Phew. After a nice wee day off, it was back into the fray at the crack of dawn (damn these low latitudes) and off to… Disneyland. And about time too, here we are in a part of the world pretty much synonymous with Disneyland (to uneducated hicks like myself) and a while week after arrival, we still haven’t been!
… And technically, we still haven’t, because we went to Disney Animal Kingdom, rather than the ‘proper’ Disney with Mickey Mouse and princess castles and what-have-you. Neither me nor the Bossman felt it was quite our cup of tea, and besides it was pretty much guaranteed to be stowed with the army of pace-stoppers formed by tiny children.
As was the Animal Kingdom one! Lo, we arrived at our trademark ‘gates-open-plus-ten-minutes’ and already the Horde was fearfully large. And more heavily armed (with strollers) than I am used to. We made our way through it as best and fast we could, but the safari queue was already nearly an hour long by the time we joined it, and tempers that weren’t ours were fraying left and right. I have to say that for all that, the queuing system is not bad – it was a big wiggly line in the shade, and you pretty much keep shuffling forward – but we witnessed two major meltdowns by the time we got to the massive safari bus, and probably would have seen wads more if we hadn’t been shunted into the express queue to make up the numbers. (Always travel in pairs!)
And the safari was well better than I could ever have expected – we saw cheetahs and giraffes and lions and elephants and rhinos and all sorts of other stuff right in what looked like their natural environments (although god knows what they made of these trucks shunting round about pretty much nose to tail – or is that what most real safari parks look like, these days?) I have wibbly wobbly photos of practically everything, too!
Including Inappropriate Bat. I don’t think anyone except me noticed Inappropriate Bat – well, except for the Bossman, who was all, That bat just opened its wings, get a picture of it quick!
Turns out, Inappropriate Bat can not only suck his own knob, but wants everyone to know it. He is even pointing at it. In a children’s Disney kingdom as well, for shame.
After being stunned by the way nobody else batted an eyelid (see what I did there! See!), it was our turn to be in the centre of a maelstrom of humanity, so when we emerged, it was into a crowd that made the safari queue look deserted. I took fright and fled to the loos. Granted, it was a weekend and Disney was mobbed, but their loos are the worst of all the parks we’ve been in, and it was not even midday. The floor was flooded, half were filthy, the rest had nae bogroll, and it got no better all park round.
(Also, and this is not a Disney thing but an everywhere-thing, Americans seem to be the friendliest and most gregarious nation on earth; once you’ve holed up in a cubicle in an empty ‘restroom’, out of the scorching heat and Hordes, for five precious minutes of peace, someone else will come in. Which is fair enough. But they will ignore the fifteen empty cubicles around you and park up in the one right next door.)
Anyway, after all that, it turned out Disney disapprove of smokers more than any other theme-park in the state, and to demonstrate this properly, they provide approximately two smokers’ islands per park – one of which is at the end of a fake steam-train ride. When I eventually gasped my way to it, it was surrounded by genuine rednecks having a massive… redneck-in, or whatever it is; having all recognised each other’s vowels (perhaps?), and flocked together like birds of a feather. I should probably clarify that they all seemed perfectly lovely, but I have seldom felt so vastly out of place so suddenly – and when salvation was within reach, too! Also, I had not realised until now that children can bawl in regional accents. The Bossman helpfully pointed out that there are two sorts of smoker, and I am the Other one.
We did see a demonstration of a blind Harris Hawk, who has been in the park for twenty years now, after someone shot her in the face, but then we fled to the sanctuary of the tube water ride. Few people were having a go on this, for some reason, hurrah!
It was fairly mince, however. One big drop, and it was all over.
So we sodded off to Universal Studios instead. Where it was blessedly empty of Hordes and I had another go on the Transformers ride. Piece of piss, eh, now I know what to expect and everything!
…was it hell. I guess I was too confused to be properly terrified the first time around.
Anyway, tonight was the night we had booked to go on the Halloween experience hingmie. It was our first proper night ‘out’ in Florida – and also the one night it absolutely bucketed with rain, so I was glad I’d worn the peacock dress with the unfortunately placed eye decoration (one over each nipple; and no I did not notice that in the shop, I noticed that it was bright and floaty and made of fast-drying material and damn cheap). Seriously, the rain came on so hard and fast that we were soaked through in the fifty-metre dash for shelter, and the Bossman’s ticket dissolved in his hand.
However, we had some good fortune – it only rained for the hour between the park throwing everyone out and opening again in the evening, or it would have been well rubbish. As it was, I was merely frozen to an icicle.
(She says, being exactly in the middle of the Holiday of a Lifetime. And damn has it spoiled me, now every little thing that is even slightly annoying is An Outrage Not to Be Borne! Which is apparently a feature, not a bug, of the human brain; your base level of happiness gets recalibrated very easily, so after a month in the gardens of paradise you are presumably prone to foaming at the mouth if your gallon-drum of mojito is a fraction too warm, or too late, and spend all your time vaguely dissatisfied with the way your harem’s noses never look quite right in profile or something. I suppose it’s a good thing for most of us who aren’t in the gardens of paradise, so that you can be somewhat less than unbearably miserable living in a really drafty hut you had to make yourself. But in general, a certain amount of sand is needed to make pearls – or some equally hippy blather.)
When the park opened again, we had to go through this gauntlet of zombies just to get in. Seriously. Well okay, it was just haunted house things – you go in, in the dark, and it is loud and scary and Things (or, people dressed as Things) jump out at you. In the dark. Right in your face. I mean, technically they are not actually supposed to eat you alive, I assume, so what’s the problem, right? Except that the Bossman has to sing a tune when he is walking into the kitchen and I have my back turned, or I shriek the place down.
I thought I did reasonably well, for the first fifty feet or so, until this zombie lassie didn’t just grab at me through the hole in the mesh as she did with the guy before – I was hanging back so she’d have a grab and then I could run past her – but came right into the tunnel and hissed in my face. I couldn’t back up for the people behind me, I couldn’t smack her one, I presumed she wasn’t allowed smack me one either, so we just stared at each other for a long and horribly embarrassing moment until she finally backed up again. Then I got lost, because I have sod-all night vision and this curtain closed behind this guy in a black t-shirt, so I couldn’t see where to go and some security guard became most wroth with me. Having not seen him either, that was the closest I came to screaming the place down all night.
When we finally we stumbled out, and I discovered there was a second one we had to go through to get further into the park. Dear god. At least the second haunted house bit didn’t have zombies, it had these strange women dressed as I-know-not-what, although I think they were also supposed to be dead. So they weren’t quite as scary. In fact the last one had a crocodile-skull for a face, as I realised when she jumped out of a wall at me, howling, and I was all EEEEE-ooh that’s quite cute actually.
That is the most terror I’ve had to go through for a beer and a fag ever.
Unfortunately, I completely failed to realise the night-time park consists of nothing but haunted houses (and The Mummy rollercoaster, which we agreed we were not going on anyway). I didn’t even twig after the third one, where some serial killer’s nightmares as he was being executed by electric chair were happening (or something; it was all 3D glasses and twirling wierdness and I got lost again and some guy waved a knife at me and I managed not to bite his wrist but I did get lost again.)
While I was bitching about this, the Bossman chose that moment to tell me he had no problems seeing where to go because my dress fluoresces under UV like absolutely anything. There, I have something Inappropriate Bat wishes he could do (if only to draw more attention to himself). He decided to follow it up with the complaint that he wished he had seen the front of my dress rather than the back; which is how I discovered the problematic boob-coverage eyes and the probable reason the dress was so damn cheap.
Let us go on something that is not a haunted house! I said in response.
Which is how I discovered that there weren’t any things that were not haunted houses. Except Bill and Ted’s Haunted Something-or-other, which was some sort of film, hurrah!
However, on the way to Bill and Ted’s Haunted Something-or-other, we were ambushed by a gang of zombies wielding chainsaws. I had a bit of a Hudson-fae-Aliens moment, but quickly realised that of course they weren’t real chainsaws, even if it was dark and we were on a narrow boardwalk with no escape-room and they did sound terribly loud. Presumably, these guys were festooned with speakers.
Oh no, those are real two-stroke engines, said the Bossman.
Ah right. And… they are disconnected from the chainsaws, right?
Oh no, said the Bossman, sounding quite shocked. No, it is all real.
While I was in mid-gawp at this irresponsible lunacy, some blood-soaked guy armed with a chainsaw loomed out of the darkness with it raised high above his head, brought it sweeping down at my head and froze in position, presumably posing as a ‘zombie played by an actor’ as opposed to a genuine homicidal idiot. Before I even knew what I was doing, I had dived to the side – then I realised I could nip around behind him and punch him in the back of the neck, his body thus protecting me from the chainsaw before – somehow – sweeping him over the fence and into the water, or something, anything, before someone actually died.*
This was stymied by the Bossman grabbing my arm in a mitt of steel and being all, Whoa how jumpy are you, jeebus, that was four feet you moved and I never even saw you!
I was then dragged away, leaving the lunatic to recklessly endanger everyone within ten feet of him for the rest of the evening.
Two hours later, when I had recovered enough to complain about the irresponsible lunacy, the Bossman was all, But they don’t have blades on! and acted like I was being the irresponsible lunatic.
Oh right, of course, everyone knew that, except if they Can’t. See. In. The. Dark.
On plus side, did not actually shout, Die you feckless murderer, die! or something equally (it turns out) asinine.
*(Well okay, at this point I was fairly laissez faire about the irresponsible lunatic himself getting hurt).
And thus it continued for the rest of the night. There were (mercifully non-be-chainsawed) zombies prowling the streets in waves – I was okay when I saw them coming, although the Bossman was amused at the way I danced away like a scalded cat, but one came and hissed in my ear and I had my fist up before I remembered that this isn’t real dammit woman. So there followed hours and hours of, Do not punch the park attendants they are here to help you have a good time OHMYGODTHERE IS ONE ATTACKING ME DIE SCUM DIE er, what fist, this fist? No I was about to just scratch my head, honest. Despite my best intentions, I ended up slinking through every haunted house in the manner of Rolf Harris’s wobble board (sideways on, weaving left and right and going eeha-hooha-eeha-hooha under my breath the entire way) while the Bossman stomped along serenely in my wake.
You can’t take me anywhere (scary).
Rather embarrassingly, it turns out the way to defeat the urge to defend myself was to have my camera clamped in my clammy mitt, since I will apparently think twice before smacking someone in the face with a piece of kit I can’t afford to replace. So I suck in just about every way possible.
During all this, there were copious beer-stands, which I visited frequently in the hope that it would a) stop me dying of fright and b) reduce my already-appalling response time.
There was also a lot of standing in queues for the haunted houses, during which, no zombies! Yay! And I only nearly punched one more guy, but in my defence we had just left the Havoc zone (no cameras allowed in the haunted houses, so hands free) and he came loping at us over the low rope fences and straight at me. All the other ones I either glared at or hissed at – couldn’t help myself – and they gave me the most almighty strange looks in return; probably thinking, The hell, bitch? We’re here to scare you, why so offended?
And of course, there was also Bill and Ted’s Haunted Something-or-other. Which turned out to be a musical medley. I would almost have preferred more haunted houses.
Anyway, I survived the Hordes with my clothes and camera intact, if not my dignity, and was in bed for just after midnight, making that the longest I have stayed up since we arrived.
Tomorrow: killer whales.