I was never a Disneyland enthusiast. As a kid I went once. Growing up I wasn’t allowed to watch many cartoons on t.v. and animation wasn’t admired by my parents. So when my college friends started an annual tradition of our families meeting at Disneyland the weekend after Thanksgiving, I was a bit discontent. But I love my friends and want my kids to be with their families so I gave Disneyland a try.
6 years later in our tradition, I can honestly say, I love Disneyland.
At one point, my kids and I ran from Space Mountain to the 5pm parade and bumped into a big group of guys dressed in black leather with rings in their ears, lots of tattoos and leather jewelry. I quickly apologized and smiled BIG as I noticed half of them wore Mickey Ears “hats” over their bandannas. I walked around them, saw their wives and kids all laughing and hugging and I smiled again. Everyone was so nice.
From that moment on I made it a point to look at each person as a long lost relative, which made me feel like I could’ve connected with anyone. Waiting in line, I pretended people were long lost cousins, and struck up conversations I might not have otherwise. Disneyland reminded me how genuinely nice human beings are. My brain felt less fear and assigned fewer stereotypes, and I realized we’re all the same: people experiencing life the best we can and trying to relate to others (with the common denominator of a mouse and his friends at this particular place.)
When I’m on a ride, I think of nothing else and am really in the present moment. That mental freedom feels awesome! Three days of assessing and strategizing Fast Pass times and juggling meeting-up with friends and families throughout the day was like building a puzzle – so rewarding trying to figure it out! Fighting bedtime fatigue to get too scared to sleep (Hollywood Tower of Terror ride) and buying 4 band-aids for $3 ouch (to cover a rough thread in my 10-year-olds jeans that rubbed her leg) entertained me as well. The clean bathrooms and overall peppy spirit of employees was icing on the cake.
Walt Disney’s passion for making his imagination a reality is a great role model, which emanates throughout every square inch of the park!