The last time I went to Disneyland, I was 16. I was on a trip with my high school orchestra and justifiably (I think) confused about why we weren’t visiting the beach during our short reprieve from the Arizona desert.
I’ve never really been Disneyland’s No. 1 fan. I think it’s an amazing place full of fun rides and inventive lands, but when the cost easily competes with what I’d pay to go on a trip to one of the real places depicted in “small world,” I have to draw the line.
But despite my ambivalence toward “The happiest place on Earth,” my interest was recently piqued when I remembered I still had this on my Summer Bucket List: “23. Indulge in a local tourist trap.” Even more enticing, my best friend and favorite theme-park companion was in town and my fabulous “cast member” roommate was able to get us in for free! Sold.
Arriving late (for Disneyland standards), we were thrilled to discover it was actually a pretty quiet day at the park and quickly bebopped around from the new Cars Land in California Adventure to Disneyland classics like Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. We also discovered, after seeing several people dressed in swanky retro attire, that it was “Dapper Day” at the park and spent a good amount of time drooling over the various ensembles. (I was smarting a bit about that one since I love to take any excuse to dawn a retro outfit.) We ended the day with a bang, first watching the fireworks display and then the spectacular World of Color show.
While I don’t think I’ll ever become an annual-pass-holder, I was completely and utterly smitten with my day at the park. I didn’t realize what a treat it would be to experience Disneyland as an adult. Taking moments to consider all the amazing ingenuity and creativity that has gone into the place, I appreciated it that much more. In its own small way, Disneyland may have made a No. 1 fan out of me after all.