Wikinvest Wire

Stroller Wars

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Back from Disneyland and little worse for wear, the return trip was fitting as it may be the last time we ever pass through downtown Los Angeles.

Moving north next month, far away from eight lane freeways and traffic tie-ups, the hour or so delay just south of downtown due to a tractor-trailer driver's unexpected encounter with a freeway overpass gave us a chance to savor all the concrete and all the people one last time.

Overall the trip was a lot of fun, the pain in my little toe from too much walking notwithstanding. Yesterday's early morning prediction of a rant on consumerism after day one must have been prompted by memories of other theme parks visited more recently (Universal Studios probably) - this trip to the Magic Kingdom elicited few of those feelings.

Of particular interest was Tomorrow Land which looked anything like a land of tomorrow. If memory serves, the area was being remodeled the last time we visited many years ago and it already seems dated.

But, dated in a very nice sort of way.

In fact much of Disneyland seemed like a "breath of old air" where little had changed over the decades. What was timeless then is still timeless now and visitors are better off as a result.

Observations about a trip to the park that have changed over time are the size of the people and the size of their strollers. We are a well-fed country, to put it mildly, the size of meal portions being at least partially responsible (do any other couples find themselves splitting entrees between two people because the portions are just so huge?)

The stroller technology today is really something too. It's a real war out there with some parents apparently on a mission to maximize their time on days when the walkways are not so crowded - kind of like the freeway, where, it's a lot more dangerous when traffic flows at 75 mph than at 60 mph.

There is probably a lot of stroller envy out there, though it really was hard to tell because everyone was so happy. The little $20 job from Target just looks so tiny and weak next to some of the rigs you see. With the combined accessories of the parents and kids swinging to and fro, some of them resembled the gear on top of those giant elephants in the last Lord of the Rings movie (almost as dangerous too).

The visit to California Adventure was more like a typical amusement park, frequented more by teenagers than by proud new parents and a bit more exciting - Soaring Over California really is pretty cool and the Twilight Zone ride was kind of exciting.

Have there always been that many senior citizens working at these parks? It was striking to watch children and teenagers casually toss trash onto the ground only to see a 65 year old man come by and pick it up just a few minutes later. This happened a few times. Nobody else probably noticed, but it seemed like a sign of the times to me.

Housing in the news

Whenever you travel you get to hear different news from different sources and, almost always, there is something to be learned. In this case, after two bad housing reports - existing home sales on Tuesday and new home sales today - both the local TV news and AM radio were abuzz.

Much like when home prices were rising, the move back down is likely to be exacerbated by dimwitted local TV news reporters who once again seem shocked. Just when they were getting used to the idea of real estate wealth for all, things go and turn around.

Now, equally dimwitted potential home buyers are likely to be shocked by the TV news and think twice before pulling the trigger despite the efforts of the new ad campaign by the National Association of Realtors now running on AM radio. No details can be recalled, but it seemed about as well reasoned as the advice offered last fall - Now is a Great Time to Buy Or Sell a Home.

The most recent spot seemed more geared toward enticing buyers back into the market - as it turns out, last fall's campaign provided much better advice for sellers than for buyers.



Lugging a stroller around is tough work. THE BARON commends you!

Anonymous said...

Disneyland? Greenspan? I don't get the connection. Somebody help me.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't lug a big stroller around an amusement park. We used to use our little umbrella stroller for such things, or just rent a stroller there.

People are nuts to go places with those huge strollers. But then they are nuts to drive those huge SUVs and live in huge houses, too. Oh well. Americans.

Anonymous said...

My parents would never take a child that required a stroller to as expensive a place as DisneyLand. The experience is wasted.

I remember my first trip to DisneyWorld when I was 6. My sister was 18 months and was left with the grandparents. She had to wait 6 more years until we went back.

bub said...

Nice post Tim. I would sooner eat broken glass than venture out to one of those parks.

Thanks for the report.

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