ORIGINAL CAPTION: Passengers on board Disneyland’s new Columbia sailing ship will never get scurvy… especially if handsomely suited in gay tangerine.

We’ve bought annual passes again this year after a few years of not doing so. I’ve never liked the crowds, but with the right attitude I can enjoy the crap out of DL, and having the passes really helps. Because the pressure is off, and eh, we’ll get to it next time. So instead we can focus on little things, new-to-us things, and it’s wonderful.

Our last visit was just a one-day dash on Sunday. High on my list was going on the sailing ship Columbia, which I’d never done. I’ve been bingeing my way through the Patrick O’Brien novels (currently on The Ionian Mission), so I was totally down with exploring an age-of-sail replica.

One unexpected thing for me was how all the rigging is finished off. You can see it in this photo. Basically, the ship has all the masts and shrouds you’d expect, and some (small) sails that are almost always kept furled on the yards. But where you’d expect all the running rigging to be, there’s… nothing. All those belaying pins under the rail in the photo: On a working ship there would be lines going to most of those, coiled halyard falls and the like; basically there’d be rope everywhere. On the Columbia, though, there’s nothing. Nothing at all for the vessel’s thousands of inquisitive visitors to get into trouble with. It’s like being an infant in the most obsessively baby-proofed home ever.

Which totally makes sense, and I shouldn’t have been surprised. Down below is similar: I was excited about seeing the belowdecks museum of life aboard in 1787. But rather than being configured the way it would have been, there’s a big open area in the middle that you walk around, with tiny screened-off cabins on the sides.

All of which was fine, and fun. In effect, the Columbia is a museum piece that faithfully represents not only what an 18th-century sailing ship was like, but also what a mid-20th-century Walt-Disney-imagined amusement park attraction was like.

It’s like with Disney’s version of fairy tales, or the Tomorrowland vision of the future. It’s simplified and sanitized, the rough edges smoothed away in service of an uncluttered, slightly kitschy, middle-America narrative.

Which is cool. Disneyland is what it is, and I love it. Not the way I loved my imagined version of it as a kid, when it was perfect and awesome and it made my stomach hurt just to think about it. But the way you love someone you’ve come to know over decades, having seen them at their best and their worst, until their imperfections become cherished reminders of who they are, of your shared history.

Reposted from

Tags: disneyland, nostalgia, sailing ship columbia.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.