Worming Across the Carnation Plaza Gardens

Some background on the following anecdote: Like many youths in the Orange County of the mid 90s, my friends and I had annual passes to Disneyland. For $200 bucks a year you could get in the park everyday which gave you a reason to never not have anything to do on a weekend. 

Eventually, we found ways to amuse ourselves that rarely had to do with going on rides. We'd watch Great Moments with Lincoln (before they butchered it), sit in the front row for Captain EO, and try to sneak into the background of pictures taken in front of the castle.

I came across this article yesterday about Disneyland closing down the Carnation Plaza Gardens to make way for area for the princesses to greet guests. This is hardly a change in the park that sparks a flare of righteous indignation in me like, say, the alterations to Pirates of the Caribbean did.

However, the Plaza Gardens is the setting for one of my favorite memories as a listless youth hanging out at Disneyland with nothing better to do. 

One weekend night, my friend and I were in front of the castle waiting to meet up with some other friends. We decided to pass the time by trying to time ballet jumps in the background of tourists taking pictures of the castle (our level of success was minimal).

Meanwhile, next door at the Gardens, the weekly swing dancing was in full *ahem* swing. From my experience, swing dancers take themselves and their dancing very seriously, and much too seriously for my liking at the time. At the time, swing dancing was experiencing a renewed boost in popularity and the Carnation Gardens was a popular place for folks to come dress the part and swing dance.

I forget who had the idea, but we decided to crash the dance floor. Now, one of my best dance moves has always been the worm. I really excel at it, which probably suggests that it's not a difficult move to pull off. 

If you don't know the worm, check out this quick instructional (for the record, I'm as good at this move as the two in the video).  

I was the worm and my friend was the bird trying to catch me. We went from one end of the dance floor to the other, getting in everyone's way that we could. My friend was chirping and clucking as he chased me. We didn't just go in a straight line across the floor. No, no. We zigged and zagged to make sure everyone saw us. Because otherwise, what was the point, right?

We were booed. We were yelled at. We were heckled. We were cursed at. And we laughed the whole time. We made it across the floor, got up, most likely yelled something back, and ran off into Frontier Land before security could find us.

Thanks for the memory, Carnation Plaza Gardens!


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