Where The Magic’s At

Each time spent there is different. The people I’m with are different—the conversations, the adventures. Whether I’m with my extended family, people from youth group, or doing things I’ve never done before, like riding the horseless carriage or going to Toon-town to visit Minnie’s house, it’s always an enjoyable experience. There was a time when my family had a little vacation at Disneyland and stayed at one of the Disney hotels for three days. Then, there are the times that you make a spontaneous decision with your sisters and decide to get an annual pass, to fill your weekends with things to do.

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I have found myself eating at the Carnation café, eating the famous Mickey waffle and watching Goofy and Pluto play duck, duck, goose with little kids. A game I hadn’t played in years.

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Other times, the unexpected happened, such as when my sisters and I babysat a friend’s kid at Disneyland. That day was filled with snot and saliva everywhere, and laughter at baby Joe because he was terrified to take pictures with any of the Disney characters. There was another time when I went with my friends from high school, who had not been there in years!

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My alarm went off on a cold day in January. It was 6:00 in the morning–time for me to wake up. My eyes were still groggy, filled with sleep. Somehow, I managed to stumble to the bathroom, getting ready for the long day ahead. A day where I was going to spend sixteen hours at Disneyland, with my friends from high school. Cassandra, on the other hand, was not too thrilled with the idea. She wanted to get her beauty rest (I can’t blame her), and telling her to wake up at 6:00 a.m. was not the thing she wanted to hear (it was after all winter break).

After what took us thirty minutes to get ready, we left with our mom to pick up our friends. We picked up Grace on Sunset Blvd, then Aylin on Las Tunas Drive. From there my mom got on the I-10 E., took the I-605 S, and drove the I-5 for Santa Ana. Car rides at times can be awkward depending on who you’re with. Sometimes silence fills the air, and at other times it doesn’t make itself known. This car ride was different, we chatted away about our favorite rides at Disneyland, how our winter break has been, and how it had been way too long since we’ve last seen each other. Suddenly silence showed up, but not in the way that we expected. Shortly after, everyone was closing their eyes and taking a nap, as we realized that we had a long day ahead of us. Upon this, we arrived at the park at around 8am and were greeted by what seemed like millions of cars. There were cars from myriads of different places. Cars from Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and even London! After what felt like hours, our mom dropped us off at the Goofy structure and we headed down to the escalators to get our bags checked. While we were in line, our older sister, Ally, pointed out that Cassandra, Grace, and I matched in our green parkas and gray hoodies. We laughed about the fact that Aylin didn’t get the memo as she was donning a brown leather jacket. Thereafter, we embarked on the tram that took us to the front gates of Disneyland Resort.

Now for those of you who probably don’t know what Disneyland is, it’s an amusement park located in always sunny Southern California. It first opened on July 17th, 1955. The concept for Disneyland came about when Walt Disney (the founder of the place) was visiting Griffith Park with his daughters and thought that there should be a place where adults and children could go and have fun together. Walt’s ideas were quite elaborate and out of this world. The amusement park was to include rivers, waterfalls, and mountains. Amidst all of that the park would have flying elephants, giant teacups, a fairy tale castle and some moon rockets. The original plan for the park was going to be eight acres. However, plans changed when the constructors realized it was too small, and opted for a place of 100 acres. Although, the plan changed once again, they finally settled on 160 acres. Walt Disney was firm in his decision that it had to be located in the Los Angeles area and accessible. Walt and his crew finally settled on Disneyland’s location to be in Anaheim, California. The construction of the park took a total of 12 months. July 17th, 1955 was opening day, and over 28,000 people entered the park. However, the day wasn’t magical as many were greeted by the infamous heat wave, rising temperatures to almost 110 degrees. Even though the opening day, had a few malfunctions, that doesn’t take away the fact that ever since then millions of people continue to visit Disneyland daily. Disneyland is made up of eight different lands: Main Street, Adventureland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown and Tomorrowland. Each land is different in not only its characteristics, but themes as well.

Once Aylin and Grace had bought their one-day ticket for $120, we entered the park and walked on Main Street. Every store we walked by had a strong aroma of sweets. We stopped in front of the castle, took some pictures and walked around Royal Hall where we saw Rapunzel and Flynn.

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The entire time, we were taking in the view of the rides around us. We went on several rides in Fantasyland, such as It’s a Small World, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and King Arthur’s Carrousel. After that, we decided to go over to Adventureland (my favorite land) and got on Indiana Jones (my favorite ride). The details of this ride, are so intricate. As we were waiting in line, it felt like we were in a jungle. Once we got inside, the atmosphere changes, and it was as if we were venturing inside a cave. Afterwards, we tackled Critter Country where Aylin and Grace went on Splash Mountain. Upon this, Cassandra and I took that time to sit and relax. Walking around the park can get one tired (so it’s always advisable to wear comfortable shoes).

As I was sitting on the bench, I took in the view around me. I realized that there were people from all different parts of the world and different nationalities. Many different languages were spoken. In addition, I saw people of all kinds. Families, pre-teens, teenagers, couples, sports teams, old people, even babies. Just about every age was present at Disneyland. Furthermore, mostly everyone was donning some sort of Disney apparel. Couples wore shirts that claim “he’s mine” or “she’s mine”, some people wore Mickey shirts and mostly every teenage girl wore her Mickey ears or Monster’s University hat.

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Once Aylin and Grace got out of Splash Mountain we made our way to New Orleans, where we endured a long line to get a beignet—a square of fried dough that is often sprinkled with powdered sugar. I had seen so many people eating beignets, that I had made it my goal to try them. They were a delicious delight! The powdered sugar melted right on your tongue, and the bread was just right as it was taken fresh out of the oven.

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(Image by Madison Orihuela @dearmadison)

From there, we went on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride and went to take a picture with Pooh, Eeyore, and Tigger.

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Shortly thereafter, we got hungry and headed back to Fantasyland, and ate at the Village Haus, where my family goes to eat often. It offers different meals such as pizza, hamburgers, and salad. I got my usual meal of pizza and fries. Grace got a hamburger and Aylin went for a veggie burger. Cassandra opted out of eating at the Village Haus and instead got a sandwich at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café located on Main Street. We checked our clocks and were surprised to see that it was 5:00 p.m. only to realize that time had slowly melted away. By then, we were tired and exhausted and pretty much wanted to sit. We laughed about the fact that we felt like old ladies. Night fell fast upon us and we found ourselves asking one another, “What do you want to do?”

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At that time, we remembered that we had gotten fast passes to Big Thunder Railroad and walked over to Frontierland. From there, we decided to just walk around the park and noticed that a parade was about to start at 6:30 p.m. We found a spot to stand and watched the parade. Aylin like a little girl squealed with delight as she saw her favorite characters in the parade.

As a result of the day’s events, what I thought was going to be a day of spending sixteen hours at Disneyland park, turned out to be fourteen hours. Exhausted from the day, we called Grace’s mom to pick us up at the McDonalds near Disneyland located on Harbor Blvd. On the ride back, we found ourselves reminiscing about how Disneyland is truly a magical place. It has the “magic” to make us forget about our problems, feel like a kid for the day, even when the forces of time try to grab a hold of us. Moreover, Disneyland had the effect of making you feel like you’re in another world. I realized that in a way, time stopped at Disney, and anything was possible. After all, it’s where the magic happens!

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(Image by Eve Taylor @evetaylorr)

What rides to ride: Disneyland offers myriads of rides from slow paced rides that families can enjoy with their kids to thrilling adventure like “the wild ride of the wilderness” (Big Thunder Railroad). If you have little kids with you, Fantasyland and Mickey’s Toon Town is the best place to go. Little kids will enjoy going on It’s a Small World and Alice in Wonderland, amongst many others. For those of you seeking thrill and adventure Hyperspace Mountain, Splash Mountain and the Matterhorn Bobsleds is where it’s at. Those rides are located in Tomorrow land, Frontierland, and Critter Country.

Where to Eat: Depending on the time of day, you arrive at the park, there are many options. Main Street is filled with many dining places to choose from. My personal favorite is Carnation Café, where one has the choice of picking through an assortment of meals. However, if you do decide to eat at Carnation Café, make sure to book a reservation in advance. Chances are if you haven’t booked a reservation, the staff will have a hard time accommodating you. Tomorrowland offers pasta and salad over at Red Rockets Pizza Fort. If your looking for a fancy restaurant to take that special someone look no further than the Blue Bayou Restaurant. The restaurant itself can be a little pricey, but the view is amazing as you look out and see the ominous waters that lurk beyond.

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