I have been thinking a lot about Disneyland lately. Perhaps this is because I have neglected to go in over two years. According to my track record of Disneyland visits, I am way overdue. With at least a dozen trips to the Happiest Place on Earth, my fondness for the Magical Kingdom of Disney extends well beyond admiration and verges on obsession.
How can a place so sterile, predictable, and, well, touristy, top my list of favorite travel destinations? Well, how could it not? Disneyland is magical and reminds us all that growing up is highly overrated.
Evidence that Disneyland really is the Happiest Place on Earth.
My first visit to Disneyland was at the young age of four. Being a single mom, my mother worked her butt off to get me there. So, when I came down with the chicken pox the day before our scheduled departure she layered in me in tights and a turtleneck and we boarded that plane regardless.
Camera shy? A bit. Or maybe the presence of Snow White in the flesh left me gobsmacked.
From then on, Disneyland became a routine summer vacation through the years. My Dad grew up in Chino, California and had family living in the Disneyland vicinity. So, presto, family reunion Disney style.
Working as a nanny has also resulted in many a Disney vacation. Two work trips in particular stand out. In 2001, while waiting in our hotel room to leave for the park, we received news that the Twin Towers in New York had been struck by planes. Disneyland has only had three unscheduled closures: the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, following an earthquake in 1994, and September 11, 2001. Needless to say it was a very harrowing day and one that will never be forgotten. On the other hand, I will never forget the trip to Disneyland while working for a family with seven children. Just the mom and I took the kids. That's two adults and seven children. We were severely outnumbered, but returned unscathed. Harrowing indeed.
So after all these visits, what keeps Disneyland so magical? Just see for yourself:
Where else can you ride a pirate ship on the same day as orbiting the moon?
Or experience the wild of an African safari?
While never straying far from the family farm.
Disneyland is full of geographical diversity. From the Swiss Matterhorn to the red rock desert of Utah, it's like taking a trip a round the world in a matter of minutes.
Plus, the castles are out of the world and come complete with scores of royal families.
Disneyland brings out the child in everyone. Even these tight lipped businessmen.
And even techies will find something to admire in the fascinating light displays of the Electrical Parade.
But at the end of the day, Disneyland reminds us all that life can't be taken too seriously. Despite our attempts to grow up and become adults, deep down we want to believe that the Princess will meet her Prince Charming and Fairy Godmothers exist. In my world they do. Just check out my Prince Charming.