Incautious Optimism

Posted by on Jun 16, 2010 | 1 comment

Sometimes I scare myself with my own optimism.  I’m not normally a “glass half empty” kind of gal, nor am I a “half glass full” one, either.  I’m more of a “glass is neither full nor empty – it’s a half a glass” person.  I can see both sides of most arguments, even if I have come down firmly on one.  I like to think I’m a well-informed individual on the issues and things I care about, and that leaving ones’ self willfully ignorant is, well, ignorant.

But on occasion I jump blindly into the abyss. 

An hour ago I had one of my soon-to-be-famous “Ooooooohhhh!!  Let’s do it!!!” moments.  One that will either make family memories to last a lifetime, or be a disaster of epic proportions.  I guess there will be memories either way.

I have mentioned before that we’ve never taken Jack to see a movie in the theatre.  He enjoys movies, but I’ve just never been brave enough to take him to a theatre.  A big part of me thinks he’ll be fine, especially if it’s a film he’s never seen before (lately he’s not into reruns).  Another part of me envisions spending great stretches of time in the lobby with a screaming child or having to drag my other movie-enjoying children home because Jack can’t handle even being in the building anymore.

I still have these worries.  However, an opportunity has presented itself that seems just too wonderful to miss. 

This last weekend we had our last “Sunday Funday” outing with Jack’s ABA Christine.   The same day, at the El Capitan Theatre down the street, was the Toy Story 3 premiere.  Seizing on the opportunity to do something fun for the kids (ok, for me) with an extra set of hands, we decided that standing out in the sun and waiting for a glimpse of Buzz and Woody (and Tim and Tom) was just the adventure we needed.

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We stood outside in the sun for a really long time, almost exhausting the patience of my children.  In Lennon’s case, he was just exhausted.

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Eventually our waiting paid off.

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Most Disney films have their premieres on weekend afternoons so attendees can bring their families.  The afterparties are usually a spectacle, which I had fully expected to see this time as well.  My husband had taken the kids down to see the millions of balloons up and down Hollywood Boulevard for “Up.”  For this film?  Nothing.  Not a toy, nada.  Just characters greeting the stars as they entered the red carpet.

Something smelled fishy in Disney-land.  We decided to investigate.  Again, we were rewarded.  Behind the theatre, on the grounds of Hollywood High School, we discovered this:

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That’s more like it.  Disney set up their own little “Toy Story 3” carnival.  My kids went insane.  They wanted nothing more than to play at the “Toy Story Land carnival” as they called it.  I tried to explain that it’s only for “special” people and we’re not that “special,” but they weren’t having it.  I decided they’re still a bit young for the “inequities of Hollywood” speech, and just told them it was closed.  That they bought.  Of course, they also think the ocean is closed on Mondays, too.  For cleaning or something.

It’s been almost a week since our magical outing, and the boys still haven’t stopped talking about it.  All of a sudden we are all “Toy Story” all the time around here.  Even Jack, who has decided that Buzz Lightyear isn’t quite so scary after all (for now).

Perusing my inbox during a break in the packing today, I came across a helpful email from Disney announcing the “Toy Story 3” opening day on Friday.  For kicks, I pulled up the El Capitan website.  I figured maybe I would take Lennon to the morning showing while Jack was at his last day of school.  Jack wouldn’t like a movie right now anyway, right? 

Of course, that’s not what happened.  If it were, this would be a pretty boring post.  What I discovered on the website is not only is the “Toy Story Fun Zone” open to the public for the entire summer, but every movie ticket includes an hour and a half of  “Toy Story” fun there.  $18 each for the kids and $20 each for the adults got us not only the movie (with all of the old-timey splendor the El Cap has to offer), but a trip to Buzz and Woody land as well.

I didn’t stop to think.  I bought us all tickets.  Ok, I did think a little bit.  I figured we would buy Jack a ticket, but only take him to the Fun Zone and not the movie.  But then the 10am showing sold out, so we had to purchase tickets for the 4pm showing, when Jack would be out of school.  New plan: take all three children to the movie and the Fun Zone. 

This is where my optimism got the best of me.  You see, the movie is in 3D.  My kids have never been to a movie, let alone a 3D offering, which has all the wicked potential of a sensory-overloaded experience. Still, I powered on.

I rationalized that since we were already willing to buy Jack a ticket to a film he wasn’t going to see anyway, we might as well let him decide for himself whether or not he wants to watch it.  If he decides it’s too much, David can take him outside (or to the Disney ice cream and gift shop, conveniently located next to the lobby). 

I told the boys about this plan right after I bought the tickets.  I thought they might be happy or a little excited.  I did not expect the unbridled joy and screeching and leaping in the air.  The constant reminders that “we’re going to the ‘Toy Story’ carnival, Dad!” and “on Friday we’re going to see Buzz and Woody, Mom!”  The utter happiness on the faces of my boys just thinking about what fun they’d be having, spending 3 1/2 hours ensconced in “Toy Story” bliss.

I am charging into the unknown, clinging to my optimism.  I am convinced that even if the movie experience comes to a fiery demise, we will all have fun at the “Toy Story 3 Fun Zone.”  Even if that only means we go in, take some photos and leave. 

My children have the amazing ability to rewrite history, and I’m putting all my faith in that for this adventure.  The last time we went to the beach Lennon fell face first into the surging tide and Jack, against his better judgement, darted into the surf to retrieve some seashells.  There were many tears and chattering teeth, but later, when asked about their favorite parts of the day, they seemed to recall a different experience.  Lennon’s  favorite thing was “swimming in the ocean,” and Jack’s was “picking up shells.”  I nodded and smiled, thinking what a difference a few hours and dry clothes can make.

Maybe everything will be fine in “Toy Story 3” land.  If not, we can always pretend we had an awesome time.  Eventually it’ll be the truth.

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  • Hanna Burnett

    Wendy, can’t wait to hear how that went!!!! Hope your trip is going smoothly too. And btw, you make me laugh! I’ve recommended your blog to two of my friends who have autistic child. I love your perspective on it all!