Saturday, May 23, 2009

Summer Time's A-Comin': 3 Ways to Avoid the Disneyland Rush

You're an Orange County native and you grew up at Disneyland; you remember the Sky Buckets with a fondness and were depressed when they took out the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade. You have an Annual Pass but hardly use it because you don’t like the crowds of tourists or having to wait two hours for the 60-second “Peter Pan” ride. So how do you avoid the typical Disneyland rush? Read below for 3 sure-fire tips on how to avoid those big Disneyland crowds.

(1) Go on a weekday instead of a weekend. You’ll be able to avoid the big tourist rush and the non-deluxe and non-Premium Annual Passholders (who usually only have weekends available to them). The only downside to going on weekdays is that the park usually closes earlier – get an early start to your day!

(2) Visit the Magic Kingdom during typical non-peak times of the year. Disneyland gets especially crowded around special holidays. This is because the park offers special attractions and/or shows during these times and these time periods are generally when everyone has free time to go. September and October are your best bets, as kids are back in school for a while and there are fewer national holidays.

(3) Leave Disneyland during the middle of the day. Most guests will enter the park from 10 to 11am, but lines for attractions and lines for restaurants will be at their peak from around noon until 3pm. Take this time to do some shopping, cross over to California Adventure, or simply leave the park and eat lunch somewhere close by. This way, you won’t have to fight for a lunch table or sacrifice a precious hour-plus waiting for your favorite ride.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Life of Happiness or a Life of Meaning: Pick 1

Toward the end of "Heroes: Season 1," Nathan Petrelli finally meets Mr. Linderman. Linderman is the criminal mastermind behind "The Company" and has a plan to let half of New York blow up as a way to reunite the world in fear and sorrow. Nathan--a New York Junior Senator in a position to become President within a year--is a crucial part of that plan and is experiencing some inner turmoil and doubt. Nathan sees the opportunity in front of him to slip into a position where he can bring about true, global change for the greater good. But he has to knowingly let his only brother explode and take the blame for killing millions of people.

Linderman: You see, I think there comes a time when a man has to ask himself whether he wants a life of happiness or a life of meaning.

Nathan: I'd like to have both.

Linderman: It can't be done. Two very different paths. I mean, to be truly happy a man must live absolutely in the present, and with no thought of what's gone before, and no thought of what lies ahead. But a life of meaning, a man is condemned to wallow in the past, and obsess about the future.

In "Spider-Man 2," Peter Parker is failing miserably at juggling the responsibilities of his superhero identity and his normal social obligations as a student, friend and grandson. During a vision/dream, Peter is visited by the spirit of his Uncle Ben, who gravely reminds Peter that "With great power comes great responsibility." Peter decidely rejects the notion that he has to save people and fight crime simply because he has powers, and (temporarily) gives up being Spider-Man in hopes of returning to a more balanced life where he can be carefree and dependable.

Uncle Ben: Peter, all the times we've talked of honesty, fairness, justice...I counted on you to have the courage to take those dreams out into the world.

Peter: I can't live your dreams anymore. I want a life of my own.

Uncle Ben: You've been given a gift, Peter. With great power, comes great responsibility. [pauses and holds out hand] Take my hand, son.

Peter: [pause] No, Uncle Ben. I'm just Peter Parker.

There are many ways to argue whether someone can have both a meaningful and happy life. But if we take "meaningful" to mean "having a relatively wide sphere of influence in either the business world or society" and "happy" to mean "having a healthy balance between work, play, family and friends with lots of good memories of life experiences"...I would lean towards the opinion that you have to sacrifice one for the other.

When you reach a point where you ask yourself the question "would I rather have a meaningful life or a happy one?", does that mean there is something inherently wrong with your present situation? Or is this a natural question to ask? What if you knew, without a doubt, that your life could be meaningful but that you had to give up a steady life of simpler happiness in order to do so? What would you do?