Got an hour to kill" Why not visit Disneyland"

By: Tony Overbay, humor columnist
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Have an hour to kill? Why not visit Disneyland?

On a recent business trip to Southern California, I found myself staying in a hotel directly across the street from the happiest place on Earth.

I called home to tell my wife that I could almost smell the chlorine in the Splash Mountain water when her sister, standing nearby, told her to have me buy some fudge from the candy shop and bring it back the following day. I laughed and wondered aloud whether or not I’d be able to hear the nightly fireworks from my hotel room when my wife said, “she’s serious.”

It was then that I learned about the little-known “shoppers pass.” Apparently you can check in at the front gate and let them know you’d like to run in and buy something. They take your credit card and start the clock.

If you’re not back in an hour you might as well stay because you just paid $69 for a one-day pass.

Ironically, over a decade ago, I was in Tokyo, Japan with a friend. We wanted a Tokyo Disneyland sweatshirt so we pooled our money together and sent him in with the goal of buying two sweatshirts. Unfortunately folks in Tokyo wanted U.S. Disneyland merchandise so he came back empty handed.

The fudge shop was located right up front on the California Adventure side of the park. If I simply grabbed the fudge and left, it would have taken me all of 10 minutes. I looked at my watch, looked down at my running shoes and thought to myself, “How many rides can I make in an hour?”

I immediately took off running in a dead sprint toward the back of the park. If I was going to ride anything, it would be Mickey’s California Screaming roller coaster with the double upside loops as well as the Mali-boomer, a ride that shoots you some 1,000 feet straight up into the air causing you, and your stomach, to do a little weightless time before coming back down, hopefully with all contents intact.

While the running shoes were wonderful, the sweatshirt and long pants weren’t. I pulled out my cell phone somewhere around A Bug’s Life and squealed like a little kid to my wife, “I’m…running…to…the…roller…coaster…”

I had never tried to carry on a conversation while attempting Olympic qualifying sprint speeds. I made it to the back of the line feeling excited and that’s when it happened.

The water works started.

I sweat, a lot. And running through a park wearing long pants and a sweatshirt on an unseasonably warm day didn’t help matters.

When I came to a stop, the teenage girls in front of me looked back and gave me a quick glance. That was when I realized that my bald head was pushing out perfect drops of sweat. In a matter of seconds, I was dripping wet and all I had to mop up with was my sleeve and it, too, was starting to darken with sweat.

Thankfully, the rush of wind from the coaster cooled me off just in time to sprint to the Mali-boomer. I then glanced at my watch to see that I might have time to make it to the Tower of Terror if the line was short. It was and I was terrified!

After getting off, I started at a more reasonable jog toward the park exit, ready to check back in and get my credit card. And then I remembered the fudge! Once again, the sprint, the sweat, only this time, no ride to cool me off.

I made it back to the main gate with just a minute or two to spare.

I had my fudge, my head was drenched. My once red sweatshirt was now covered in maroon patches. The person at the counter asked to see my fudge and the receipt and then he handed me my card.

As I started to walk away, he yelled, “How many did you do?”

Feeling safe with my credit card in my wallet, I said, “Three but it was three good ones!”

“Not bad,” he said. “But the record is six!”

Looks like I need to drum up a little more business down in Southern California.  

Tony Overbay is a 16-year resident of Lincoln and a father of four. He is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern and runs You can read more of his writings at