Sunday, July 17, 2016

Disneyland Love

Happy 61st Birthday Disneyland!

I can't believe it's already been a full year since Disneyland officially turned 60!  A year ago, I was celebrating a man with a dream.  Without Walt Disney, none of this would be possible. It's hard for me to imagine a world without Disney in it.  It's always been such a huge part of my life.  Walt turned his dream into a reality, and he created a place where millions have made magical memories for the past 61 years.

I'm very fortunate to have been able to celebrate at Disneyland in person during the 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration.  When Disney first announced it's plans for the celebration, I remember thinking how awesome everything looked.  At the time, I wasn't even sure if Eliot and I would be able to make it out to visit once.

Now, as the 60th celebration winds down, I can say that I've been truly blessed.  Not only did I get to see it, but I've been out to Disneyland three times to witness the Diamond Celebration in person.  I'm so thankful I was able to have these opportunities!

And, more importantly, my past three trips have made me fall in love with Disneyland.

Truthfully, I didn't love it nearly as much as I do now.  When I first went with Eliot's family in June of 2009, it was a whirlwind 5 days at the parks.  I went on the rides.  I watched the shows and parades.  Don't get me wrong, I truly enjoyed myself; but Disneyland just didn't feel like "home" the way Walt Disney World always has to me.

After our trip in September, all of that changed.  I took more time to truly learn the parks.  Now, I can navigate through them all by myself without a map.  (Something I wasn't even truly aware of until my April trip when I played tour guide!)  Eliot and I had a few days together where we took the laid back approach.  We did plenty of rides, shows, and parades, but we weren't rushing around from one thing to another.

I took time to look for the little details that make Disney special.  I took pictures of all the Diamond Celebration decorations.  I took more time to soak everything in.  To truly experience it.  In turn, I grew to appreciate it more.  And I fell in love with it.

Disneyland will never be the place where I hold the childhood memories so close to my heart.  But it is the place where one man's dreams first became a reality.  And really, I'm glad that's what I'm taking out of my Disneyland experiences.  Because Disneyland truly is Walt's park.  It holds just as much magic as Walt Disney World, but it also holds all of the hope, the dreams and the sacrifices to make those dreams come true.

Happy Birthday Disneyland.  May you be filled with magic for many more years.  °o°

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