As perfect as we want our travel plans to be, sometimes disappointment is inevitable. In a couple of days D and I are flying to California for a mini vacation at Disneyland. We talked about going there last fall, continuing our annual tradition of doing something “Disney” each year, starting with our honeymoon in France which included a visit to Disneyland Paris and our cruise on the Disney Dream last year. Consequently this past January we booked our plane tickets and made our hotel reservation. A couple of months ago we discovered that Disneyland was building Cars Land, a new themed land at the California Adventure Park that is inspired by the 2006 Disney Pixar film, Cars; we also discovered that the opening date for it is two weeks after we’ll be there. Now I know that some things can’t be helped and that in trying to look on the bright side of things, perhaps crowds will be slightly less if people know an entire new land is being unveiled in just a couple of weeks and would prefer to go when they can visit it. However, as we are not residents of SOCAL and live on the other side of the country, it truly is disappointing that we’re going to be missing out on what looks to be a fantastic attraction by only a matter of weeks. Some of the attractions at Cars Land will be Radiator Springs Racers, which will feature the third-generation Test Track technology, an attraction located at Epcot in Walt Disney World; Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, an attraction in the style of a whip ride which is themed to Mater’s Junkyard and also the fields with baby tractors from the first Cars film; and Luigi’s Flying Tires, a ride similar to an attraction from Disneyland’s early days, Flying Saucers, a ride in which guests rode on personal flying saucers on a cushion of air, similar to both an air hockey game and bumper cars, as guests would ram each other with their saucers. It’s reported that Luigi’s Flying Tires will be an updated and safer version of the original Flying Saucers.
Another slightly more “personal” disappointment was finding out that the Matterhorn, a toboggan style ride modeled after the famous Swiss mountain and one of Disneyland’s oldest attractions, will be closed for refurbishment when we’re there and of course re-opening on June 15. When I visited Disneyland the first time I was too small to go on it; however, I always thought that when I returned, I’d be able to ride. Never did I imagine that the the 53 year old ride would be refurbished in the same time frame when we would be visiting. Perhaps next time…and hopefully not another 22 years.
I’ve been to the wonderful city of London two times and on neither visit did I get to on the London Eye, the city’s famous Ferris wheel on the banks of the Thames River. It was constructed for the last millennium but has since become one of the city’s most popular attractions. Although naysayers would probably say that I haven’t missed much considering all there is to see and do in London-its museums, history, parks, palaces- Ferris wheels have always had a special place in my tourist heart. My very first trip to Europe was on a grand tour and was as horrid an experience as group travel can be. Designated stops at tourist attractions were short and not sweet at all and naturally did not include a ride on the Eye. Two years later when I returned to London for a two week study course, I had ample amounts of free time but the month of January (when I happened to be there) was the time of year the Ferris wheel was being refurbished. London has been around for hundreds of years and as D has never been, I’m sure we’ll visit sometime in the future. However, my only hope is that whenever we go, the London Eye will be in full operation as it is most likely the first stop I would make.
If you’re a museum goer, you know that more often than not, paintings and other works of art are on loan to other museums (how else would a special exhibit be possible?). But it’s the biggest disappointment that when visiting a museum as renowned and impressive as the Art Institute of Chicago, some of its most famous masterpieces were on loan elsewhere. On our first visit to Chicago in the summer of 2008, I had made plans to visit the Art Institute. Since our trip was only two nights, I hadn’t really done any research except on the necessary logistics. We visited over the Fourth of July holiday and a couple of months earlier, 92 works from its Impressionist and Post Impressionist collections were loaned to the Kimbell Art Museum in Dallas, Texas for a special exhibit they were mounting (the pieces were on loan until the following November). During the time that these 92 masterpieces were on loan, the Art Institute initiated renovations in the galleries of those collections. Although a couple of famous masterpieces remained behind, notably Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on the Grande Jatte, others I had always hoped to see were gone-Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris Street; Rainy Day and Vincent Van Gogh’s Bedrooms in Arles.We’ve been back to Chicago two times since our initial visit, however, never to the Art Institute. Instead we’ve always tried to check out new sites.
Nothing is perfect in life, not even the best laid travel plans. In my opinion provided neither illness, natural disaster or other catastrophes occur when traveling, one should never allow a disappointment to completely mar a trip. I’ve long since gotten over the unfortunate timing of the London Eye and the disappointment I felt as a an art lover over missing out on certain paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, and I’m sure I’ll do the same at Disneyland. It’s not always easy to do but as the lyrics from the musical Spamalot go, “always look on the bright side of life,” and one should, even when playing the role of tourist.