Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Legoland ... and a certified Rant

Whee! Even we non-theme-park-loving folks managed to have a cheery time at Legoland California, which isn't just a wonderland of highly impressive Lego creations (think a re-creation of Washington D.C., including the Obama inauguration on the Capitol steps, completely made of Legoes), but also a place for fun rides for the 2-12 set, places to build and experiment, and even, in Ian's case, the chance to take a free Mindstorms class.

Bathrooms were clean, educational opportunities abounded, restaurants even offered gluten-free options. Oh boy!

Now ... for the RANT. Are you ready????

Let's talk about RULES. Can we all agree that law and order is a good thing? Can we agree that rules, in moderation, are necessary for protecting public peace and safety? Can we agree that, say, a height limit on a ride that would prevent a three year old from riding a high-speed roller coaster, just in case that child's parents are certifiably insane, is a fairly reasonable thing?

OK. So we all understand that I don't advocate anarchy. And I'm not against rules ... well, as a rule. But what I am against is mindless adherence to a policy handed down from above that makes no allowance for good old-fashioned common sense. I'm against the "no exceptions" mindset that implies zero trust in the ability of the guy on the job to make a reasonable decision.

Example #1: Tim takes Ian to the Mindstorms class. We are separated for one hour, and I'm on my own with the girls. We attempt several rides. Two of those rides involve (I find when we finally reach the head of the line) small vehicles that accommodate only two passengers. Both girls meet the height requirement, BUT there is a rule that passengers under 48 inches tall (both my girls) must ride with an older "friend." OK. So. What do I do? Logically, I should be able to ride with Caroline, and let Eliza ride just ahead of us, where I can see her as she putters along a fixed track at 4 mph, encountering ZERO chance of a collision, a derailment, etc. And friends, she is five and a half. She is not about to wiggle out of her seatbelt and start bounding all over the Lego safari.

But can we carry out this beautiful, sensible arrangement? No. She is not allowed to ride by herself. She must wait for us, out of my sight, while I ride with Caroline, and then, I'm supposed to leave my THREE YEAR OLD for five minutes by herself in the "waiting area" at a crowded theme park while I ride with my five year old. Excuse me? Which is the more dangerous option? My proposed arrangement, or the theme park policy? You tell me. Think about it while I go bang my head against the wall a few times. [Note: on that particular ride, I begged another disembarking parent to take the ride again with one of my daughters while the other rode with me. Mom solidarity. Just in case you wondered.]

Example #2: The airport security line. What's with the no-gels-and-liquids hangup? Yeah, I get it, a bomb could be hidden in t here. So, when we take our three children through the line, and our plane is boarding, and my daughter's breakfast is in my purse, and it is a factory-sealed Brown Cow yogurt, that somehow qualifies as a liquid or gel that might be loaded with explosives so that we can blow up an airplane containing those three beautiful children? Uh-huh. Oh, and it's your policy that not only can we not take this yogurt on board, but also we cannot consume the yogurt at security, but must exit the building, shove the yogurt at high speed into one very small mouth, and then return through security, sprinting sweatily in sock feet across the tarmac [small airport] since our wife has taken our shoes on board? Oh. I see. Yes, that makes perfect, perfect sense.

Anyone with me on this? Any other bureaucratic tales of terror out there? All together now ...


Tim said...

Makes me long for France, where everything is negotiable, and even police officers are willing to listen to a good explanation...

Stephanie said...

INCREDIBLY jealous of your trip to Legoland. Jared would l-o-v-e it! That kid has hundreds of dollars worth of Legos in his room (doting grandparents). Wanted to go on our trip to CA a few years ago, but it didn't happen. :(

As a kid I went to the Legoland in Denmark. Very cool.

Eclectic Mama said...

Oh, come on now. You're honestly trying to tell me that there was *only* yogurt in that cup? Airport security is far smarter than that. They had you all figured out.

And everyone knows how safe amusement parks are. FAR safer than a 5yo sitting at least 24 inches away from her mother. I mean, come on!, she could have bolted out of that seatbelt and jumped down onto the tracks faster than you could have detonated that yogurt!

What were you thinking? Obviously the sane thing would have been to leave your 3yo by herself in a crowded waiting room with a bunch of strangers in a state 2000 miles away from home and in the loving care of the 16yo running the ride. Much safer that way.

Bear Creek Mama said...

I'm hoping you got to visit with Jennifer!!! She lives 10 min from Legoland and has a seasonal pass - she and her kids have spent many fun hours there....though her head has beat against many a wall as well :_)