Hey Disneyland, I love you!
Apr 16, 2018
Ahh,,,vacation. There is just nothing like the bragging rights of coming home from a warm destination when you are in the dead of a prolonged, wet spring. Shawn and I just celebrated 14 years of marriage and we somehow managed to get away for 7 days (Thanks to Mom and Dad Harvey and a few other friends). We have not been away for a holiday for more than a night or two since the kids joined our family, so that means it has been around 9 years since Shawn and I spent that much time alone together. It was sublime.
We spent 7 days in the sunshine of Palm Springs with three days at Disneyland tucked in there. The days in Palm Springs were lazy and hot, sitting pool side with a good book (big sigh). The days in Disneyland were long and busy, but oh so fun.
This leads me to today's topic.
I have decided that there are two kinds of people in this world:
1) Those who love Disneyland
2) Those who don't (I love you, I just don't understand you)
If you are in the the #2 category, you might be tempted to breeze past this post, but maybe I could explain why I am in the #1 category.
You know if you are in the the "love Disneyland" camp if you follow closely when anyone in your social media news feed goes to Disneyland and you reminisce or dream right along with them of the times you have been or begin to plan when you can go again. For instance, when I announced that we were going, ALL the #1's came rushing to the front of my Facebook page saying "take lots of pictures!" "I will be living vicariously through you!". In this, I was tempted to apologize to the #2's for oversharing, but I decided that my Disneyland loving friends would appreciate it so much that I was willing to post unashamedly.
For instance, this is the first post of the first day we were there:
Those smiles are not manufactured, that is the real "I can't believe we are here and on the Matterhorn" deal.
It is ridiculous how happy we are. Two grown adults in a child's wonderland....
I actually don't care, I love it.
So, at the risk of annoying you, I am going to tell you why I love it so much.
1) Everyone (with the exception of one, which I will explain later) is happy.
I am self-described as a 'super-feeler", this means that I take on information as though it were my own. I hear bad news and it affects me. I read the news and it gets under my skin, even if this news doesn't really affect my day to day life. I am sure there is a clinical description for this, but for now I just know that I take on bad news like a boat with a hole in the bottom of it. I try to be careful about my thoughts, but life gets heavy sometimes. Because of this, I spend a lot of time filtering what I hear, what I can let myself care about and releasing information that I cannot do anything about.
But, when I am at Disneyland, it is all happy, ALL DAY LONG. The whole system is built to help the guests forget their troubles and escape to a different world where anything is possible. There is always music playing and somehow they fill the air with lovely smells that pump out from somewhere that makes me feel like I just walked into an orange grove. The part that amazes me is that somehow, even with thousands of people in the park, it stays clean. Everywhere you look, there is someone sweeping to make sure you don't step in someone else's mess. As a mom of 4, this is an important feature because most of the time the one sweeping up is me.
The only cast-member (Disney code for employee) that was unhappy was the guy running the canoe "ride". I had never seen this ride before but then I realized it wasn't really a ride. We actually had to paddle that canoe around Tom Sawyer's island. This was more work than most people wanted to do on vacation so our guide was pretty insistent when he said "if you don't row, we don't go". That canoe wasn't going to paddle itself, so that guy had to do the work of 10 non- paddlers in 15 minute increments, all day long. So, I wasn't disillusioned by our grumpy guide, I would probably hate my job too if I were him.
I kid you not, some people sat there with their oars in the water (as seen here) so the few of us that were rowing had to make up for the drag they were creating. People like that are what is wrong with the world today. Basic life skills everyone: learn to paddle. We totally get your frustration grumpy cast member, all is forgiven.
2) At Disneyland, everything is done right.
The Enchanted Tiki Room reminds us of Sunday nights when we got to stay up a little past bedtime and watch "The Wonderful World of Disney". It is so corny and we love it! Little nod to my dad here who loves this and the tribute to Abraham Lincoln. We go to both every time, just for you dad.
The Marching Bands make me feel like I get to see a slice of what is great about America. Big tuba's dancing to "The Pirates of the Caribbean"? Yes please!!
They are really, really good musicians and they just show up at random times to make life awesome.
In case that is not enough, maybe we could do the whole thing and throw in Mickey, Minnie Mouse and friends.
If marching bands aren't your thing, maybe a little jazz will hit the spot.
This kind of stuff is happening all the time, all day long, around every corner. For a girl who loves surprises and music, it couldn't be better. For instance, we had just come off the Peter Pan ride, trying to figure out what to do next and when we looked up, there was Mary Poppins on the carousel. She's just hanging out there like it's her day job.
It is all just too much.
But we are just getting started. How about some evening shows with world class production and fireworks? You bet! All yours for the price of admission.
By the way, this image is projected on a wall of water.
You want churros? Mickey Mouse shaped beignets? Dole Pineapple Whip? We got you covered!
And you might as well eat, because you are going to walk. A lot.
That is my fit bit telling me that I walked 32,000 steps that day. By the end that number had climbed to 35,000. Worth the blisters, worth the swollen ankles, worth the sore legs. Worth it.
3) Finally, I love the people of Disneyland.
There is no people watching like Disneyland people watching. When my feet were dog tired and I needed to sit for a few minutes, I didn't miss out at all, I just watched everyone go from here to there in all sorts of fun outfits, Minnie Mouse ears, matching family shirts and my personal favourite, the little girls in princess dresses and sneakers.
This is a grown woman in a tutu. No one bats an eye. This is totally normal here.
When at Disneyland, you wear the ears. Everyone jumps in, everyone plays, everyone has fun.
I will stop. I think you get the picture, we had a great time.
I leave with this thought: This place brings a lot of happiness to a lot of people. If I could ever bring that kind of joy to others, I want to do it.
The whole thing seems so simple there...make a place where parents and kids can play together. Add some nostalgia and a bunch of inspiration - A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, when you wish upon a star your dreams come true, etc.. It is all possible. It only takes a dream and a dreamer and it can be.
It's all kind of corny until you are standing in the middle of it and you realize that the whole thing started in one mans brain. He is just a man so of course not perfect, but he made a place that brings people together and I hope to do a bit of that in my lifetime.
When we were there, we talked to so many people. We never once talked about politics, or what was wrong in the world (except for the slackers on the canoe ride). There are so many great people out there who love their friends and families, we need to get out and meet them.
Some of you are not Disney people, I get it. But the bottom line is that maybe we could create places all around us that make people happy in order to give them a much needed break from the heaviness of life. Life can be hard. Sometimes what we really need is a good laugh in a beautiful place, with other people who want to be happy too.
When it was all over, I came home with sore feet, a sunburn and a huge smile. I am so grateful for our time away. These moments are really the stuff that dreams are made of. Until next time, happiest place. Thanks for being awesome. XOXO - Keri