“Sir, the restaurant is on fire!”

I could not be bothered to wake up for breakfast. It was way more important to get my sleep, as you well know. So, I stayed in bed for an extra half hour and called down to make an appointment for the shuttle. They made a big grump about me wanting it at 10:30 and scheduled me for an 11:00 trip. I consented and then they called back saying they could fit me in at 10:00. I agreed and then realized I had ten minutes to get ready. This has happened before. When I work, I oftentimes find myself with very little time to ready myself for the day. Thankfully I’ve got a great eye for clothes. I’m not going to bother being humble right now, but I’m constantly thinking of the different items in my closet and drawers and mentally putting them together. I don’t have a great amount of clothes, but I very rarely repeat an ensemble. So, what am I talking about…? Oh, yes, it didn’t take me long to get ready. The only bad part was the hair — I can’t deal with those shitty little blowdryers that hang on the wall. The Chateau had two of various makes. Eleganza.

I got myself on the shuttle and was in the presence of the vilest man I’ve met in a while. He was racist and misogynistic and homophobic and I bet he’d hate himself if he saw himself walking down the street. He was going on about how fat people should kill themselves (I’ve never gone quite that far for a laugh!), how bad drivers were from foreign countries, how priests are all pedophiles, and it went on and on and I just stopped responding and I think before long he realized he’d been a total asshole since he started being really nice. I’m sending the letter a hotel later complimenting them on their great shuttle driver at eventide (good word, that, eventide. Let’s say it together, shall we? One…two…three…EVENTIDE! AH! What fun we have, you and I!) and telling them what a despicable excuse for a human being their morning driver was. It’s not that I want him to get fired…it’s that I want him to be fired and then go so broke that he has to become a hobo and die in a gutter. Rotten, and he thought he was so great. Maybe he was just having a bad day, but customers should not be subjected to awful people.

I happily escaped the vehicle and headed towards the gate where the mouse swiped ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SEVEN DOLLARS from me! $137.00, reader! I was aghast and I’ll happily pay that for lunch! I have paid that for lunch! But it seemed maddeningly overpriced. I later thought about it, and if you consider that you’re renting the park for ten or twelve hours, it works out to about $13 or $14 per hour, which isn’t really that awful. I wish they would sell tickets by the hour! You buy one and are charged full price when you walk in, but maybe you get it scanned on the way out and only pay for five hour’s worth. This will never happen, of course. Forget about it.

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I enjoyed walking about California Adventure for some time. I like going out by myself and seeing the world solo, but amusement parks are rather depressing places to go all by yourself. You feel like a fool in line, hoping somebody will text you. The people around you always ask, “Are you holding this spot for somebody?” Asking for a table for one often raises looks of consternation from the hosts and hostesses. Whatever, though, I’m over it.

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I loved the Tower of Terror even though it was no different from the ride in Florida, though it seemed a bit shorter and you don’t go through that whole Twilight Zone bit once you’re in the elevator. You see the lovely ghosts and hear the creepy voice and drop. The drop was so short that I assumed we were just changing levels. It wasn’t awful. I used to be madly in love with Tower of Terror back when they still had programmed drops. I don’t care for this random nonsense where you go up and down a few feet, I want to PLUMMET TOWARDS EARTH AT A RECKLESS, BREAKNECK PACE! That’s just me.

Off the tower, I luxuriated for a time in the Art Deco environs and then headed through the horrible Bug World. Why can’t Disney just let that one go? Nobody likes A Bug’s Life. I’m so blessed and thankful that we haven’t watched it at work with the children, yet. There is this new stupid copyright policy where you have to have some kind of curricular tie-in to the film. So, I’m hoping we don’t decide to study bugs. Shit…we do study bugs in seventh grade. PLEASE DON’T SHOW THIS FILM! It’s dreadful. It drains me. (I don’t think I’ve actually seen it.) Anyway, I hate that area. To compound my misery, the next area was all about cars. NOOOOOOO!!!!

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I hurried out of this horrid zone and found myself in a new region called Pacific Wharf. I loved it. There weren’t rides, but there was a bakery and a Ghirardelli shop and Mexican food and Chinese food and margaritas. Why would you ever want to go anyplace else? I didn’t. I wanted to sit there all day. I loved going to the bakery and going on the bakery tour. I’ve never baked with sourdough, but I’m curious about doing so. Maybe I’ll get some starter when I go to San Francisco, the home of the modern bread renaissance. (Isn’t it wonderful that you can get almost good (but not really) baguettes at the local grocery store?) Sounds like the thing to do. How would I keep it alive, though? I have coffee and an espresso machine and three demitasse cups in my backpack…no room for flour! Maybe they can ship it on dry ice and then it reconstitutes itself when it warms back up? I’ll have to research this.

I loved the bakery tour and was fascinated with the way the entire process is mechanized. There are only two or three points where the bread needs any kind of human interaction. The ingredients are loaded into a giant mixer that cuts the bread into even pieces that are then put into this basket machine that tosses the bread from basket to basket (I never could understand the point of this) and then the dough falls into a rounder machine that makes them into perfect balls. I was obsessed with that thing.

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The balls are put on baking screens by a person and then chilled and then raised and then baked in a very steamy oven.

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Finally, they’re put in the shop, have the innards scooped out, and filled up with delicious tomato bisque. I LOVED IT! I ate all of it. I ate the entire boule and all the soup and all my lemonade and my chips. I’m so close to morbid obesity.

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Before leaving on this trip, I wasn’t offended by my midsection, it looked almost muscular, in fact. NO MORE! I’m looking forward to something of a detox when I get back.

After this I had to have one of those ice cream bars in the shape of Mickey. It was good and it was the first one that I’ve ever consumed each bit of without having half the chocolate fall to the ground in the most misery inducing moment of your life. I felt incredibly accomplished.

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I rode a ferris wheel with a French family, so we talked for a while as the wife (or mistress — they were French, you never can tell) shrieked in alarm. It was a rather daring ferris wheel. Each car is on a loop, so when the wheel rises up, the car slides on the wheel and you go swinging. Good fun. Then I rode the roller coaster and discovered the single rider line and am absolutely in love with. YOU WALK ON TO RIDES. Maybe going to a theme park alone isn’t so miserable?

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Then I went onto Soarin’ and they basically escorted me past the peasantry, who threw me serious shade:

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And I was all:

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Then they were all:

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Then I was all:

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Then I was on the ride next to a very chatty teenager. They’re so exhausting. Good conversationalist, though. I was worried that I was about to be adopted by their family when they heard I was traveling alone. They were sweet, but I’m not sure I ever would have escaped from them. Soarin’ was the same as always: A WONDROUS DELIGHT! I want to go paragliding! Gosh, it looks like such fun!

And then I was done with the California Adventure. It hadn’t been too busy and was an interesting enough way to pass a few hours. Time to head over to Disneyland proper. You have to get your hand stamped even if you have a Park Hopper ticket. I found this odd. I don’t like those invisible hand stamps. I’m always petrified that I’m going to wash it off or rub it off or I’ll sweat or…there are other scenarios I was going to introduce, but I’ll just leave them to your imaginations. SICKIES! I really don’t know where I was going here. Back to Disneyland.

I was impressed when I first went into Disneyland as it felt very rich and well-developed and historic — and it is.

The first thing I did was a show about their animatronic Lincoln, who is still very impressive. I always wonder why everybody is so crazy about Lincoln. He was an amazing leader and a great politician, but you all know he dabbled in Spiritualism, made psychic predictions, attended seances, was a religious skeptic, and wrote poems about gay weddings, right? Should any modern politician do any one of these things let alone the entire fabulous list here, they would be burned at the stake by angry members of the Tea Party! I think it’s fascinating what people don’t know about what they think they know. It was an interesting attraction and it was good to get out of the heat for a spell. I sometimes, and quite surprisingly, become overheated and that place was like the Arctic.

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I twerked with Miley for a spell.

After this, I headed over to the New Orleans area, which was something I’ve long looked forward to. I’ve mentioned it a few times, but when I was much younger, probably in my early teens, right around when I actually have memories (remember how I forgot my childhood?) we went to Disney World and that was the first time I really appreciated the Haunted Mansion. So, since I enjoyed it so much, I purchased a book all about the history and whatnot about the ride and I found it absolutely fascinating. It told all about how the illusions work and about the varied versions throughout Disney parks. That was when I became obsessed with going to Disneyland in Paris. I later did, so many times that I can’t recall how many! I think I’ve been to that Disneyland more than Disney World! Anyway, I looked forward to seeing it all.

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I about freaked out when I walked past Club 33. Nobody was paying it any mind, but I did, of course, since I’ve long dreamed of going in. Somehow, my driver has been up there before. How can a lowly driver get in? I was confused by this. One of the people he drives must have put him on the list. I wish I had somebody to put me on the list. I’m going to send in an application request, just to get the details. When I’m rich, I’d like to belong there. It’s the only place in the park where you can obtain alcohol even though their liquor license extends for the entire park. I suppose that’s supposed to be a perk. I waited for a while there hoping the door would open or somebody would come talk into the disguised intercom. Nobody ever did. I had better luck later, but you’d never guess how. We’ll get into that later.

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The Haunted Mansion was fun, but it was basically the same as the one in Disney World. There’s just nothing like the Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris. It has a Western theme and there is a fascinating storyline about a jilted lover. The rides here are seemingly beginning to incorporate a similar theme, but with an ax-wielding bride that has not yet been explained. I can only assume this has something to do with the next version of the Haunted Mansion movie that I keep hearing rumors about and has been confirmed to be in development. The one with Eddie Murphy was rather awful.

After I got off, I decided to head over to a little place that looked a bit like the Café du Monde and ordered beignets. I love those things! They also had mint juleps, which confused me, so I ordered one. No alcohol and it was basically Sprite with a few muddled mint leaves. Rather refreshing. I’d recommend it as a kiddy cocktail for those elegant dinner parties you don’t have. I had a lovely time and thought about New Orleans. Maybe that’s what I will do for Christmas? After the high costs of this vacation and the political unrest in Egypt, I’ve put that trip on hold. I could catch the train down South and spend a bit of time in the warmth. I think that sounds marvelous! Then Jessica wants to go back to Paris early next summer, so I should save as much as I can for that. I love my Paris.

I think they should have places to take naps in theme parks. I could have used a quick one. I bet they do in Japan. You know that in Japan it’s honorable to fall at sleep at work? It shows that you’ve exhausted yourself by putting so much effort into your job. Why don’t we do that here? I’d regularly collapse!

I’m not a big fan of Pirates of the Caribbean, but I got in line and waited for about a half hour before we were told to get out of line — it shut down. Sad. But, it gave me an opportunity to see everybody in these sunglasses I’ve grown obsessed with. It took me ages of googling, but they’re called CLUBMASTERS. I am passionately in love with how they look and must have a pair all my own.

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I walked through Fantasyland. I hate Fantasyland. I loathe it with a passion. I don’t think children should be allowed into theme parks until they’re at least eight or nine. Any younger and they’re whiny brats who won’t remember the trip anyway. Same with people in wheelchairs. There’s just no place for them there. #sorryboutit If you can’t walk, GET OUT! Vote for me for governor!

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I went on some horrible little ride called the Matterhorn which was jerky and rough and painful and rundown and I hated it. The whole thing was like an off-brand Expedition Everest.

Innovations was there, so, I went in and wanted to walk right back out. But, I decided to wander through every exhibit. I never have gone to Innovations before. For a good reason, I now believe. Lots of outdated and ridiculous technologies that were supposed to be the future. Windows put this “dream house” together and it was absolutely dreadful. Mainly a twenty minute lecture on why you should get one of those awful Windows Phones that nobody wants. The only good thing in the place was that every single frame was digital. I like the idea of that. I may have to work on doing that, but then I thought…how hard is it really to print a picture? The so-called “Dream Kitchen” was more of a nightmare, I thought. You could control it by voice, but this was supremely inefficient. I hurried out of there.

I was in the mood for a break and a bite to eat, so I left to go to Downtown Disney for a spell. I had an appetizer and some lemonade concoction at some overpriced place. Awfully mediocre. I saw a Rayban store, so I wandered in there and found a pair of those sunglasses for $114. I decided against it. I saw a Sephora, so I wandered in there looking for some kind of makeup I can put on my eyes so that they look like I’ve actually slept when I get back to work next month. I have horrible bags under them. I didn’t see anything that appealed to me, so I just spritzed myself with some Chanel cologne and headed for the monorail.

I can’t fathom why there is a monorail here at all since the place is really quite small. There were peasants everywhere and the trains were slow and they were very tiny! The ones at Disney World actually seem to serve a purpose. They’re also rather spacious. Not these traps!

I couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to ride anything else and my shuttle was due in a few hours, so I looked up someplace nice to have dinner at. As I said, Ben can’t do fast food. My body will shut down! I went to Blue Bayou, that ride that you always see when you ride the Pirates of the Caribbean and also located right below Club 33. It was as close as I was going to get.

The wait was considerable, but I wanted to go, so I sat around for a while before the charming Miss Day came to take me to my table. I had a rather basic salad to start, which they tried to fancy up by adding raisins and walnuts. I’m really not crazy about sweet things in my salad. I only like sweet when I’m eating a sweet, you know? Caramelized onions are as far as I’ll go with savory sweetness. It wasn’t a bad salad, though, and the walnuts, which I also generally avoid, weren’t dreadful. Not really a fan, but whatevs.

For my main course I had Mushroom Couscous. Again, as I’ve said about Disney dining, it’s generally mediocre. This was a continuation. Not awful, mind you, but just above the standard crap. Needed something more. Plus, big grains of couscous are hard to eat with a fork. It’s just not a well executed dish.

To drink I had another one of those silly mint juleps. Oddly enough, the only place I’ve ever had a real mint julep is at the British Museum. It was good. Not the drink that I dreamed off since childhood — sitting on the front porch of my plantation sipping one as I look over my vast property — but still refreshing.

Dessert was decent. Key lime tart. The crust was a bit soggy and was served for some reason with raspberry coulis and black berries and blueberries. I hate when dishes are garnished with things that have absolutely nothing to do with the contents. Why not a slice of candied lime or a white chocolate curl or something like that? I’ll never understand.

Even though the food wasn’t all that great, I really liked the setting. It reminded me of the pivotal fundraiser scene in my novel, Terrible Miss Margo (hopefully available at all good booksellers soon!), with the plantation house, the gentle music, the twinkling lights. I sighed happily and then was asked to evacuate.

“What?” I exclaimed after swallowing my sip of coffee.

“Sir, the restaurant is on fire!” Miss Day said excitedly and asked me to hurry out. Sadly, I’d already paid for my meal, so I didn’t get it free like some of the other people. I didn’t see any flames. But my mind quickly put a few things together and I hurried to stand next to the entrance of Club 33. They finally evacuated and I saw the entrance lobby. More than most have. I felt accomplished and then attempted to leave the park.

This proved to be impossible! The streets were literally packed with people. Who cares about fireworks anyway? We’ve all seen fireworks. They aren’t that thrilling. Pretty, yes, of course, but worth waiting for? Lord no!

I was absolutely in my element dashing through the shops and over benches and through crowds hurrying and hurrying towards the front.

I made it just in time to catch my shuttle.

Disneyland’s okay, but go with somebody else for sure so that you can make fun of the peasants.

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