Lesson #364: How to Amusement Park.

7/20/15.

It’s a verb now.

Four of us woke up at 6:30am to head to Disneyland in Anaheim for the day, and we returned to Burbank at 11:00pm.

Not once throughout the entire day was I bored or sluggish or tired,

because it was absolutely one of the best days of my life.

Here’s what I learned from a wonderful day spent with good ol’ Walt, and a few hilarious people.

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1. Don’t wear your hat on rides because that just makes a lot of sense. AKA on the swing ride, we watched someone’s brand new Disney hat fly off her head and into the body of water below us. AKA it was sad. AKA it’s not worth it. AKA just don’t do it.

2. For the love of God, don’t wear make-up. Sorry, but no one actually gives a shit how you look because everyone there looks like shit by 10am. At some point, you will probably question whether you are a human, or a breathing waterfall. You will sweat in places you didn’t know you could. By 8pm, no one will even be able to see your face because it’s dark. If they can, it will be covered in crusty, half rubbed off make-up. Why look pretty for people (even the hot ones) that you will never see again, when you can rub your eyes and not have to worry about looking like Elle in the break-up scene of Legally Blonde instead? Going all nat-u-ral was the best decision I made since the Egg McMuffin I had for breakfast this morning. So I’m sharing the wealth. You’re welcome.

3. Bring a change of clothes and a plastic bag, always. It doesn’t matter if the forecast says it’s going to be 80 and clear—something disastrous is bound to happen. You’re going to get mustard on your pants. You’re going to sit on chocolate, or chewed gum. Today’s the day a bird is probably going to shit on you. I don’t know. But it never really fails. Even if you’re able to make it through the whole day in one piece, better safe than sorry. Shout out to Ale for teaching us how to pack for a theme park the right way, because of of course it ended up pouring. Speaking of pouring…

4. Dance in the rain. Play in it. Do flips in it. Splash through puddles. Whatever you do, just don’t run under a shelter or into a shop or to your car to head home (especially if you paid a load of money to be there). Take a picture under a lamp post, do a quick set of time steps, make it a musical number, and call it a day. Just kidding. Don’t call it a day. But call it a moment of fun, and keep moving. Don’t let anything rain on your parade—literally.

5. Don’t spend $10 on a poncho that you’ll never use again. Spend it on a shot glass from the Tower of Terror. Because that’s cooler.

6. Be a kid again. Sing in line, dance in the streets, meet the characters, buy a hat (even if it’s $30 dollars), and eat five ice cream cones. When’s the next time you’re going to get to do this again? In your office tomorrow morning? Yep. That’s what I thought.

7. Get there early. Wait in lines. Ride EVERYTHING. It’s what will make your experience, and it’s so worth it. Just do it.

8. Make a game plan before you start your day. Having a game plan made today happen the way it did, which was awesome. We got through everything in the park. A plan makes everything a whole lot easier—and a lot more motivated too. When you go into the day like “I’m down for whatever,” that’s a great attitude to have. You rock. But that also just really means you’re down to do… well… whatever. And when you’re down to do whatever whenever—you begin slipping into a state of laziness. Everything sounds good. And when everything sounds, you don’t care what you do. And when you don’t care what you do, you start not wanting to do anything at all. And when you don’t want to do anything at all—well—you get the picture.

9. But be ready for the game plan to change. It always does.

10. Take your phone off your food tray before you throw it in the trash can. Because I’m dumb.

11. The single rider line saves lives. And time.

12. Post as many pictures as you want because YOU’RE AT DISNEY/INSERT AMUSEMENT PARK NAME HERE. As Ale would say: “I paid 99 dollars for this. I’m going to post as many f*cking pictures in as many places as I want.”

13. Just accept that you will always get more wet on water rides than you thought you would. Let’s face it—you can’t escape the wrath. No matter how many layers you wear (or don’t wear), or how many waterfalls you dodge.

14. Make it work, even if you have to force yourself through it. I wrote this lesson while in line for rides. I knew I would not be able to do it when I got home—so I made myself do it—even though I wanted to do anything and everything but. You have to make it work sometimes; you’ll be grateful you did in the end.

15. Kill them with kindness. But actually. On Friday after my internship, I came across a sign in a stroll through the city. It said Hate never wins. I was completely excited and moved when I saw the powerful message on the fence Mid-Wilshire a few blocks before the LACMA museum, constructed with a variety of random materials. It’s so incredibly true. Today, in the least (or maybe most?) expected place, I was forced to put it to the test. When you are kind to someone despite their rudeness, entitlement, or previous terrible encounters with them—you win. Always. You may mot win the battle of low blows, and you may not out-scream them, but I promise—you win. It’s not that you’re the bigger man. It’s the fact that you have nothing to prove because you are at peace with yourself. Honestly, the person will feel bad about how they were acting regardless, whether they admit it or not. People back down and retreat by nature when they realize they are not getting a rise out of you and when they see that you will not waiver in your kindness. When someone hurts you or attacks you, that’s only a reflection of them. What will your reflection be?

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When we first stepped out of the car and into the parking garage at 9:00am, a guy on the trip named Eric asked me how excited I was on a scale of 1-10.

I told him I was about a solid 6.

Growing up, my family and I did the whole Disney World deal back on the east coast once or twice when we were younger—but apparently five-year-old me hated it. (Was I even real?) My mom tells me that my brothers and I that would always get bored with it quickly. So we became a Universal/Islands of Adventures family.

I don’t know what I did differently this time, but 20-year-old it me loved it.

But now that I think of it—

I know exactly what I did differently.

The moral of this story is,

what kind of story do you want to tell?

When you look back on moments twenty years from now, what do you want to say you did?

I wanted to be able to say I danced in the rain. I wanted to be able to say I rode all of the rides. I wanted to be able to say I had ice-cream while in my Minnie Mouse hat, and that I finally rode the Tower of Terror, and that I took a picture with Buzz Lightyear, and that I saw the fountain light show at the end of the night.

Ugh, Walt would be so proud.

People tend to roll their eyes at the idea of doing things “just to say you did them.” But I personally believe that if the decision isn’t dangerous, harmful, or against your values—

do it.

Isn’t that the whole point of creating a story?

You’re the creator of this story. You’re the author, the artist, the orchestrator, and the leader.

You get the final say.

So what will your story be?

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Day 364.

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