We interrupt this writer’s narrative experience of jury duty to bring you coverage of Overstimfest 2015.

Photo of Mickey and Minnie Mouse riding in a parade float alongside a sign that says, "Disney Parks."

Photo of Mickey and Minnie Mouse riding in a parade float alongside a sign that says, “Disney Parks.”

The Quirky family went to Disneyland the first week of May, 2015 to experience what will forever be known in Quirkylore as Overstimfest 2015. Five days in the happiest place on Earth did not go well for these four crazy travelers.

Monday: The flight and trip to the hotel pretty much wiped the parents out. The kids did not care, so the family went from the hotel to Disneyland to stand in long lines. They did get to go on the jungle cruise ride, which was, admittedly, pretty cool. Then they went back to the hotel for a dip in the pool. Unfortunately, Anaheim had traded weather with Seattle for the week, making the pool water a bit nippy. The family pressed on bravely, but decided not to return to the pool for the remainder of the trip. Ravenous from exertion after the very light lunch where the children opted not to eat anything ordered for them in the Downtown Disney District restaurant that did not have chicken strips on its menu, they went in search of a restaurant acceptable to all parties. The La Brea Bakery was the ultimate destination and their braised spareribs turned out to be the best thing this author had to eat the entire trip.

Tuesday: Disneyland and California Adventure Park alternate opening their doors to resort hotel guests an hour early each morning. Tuesday, May 5th, was Disneyland, so that’s where the family began their day. This author woke up with a sore back and, although she spent the early morning icing it, was in a good deal of pain by the time the family arrived at City Hall in Disneyland. They had foregone City Hall the previous day due to a long line and anxious children, but knew they needed to stop there for disability passes if they had any hope of actually getting on any rides. City Hall wasn’t even open yet, but there was already a line. It was decided that the kids and their father would go find a ride while this author waited in line. And wait she did. The line finally started to move and, just before she got to the front, there was an announcement that people needing birthday buttons should form a line to the right of the original line. As she was not in search of a birthday button, this author stayed where she was.

When the Disney cast member helping the original line was finished with the person in front of this author…you know what? I’m dropping the third person stuff because it’s exhausting. When the lady finished helping the person in front of me, she turned to the line that was waiting for birthday buttons, even though she could see me standing in front of her. Confused (and in pain – did I mention the pain?), I said, “Excuse me?” quite politely, I felt. She turned and asked what I needed.

“I’m autistic, as are both of my sons, and I need to talk to someone about accommodations,” I said.

“Okay, you need to go stand in that line over there.” I followed her point to the line that had formed to the left of the original line.

I looked back at her and said, “You mean that relatively long line that wasn’t there a moment ago?”

“Yes,” she smiled.

“So, I’m at the front of this line, but I have to go stand at the end of that line, which goes up stairs with no ramp, to get disability passes so that you can hand out birthday buttons?” Well, I said most of that, everything but the ramp and birthday button parts.

“Yes,” she smiled again. “They made an announcement. Didn’t you hear it?”

“No, I guess I didn’t.” I gave her my best evil eye. She just smiled. “So, I have to go to the end of that line to get the disability passes.”

“Yes,” she nodded this time for emphasis. “Sorry.”

I bet.

So I went to the back of the other line, trying to light her on fire with my laser eyes, and listened to the people in front of me discussing whether or not it was worth it to do the Fast Pass. When I was finally waved inside, I spread my hands on the counter and, with a shaky voice, said, “I’m autistic and I’m pretty close to having a meltdown.” Then I told him what I’d just experienced.

He said, “Technically, all of the people in the party have to be present to do this,” I held up the four lanyards with our 5-day passes in them. And shook them. A little. He began to talk faster, “but, since it would take a while for your family to get back and then you’d all have to stand in line, I’ll make an exception for you. Because this is supposed to be a happy thing.” Uh-huh.

I found the boys, but they were half-way through the line for a ride, so we stayed there. For what felt like hours. I discovered that the two things that made my back hurt more were walking long distances and standing in one place. Like you do when you’re waiting in line. Forever. I don’t even remember what the ride was, but it definitely was not worth it.

Then we rode the monorail and probably some other rides that I don’t remember. I was not happy with Disneyland that day.

Photo of Michelle wearing a hat made from balloons of all colors of the rainbow.

Photo of Michelle wearing a hat made from balloons of all colors of the rainbow.

That night, we went to an Italian restaurant in the Downtown Disney District. Once again, there were balloon animals to be had. Zoo Keeper asked for a shark. BamBam asked for a rainbow hat he then refused to wear. Too big to put anywhere on the table and too windy to put on the floor, Sparky and I took turns wearing it.

Reentry into daily life is taking a lot out of me, so I’m going to stop here and leave the rest of the trip for another post.