A friend and I decided to grab lunch at Disneyland, one of the many benefits of living so close to the park and having an annual pass. Being able to hop on a ride before or after lunch is preferred but when people conditions were as thick as they were today, then just having lunch will do.
There are many ways into Disneyland. You can walk in from the road, take a tram ride from the largest parking structure in North America, or take the Monorail from Downtown Disney directly into Tomorrowland. The later method is always preferred but does take some effort to prepare for because it's meant more for Disneyland Hotel guests than Annual Pass walk-ons.
The Disneyland Monorail is a one of a kind trip above and around the park. From Downtown Disney its about a five minute trip into the middle of Tomorrowland. On the way you weave around a track passing the Matterhorn, Autopia, and what was once 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, while you hear simple facts about the proud history of the unique park transportation.
Like everything else about Disney, the Monorail was built for a large number of people at one time. The cars are designed in 60's spacey, futuristic style and colored according to the Monorails designation: Blue, Orange, or Purple.
One of the unpublished attractions of Disneyland is to ride in the Pilots cabin during the trip in or out of the park. Riding here (vs. the back) is always fun because of the large, sleek, curved window that makes it easy to see everything. The Pilot's cabin is also the only place in the Monorail that has air conditioning, making the trip a cool, pleasant one.
Today as a friend and I gathered in line to board the Monorail I motioned to one of the Cast Members (what Disneyland calls employees) and asked if we could ride "up front -- wink, wink" because I could clearly see that no one was occupying the very special seats.
"No you can't ride up front."
"How come, I don't see anyone in there."
"Because since 9/11 nobody is allowed to ride with the Pilot."
"So nobody can take control of the Monorail."
"Control of the Monorail? Its a monorail, it can't go anywhere!"
Now, like everyone else, my life has been impacted by the attack on the World Trade Center. For instance, flying between cities is no longer any fun at all because of the waiting, waiting, shoe check, and waiting. Going to an Angel's game now takes quiet a bit longer due to the heightened security. But I can, and have, adjusted to those inconveniences. I appreciate that my country, in general, is trying to become a safer place to live.
But today, something was taken away from me. Sure, I'm still alive, have my health, an awesome wife, and 1.5 cats, but today I was told that a small pleasure in life will now have to become a small memory in my life. if you have ever been "up front" then you know what I am talking about.