January 10, 2009

Guys' Night Out

Over the years, "Guys Night Out" has evolved. When I was younger, it involved a Friday night playing basketball with my best friends. When we divided up into teams, we usually discovered that we were pretty evenly matched, since none of us were any good. And sometimes, if we wanted to really live it up, we went out for a coke and a pizza.

My most recent "Guys Night Out" was a little different. It didn't take place on a basketball court or a pizza place, but at one of the wildest, craziest places one could imagine: Toontown. And it wasn't even supposed to be a Guys' Night Out, except that my sisters had invited Ginger to a "Girls' Night Out" at Disneyland, and I graciously offered to drive her there, and our sons graciously offered to come along.

There are two things essential to a Guys (or Girls) Night Out at Disneyland. One, everyone needs to have their own ticket or annual pass. We bought our annual passes last spring, and now it's the only place we go. Our home is only 15 miles from Sleeping Beauty's Castle, and since admission to the happiest place on earth is now paid-for (until May 11), it's our destination of choice. When we think that the kids have been inside too long, watching TV, we head out to Tom Sawyer's Island. When my wife asks if we can go out for dinner, I say: "Sure! Do you want hamburgers in Fantasyland or pizza in Tomorrowland?"

The second thing that's required is a cell phone. Honestly, I don't know how families went to Disneyland before cell phones.

Because we live closest, we arrived at Disneyland before my sisters did. Driving up the ramps of the "parking garage that can be seen from space," my wife began sending Peggy, my youngest sister, text messages, asking when they would be arriving. I know that their plan was to meet up in the evening, watch Fantasmic, and do some other stuff that guys don't know and don't care about. She didn't get a response, so once we were in Disneyland itself, waiting in line for Autopia ("no, really son, you can drive; compared to the Santa Ana Freeway at rush hour, this is nothing"), she sent another text message. As we were riding, my older sister called to say that they had left home and were "on the freeway."

"You're what?" I yelled over the noise. Disneyland is a very noisy place. In fact, it's a rule that your cell phone has to be on vibrate, because you'll never hear it ring. And because it's hard to hear, text messaging is usually the preferred method of communication--except that Lisa's cell phone plan doesn't allow text messaging.





"ANYWAY, PEGGY DOESN'T HAVE HER CELL PHONE, SO DON'T TEXT HER. I'LL CALL YOU WHEN WE GET THERE." "OKAY." I wish she'd get a phone that could text. It would make communication so much easier.

After riding autopia, kid #1 wanted to ride Star Tours, while kid #2 wanted to ride the Astro Orbitor. So, we split up. "Where should we meet?" I asked Ginger.

"I'll text you when we're off the ride," she said. Of course, I thought.

She headed off to Star Tours, which rarely has a line, so I expected her and Ethan to be done first. When Tristan and I were about to board our rockets, I was surprised I hadn't received a text message from her. I sent her a message: "We are about to get on the ride." After flying our rocket in circles up to a dizzying altitude of fifteen feet, we descended, and I sent another text: "We will meet you at Space Mtn." When we arrived at the meeting location, I saw her and Ethan walking up. I said: "I'm surprised, I thought you would be done with your ride first."

"We were. We've been hanging out in the store. Didn't you get my text messages?" Just then I felt the phone in my pocket vibrate. I pulled it out. "Is it Lisa?" Ginger asked.

"No. It's your text messages." See how easy that was?

We went on Space Mountain (we just happened to be there, and just happened to have four "fastpasses" that got us through the line in about five minutes.) Then Lisa called. She and Peggy had arrived at the park, and Ginger went off to meet them.

The boys and I headed to Fantasyland. They wanted to walk through Sleeping Beauty's Castle, so we did, and as we navigated the narrow passageways and stairs, I noticed my cell phone vibrating. It was Lisa. I opened it up. "Hello?" No answer. I hung up and dialed her number. It rang, but she didn't answer. I closed it and put it in my pocket. A minute later, it vibrated again. I opened it up. "Hello?" No answer. "Can you hear me?" Nothing.

I called Ginger on her phone. "Have you found Lisa & Peggy yet?"

"Yes. Lisa says you tried to call her. What did you want?"

"I was trying to find out what she wanted. She called me."

"She was returning your call, because when she answered, she couldn't hear you."


Ginger continued: "Well, I found her, and everything is fine."

"Okay. Have a good evening."

And then, after experiencing the "goat trick" on Big Thunder, the boys made their way to Toontown. We also tried to see Fantasmic, but it was cancelled due to strong winds.

There have been days when I've returned home from Disneyland and noticed that I've sent and received 60 text messages. And one time, I even used text messaging at Disneyland to "help save the muppets and the world." But that's a story for another time.

1 comment:

kathy a. said...

glad you all had a good time!

this is all so funny to me, having grown up in the jurassic age, when we had ABCDE tickets to rides at disneyland, and separated families often ended up in the lost and found [or whatever they called that department]. i don't text, but cell phones have changed everything! and, the disney passes are just amazing, too -- what luck to be nearby and able to use them all the time!