I remember this one time I went to Disneyland for the first time EVER. I was not quite seven and I have no idea how my Mom and Dad could possibly pay for all six of us to go on such an expensive trip. It was important to them though because Dad was going to die that following October and I guess watching us enjoy Disneyland was right there at the top of his list of things to do before he left.
I remember racing from ride to ride. I remember wandering along the aisles of the Disney gift shops with my Mom, carefully choosing my souvenir (Dale) and posing for a now infamous photograph with my sisters and brothers and our cousins. I remember the picture clearly because I held Dale in front of my face to block the scalding sun as it took our parents forever to wind their ghetto cameras and snap the perfect photo. The picture is now hanging at GRAMPA’S house…poster size.
But what I remember most was the turmoil my pesky four year old brother caused when he went and fell off that damn Merry-Go-Round. Adults rushed to his aid, paramedics swarmed him, and a wheel chair was immediately brought to the scene. For crying out LOUD, I thought, it’s just a Merry-Go-Round!!
At the time it was purely a nuisance. An obstacle between me riding on Dumbo and me riding on the Tea Cups. He really ended up being just fine.
When we took the girls to Disneyland last week and it got dark on our last night and magic filled the air as it does every night, we stood in line to ride Dumbo one last time.
I pointed to the Merry-Go-Round and was all “Did I ever tell you my brother fell off that very Merry-Go-Round?” and Pat was all “No really?” and I was all “Yes, like right there in that very spot!”.
As I floated through space with my own little girl on the back of that little grey elephant I thought about how Disneyland has essentially stayed the same.
Sure there is growth…new roller coasters and an extended park…but the core of Disneyland is the same. The Merry-Go-Round, the tea cups, Dumbo, Small World, the castle…all of it is still there even after all these years.
I guess we’re kind of the same like that.