I’m a die-hard Disneyland fan. Always have been. And I assumed everyone else felt the same way. That was until a good friend of mine, Dave, told me he didn’t like D-land and even suggested that my twitterpation with “the happiest place on earth” was a hit on my manliness.
This article is for Dave, a.k.a. Mr. Cranks.
Our recent trip to The Magic Kingdom was the fifth in fifteen years. I wish we could get there more, but on a school teacher budget every three years is the best I can do. Each time we go, we have our share of frustrations: figuring out finances; packing; traveling many hours to southern California in the car; hauling luggage to and from the hotel room; hot days in the park with tired kids; long lines; disagreements about the best way to see all the attractions; and pushing the stroller.
So far, my fellow-Disneyland goers are empathetically smiling. And Dave is likely nodding his head, still confused why so many make an annual pilgrimage to the Mecca of Magic.
I believe the magnetism of Disneyland is that it provides a unique opportunity to leave the outside world behind and immerse in imagination. Girls who struggle with self-esteem at school feel like princesses as they ride the canal boats in Storybook Land. Men who are having mid-life crises laugh out loud on the Jungle Cruise. Women who don’t feel valued at their places of work escape to Neverland as they ride Peter Pan’s Flight. Boys who aren’t selected first on the soccer team at recess are absorbed in the adventure of Indiana Jones. Families join with other families from around the globe as prejudice and misunderstandings are forgotten on It’s A Small World.
If that’s a little too philosophical for you, I can simplify. I enjoy being with my family and making memories. I’m not saying you don’t, but when you dis on Disney, I think you’re dismissing the potential for extra powerful memories. Simply put, there is something really special about this place—something that transcends the usual family trip. And my guess is most of the 650 million visitors who have come to Disneyland since 1955 agree with me.
We normally stay at a hotel outside of the Disneyland Park, but this time we were able to stay a couple of nights at the Disneyland Hotel. We’re glad we did, as this gave us access to three hotel pools, an early entry into each Park (Disneyland and California Adventure), bonus time with the characters, and close proximity to the park entrances.
One of the amazing amenities in our hotel was the beautiful leather headboard in the bedroom which showcases a Sleeping Beauty Castle outline that lights up and quietly plays Disney-themed music. When we came home from the Park each night, we would turn it on. The final night we were there, as my kids were drifting off to sleep, I turned it off, assuming it would prevent them from blissful sleep. One of my daughters groggily asked if I would leave it on, which I did. A few minutes later when I finally went to bed, I noticed my daughter sound asleep—and smiling.
Dave, I don’t need any other reason than that.