Thursday, August 25, 2005

Fun, fun, fun

The modern parent's headache – how to combine liberal educational ideals (creativity, adaptability, assertiveness, environmental consciousness … ) with letting their kids a good time? Most things that are fun, are not terribly educational. As a quick flick through any Calvin and Hobbes collection will tell you. Rolling around in mud, pouring bubble bath into the water supply, running around naked pretending you are invisible... Yet this is not to say that things with educational value cannot be fun. It just requires a lot of effort on the part of the adult to make it fun. A task best left for professionals.

Anyhow, fun. A day in Hong Kong Disneyland. My friends all envied me like crazy. They said how lucky I was to get four free tickets to visit on one of the rehearsal days before the big opening. Not only does this mean a saving of a minimum of $1,200 (a nice pair of shoes!), but my friends reminded me that this was going to be a “special” visit, in that we would be visiting it before the masses were allowed in! Boy, it's hard not to feel special when you are one step ahead of the herd.

It was hot, NOT overcast and showery as the Hong Kong Observatory had predicted. There was hardly any shade anywhere, and we had to queue up for an average of 25 minutes for every ride. Which is not unusual, I guess, in all Disney parks. Unlike other well-prepared guests, I did not bring any umbrellas to shade off the sun and so was defenseless when poked left right and centre by theirs. The park was miniscule by international Disneyland standards, and after a short while I began to feel an overwhelming desire to go home. Much as I was desperately hoping for, I did not experience any feelings of wonder and amazement and fantasy and joy, as advertised. I didn't feel ripped off though, since I didn't pay for the tickets. There weren't many smiling faces around – on neither patrons nor staff (or should I say cast members).

The kids of course, said that they loved it. Whether they were just saying that to make me feel better, I will never know.

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