How I Went From not Stepping Foot in Disneyland for 20 years, to Visiting Once a Month…
We all know the price of admission to the “Happiest Place on Earth” is not cheap. Some people save their whole lives for their family to travel to Mickey Mouse’s original home. Others travel from halfway around the world because they want to see what all the fuss is about.
In the Beginning,
Why I Loved
going to Disneyland…Being an Orange County native, we often take for granted that we have one of the most coveted Resorts in the world as our neighbor. I do not remember my first trip to Disneyland, but I do recall being a child and falling in love with the magic I felt there. Fantasyland brought to life characters I grew up watching and wanted to be like as a child. For me, that would be Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty who awoke by a magical kiss from her Prince. Some things never change (I was asleep, metaphorically, for 40 years before my Prince Charming had to practically knock me upside the head to wake me up).
I remember riding on the People Mover (now closed) in the early 1980’s with my Mom as she held my hand in the Tomorrowland vintage attraction . When I was an excited 5-year-old sitting between my Dad’s legs in the Rocket Jets (also closed) extremely terrified of it’s 3 story height. Pleading with my Grandfather to take me on the Mad Tea Party Teacups (still open and has been since DAY 1 in 1955). My Papa got so violently ill. We had to leave Disneyland so he could lay down and barf in the privacy of his own home.
In the late 1980’s I can recall skipping through Disneyland with my best friends and going repeatedly on our favorite rides like; Space Mountain, Matterhorn, and Captain EO (a 3D experience featuring my obsession then, Michael Jackson).
Stopped going…Growing up turned me into more of a thrill seeker and less of a scaredy-cat. The rides were not as fast or as exciting at Disneyland to me anymore. At Six Flags Magic Mountain and even Knott’s Berry Farm (what we in Southern California would see as Disneyland alternatives) we could ride monster giant roller coasters. I wanted more adventure and less family fun. I was a teenager… what do you expect?
When I visited Disneyland for what may have been my last time in the mid 1990’s, I was in utter disbelief. When did it get so crowded? I use to wait barely 10 minutes for the most popular rides only a handful of years ago. I had zero desire on a hot day to wait in hour-long lines for rides I have already enjoyed many times before. This would be my last trip until 2016.
Why I Came Back
On a cloudy October day, I visited California Adventure Park for the first time and returned to Disneyland after a 20 years absence.
When I entered the magical kingdom as an adult, it dawned on me. People do not come here for how scary the rides are. Just like any travel or adventure you take part in, the best part of the Disneyland experience is sharing the memories with the people you love.
After spending the day thoroughly enjoying new attractions and old, I spontaneously purchased a Season Pass. I had moved back to Southern California and discovered many of my friends had passes so financially, it made sense. I live about 15 minutes away and I found the annual pass a great investment!
My man and I are now on our second yearly seasonal pass and loving it. It’s a great date night for us. Just like with any travel or entertaining, we can visit the parks and do it up big baller style, or just go for a few hours with little cost to us. Our Passes are already paid for, so we only are on the hook for parking (parking included in Signature and Signature Plus Passports).
Regardless if the lines are short or long on the day we decide to visit, we have a great time when we go. A crowded warm day at Disneyland or California Adventure just usually means changing up our routine a bit.
Being a local, we try to visit when it’s less crowded which means mostly weekdays and either showing up super early in the morning or more often very late in the evening. It’s definitely a bonus that we have discovered better days to go during the year, so we can try to avoid the massive crowds.
Pro Tip: If you do not know about the Disney APP you are missing out! Wait times for all attractions displayed so you can plan your adventure right from your phone.
Typically, my boyfriend and I UBER/LYFT to Disneyland because we like to enjoy an adult beverage or 2 at California Adventure. This is fun especially during November/December when California Adventure celebrates their Festival of Holidays. There are theme kiosks with a variety of holiday food and drink.
Mickey’s home will always have a special place in my heart.
Babe and I went on our first “official” date to Disneyland and even got nicknamed the Matterhorn. For reasons he probably won’t want me to mention.
We have met up with friends on their yearly Disney pilgrimages and have even had the opportunity to spend time family at California Adventure and Disneyland, Anaheim.
Once a slightly rebellious teenager who thought she was way too cool for the baby roller coasters at Disneyland, has changed her tune.
I may not sport the super cool goofy hat I wore as a child, but I am once again a big Disney Dork…and loving every minute of it.