During my initial voyage to Disneyland, I was 8 years old. Like many children that age, I had believed whole heartedly in its marketed proclamation as “the happiest place on earth,” and to my great delight it seemed to actually live up to that promise.
18 years have now passed since that first and only visit of mine. This week, the time came to experience it again with a two day pass for both the classic Disneyland theme park and the more modern Disney California Adventure, as part of a mobile honeymoon adventure from British Columbia down to California.
Unlike myself, my wife never had the pleasure as a child of seeing Tomorrowland, Toontown, and the park’s various other sections. Would she, a full grown adult, enjoy it as much as my boyhood self had? Would I, for that matter? Could the theme park still feel as magical as I remember it being way back then?
The answer is yes! Rides like Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Haunted Mansion still blew us away with their thematic awesomeness. The highlight for both of us was Space Mountain, which had been closed when last I came on down. The kid in me can finally rest satisfied at having hopped on that gripping rush through starry darkness.
Also unavailable those nearly two decades ago was the adjacent California Adventure, which had yet to exist at the time. Getting to explore its elaborate layout for the first time was like being young all over again. My adult side was just as pleased by its variety of more adrenaline inducing attractions, like the multi-story drop of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and the high-speed Screamin’ Roller Coaster with its plunging dips and upside down loop.
Thrills were had in abundance during these last two days, which culminated in an elaborate fireworks display set to a montage of iconic Disney songs. It was like a whole new world as I kissed the girl, wished upon a star, and pondered other cheesy movie references. Hakuna matata!
– Cory Stumpf