Are you one of the many people that don’t love Disneyland? If so, my informal survey suggests that you likely:
1. Went during the summer, or on a weekend, or during spring break, or (Saints preserve us!) on Christmas Day. You did not go to Disneyland. You went to Disneylines.
2. Actually went to Disney World–and spent any of your trip in Epcot Center.
3. Went for the first time after the age of about 8.
Disneyland is like Christmas. You need early exposure to it when you still believe in unicorns and fairies and The Force for its magic to penetrate your soul. If you go after the enchanted age, it’s an nice park with mediocre roller coasters, but nothing more. It would be like introducing a ten year old to the concept of Santa Claus for the first time. Sure it’s cool, but it will never be magical.
Despite yearly threats not to, my parents took the crew to Disneyland every year of my life from age 2 weeks to seventeen years. Consequently the smell of hot churros or a couple of notes of music from the Mad Tea Party send me into raptures. Disneyland and Christmas were the two fixed points around which our childhoods revolved. If that sounds pathetic to you, it wasn’t. Every year the Disney announcement turned the blood in my veins into hot molten joy.
If you’ve grown up in the magic of Disneyland, the actual experience of the park as an adult is only half of what’s going on. I am always five years old at Disneyland. Every stone and flower is a happy memory. And though I curse them daily for destroying my youth, my children actually keep me young and add immeasurably to the childlike wonder of a trip to Disneyland.
We took Fluffy when she was 2.5 years old. Kent thought it was too early. She had never even seen a princess video. (Those were the days.) On the contrary, from the very first hour she was spinning circles and shouting “I’m so happy! I’m so happy!” Thereafter for about a year, she implored the Lord in her daily prayers to let her return to Disneyland.
All this is prelude to the announcement that we have booked our flights to Disneyland in October! Yes, the boys will be too young to really appreciate it, but not too young to fervently enjoy it. And though they will take away more impressions and associations than actual memories, the rest of us will be here with copious pictures to fill in the blanks.
Still need to buy extra tickets for the late night Trick-or-Treating, make reservations at a hotel (we’re thinking Annabella. Anyone have experience?), and book a reservation at the Blue Bayou.
I will say that no amount of childhood magic can convince my adult tastebuds that the park food is remotely edible. Locals, any suggestions?
There was a dark moment amid all the rapture. Since Fluffy’s favorite movie was Cars, we assumed the highlight of the trip would be when she got to take a picture with life size McQueen and Mater. As anticipated, her cup ran over with joy! That is, until it was the next family’s turn to take a picture. Cue the melt-down. Of course, Fluff had assumed that when she met her best friend McQueen, they would go out to dinner or drive off into the sunset together. She did not picture being brushed aside by the next adoring fan. She was not the only child who experienced permanent psychological damage in this way. A whole pack of McQueen rejects were throwing fits to the side. Player.