I remember four things from the trip:
1. A motorcycle cop pulling over my father for speeding. When my father produced his driver's license, the cop looked at it and did a double take. The cop said that his last name was Frauenfelder, too. And since they must be sixth cousins or something, he was duty-bound to let my father go.
2. My mother putting a wet towel on my face as we drove through the Arizona desert in the non-air conditioned Volkswagen.
3. Seeing live mermaids and feeling water drip on my face on the Submarine Voyage ride.
4. Seeing climbers in lederhosen climbing the artificial Matterhorn.
(Unfortunately, I don't remember anything else about the trip! I wonder if additional memories are locked in the recesses of my brain, retrievable through CIA developed truth serums or hypnosis.)
Out of those four memories, the most vivid was the one of the Matterhorn. To me, the Matterhorn looked as big as the Rocky Mountains. A few years ago, I googled Disneyland's Matterhorn to learn about its construction. The most interesting thing I learned was that there is an actual basketball court inside the artificial mountain near the summit. Some of the websites I've read about the Matterhorn say that Walt Disney added a basketball court to the Matterhorn to skirt around Anaheim's building codes, which prohibited structures from exceeding a specified height unless they were sports arenas. But according to Snopes.com, that great debunker of myths, the basketball court was put there solely as a way for the climbers to have fun during inclement weather.
Above is a Disney Imagineering video about the basketball court in the Matterhorn.
Read more in Family at Boing Boing
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects