Disneyland and Pacific Ocean Park have something in common. That would be: theme parks.

But on closer investigation, we find they were built and designed by scenic artists and built by studio craftsmen. They are like backlots with rides.

P.O.P is a classic and unique park built over the Pacific Ocean. Many of the same artist and engineers worked on both parks, along with their movie studio jobs. P.O.P, sadly became derelict, and worse, a home for derelicts, only to burn down to the ocean’s  edge. It can still be enjoyed in the Twilight Zone episode…Praise for PIP, starring Jack Klugman.

Get Smart, starring Don Adams, also filmed at this amusement park…As did Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward.

Disneyland, with it’s huge lake, large paddlewheel boat, canoes, a large New Orleans street, trains, rockets, planes, etc…Exactly like MGM Lot 3.. But these theme park backlots allow you the opportunity to (buy) your way inside.

Instead of tanks, weapons, battlefields, and bombed out villages like most movie studios have in their arsenal, a smaller-family friendly place exists.

50 caliber machine guns are replaced my Muskets…actors in costume are replaced by mascots in worse costumes. Barb wire fences are replaced by toll-booths.

All built by the same folk. Since Jimmy can drive now, we head out this morning in his white VW squareback. The Happiest Place on Earth is our destination.

This is the first time either of us do this Kingdom without parents.

Six bucks buys a ticket booklet with passports for twelve rides. Unlike school grades,  A-ticket is the worst letter you can have. Slow and worn out rides surrounded by screaming kids require an A-ticket.

B-ticket…stands for better than A, but not by much. We have two decent options, the motorboat ride and the Casey Jr train ride.

C-ticket… you recieve three… so we strategize a few moments…Autopia, with those cool cars… is a must for beginner drivers like myself. Magic moments with Mr Lincoln is really cool, that robot guy with a hat and beard…For the third, well that will either be Mr. Toad and his wild ride…or the shooting gallery.

D- tickets…we get three, these look just like my report card.

The clock a top the train station stares down as we stare upwards. We position ourselves to run once these metal gates with mouse ears… open.

It’s 8 am, we charge in…like trespassers. Thousands follow quickly. We grab a seat on a train to New Orleans square. Here is where we will use most of these E-tickets.

No other ticket comes close!

All Aboard: is shouted for the last time as our tiny little steam engine begins jugging towards the Bayou, still a ways away. This train cost us a C-ticket…

On the way there we can’t help but wonder what it would be like to sneak around here. I am almost certain they don’t shoot kids here…unlike MGM. Having paid an entrance fee, we could always pretend… we’re just lost. We would have to talk are way out of any problems, since running home would be difficult… We live 40 miles away.

All we would need to do is show that we have a Disneyland passport, say we got lost and rely on are innocent looks. How do you think we got in here…some Hole in the Fence?… kiddingly!

We disembark at the New Orleans depot and run to get in a short line at Pirates of the Carribean.

Without parents is the only way to visit this resort, we quickly agree. “They just slow ya down,” we laugh…”Let’s Celebrate!”



After the coolest water ride ever… we move hurridly to the fastest ride ever.

The Matterhorn…Its majestic peak towers above us but a very long line leads you to the bobsleds…we decide to try later. Instead, we decide to jump on board the Aerial Tramway and it’s private little flying baskets.

Two “D” tickets allow us to come sail away, and we head towards the Matterhorn by way of the sky. Alone with just Jimmy in this flying basket, I light up one of two doobies specially rolled for this afternoon. Not just pinners but much larger… bombers!

Acapulco Gold blows from our mouth as we pass inside and through this iconic mountain.


Bobsleds zip by, as all occupants inside scream for help…. We float by very slowly, silently, and almost effortlessly… above them. A giant wolf growls at us as we approach the entrance at the mountain summit.

As we pass inside the Matterhorn, an abominable snowman with glowing red eyes stares me down…


I stare back with blazing red eyes…smoke bellows from inside our little sky unit… which is being pulled by large steel cables.

Swoosh, more sleds, non-stop…below us. It’s a magic kingdom moment, and it’s more magical stoned. I have never been high around this many people before. It’s groovey!

We come to a soft exit… landing in Tomorrowland. We exit higher than we began this ride, that’s for sure. This is going to be a fun day on this backlot… theme park style.

We still have one more bomber joint on us as our sky ride concludes. We hurry to catch a raft to Tom Sawyers’ island… where I’m sure another adventure awaits us…

Stay tuned for… The Happiest Place On Earth!

Written and lived by Donnie Norden…





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