17 February 2015

Disneyland is Your Land

When you are a child who grew up in the in central Florida in the 1980s Walt Disney World is the kaleidoscope that you view all things Disney through. That is especially true of thinking about other parks outside of the Vacation Kingdom. Disneyland may be Walt’s first park, but you see the same untapped potential that he did for the massive plot of land in Florida, whether or not Walt saw the park completed. When you start looking at Disneyland it is almost a Bizarro version of the set-up you have come to know, trust, and love. Although I would venture a guess that California natives feel the same way when they look across to Walt Disney World.

Today I set off for my second excursion to Disneyland. The first whirlwind tour I gave the resort seven years ago gave me a nibble of what the place is to its regulars, but that was before it received blue-sky budgeted refurbishments. It made me want to come back for more, and I’m finally getting that chance. The real question is, when you grow up with two parks, a monorail, and a handful of resorts and then watch your home burgeon with more parks, resorts, and entertainment than you can shake a stick at, how do you look at Disneyland and its two parks, a monorail, and handful of resorts? What do you look forward to?

I’ll tell you right now, I was more than a little disheartened to hear that multiple, entire lands would be closed, the castle is covered in scrims, World of Color is revamping, and attractions like Matterhorn, Peter Pan’s Flight, and the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough would be shuttered during my stay. Yet, even that was short-lived, because that isn’t why I’m so excited to walk the streets of Disneyland once again.

It is where it all began. A man with his carrousel and steam trains. These were the avenues and waterways that Walt built with his own imagination. He walked among the guests here. Sat in his place above the fire house or overlooking New Orleans Square. You can stand where he stood and dream about what he envisioned for all the tomorrows of Disneyland. Moreover, you know there were lessons learned here, you can see them in the pavement, mistakes were made. And while we can all look up to and marvel at the world Walt create, here he was just a man (no matter what he said about being the king of Disneyland).

Disneyland has a slower pace to me. You don’t have to scramble through every minute of every day just to make it memorable, you do that just by being there and sitting, watching, and reflecting. There is history and wonder here, everything is old and new at the same time, and it is a pilgrimage. A place where we all recognize something important happened.

Would I love to sit in Walt’s fire house apartment? Sure. What wouldn’t I give for a bite or two at Club 33. But those aren’t the experiences that will make this trip successful. It will be living in those immortal words, even if for only a few days, that Walt utter when he first dedicated Disneyland. “Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past… and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.”

Now, please forgive me if I throw on Walt Disney Takes You to Disneyland and wander the lands as if it were the 1960s. If you see me in Disneyland over the next few days, I’ll be real easy to recognize. I’m the 30-something meandering about like an 8 year old boy turned loose in the park for the first time.

1 comment:

otisney said...

Excellent post! It's always fun to read about Disneyland from a true Disney fan's perspective, even if you haven't been there too often. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the place as it is now. Thanks, Ryan!