Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Disneyland at 34

When I was five years old my parents piled my three siblings into a station wagon and drove us from Pennsylvania to California.  Though I was young, I still vividly remember this trip.  I remember sharing one walkman with my sister and brother, and listening to Genesis over and over again.  I remember the Midwest, and how it looked from sitting backwards in a station wagon. I remember Vegas and its oppressive heat, but fantastic lights, the Grand Canyon, Alcatraz, and of course, our final destination - Disneyland.  I'll never forget pulling up to the parking lot, walking through the gates and riding the teacups.  To a five year old this was the ultimate destination.

However, after this magical trip, the rest of my childhood and early adult life was spent on the east coast, and I was unable to return to the "happiest place on earth."  And then, I had a daughter, moved to Orange County, fought peer pressure for a year, and finally acquiesced, and bought an annual pass to Disney. I was returning.  Almost 30 years later, and I was returning.

So, off I went, ready to regain my adolescent sense of wonder and excitement and experience the joys of Disney with my daughter.  Unfortunately, no one told me that Disneyland is a lot different when you are now 34 years old.  First of all, why did my parents drive across the United States for this?  Back in the freaking 80's there was only Disneyland, and not a very large Disneyland, AND no California Adventure!  What in the world did we do all day?  Do I remember the teacups so well because that's all we did for the afternoon?  Did we never return because my parents cleverly showed us that Disneyland was all hype and show, and convinced us that we weren't missing anything?  Did I somehow forget this presentation and agreement?  Man, thank goodness for more rides and crazier people to watch, because there's no way I could have got an annual pass in the 80's.

Second of all, at five, all the rides were ridiculously fast and and exciting.  Now, at 34, I have to question my sanity for waiting in line for 50 minutes so we can ride along a track and watch a freaky animatronic bang on some drums and sing a well known Disney song.  Seriously, after waiting fifty minutes, I want someone to place me in a flying car, feed me space ice cream and transport me back in time.  But, then I look down at my kid, and she's loving it.  She thinks all the crocodiles, that need some serious 21st century makeovers, are completely real, is convinced the slightly creepy person, who chooses to hug kids all day, is truly Mickey Mouse and has no idea that waiting 24 minutes for a 64 second ride makes no sense in any world.  She just loves it.  And, then in 30 years, she'll return and wonder, "What in the world was my mom thinking?"

Oh, the cycle of Disney.

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