I’ve only visited the happiest place on earth five times in my youth, but I consider Disneyland to be my home and sacred place. I fell in love with Disney when I was five years old after being granted a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to go to Disney World. The characters and cast members greeted me with open arms, and for the first time in my life, I felt safe. Disneyland was no different as I strolled through Main Street U.S.A., carried my Mickey Mouse doll with me wherever I went, rode the Mad Tea Party, and visited Mickey’s house twice back-to-back.
I was so desperate to return to Disneyland as I got older. Commercials were playing on TV about the renovation of Disney California Adventure Park, and I wanted to ride all the attractions I was too young to experience at the time. I finally returned in Spring 2013, and I felt like I was in heaven. My memory of the happiest place on earth got even better because being 13-14 years old, I could interact more with the characters (rather than nod my head like a typical 5-6 year old would do), and I rode all these rides I’ve dreamt of going on for years. Those included Splash Mountain, Radiator Springs Racers, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and California Screamin.’
The buildings and queues for the attractions and shows were real; they were right in front of my eyes. After seeing commercials and pictures of Disneyland many, many times since my first visit, I felt like I was dreaming. Maybe because it was only my parents and me for that trip, meaning I got to do whatever I wanted, but I enjoyed my second visit to the happiest place on earth.
When I’m not at Disneyland, I watch YouTube videos of the attractions and vloggers’ trips to the happiest place on earth, or I’m looking through their social media and searching the internet for any updates on the parks. More so now, due to the current situation. I’m no Disney expert, but I love researching the history of my favorite attractions; it’s so fascinating to see what Snow White’s Scary Adventures looked like when it first opened. Also, In Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, there’s a scene where guests can hear the Cheshire Cat’s voice from the Alice in Wonderland ride (I learned that from YouTube). The reason for that is because the ride building is home to both of those rides: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride on the bottom floor and Alice in Wonderland on the second floor.
I’ve had so many joyful memories at Disneyland. From seeing the Christmas decorations on It’s a Small World to riding Grizzly River Run five times in a row late at night to meeting Oswald for the first time to beating my mom at Toy Story Midway Mania! I only beat her one time, but hey, one time is better than nothing.
Another memory that stands out to me is riding The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Fall 2016 before they closed to transition into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! I also bought a shirt in memory of the original ride. The Guardians of the Galaxy attraction is epic, though! On my most recent trip in summer 2018, I rode it in the back and front, and let me tell you what a difference seating can be for the ride experience!
The last time I went to Disneyland was a month before Pixar Pier opened up, so I already miss the happiest place on earth. I miss everything about it; the buildings, Sleeping Beauty’s castle, walking across the street from the hotel to get into the parks, the smell of churros and turkey legs, the Disney music, Cars Land, the smell of pirate water from Pirates of the Caribbean, the characters, and the attractions. Disney World is open, but I grew up with Disneyland because it was more affordable to go there, being from Hawaii. I love how enclosed Disneyland is, though, and that it’s smaller than Disney World, and it also has the benefit of being the only Disney theme park Walt Disney has ever visited.
I’m not the only one who misses Disneyland, however, as many others miss visiting Disneyland. Sure, there’s Disney World, but both parks are entirely different (not just in size), and what about the people that can’t afford to travel to Florida? They have to wait a year or two until California is ready to open up again?
It hurts my heart, knowing that Disneyland can’t be open and make magic for people during a time where happiness is needed the most! As lame as it sounds, I don’t want Disney to lose money and eventually have to close down. I’m so scared that will happen one day. I know that things are complicated right now with the government and COVID-19, etc. But I don’t want Disneyland to be closed any longer; something has to happen for businesses in California to survive! We miss you, Disneyland, and until things get better, thank you for all the memories you’ve given me!
Take care and see ya real soon!