Back in my day (as my imaginary monocle rolls its eye at me in mine own reflection), I neglected lectures in my Sports Communication and Culture course for the sake of catching the live feed of the NFL Combine. I skipped ballroom dancing classes that would've made me a slightly better intramural athlete not because I was sick, but because Matt Kalil was selected fourth overall by the Minnesota Vikings in last year's Draft. I passed on many a frozen yogurt run or opportunity to toss a stereotypical frisbee about a status-quo quad, and instead watched a college football match-up in-congruent with the Pac-12 standings, or wrote a sports blog entry that I can only assume was read by millions and millions of people.
No degree of beckoning from my social life could deter me from my Couch-ella on Saturdays and Sundays...
...that is, except for the annual passport depicting a certain undercompensating enchanted castle that would heckle me "for the halibut" from the confines of my wallet.
Rarely, though, did I ever sacrifice a USC game for my biweekly Disney excursions, and the few times when I did, I was fighting on with the patrons of ESPN Zone. Do not ask me which of the two (sports and Disney) I love most, because 1) I will cry and there is NO crying in baseball OR Disneyland, and 2) they are infinitely and imperviously intertwined. That universal spellbound repercussion of togetherness. That nostalgic warmth from last-minute triumph and the leftover kennel corn in your pocket. That advertising campaign where professional players exclaim "I'm going to Disneyland!" that would have saved me time and effort in higitus figitus poetic description had I led with it.
And the food. Hot diggity dog, there is food.
Pop culture is the greatest gift of all in its distraction and the backless bleachers or haunted mansions it gives us to scream in. Over the past half-decade, Trojans have had plenty reason to yell so loud that they lose their voice during "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!" and at seven-years-old are that much more miserable on "it's a small world". Disneyland was always there for me, which had me pondering whether or not it can officially be regarded as "USC's theme park".
Zipcar is worth the forty-minute drive into Anaheim. No. 7 jerseys appear to outnumber the Oregons, Washingtons, Arizonas, and Urs[ucla]s of the park. Cast members ignore the ride they're operating or the other table they're serving just to talk to us, or such was at least the shared experience for my fellow alums. Is it our biased and arrogantly non-peripheral perception of the world, or is there some objective validity to that?
Before you answer, listen to the background music in this clip from Robin Hood:
Fight on and seize the fat one!
Next time, rather than wrapping Tommy Trojan and shoving him in the fridge until the coast is clear, let's just bruin our rival's appetites with some turkey legs.
Nevertheless, I never felt the peer pressure to choose between gameday and having a magical day. Henceforth, whether you're riding Space Mountain or spacing out on what you believe to be a mountain thanks to the medicinal fumes enveloping your apartment building, adhere to this ideal USC-Disney Dining Plan, for food brings us all closer together in this vomitous circle of life:
Brunch - Goofy's Kitchen (Disneyland Hotel)
Disneyland Hotel dwellers and outsiders alike better know Lil Romeo's people if they wish to be snuck into this character buffet without a reservation. The only more challenging feat I can imagine is being seated at Jacks N Joe on the weekend.
This is the only establishment on this list that I haven't salivated all over personally, but they have a peanut butter & jelly pizza. Big Balls Goof (or Pete...he's a dog, too, right?)! Hopefully there's bits of bacon baked inside of it...or stay home and create your own omelette. We're a far way away from midnight, Cinderelly.
Snack - Tiki Juice Bar (Disneyland Park - Adventureland)
A figurehead on the Disney Dining Mount Rush-for-More, Dole Whip is the gold that compliments our cardinal, and what we expect to dish out to Hawaii next Thursday.
There have been several botched brews (see above) inspired by this tropical float, so I suggest you and the baja blender you borrowed from Rita play it safe: a standard strawberry-pineapple daiquiri with Ghirardelli and lots and lots of alcohol. If all else fails, Jamba Juice most likely won't be open.
Lunch - Cafe Orleans (Disneyland Park - New Orleans Square)
The majority of my visits featured a former or current student working there, and the predictable conversation acted as the perfect appetizer en route to their amazing grub from the bayou. If you, as well, are saving your money for Muppet Vinylmations and fear you can only afford a free glass of water, the pomme frites are an elegant touchdown celebration in regards to your budget.
I still prefer my potatoes to be sweet, however...but that doesn't mean I should make them myself. This is my marketing ploy to make these pictures of Disney food look even more desirable. Thank goodness USC does not play on Thanksgiving.
Tailgate - Corn Dog Castle (Disney California Adventure Park - Paradise Pier)
Discussion arose in the last Pancake Blocks concerning all (if any) "healthy" variations on the hot link. This is not one of them, nor do we care. Our inner child kicks our inner vegan in the chip and dales every single time for this crack-induced Pluto on a stick, and unlike the grim grinning vendors outside of the Coliseum, there's nothing sketchy about waiting in line at these carts.
Dinner - ESPN Zone (Downtown Disney District)
Eating and spectating amidst the indoor Jumbotron in a barcalounger on that fateful Saturday November 20th 2010 made me feel like Snoop, only in a barcalounger. Sadly, no amount of Chicken Parmesan Penne or tricolor Zone Queso Chips could settle my stomach after losing 36-7 to a meager Oregon State. I was fractionally close to a sanctioning junior fountain run in Snow White's Wishing Well - enter "ElecTRONica" or "Mad T Party" or "Getting Wrecked With Ralph" or whatever the rave is anymore.
Dessert - Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor (Disneyland Park - Main Street, U.S.A.)
Behold the revamped campus center and the prized statue we really should be preserving from the nightmare fantasmic of Los Angeles. We disgustingly and shamelessly trudge home after the evening's events, and yet the waft of a waffle cone mandates these sweet and frozen treats, and restores our faith in humanity and next week's adventures to the base of Ground Zero.
Essentially, the gameplan this season is now to capture Tinker Bell, Jiminy Cricket, Mushu, and all seven dwarfs, and maybe USC will win nine games and smash the NCAA with a hammer...or, to save on postage, I'll just eat a Mickey pretzel and avoid the television.
Pancake Blocks Play-Cook Book: