So, granted I don’t post all that regularly, but last week’s silence had purpose. You see, I was in Disneyland, taking my five year-old daughter for her first visit. And it was a wonderful time.
I’ve always loved Disneyland, but seeing it through the eyes of my child made it even better.
The drive down was fine–we left a little later than we’d intended, and we got hit by rush hour traffic just as we hit Los Angeles, so we didn’t get to our hotel until about 5:30, nine hours after we’d left Sacramento. We checked in, got dinner, and settled in to watch my daughter’s (current) favorite movie, Brave.
The next day we began our Disney time. We’d bought two-day passes, but only for one park–we didn’t think the California Adventure park would have much our kid would be interested in. At her insistence, we went straight to Star Tours. She was excited, until we got into the ride itself. About thirty seconds into it, she grabbed my arm in fright and exclaimed, “Daddy, this was a bad idea! We should not have come on this ride!” Later, she said she loved it, but I’m just not sure–and she wouldn’t go back on it.
And that’s how she felt about a lot of the rides. Sadly, a lot of the Fantasyland rides are the sort where you sit in a cart, which then zooms around while overly-loud crap happens in your face. She hated them.
What did she like? Tom Sawyer’s island, where she could run around to her heart’s content. She loved the Haunted Mansion, and Autopia, and Winnie the Pooh’s adventure. She LOVED the Tiki Room, and the Jungle Ride, and It’s a Small World, and she was ok with The Pirates of the Caribbean. But her favorite part was the Jedi Training Academy.
She got chosen to be in the show, and was vibrating with excitement. She loved it, especially going up against Darth Vader in the show’s grand finale. It was all she could talk about the rest of the night.
But the part I’ll remember most is her face during the nightly fireworks show, and the fake snow that showers the streets immediately after. She will, I am sure, remember those few minutes for a long, long time, and so will we. I felt, in that moment, like I was in a magical moment that would stay with me forever, when I shared something with my daughter that doesn’t come along more than once every few years.
She’s already looking forward to our next visit, when she’ll be eight or so. She knows she’ll be into more of the grownup rides, then, and more eager to see the stuff she won’t clearly remember.
And I find, I can’t wait, either.