day, I got to go to Disneyland. I have an annual passport, so I go whenever I can. I love Disneyland for many reasons, not the least of which is the people-watching. I was strolling up Main Street, looking at everyone, checking out all the lines, and it occurred to me: going to Disneyland is a lot like planning a wedding.
Stay with me for a minute.
For starters, unlike me, it’s not something that you do all the time – it’s a special event, an entirely different world, and unfamiliar territory. And it’s going to take a while to plan. Picking a weekend when everyone is available, Figuring out how much it’s going to cost – admission ($100 per person), transportation (who’s driving? And parking is $15 per car), eating when you get there (starting at $30 per person), favors and decorations (mickey ears and a t-shirt will run you another $40).
Disneyland is not cheap, plus there are complications everywhere once you get into the park. What to do first? What if your first vendor ride choice is unavailable when you get there? I hit the Star Tours line, only to find a two and a half hour line. “Come back early tomorrow and grab a fastpass”, a friendly cast member told me. Hmm, not going to be here tomorrow. Let’s try Thunder Mountain instead. Of course, this can get frustrating – you have a limited amount of time until you have to go home, and your options seem to be dwindling. You’ve been there for 3 hours and you haven’t been on anything yet! Be patient – You will finally get on a ride. It might take a while, but it’s going to happen.
I always say that Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth…but you can bring a designated pocket of unhappiness with you. The person that complains about everythin: They’re too hot, they’re too cold, they don’t like standing in line for so long. They don’t like your plan, “why are we going to It’s a Small World, this is stupid, I want to go on Pirates of the Caribbean instead. $5 for a corn dog? Why are you paying $5 for a corn dog?” Does this sound familiar? At some point, you know that small child (or your inner child) you’re carrying is going to emotionally implode. Do what I’ve seen countless parents do and be kind, firm in your stance and keep moving.
It’s a lot of pressure. You’re paying a lot of money to be there. It’s the Happiest Place on Earth, you should be having a fantastic time, right? So, why is this so hard? Well, weddings and Disneyland are also lot like life. Anything that’s worth it takes work, and sometimes that sucks. But perspective is a big part of the game. At the end of the aisle, and the end of the maze-like line to the spinning tea cups, is a fantastic time with the people you love. I never remember the lines, I only remember laughing hysterically with everyone over the dumbest stuff in the world. I remember my friend’s 4 year old nephew shrieking with happiness when he saw Mickey Mouse. And another friend who spent all day getting into the background of other people’s pictures, especially if I was the one that volunteered to take them. Happy Hour at the Grand Californian Hotel. And just having a great time. Recognize when you’re having a great time along the way, okay? This, too, will happen.
And, yes, you can get alcohol at Disneyland. The drinks are pretty good, too.
So, what other ways do you think wedding planning is like a trip to Disneyland? What other analogies can you think of? Let me know in the comments below!
See you at the end of the line,