Register Friday | April 19 | 2019

Defunct Pixie Dust

Disneyland for Adults

Gone is the age when I could do Disneyland fuelled by sugar and a sense of wonder alone. But my Prince Charming wanted to go there for his thirtieth birthday, and I figured that at "The Happiest Place On Earth," I would certainly find a bar. I had, in fact, envisioned a bar-hopper's paradise-patrons stumbling from one theme area to another, sipping fanciful cocktails in ostentatious lounges: inventive martinis in a bubble dome in Tomorrowland; piña coladas and mai tais in a tiki-torchlit dive in Adventureland; Green Fairies in a dark nook in Sleeping Beauty's Castle. The potential for whimsical mixology in a place like Disneyland boggles the mind-besides, how else is one to endure the swirls of pixie dust and the smiles of fuzzy mechanical creatures?


Cuisine: Down-home Louisiana cookin'
Price: $12.99 for Monte Cristo Sandwich
Drinks: Sigh ...

Cuisine: Liquid
Price: $2.49 for kiddie punch

Cuisine: Snacks
Price: $2.50 a dill pickle

CATAL (lunch menu)
Cuisine: Mediterranean/American
Price: $25 per person
Drinks: Wine, starting at $6.50 a glass

Cuisine: Blessed booze/American
Drinks: $8 to $12 for cocktails

Cuisine: Italian
Price: $25 per person
Drinks: wine by the glass $7-9

Veronica's Verdict: The day the magic died.


After five minutes, the magic in the air was making us cough. We were desperate for shade and libations as we stonily emerged from the "Pirates of Caribbean," no longer the thrill ride I thought it to be in my youth. To recuperate, I wanted to go to the Blue Bayou restaurant in New Orleans Square which serves a legendary Monte Cristo sandwich with redcurrant jam, and afterwards, being a woman of simple pleasures, I wanted to sit in a dark corner of the Mint Julep Bar and glare at children.

The Blue Bayou was only accepting tables for the next day, and the Mint Julep Bar, I was shocked to learn, only serves non-alcoholic versions of the drink. Alcohol isn't available in any public area of the park, or so the frightened Mouseketeer behind the counter informed me after I twitchingly asked him where I could buy bourbon. In fact, the highly exclusive Club 33, located on the second floor of New Orleans Square, is the only place in Disneyland where booze is served. Membership is not open to the public, and even if it were, there is a rumoured four-year waiting list. I wasn't willing to wait.

Only in Downtown Disney, an outdoor mall area between theme parks, can you drink and smoke without breaking Bambi's heart. We sought temporary refuge at Catal, an art deco restaurant in the heart of "downtown," where we trusted the artful Mediterranean décor to keep the children away. There, along with other sunburned adults, we somberly chewed our kiddie meals: a surprisingly adequate club sandwich for myself and a good cheeseburger for the birthday boy.

We chased our grease with painfully conventional tipple at the nearby Uva Bar, a circular outdoor lounge whose design is supposedly "a nod to Paris metro-station architecture and the streamlined aesthetics of the nineteen-twenties Jazz Age." There, among the Hawaiian-shirted in the ninth ring of mall hell, we scanned the cocktail menu. There were no prices on it-you need to be drunk to pay them. While they didn't have anything as adorably ludicrous as a Tinker Bell Twist, there were some fun blended gimlets. I sampled their Pink Cadillac, a margarita with Chambord. Though astronomically priced, it was icy and pink and it did the trick. The prince drank premium Long Islands, mourning his lost youth beneath the weak and shifting shade. After several drinks, we stumbled back into the park, now able to suspend our disbelief and cynicism long enough to ride the teacups.

I felt not unlike these morons as we sat on the terrace and watched the fireworks with the other slack-jawed tourists. Far too red, white and blue for my taste, the rockets shot from Sleeping Beauty's Castle like never-ending flatulence for the duration of our horrible and expensive meal.
Later, having grown severely dehydrated watching mechanical birds with bad Spanish accents sing to us in the Enchanted Tiki Room, I raped the nearby Indy Fruit Cart. Located in Adventureland, this is one of the only places in the park that offers healthy snacks: watermelon wedges, pineapple spears, whole fruits and, oddly, dill pickles. We bought everything-my body is my temple, after all. Thus rejuvenated, we drunkenly threw ourselves back into Fantasyland.

It was the beginning of the end when I realized that Snow White's Scary Adventures simply aren't scary anymore and, as we stood amid the braying children, impatiently waiting to climb the Chip 'n Dale Treehouse, we grew world-weary and morose. Back in Downtown Disney, the Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria looked a bleak prospect, but men in white hats were twirling pizza dough behind the counter-and I espied a full bar out of the corner of my eye.

Disneyland's brochure photos of adults "having fun" propose images of conga lines and couples in Bermuda shorts and Mickey Mouse ears clinking wine glasses beneath the moon. I felt not unlike these morons as we sat on the terrace and watched the fireworks with the other slack-jawed tourists. Far too red, white and blue for my taste, the rockets shot from Sleeping Beauty's Castle like never-ending flatulence for the duration of our horrible and expensive meal. The bread was stale, the thin-crust pizza oscillated between too bland and too salty, the Caesar salad was tired. I had to beg for lemons. But we drank enough bad house wine to eat without complaining and afterwards, feeling too existential to brave the long line at Häagen-Dazs, we finally left Disneyland. We rode along the dark palm-tree-flanked highway in silence, still covered in the glitter we had let a Mouseketeers sprinkle on us earlier that afternoon, when we had been drunk and heat-stroked enough to have let ourselves believe it to be fairy dust.

Veronica Tartley (Mona Awad) has eaten, shamelessly or barely at all, in nearly every city in the world. She enjoys rain, hurling things against walls and walks on the beach. She lives beautifully in an undisclosed location at the edge of the known universe. There, she weeps her mascara tears, churns butter in the old style and listens to French accordion music.