Tell Me a Story 3: Return to Disneyland
I haven’t stepped foot into Disneyland in nearly two decades. It’s been so long that California Adventures, Downtown Disney and a couple of giant parking structures didn’t exist. I wasn’t a tiny kid, but I’ve pretty much forgotten about it. If you were with me, I’d like to ask, “who else was there?” “was it someone’s birthday?” and perhaps, “did I have fun?” Surely, it was another era in my life when I wanted to ride the fastest, largest, and free-falling-est and I wasn’t a fan of most of the Disney cast.
On Sunday, an email inviting me to Disneyland appeared in my inbox, and Monday I was among tens of thousands on a 90+ degree Labor Day.
The theme park is now filled with choices before you walk in. California Adventure, a behemoth sister park and Downtown Disney loom in a newb’s curiosity. In a 12 hour span, you couldn’t possibly get on more than 6 rides between two meals. I suppose the idea is to offer something so huge that you’d need at least two or three days to visit all. Families travel the world to be here and some visit like it’s a mall.
It turns out, a lot of folks I know have an annual pass. They visit more than once a month and perhaps ride the same rides and eat at the same food. The scene doesn’t change but they keep coming back. If I asked why, their answers would be something simple: “I like it.” The question would then turn on me, “why don’t you have one?”
The sun slowly moved with much of the time spent standing in lines. We rode Soarin’ Over California and viewed our State. Space Mountain got darker and Star Tours now includes Jar Jar. It soon became evening and then night. The cool air, slightly thinned crowd and lights gave Disneyland a new look and feel. Walking became easier, options to go here or there met seamless decisions and the fried chicken tasted healthy. After Tinkerbell soared across the Magic Castle, the orchestration of music and fireworks began and everyone froze. Families grouped together, couples hand hands or each other and friends drifted into memories. It’s the nightly crescendo of the Disneyland production. I peeked at my friends – the annual pass holders who’ve seen this a bunch, and they were glued to the sky.
It’s a Small World is graphically amazing.