Jun 9, 2021

Stir-Crazy? Time to Get Those Kids to Disneyland!

The Magic Kingdom awaits home-school weary moms and dads

By Ed Goldman
Pandemic-weary parents can be excused for thinking they’d just hopped out of the wok and into the Mongolian barbecue pit.

For 12 months-and-change, they home-schooled their kids while trying to home-work (their jobs). Then, moments after their kids returned to brick-and-mortar classes, the schoolyear ended and they were right back home again. And bored, of course. (Baby boys born as a result of sheltering in place should be named Ennui. Spoken aloud, it sounds a bit like the French Henri—pronounced onREE. But the parents will always know better.)

Edgy Cartoon

“Aisle be seeing you.”

Anyway, it shouldn’t surprise us that the recent reopening of Disneyland was a mixed blessing. While it meant mobile moms and dads would get to change the scenery for a few days, they also recognized they were likely to be re-cooped up with their offspring—in a car or on a plane, train or bus; in a hotel room or RV camp; and, upon reaching their destination, on nausea-inducing, spinning-teacup rides.

I was at Disneyland the second or third week it was open in 1955. My family flew to California from New York for a vacation, both to visit my dad’s family and to do some reconnaissance on what it might be like to move there three years later. That’s when my dad would retire, at age 42, after 20 years as a firefighter. Apparently, they liked what they saw—though it would end up taking my mom years to adjust to living in a place where you drove two blocks to do your shopping. In the East Bronx, where we lived, we walked everywhere.

I clearly remember two attractions from that excursion to Disneyland: the Autopia, which was a miniature freeway apparently designed to hook kids on the dream of someday sitting in their own, full-sized cars in gridlock on the Harbor Freeway; and Frontierland, which was where the stores likely exhausted their supply of Davey Crockett faux-coonskin hats on an hourly basis.

The hats were huge because Fess Parker wore one when he played Davey Crockett on a three-part episode of Walt Disney’s Sunday evening TV show, also called “Disneyland,” on ABC. (Not long thereafter, Disney took the show to NBC and rechristened it “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.” And not long after that, Parker wore the exact same outfit to play Daniel Boone in a long-running, non-Disney series of the same name. For more of my fascinating history of television in the 1950s and ‘60s, pour me a third martini. After the fourth one I can still do “Ya Got Trouble” from “The Music Man.”)

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Anyway. Many years after my initial visit to The Happiest Place on Earth, my wife, daughter and I drove from Sacramento to Anaheim, where they keep Disneyland. Jessica was then about three years old. She had grown very excited about the trip, watching Disney cartoons at home and “The Little Mermaid” at the movies.

She was so excited, in fact, that when we entered the parking lot, she bubbled over with joy just looking at the aisle markers, all of which featured a big drawing of a Disney character. “I love Disneyland!” she announced. And in that moment, my wife and I realized if we turned around and went back home, without any of us setting foot in the actual park— and without our forking over a great deal of money—Jessica would still feel she’d had an amazing experience.

We didn’t leave, of course. We were absolutely perfect parents. But then, we’d never had to home-school our kid.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President and CEO, Golden Pacific Bank

photo by Phoebe Verkouw

FYI: ESG Is Important!

ESG” is a new buzz term in the financial sector.  It stands for “Environmental, Social, and Governance”—factors used as criteria to consider a company’s operations, which may broadly indicate sustainability and responsibility of that business.  These three factors together are used in numerous ways to measure and direct socially responsible activities by a company.

-Environmental: This focuses on a company’s impact on the environment.  For example, how does a company perform as a steward of nature? What is its energy use or pollution output? How does a company focus on the threats, opportunities, and challenges of climate change within its business and industry?

-Social: This looks at the company’s operations and how these could reflect their consciousness, relative to people and society. For example, are there awareness and standards on diversity and inclusion, human rights, and health and safety?  Is there a local community and global awareness of social responsibilities?

-Governance: This deals with a company’s leadership and ethical practices.  How is the company run?  Is it transparent with accurate and compliant reporting?  Does it practice fair compensation practices and is it compliant with the rights of consumers and shareholders?

ESG should be a Board and management discussion.  Some companies have addressed it with a social policy or strategic plan setting goals.

These criteria help to better determine the future financial performance of companies (in terms of risk and return). There are, in fact, grids that rate companies on their ESG performance.

ESG can impact investing and may be used by socially conscious investors in their investing approach. It’s a growing trend that everyone should be aware of.  As business folks, by supporting companies and industries in worthwhile causes, ESG can make a difference for our communities and our very planet. Just thought you’d want to know.

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