Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My First Love

I will admit, I have had a love before Gavin… and that love is still going strong, only now, I have someone special to share it with. That love is for a special place, a place called, Disneyland.

To me, Disneyland is more than a place, it revisits a time in everyone's childhood when danger and adventure lured us into the possibilities of the imagination. It’s a place where you can be a kid at any age. A place were, just as Uncle Walt said; "Here age relives fond memories of the past." I believe nothing could be more true than those simple words. I know every time I go to the park I feel like I did the first time I visited. There's just a "MAGIC" that gets into your soul that you just can't explain. The place just makes you live for that moment and nothing else. It reminds us of when anything could be believed and make-believe was real. It is the romance of knowing that there is good in this world and that you want to share it with someone, even if it is just holding their hand across a moonlit bridge. It is the magic of promise for better days and the righting of wrongs. It dares you to imagine what life should be and encourages you to make it so. That is what I love about Disneyland. It is "MAGIC FOR THE SOUL"

Some of my fondest memories come from this magical kingdom. One journal entry I found about Disneyland is when we were really little and my grandma promised that when Taylor, the youngest grandchild at the time, turned eight, she would take us there. All six grandchildren were ecstatic for that day we would be able to run into the open arms of that friendly and welcoming mouse.
Well, that day finally came… and passed without any sign of the upcoming trip. Since then, three more grandchildren were born. When the subject was brought up with our grandma, she said that she would take us when Sammy, a newborn at the time, was old enough. The older kids were disappointed because it was likely that we could be married and possibly have our own kids by that time. It looked like our childhood dream of the happiest place on earth would never come true.
Christmas came, and my grandma gives all the kids identical wrapped packages and tells us to open them at the same time. Inside, was a pair of little Mickey Mouse sunglasses. All the older grandkids realized what they meant, while the younger kids were perfectly happy just playing with them.
WE WERE GOING TO DISNEYLAND IN APRIL!!! My grandma had been saving for years so we could go and get the deluxe treatment. We would be staying in the Disneyland Resort in a top suite for four days. It was the best present I have ever received.
Our first night, we went to Downtown Disney and had dinner with the whole family.
The next morning we woke up bright and early so we could get to the park right when it opened. But when we walked outside we were surprised to see that is was pouring! We weren’t going to let that dampen our spirits. We were going to enjoy ourselves nonetheless. So everyone threw on ponchos, and took off for the park.
Although none of the fun characters were out and about for autographs, we had so much fun! My two cousins my age went to the Disney store and tried on princess dresses and took silly pictures.
I cannot believe how much fun we had that whole week together. I love spending time with my family and I cannot wait until our next big trip.
I also cannot wait until I have opportunities to share those experiences with my own kids. It really is a happy place, but being with my family makes it, without a doubt, the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

Journal entry #2
It always seems like at every family vacation someone has to get sick and throw up. Why this happens, I have no idea. But it happens without fail.
My “favorite” time we had a mishap was yet another trip to Disneyland. My baby sister was maybe three or four years old, and it was her first time to that magical place.
The morning we were first going to the park, she woke up feeling sick. We thought she would be ok in a few hours so we kept getting ready. All of the sudden, she threw up all over the hotel floor. But that is not the worst part; my dad had seen it coming and tried to prevent it from getting all over the place, with his hands! That’s right; he dove and caught the majority of the sick in his hands! That alone, made me want to puke.
And of course, she felt better after that, so we headed out. We waited for a little while in line before we could get in, and right when we got through the gates, guess who blows chunks again!? Oh yes… And guess who caught it again?! Oh yes… But guess who got to take her into the bathroom and clean her up? That’s right, me. Eww. I do not even remember why my mom did not do it herself, is not that what mom’s are suppose to do? But no, I took her to clean her off like a good big sister.
I guess it just goes to show how hard it is to be a parent. I asked my dad why in the world he would feel the need to do something “heroic” like that. He said, that as a parent, you learn that it is easier to clean up vomit off your body than it does clothes, carpet or cement; eventually it becomes a reflex and you do not even notice it anymore.
I do not know if I will ever get to this level of extreme parenting with my future children, but I must say, it is quite impressive that he would have the “guts,” (pun intended) to do something like that.

Disney has helped me find my one true love. It was approximately two years ago and for my birthday, Gav and I traveled with Dixie State College to spend the day at Disneyland. We left on a Friday night and traveled on a bus ALL night long. Then on Saturday, we spent the day exploring and having fun. Then at midnight, we got back on the bus and traveled home all night long.

Gavin and I had the best time ever. We skipped down main street, we had our pictures taken, we shared yummy treats, we danced at the parade. We held hands and kissed by the castle. We even hunted for a piece of grass to take a quick nap. (The only place we could find was on the far end of Downtown Disney) It was one of the best days ever. It got even better as we were waiting for the fireworks to start. It was chilly, so we were wrapped in a blanket when a voice came over the intercom explaining that due to high winds, the firework show would be canceled. We were a little bummed, but it had been a long day, so we walked for a bit and found ourselves at the base of the castle, surrounded by streams and beds of roses. For a brief time the lines between my life and my dreams blur and become one. Gavin looked deep into my eyes and told me that he loved me. It was as if I had been picked up out of the daily routine and placed in my favorite movie, alongside dreamers, stars and champions. It couldn’t have been any better. I knew I loved him back and I knew we would spend the rest of our lives together.
I was at my castle, and I had found my prince.

Lauren's Top Things To Experience at Disneyland

Indiana Jones:
There is nothing that compares to the thrills of the Indiana Jones ride, and it begins before you even set foot on the ride! Just standing in the line is an adventure on its own. It is the first ride we run to when we enter the park. We grab our fast passes for later on during the day and make our way through the maze. One of my favorite memories of the ride was when my little cousin, Dylan, was trying to get onto the ride. He had been looking forward to this ride for months, and when we went to get in line, the ride operator stopped him, and said that he wasn’t tall enough. So we all got out of the line and tried to figure out what to do. Dylan was devastated. He was less than an inch away from being able to ride. Suddenly, my aunt had an idea and ran into the nearby bathroom. She came out holding two feminine hygiene pads. All the girls burst out laughing as she made him take off his shoes and stuck them in the souls.
“What are those?” Dylan asked.
“You do not want to know,” was the reply.
So we hopped back in line and asked the operator to check again. She gave us a suspicious look, but let him go anyway. Dylan LOVED it… Addie? Not so much.

Pirates of the Caribbean:
Another one of my all time favorite rides. This one, not so much for the “thrills” as for the atmosphere. I LOVE the way it feels down there and the way it smells. (Yes, the way it smells! It’s the smell of adventure!) Nothing beats the feeling of drifting by the Blue Bayou and seeing all the twinkling lights before you head off into a dark pirate battle. I have always had a love for pirates and have wanted to be one ever since I can remember and being on that little boat really makes me feel like one! (It will probably be as close as I will ever get to being one.:)
If I could, I would ride this ride over and over again. Oh, and I love Jack Sparrow. 

Tiki Juice Bar:
Best cool, tasty treat in the park! Enough said.

Haunted Mansion (Holiday)
During the halloween and christmas season, this ride is transformed into two rides at once! It combimes The Nightmare Before Christmas and the Haunted Mansion into one fun ride. The ride basically remains the same, but all the artwork and decorations are changed to involved more of Jack Skellington and his friends. My favorite part is when you go through the cemetery and its snowing! Awesome.

The Intimacy
Let me explain what I mean… I love how when you are at Disneyland, people just seem to treat everyone around them, kinder. There is a magic in the air that make you feel grateful you are all in this together. Everyone seems a bit more patient, a bit more caring and a bit more innocent at heart.

The History
I love the history and the meaning of Disneyland. If you have ever taken time to read the plaque before you rush off to your first ride (Indiana Jones) it says:


What a beautiful way to sum up what Disneyland is all about! Here you can be eight or 80 and still have the same experience. Some of these rides at Disneyland have been around for 50 years, but the fact that they never get old says a lot. Nothing like nostalgia.

Space Mountain:
I just believe that you should sit beside someone on a roller coaster. You need to be able to grab your honey when you are scared. (Sitting almost in his lap on Matterhorn is ok too. I know that’s why Gavin liked it.)

Paradise Pier:
Is in California Adventure but is such a fun and restful place. I love to sit there and people watch. I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing little families with little kids and seeing that joy and excitement from being at the Happiest Place on Earth. I cannot WAIT to bring my children here! Paradise Pier is a tribute to what we longed for in our childhood; music, color, food, water, sun. It’s one of the things Disney does best; reading our minds and creating what our hearts saw.

Soaring Over California:
Who doesn’t LOVE this ride? Seriously? This ride is epic! This ride engulfs ALL of your senses. You can feel the wind in your hair and the smell of pine and orange trees as you glide over the entire state of California. Ah… I can smell the oranges now.

World of color:
Just recently, Disneyland has introduced a new show called World of Color and if you haven’t seen this yet, pack your bags and go NOW. Seriously. This show is one of the most mind blowing, enchanting shows you will ever see. The World of Color nighttime water spectacular weaves water, color, fire and light into a kaleidoscope of fantasy and imagination. More than 1,000 jets of water form incredible shapes in time to the music as Disney characters come to life on a shimmering veil of mist. Different clips include: Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo and Pirates of the Caribbean. Oh. My. Gosh. A-MAZING. It was so beautiful, I cried.

One of my ALL TIME FAVORITE quotes is by the actor, Dustin Hoffman; and he once said… “In Peter Pan there is a place called Never Land and if you ask people what the metaphor is, you will get different answers. One person might say that it is a journey to imagination, to creativity. Others might say it means you never die. Never Land is the place that exists, for all of us, in the wish part of our brains.”

I would have to agree with Mr. Hoffman, but I would also like to point out that Never Land really does exist for all of us. It IS real. It is known as the Happiest Place on Earth. It is a magical place called... Disneyland.

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