An Amusement Park is My Alternate Reality

Going through the tunnel, I see the plaque and it reminds me that inside is a magical, brightly colored world that is whatever I make it to be.
Like Cinderella's entrance at the ball or Wendy, Michael and John's first views of enchanted Never Land, I walk through the gate and under the tunnel and I am in another world. 

"Here you leave the world of today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy." Walt Disney

Ever since I was little, I have always gotten really, really excited about Disneyland. Embarrassingly enough, I am impatient to go the day we go and if I'm ready before Mr. Wonder I stare at him, get everything in the car and then sigh if he's STILL not ready.
Even as a 31-year-old adult I still wake up the morning of a trip to Disneyland, look at the clock, and figure out if we had gotten up earlier, we would already be leaving to go to Disneyland.

(Wonder Boy excitedly waiting for Mickey yesterday.)
When I'm at Disneyland, the outside world does not exist. I love that as an annual pass holder all I need is gas money and a sack lunch and Wonder Boy and I can go enjoy ourselves riding rides, people watching and breathing in the air of a world that only exists with the imagination of a child.

When I was dating my husband, we both got annual passes and we would spend every other Friday night at Disneyland soaking up the romantic atmosphere.

Some people are now questioning my sanity at that point. Disneyland... romantic?

Twinkling lights down a colorful path to a castle glowing like a beacon.  A penny thrown and Snow White's wishing with you. A park bench with people watching and a churro.

Holding each other as fireworks fill the air.

With Wonder Boy, I was going to do what my parents did with me. My first trip was 4, and I was given a certificate made by my parents and I held it on the drive down, elated that the sign was like my certificate.

But with my 30th birthday trip, 38 weeks pregnant and an hour away from my OB and husband, I realized that I couldn't let go of it for that long.
Even that immensely pregnant, too big for anything except "It's A Small World" I still walked through the gate and felt everything lift away.
Yes, my 30th birthday, especially since I couldn't party it up, was at Disneyland. My mom went with my since it was during the week.
I also think that was the one time I wore a dress to Disneyland. I'm too sensible for dresses at Disneyland otherwise.
And awkward.
Goodness... my belly is huge.

It really does take a special kind of person to enjoy Disneyland. One that doesn't worry about the cost of a churro, just how delicious it is eating it on a bench.
Not how many ride you can get on in your short day, but the fun you have riding the ones you pick.
Not how long it takes in a line, but enjoying the people you are with and watching the one act-plays of other lives you witness there.

Watching the excitement of children riding something for the first time, seeing something new, trying something different.
Knowing you too had felt that, still feel that sometimes.

The key to loving Disneyland is an open heart and mind.

An annual pass doesn't hurt either.

Laugh with jubilation as the Teacups spin around, your arms out and your face to the sky watching the clouds blur.
Feel the release on Space Mountain as you zip through stars.
Find the brass spike that marked the center of Disneyland and ride the perfect horse on the carousel.


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