I don’t understand people who say they hate you. I mean, I’ve heard them rant about the commercialization to the nth degree and the subtle messages about strict gender stereotypes and yadda, yadda, yadda. Yeah, I’ve heard all that and I can appreciate the argument. I mean, if I had a daughter, I would never let her run around with fishy friends wearing nothing more than a couple of seashells. Seriously, let’s teach our girls to dress in a manner that leaves a little to the imagination. But, I digress…
I’m talking about my relationship with you, Disneyland, and you had me at Churro.
For the last several years, you’ve been our run away place. Life has been stressful and intense for a long time. It seems that there was always a new hurdle to jump, a new gap to leap, a new way to invent more time out of too little. However, a few days with you was always rejuvenating. Between your warm sunshine, your refreshing Dole Whip, and your impeccably clean sidewalks, we found a wellspring of joy.
I told my sister-in-law that I love my kids more while I’m at Disneyland. She laughed because it’s a silly thing to say. And I don’t mean that I truly love them more while there within your borders, but I do feel as though my love is flowing more purely in a certain way. I’m less distracted by all the things I should be doing, and all the things they should be doing better. We are just there together, focused on each other. What do you want to do next? we ask each other, which is another way of saying, I want you to be happy. I guess I should pretend I’m at Disneyland more often.
You have been a gift we’ve given our children. I always wanted to recognize that these years have not been a cakewalk for them. They’ve needed breaks just as much as we have.
Part of my memories with you will include so many other people: Ryan’s mom, my parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and dear friends. A trip to your magical land was always made sweeter when we were with the people we love.
I think what gets me the most is thinking about Walt Disney himself—a dreamer. On more than one occasion, I have become choked up walking down your manicured paths and thinking about how one man had this crazy idea to make a place that kids and parents could enjoy together. I love people like that. They make me want to have crazy ideas of my own.
Thank you for good times, glorious weather, overpriced food and snacks. Thank you for cheerful employees and a shuttle system that even I can figure out. Thank you for insanely good cookies, brownies, mint juleps, and turkey legs the size of a newborn. Thank you for great rides that we can all enjoy, parades, fireworks, and souvenirs. But most of all, thank you for being a place that will hold fond memories for my kids for the rest of their lives.
And even though it will be a little more difficult to arrange, I hope to see you again and again.