Fat Like Me

A pigs-eye view of the Happiest Place on Earth

We've already decided not to fork out $35 for a motorized vehicle that we can drive across the park. And we're not going to seek out any kind of special-assistance pass that will move Good to the front of lines quicker; they're available, we've heard, but while it's not against Disney policy to wear a fat suit to the park, we're guessing it's highly unorthodox to pretend to be fat in order to obtain a special-assistance pass.

So we walk.

In the next five minutes, we cruise down Main Street, passing two ice cream parlors sponsored by Nestlé, a bakery sponsored by Nestlé, the Carnation Café with its chicken pot pies and Mickey waffles, the closed Plaza Inn, which offers (of course) an all-you-can-eat breakfast every morning. Ragtime pours from Refreshment Corner. Smaller boutiques sell everything from saltwater taffy to psychedelic-colored lollipops.

Good is munching on Sweet Tarts and gnawing on a Slim Jim. He's smuggled snacks into the park; our fat bastard is allergic to chocolate. He's genuinely hungry. While Good spent 90 minutes in makeup, Stouffer and I quaffed a couple of pints at Captain Bombay's in Anaheim. He wants Mexican, courtesy of Disneyland's only authentic ethnic cuisine, Rancho del Zocalo, the latest incarnation of the Mexican restaurant that has been on-site almost since Disneyland opened.

But to get there we have to wade through the thousands of people lined up to watch the centerpiece of Disney's 50th-anniversary celebration: Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams, an excruciatingly long if visually stunning tribute to "Disney magic." It's floats, mostly, paying homage to Disney films like The Lion King. We're advancing upon the parade near its tail end: the cheesy strains of "Circle of Life" are pumping as Simba and Nala are surrounded by assorted African wildlife.

I watch to see how people react to Good. The amazing thing is how few actually do; you can't help but notice this candy-popping golem. But most people act as if he's not really there. No one makes eye contact, no one brushes past him. It's like Sue Storm has projected an invisible shield around him. But the instant they pass him, eyes bulge out, jaws drop, people snicker and laugh. And some get genuinely pissed.

As the last float in the parade cruises by, the sea of people parts. We're on our way again. Good, gnawing on his third Slim Jim of the day, waddles onward, ever onward. He's slower than most of the crowd and he's constantly on the verge of being bumped into, but his force field remains in effect. I see a Latino dude almost run into his ass. He drops back a couple of steps and begins warily eyeing Good. He's with his wife and young son, but his attention is on Good. His facial expressions range the entire gamut of emotion from disgust to revulsion. He can't stop looking at the folds of fat cascading over Good's waist or his hideous, almost autonomous rear end. He's muttering something to his wife. I'm not close enough to hear, but I can almost read the lips: "You see that fat fucker?" She looks, and now she can't take her eyes off him. She's mesmerized by lard. This, of course, draws the attention of their kid, who had been transfixed by the cavalcade of Disney characters still in their midst. But now he sees the fat bastard too. He learns in this instant the lesson that will last his whole life: he looks up at his dad's sneering face with a look of confusion. But then he gets it. He looks back at Good, grabs his mother's hand and spits on the ground.

The funniest thing? The guy is bone thin, but his wife is packing a few extra tamales on her hindquarters, and their young boy has obviously discovered the joy of churros.


In 1954, Ray Kroc unsuccessfully appealed to Walt Disney to open something called a McDonald's at his park, then still under construction. On Dec. 18, 1998, an old covered wagon in Frontierland became a French fry stand. On sale? McDonald's French fries.


Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante, hosted by Ortega—that's the whole name—is packed. It claims to be authentic Mexican food, but while the menu includes camarones al mojo de ajo and fish tacos Mazatlan, the buffet-style restaurant, like all the food at Disneyland, seems geared exclusively toward quantity rather than quality.

Good stands by himself. Everyone else in the crowded joint is standing shoulder to shoulder. There's about a two-person gap between Good and everyone else. He gets to the counter.

"Everybody else was asked what they wanted," says Good later. "But when it came time for me to order, no one asked. They waited for me to say something."

Good orders a burrito Sonora, a lumpy mass of shredded beef, Cheddar and jack cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla, drenched in a viscous red sauce and topped with even more cheddar and jack cheese and sour cream. He orders two more sides of sour cream and also a red chile enchilada and taco plate.

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