Who doesn’t love Disneyland?

Who doesn’t love Disneyland? Some of the best memories in my life were taking my kids there. The excitement and anticipation of meeting the characters, going on the rides, the shows, the parade, and fireworks, Disneyland truly is the happiest place on earth. I remember my first trip to Disneyland, I was 10 and my best friend Nikki invited me to go with her family. I can remember not being able to sleep the night before we were to leave, the butterflies in my stomach were relentless and would not allow me to sleep.
As an adult, I know that is how my children felt the night before we left for Disneyland. The hardest part was waiting until the next day to head to the park; we didn’t want to waste a ticket on a partial day. So we fell asleep to the booms and crackles from the fireworks, but I am not sure any of us truly slept. We woke up early the next morning and headed out, but of course we were too early to get in and had to stand in line forever, or so it seemed, time does tend to move slowly when you are as excited as we all were.
It is all part of the experience though, standing in line, being able to see the beautiful flowers just inside, arranged to spell out Disneyland in various colors. Standing in the warm California sun, the smell of sunscreen being generously applied by parents, hearing the giggles and seeing the excitement on the faces of everyone else in line with us, there is nothing better. When the gates finally open and the line begins to move, the anticipation builds; where will we go first? What characters will we run into?

I recommend “It’s a Small World”, as you slowly cruise in a boat, you see all the lovely dancing animatronic dolls, dressed in bright colorful costumes, representing the various countries around the world. You also hear singing and music in coordination with each individual country. Seeing the glimmer in the eyes of my kids and the other children is priceless. The line for Splash Mountain is usually long, but worth the wait, and it allows the anticipation to build. When you finally reach the front of the line, you climb into a log flume, and so begins an exhilarating ride.
There are twists and turns and characters from Disney’s 1946 film “Song of the South” around every corner. You get splashed from time to time, and then you begin to climb, slowly, almost straight up, when you reach the peak and crest the top, you plummet 53 feet, where, guaranteed, you will get wet. One of the best parts of Disneyland is meeting the characters; Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto are the main characters everyone must meet. The Disney Princesses, dressed beautifully, gowns shimmering in the sunlight, smiling at the little girls who truly believe they are the “real” princesses, are well worth the wait.
To see the wonder on your little girls face when she finally sees her favorite princess, or when your son first meets his hero, Buzz Lightyear, larger than life, wearing his space suit, and Sheriff Woody, in his cowboy hat and boots, all ready to sign autograph books, is priceless. By the end of the day, you feel exhausted, but still excited; it is time to watch the parade. Different every few years and always filled with bright and colorful floats carrying guests of the park and Disney characters.
You will also see characters dancing and singing and interacting with the hundreds of people lining Main Street. There is a buzz in the air, it is almost electric, and you can feel the excitement, especially from the kids. As the parade draws to an end, and the sun begins to sink in the western sky, a new energy begins to build; the fireworks show will start soon. It is difficult to describe the fireworks, they are amazing; brilliant explosions of color, set in time with music, ending with Tinkerbells flight.
When the show is over, you see parents scooping up their kids, some already asleep, and carry them to the gates to head home or back to the hotel. For many, the adventure is over, for others, it will repeat for a few days, but it is bittersweet when the trip is over and you know you won’t be returning for a while, if ever again. The characters, the rides, the shows, the parade, and fireworks, feeling the excitement and creating memories to last a lifetime, no matter how you look at it Disneyland is by far the happiest place on earth.

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