My O’Piñon – Mouseketeer memories

Saturday, July 11, 2020: Disney opened two Florida parks with limited capacity and safety protocols in place in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

This news brought back a flood of childhood memories for me.

There are certain things you remember about growing up and for people my age, the big event back in our childhood, during the Chester A. Arthur administration, was the opening of Disneyland.

I’m just kidding about Chester A. Arthur, but I’m not kidding about Disneyland.

The one-of-a-kind amusement park was named after its creator, who some feel is the most successful and visionary entertainment entrepreneur in history.

Disneyland Park is more than just an amusement park: It was an amusement park with enormous waiting lines.

Americans loved Disneyland because it gave them something good, something decent, something that epitomized a quality that vacationing American families value above all else: clean restrooms.

Before Disneyland, Americans were forced to settle for vacation destinations like the great outdoors or little-known historic sites with questionable restroom accommodations or some foreign countries where they have poor restroom facilities which also may contain the occasional foreigner.

But at Disneyland, a family could enjoy a totally hygienic restroom environment, plus they can eat regular, wholesome and safe American food, such as French Fries, Cotton Candy and Snow Cones.

And they could experience the excitement of visiting a simulated African jungle river aboard a simulated boat and take a ride past simulated rocks and simulated wild animals that would suddenly pop up and give the family a nice little simulated scare without eating anybody or pooping or any of the other gross things you’ll find in real nature parks.

And then the family, still chewing their fries, could walk a short distance and learn about simulated historical events by watching a look-a-like Abraham Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address exactly as the real Abraham Lincoln would have delivered it had he been a robot.

When we Boomers weren’t nagging our parents to please, PLEASE take us to Disneyland, we were tuning in to the hot new 1955 kids’ show, The Mickey Mouse Club, which featured a bunch of kids who were just like us, except they had talent.

I was deeply envious of the Mouseketeers, and I would have done anything to be declared an Honorary Mouseketeer. The problem was I didn’t have any talent, unless you count the ability of making farting noises with my armpits, a skill I learned on the wild playground of Asbury Elementary.

So, like most kids, I had to settle for admiring the Mouseketeers from afar, especially Annette.

She stirred vague, unexplained yearnings in many young males during the late 1950s when she came out for the Mouseketeer Roll Call and proudly revealed her name printed across the front of her T-shirt. Some of the letters were considerably closer to the camera than others, if you catch my drift. We definitely scrutinized Annette’s name more carefully than, for example, Cubby’s.

You can’t have a bad time at Disneyland. It’s not allowed. I’m sure today the Disney parks in Florida have hidden surveillance cameras everywhere, and if they catch you as a parent failing to smile with delight, they will strap you inside a costume representing a beloved Disney character – such as Goofy – and make you walk about in the summer heat trying to keep sugar-induced, violently excited children at a socially acceptable distance of six feet until you have learned your lesson.

So in closing, here is a tip to all grandfathers out there waiting with grandchildren in those long lines for the Magic Kingdom: Paint a smile on your mask and just think of the Mickey Mouse Club and Annette. Your untoward and lascivious smile will be hidden from sight.

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