When I worked with Kindergartners they would say things like, "She just said the B word!" To be diplomatic I would ask them what "B word" that might be, at which point I'd get a wet, lingering whisper close to my ear with a cupped hand, "Shut up." Sometimes when I'm trying to remember something I'll say, "It starts with a V" only to realise approximately 47.2 seconds later that it, in fact, started with a J.
But this time I really mean the D-word. Perhaps not the D-words mothers of young children, or those who are once-again single are thinking. No, this is by far a more rewarding/grueling experience.
To start, am I the only person in the world who positively abhors "It's A Small World" but rides it every trip just because her mother loves it? The puppets, and the singing, and the same song over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over (are you getting the picture yet?) again...I don't care how many languages it's in! The pitch never changes! The tune is the same! By the time we float out I'm growling through clenched teeth and doubled-up fists, "It's a world of laughter, a world of TEARS!"
However, to be fair, I still love Dumbo. It's one of my first Disneyland memories. Up and down, up and down, flying on Dumbo's back with a magic feather. And it's just that. Magic.
For the first time in many trips there were small children with us on our visit to the Happiest Place on Earth. For Christmas 2009 we were given this trip. All told there were 41 of us from my mother's side. It's the first family vacation I've been on with my older sister in seven years. She has three children ages 6, 4 (he turned four there--it was pure bliss), and 15 months. There is nothing quite like seeing Disneyland through a child's eyes. We sprung a whopping $38 a pop to have character dinner at Goofy's Kitchen (located at the Disney Resort--not even CLOSE to Disneyland). It was worth every cent. We met Goofy, Pluto, Cinderella, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty for those of you not in the know), Minnie, and Chip (from Chip and Dale of the Rescue Rangers, not to be confused with Chippendale's...). Even the toddler LOVED the characters. It was totally precious to watch him run up to Koda in California Adventure with his eyes open wide, arms spread, and huge smile on his face.
For as much as I was grumpanilla (yeah, go figure) the lines didn't seem that long. The weather was perfect. Everything just seemed to work out.
And during one of my five waits for Space Mountain I was pondering whether or not my nephew who turned four would remember any of this. But at the age of four I made my first trip to Disneyland. I remember Dumbo and I remember Space Mountain. I rode it with my mom (who hates roller coasters). I was wearing a mint green sweatsuit set with a white panel complete with Care Bears (we are talking old-school legit; this was 1989, after all) across the chest. I remember loving Space Mountain. I remember my mom pointing out how my shirt lit up under the black lights. And I remember meeting Mickey Mouse. Back then characters didn't have the scheduled stations like they do now, at least it doesn't seem like they did. Finding a character was a chance meeting. We looked for him all day to no avail. And then, like a commercial, as we were walking across the Sleeping Beauty Castle bridge back to the main square there he was, all in black. It was dark, and it was perfect. It was the only thing I had wanted from the whole trip, and I got it.
41 people. 4 generations. 864 miles. 8 vehicles. 8 days. Christmas 2009-Disneyland 2010. Countless adventures, priceless memories.