The other day, right after July 4th, my family and I visited the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California. It’s a fun place to visit as long as your expectations aren’t too high…and it has one of the greatest (and oldest) roller coasters in the country. It’s got rides (like the afore mentioned Giant Dipper) and all of the American “cuisine” you could possibly imagine. (Or maybe not…have you imagined chocolate covered bacon?!?)
As we were walking around the Boardwalk, which is situated in a rather scenic area in Santa Cruz, it reminded me of something that the board of the Walt Disney Studios is quoted to have said to Walt Disney when he first proposed the idea of building Disneyland. They said, “But Walt…we make movies. Why would we want to get into the carnival business?” (Reference the last issue of twenty-three…the D23 fan magazine.)
Well…history has proven those men to be short sighted, but walking around the boardwalk in Santa Cruz (which is essentially a big carnival on the beach) one can imagine why they had that point of view. While it’s a lot of fun, and there is plenty to do, there is a certain atmosphere that pervades the place that is just not very immersive. It doesn’t transport a person. You are still very much aware of the fact that you are in a place that is contiguous with the parking lot where you parked your car. We were able to see our car, actually, from the log ride, as well as a giant pile of trash in a service area down below us.
Realistically though, you do get what you pay for. All told, for three adults and four kids, we spent a total of about $50 on our visit to the Boardwalk. Not bad. But all the while, I was thinking of that fantastic sign at Disneyland, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.” Welcomed by Town Square, Main Street, and the central hub where all the Lands can be accessed really is like walking into a motion picture…and it really does serve to transport a person.
I don’t want to knock the Boardwalk too much, though. It’s a great place…and the Giant Dipper really is a thrilling ride. Check it out next time you are in the area!
Until next time…