The flight from Grumpyville to San Diego yesterday was going fine, until the flight attendant brought Craig a little packet of artisanal hypoallergenic goldfish crackers. She complimented him on his hair, and he quickly become even more insufferable about it (hell, I didn't think that was possible).
Today we (and some cousins) went to Lego Land. This will, mercifully, be our last trip there because my kids are getting pretty damn old for it (they insisted on going! Not us!) and our annual passes expire next week. So this gives me a good reason to be done with the place. I have nothing against LL, but it gets old after a while. There's a reason you don't hear Super Bowl winners yell "I'm going to Lego Land!"
I suspect most of their "Master Builders" (that's what they call them, I swear) are working at the new Florida park, as the California one could use some upkeep. One of the big construction dinosaurs ("Lazy Pete") you see near the entrance is pretty well covered with black gunk. You get a frighteningly good look at it on the Coastal Cruise ride.
This a boat ride that takes you around various (fairly impressive) Lego structures of world monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, Taj Mahal, etc. But the ravages of nature affect the Lego models just as much as the real ones, but on a more dramatic scale. Today the Lego man cleaning the windows on the Opera House was partially trapped in a spider web, and there were gigantic (by comparison) pigeons perched on the Eiffel Tower. With, I assume, huge bird droppings threatening to crush cars and pedestrians below.
From a perspective view these would make great horror flicks.
The annoying thing about Coastal Cruise is the guide's patter, which never changes. "Make sure you have your seatbelts on!" (riders look for seatbelts) "Just joking, there aren't any!" or (in a part where a Lego figure looks like he's about to fall on the boat) "Don't worry folks, he's been hanging on there for 14 years, and he hasn't LEGO yet!" They also always add something like "He's made out of 1,324,863 Lego bricks and took 346.57 hours to put together."
This is minor league stuff of course. Let's face it: the ride by which ALL corny boat ride monologues are measured is the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. As far as I can tell (as of my 2008 visit) the patter there hasn't changed since I was kid. I guess this is part of the attraction. ("You're lucky your guide is such a crackpot!"
The cultural impact of the Jungle Cruise (most famous line is about hippos wiggling their ears) is such that it was further immortalized by Weird Al Yankovich in his song "Skipper Dan."
So, I think the bottom line here is that when you're working on the Coastal Cruise, you're in the minor leagues, and hoping to be called up to the majors in Adventureland.
The models also need to be repaired. Take this Lego butterfly that's up on a pole:
It looks good. I mean, pretty impressive when you realize it's all made out of Lego's. But on the next pole over:
The butterfly on the right has lost a chunk of one wing (likely fallen, shattered, and pieces picked up by passing kids as free Legos). The one on the left has lost pretty much everything, and what remains looks like one of Gene Simmons' evil robots from the 1983 movie "Runaway."
Over in Miniland we witnessed a traffic accident:
|I hope all the Lego people are okay, and that the school bus driver has good insurance.|
Frank, for whatever reason, has named his winkie "Bob." As we passed the theater showing "Bob the Builder in 4D" They have an overhead recording that says "Come on in and join us! Because no one can get enough of Bob!" The 5 of us broke into hysterics, leading many to assume we were nuts. Which we probably are.
They've installed a new water ride since we were last here, which was originally used for interrogation at Guantanamo Bay. It's called "Pirate Reef" and consists of a boat-flume type ride, with a single drop. Craig, who LOVES soaker rides, conned me into trying it with him.
It looks deceptively harmless. You figure, "Okay, maybe I'll get a little wet." Sucker.
You first realize something is amiss when they make you put EVERYTHING attached to you into a plastic bin before boarding: watches, glasses, phones, toupees, cameras, jockstraps, facial moles. Then off you go, in a boat that holds maybe 15-20 people. After getting in you realize that the bottom of the boat has 3-5 inches of water in it, and your feet are soaked. This is your first warning.
You chug around the little loop peacefully, then start the slow climb to the top. You are trapped.
And then you have the drop.
As you hit the bottom there's a split second where the water splashes up, you get a little wet, and you think "that's not so bad."
Then you get walloped. Because of the landing basin's design the entire water displacement of the boat and people in it is projected directly UP OVER YOU. So while you're thinking "this isn't so bad" the mass of water is right above your head, and starting to come down.
On impact it takes you completely by surprise. The practical effect is that you're completely underwater for 1-2 seconds, and get SOAKED. There is nowhere to hide. The entire boat gets it equally.
And it isn't over. As you come out of the downpour you go between 2 large Lego pirate ships. With 10 water cannons on each side, shooting down at you. Manned by the last people who went through the ride, and now looking to take it out on the next group of riders. They can also shoot at each other, but prefer to hit you. After you pass this there's a few more H2O sprayers to get through before returning to the dock. Where they cheerfully return your goods to you, as you drip all over.
Of course, you're now soaked, and so decide to stop in the pirate ships yourself to spray the next group of suckers. Craig and I got on different pirate ships, and battled each other.
Then the next boat came down. And in our determination to soak its payload we suddenly realized that the tsunami wave it generates would soak us again, 20 feet up on the pirate ships. DRENCH!
As we walked away from this aquatic conflagration I realized that, in spite of both of us being completely soaked to the skin with our shoes filled with water, Craig's hair was miraculously dry, perfect, and radiant.