Friday, March 16, 2012

Wish Upon a Star

When I was young I remember my brother and I would have our routine Sunday night bath. After we were squeaky clean and covered in fresh jammies we would sit in front of the wooden floor model TV and wait for it... the castle, the song, Tinkerbell tapping her magic wand, and then a swirling collage of all the characters.  I always hoped it would be a cartoon and not a movie. 

I dreamed of going to Disneyland, even though I don't really think I knew what it was.  I just knew that it must be someplace good.  So when we told our girls that we were going to Disneyland, they were silly- excited.  And I'm imagining that their little brains were working much like mine, thinking "I'm not sure what this Disneyland place is all about but it must be good because everyone wants to go there!"

But unlike my childhood, my girls don't have to wait until Sunday night to experience the magic that is Disney.  They have it PVR'd, on DVD, on iPad, and 24-7 on Disney Junior.  And we've always known that we would take them to Disney someday, maybe when they were a bit older.  We had mentioned to Callie once that we would possibly go when Lexi was five and she was seven. 

One day Callie was telling her dad about a commercial for Disneyland that she seen on Disney Junior somewhere between Higglytown Heros and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  "...Dad, I seen a baby at Disneyland, so if babies can go I think Lexi could go to Disneyland. "

Our trip to this magical, man-made, wonderland was beyond anything a five year old could imagine.  Beyond anything her mama could imagine too. 

When Callie was just two years old she discovered Mickey Mouse.  For some it was Dora, for others it was the Princesses or Elmo or Lightening McQueen.  But for my Callie, it was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that became her first obsession.  It was the theme of her second birthday party.  And I can't even tell you how many times I have done the Hot Dog Dance. 

In the past three years Callie's repertoire of shows has expanded, thankfully, so we can all keep our sanity.  As of lately, a green and purple guy named Buzz has caught her fancy.

We posed for the photo opps with character after character...because that is what you do the first time you're at Disney.  Mickey's Toon Town was one of Callie's favorite places.  She said, "Mom, it looks like we are inside the TV."  Toon Town is where we weaved in and out through the corridors of Mickey's house to the private back room where we got to meet the Mickster himself.  No picture though.  Because Mickey was the first celebrity that we met, the photo has Jon and I each carrying a girl with their heads buried deep in our shoulders.  

Mickey is a lot bigger in real life than he is on TV. 

When I was going through the thousands of pictures of our vacation, deciding which ones to edit, crop, and perfect, I declared these two of my favorite...

...because these two photos display what going to Disney meant for me.  Not the big castle or the rides or meeting the Mouse.  It was being together.  As a family.  Having our moments. Making our Memories.  It just so happens that we were at the Happiest Place on Earth.  And the fact that by looking at these two photos and thinking that they could have been taken anywhere is the exact reason I love them.  Because I know that we didn't need to travel thousands of miles from our home to make our girls happy.   I, and many others, didn't have the opportunity to go to Disneyland as a child and yet we managed to survive to adulthood completely intact with buckets full of other good memories.   

But when opportunity knocks, with something big, I say go for it.  And it was awesome.

When we got off the airport shuttle in front of our hotel, the girls' Nana and Papa were standing amidst the Mickey and Minnie statues at the front entrance.  We knew they would be there but we kept that information to ourselves as a little surprise to the girls.  And their reaction to seeing their Nana and Papa, after missing them for the past several months,  was how they greeted most things at Disneyland.  Not with screaming and jumping and uncontrolled excitement like they show on TV. 

They were quiet.  Wide eyed.  Biting fingernails.  In awe.

And I was in awe because I love the details.  The costumes in the parade, the pristine paintings, the immaculate streets... overwhelming visual stimulation.  I see why people go back time and time again.  Each time you would see something different even though nothing had changed.  Except maybe your perspective.

It's quite possible that the girls won't recall the details from this experience in the long run.  Lexi won't remember how she loved the Disneyland rental strollers.  Callie won't remember swimming in the pool until the moon shone brightly in the sky.  They likely won't recall how the headboard in our hotel room had
fireworks and played When You Wish Upon a Star.  Or how we played eye spy for all the Mickey shapes.

They may not remember all the details.  But they will remember that this Disneyland's something good.


Christine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine said...

Oops... I put the wrong thing so I had to delete the first comment. beautiful photos....... my faves are chef Pluto at your table and the photo of all of you on the lonely street! Great trip!