Disneyland 2011

Here’s a picture of my family and I at Disneyland, when I was about 7 years old…

And here’s a picture of my daughter and I at Disneyland a few weeks ago, 27 years later….

On the surface, Disneyland hasn’t changed all that much. Everyone still takes their first picture at the entrance in front of the Mickey Mouse-shaped manicured lawn, walks through Main Street to get to the rides, and complains about the lines that look deceivingly short.

In reality though, I feel that Disneyland has changed a lot. It’s become somewhat of a kids’ Hollywood, where parents frantically help their children chase down character “celebrities”, wait hours in line to get an autograph, and pay special prices to get a front seat for the red carpet-style parade where we beam and wave back at the characters who continue to blow kisses at us. Still, it’s one of my favorite places to visit with children, because their enthusiasm and love for this theme park is absolutely priceless.

Perhaps we go to Disneyland with different perspectives depending on our age group. I recall how mesmerized I was during my first trip to Disneyland at 7 years old. It truly was ‘the happiest place on earth’ for me. Throughout my young adult years, I continued to take sporadic trips there with my friends. I enjoyed the adult rides like Splash Mountain and avoided the kiddy rides like It’s A Small World at all cost. Disneyland was where I went for high school grad night, and it was also where Alan and I took one of our first trips when we began dating. Throughout the years, this theme park has remained special to me, so needless to say, I had Disney plans for Bridgette since the day she was born.

At 4 years old, Bridgette has already been to Disneyland 4 times, twice in Hong Kong and twice in Anaheim. She can’t stop talking about it, mainly because she is so in love with all the Disney princesses. Last year, we had a fantastic time at Disneyland with her good friend Karina. Bridgette was 3 then, and had the sense to start appreciating Disneyland as something more special than the playground by our house. This year, we traveled with Karina again, plus a few more of Bridgette’s good friends, Chloe, Sean, and Ryan. Needless to say, the kids went wild together…

We were able to see the new show, World of Color, at California Adventure which I thought was just mediocre. Maybe it had to do with my overly high expectations, or the fact that we paid for an expensive theme park meal to get preferred seating, but I definitely felt a little disappointed at the quality of the show. We also got to experience the new Little Mermaid ride, called Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. Bridgette and the kids really enjoyed it, but let’s just say I was glad we didn’t end up waiting 1+ hour in line for that ride. We went 15 minutes before park closing, so there was hardly a line at all!

One main highlight for Bridgette was learning ‘princess etiquette’ from her three favorite princesses–Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora. Bridgette, along with about 50 other little girls, stared in adoration and admiration as the princesses danced on stage and taught them how to curtsy and wave like a true princess.

To sum it up, even though I never made it to Splash Mountain, rode It’s A Small World 3 times, and waited for hours to see the Disney princesses, we had a terrific time! The kids’ excitement was contagious, and well worth all the stress on the parents’ part! We’ll definitely go back next year 🙂

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