Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

A week in Hollywood (or Anaheim, anyway)

I’m back. The trip was a lot of fun and an interesting change of scenery, but it was also a lot of work. I’m pretty beat from all of the marathon days of walking miles in the heat and standing in lines. On most days, the fun of the attactions made up for all of that, but on the days of flying, there was no fun, and the crying kids, illogical airports and LA freeways took their toll. But overall it was fun.

It would be hard for me to write a detailed list of what I did over the last week, so I’ll summarize. On Tuesday, we flew from Seattle to John Wayne airport in Orange County, got a car, and drove to Anaheim to check in at the hotel. The LA highways massively suck, and it took me 2 hours to make the 40-some mile trip, mostly because I ended up driving in the wrong direction and there was absolutely no way for me to determine this because none of the highways tell you where you are going, they just tell you nice names of dead Spanish people, which might help you if you are writing a term paper on the Mexican revolution or something but doesn’t help at all when you’re trying to figure out where the fuck you are.

On Wednesday, we went to the park from like 9 to 7, and rode every single ride there except for the really dumb kids rides in ToonTown. The Star Tours ride was cute, Space Mountain was sort of a bummer for me, Pirates was great, and we rode Thunder Mountain about 4 or 5 times that day. Thunder Mountain is not an incredible rollercoaster, but it is scary enough to keep infants and screaming kids off of it, and it is unpopular enough that it did not have huge lines like Indiana Jones or Space Mountain. We did ride Indiana Jones, and it was okay, but not worth a 6 hour wait. We also ate in the New Orleans quarter, and it was surprisingly cheap – less than $10 each for lunch. That night, we got in the car and drove south, hoping to find a Boston Market or IHOP or something that was not within walking distance of the park. I found an all-talk radio station and Ricky Rachtman was on with a call-in show. It was surprisingly good, considering the grudge I hold against the guy for his years as the host of Headbangers’ Ball on MTV. We didn’t find anything, and came back to Anaheim and walked to a Denny’s. Once again, prices were low – I got my usual of a grilled cheese and a bowl of soup, and we both ate for like 11 bucks. I wondered if the rumored inflation in California was just a matter of perspective, and things would cost about the same as Seattle. And except for tourist traps, I was mostly correct.

Thursday was early admission day, and we got to the park at like 7:30. We couldn’t get on any good rides like the bobsleds or Thunder Mountain, and everyone was jacking up the lines on the stuff like Space Mountain, so we rode the dumb kiddie rides before the dumb kiddies woke up. I camcordered stuff like the flying Dumbo and the Teacups. We rode a bunch of stuff over again, and checked out smaller stuff like the Disney Gallery, which had some cool models they used to build the park. We left the park to rest a bit and eat some lunch, and went to a McDonald’s which, once again, was only pennies more than the one here in Seattle.

Speaking of lunch, I need to go eat some now. So, more in a bit…

Karena’s staying at my house today while I’m at work – it was nice to come home and eat lunch with her there. But I was in the middle of a story, so I should finish my trip summary here.

Okay, Thursday we stayed until the park closed, and then ate somewhere close to the hotel. I remember we ate at IHOP twice and Denny’s once, but I don’t remember which nights. There was a row of restaurants in Anaheim, and the selection wasn’t too terrible, but the places were packed whenever we got there, which generally made service below par. Both Dennys and IHOP were open late enough so we could get in there when nobody else was around, though, and the servers were pretty nice.

Friday, we decided to change plans a bit and take a day at Six Flags. The drive north through LA was not too bad, and we even got to listen to a bit of Howard Stern on the way up. The park was crowded, but I managed to get to 8 coasters and a sit-down lunch of pizza in 6 hours. We rode on some Colorado water raft ride, and I thought we wouldn’t get too wet – I practically got immersed in the water and my clothes were wet from head to toe for the rest of the day. I almost got in a fight with some people who were cutting in line, which really pissed me off – later I realized it could’ve got me shot, and I calmed down. We left a little early, ate at Wendy’s and headed back. After some rest, we went to Disney and caught the night show. It was interesting – they did a bunch of lights and characters and music and crap, but they also had water projection screens and some explosives, so it wasn’t too bad.

Saturday, we went to Universal, again in LA. We took the tram tour, which showed us old scenery from films like Spartacus, Back to the Future, Three Amigos, Psycho, and a million more. The rides at Universal were for the most part lame and had million mile long lines. But we did go on the special effects tour, and I got to do sound effects for a Harry and the Hendersons clip. We also saw the movie Chasing Amy while we were there. That night, we went back to Disney again to check things out and ride a few rides for the last time.

Sunday was a horrorfest. We couldn’t find where to drop off the rental car at LAX, and then we couldn’t check in our baggage because we were too early. We couldn’t find any lockers, then had to go to another building to eat lunch, while dragging all of our luggage. We finally checked in, and waited another 4 hours for our flight. It was full, and full of screaming babies, so it took forever to load. We got back and I just broke down, from a total lack of sleep, food, patience, and ability to go on. Luckily, I was able to sleep it off, and here I am.

And here I am leaving – it is 5:15 and I am still at work. Maybe I will write more later tonight.