I spent fall break in Disneyland with three of my very best friends in the entirety of the world. In some ways one feels foolish waiting in line for Snow Whites Scary Ride when one is 21 years old, but really and truly I believe that Disneyland is much much better when you are older.
Don’t get me wrong, it was great when I was a kid too, but everything was great when I was a kid. My mother, pleased to find an artistic streak in one of her children indulged my over active imagination, and my predilection for fantasy and make-believe made every day fantastical. Remember the day in summer when the fireman checks the fire hydrants. Cancel my appointments because my day was booked. There were weeks were I sat in my backyard and played with mud every day. A trip to McDonalds was frenzy inducing, and being torn away from the ball pit at the Burger King Kids play place was tragic enough to elicit tears. Between mud and fast food what did I need with Disneyland? I felt that kind of magic joy almost every day.
But sadly I grew up (well…sort of) and things that captured my attention for hours on end no longer held the same power. I think I could probably play with mud for a few hours now, but not for an entire day. I have no desire to go throw myself into the shooting waters of the fire hydrant, and when I go to McDonalds now, my meal doesn’t come with a prize, and all I can think about is the empty calories.
Instead of dancing happily through life I began to worry about boring things like money, jobs, and boys (mostly the lack thereof) all things I swore up and down I would never worry about when I was a kid.
But when I go to Disneyland those things disappear. The last night of the trip S and I went on Splash Mountain by ourselves because M and B didn’t want to get wet.
“We won’t get that wet,” I assured S who had never been on the ride, “You’ll get sprinkled but it’s not bad,”
But of course we sat in the front and I emerged soaking wet. But the night air in Annaheim was warm, even in October, and the complete dishevelment effectively obliterated the last vestiges of restraint and inhibition.
We sweet talked our way into the wheel chair entrance of Peter Pan, we ran madcap through the all but deserted temple of doom, come to think of it. We ran everywhere. When I was a kid, if a place was worth going to it was worth running to and I found the energy to run everywhere, and that night it was back. We ran all over the parks, past families and “too-cool” teens and we threw ourselves onto every ride with a breathless excitement. I wasn’t thinking about tomorrow or yesterday, only about now, running with fireworks exploding overhead, music playing everything was right with the world, because everything was right now.
` I love Disneyland because it allows me to be a kid again, and I excelled at being a kid. I feel sad that an evil faceless corporation can give that to me, but so it is, and I will continue to pay great amounts of money to live completely free of reality. I live reality every day, I don’t need it in my vacation. So here’s to the child within, here’s to spending a few days in a bubble! Here’s to Disneyland!