He won’t admit it, but it had to happen sooner or later. The great modernist boyfriend, cool to a fault and no friend to commercialism, is getting into our upcoming trip to Disneyland. No, Disneyland. Yes, that Disneyland.
Keep your marauding lizards and tropical downpours in Orlando, thank you. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom may win in size, but Walt never walked there. Disneyland, with it’s smaller castle, smaller grounds, and more intimate scale, epitomizes the quaint, family-friendly haven that Walt Disney set out to create. There’s far more packed in, no endless walkways, and a crowd mostly composed of locals who grew up with the place and love it to pieces.
I first discovered DL when, living in New York City, I tried to arrange a trip to the “World” and realized, very quickly, that a trip to the farther away “land” was to be a lot cheaper. I fell quickly for the park, and ended up with an Annual Pass that got a lot of use for someone living 2,400 miles away.
But Devyn is a former Californian. Growing up in Sacramento and having spent a few sneering-teenager visits to the park, until now Disneyland has not been high on his credibility list. But me having spent a long Christmas week at my beloved park in Anaheim in 2002 and jonesing to go back for the holidays, I was a force unstoppable this year.
So, to humor me and prepare for this weekend’s upcoming trip to SoCal, he began reading the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. At first, as I expected, he just sneered and wondered why I was dragging him to such a den of Americana.
And then, out of nowhere, the floodgates opened. It was as if Tinkerbell, herself, had gone upside his head with her magic wand. As I told my fellow Disneyland fans on MousePlanet, last weekend Devyn started to recount to me his recollections of Disneyland from when he was there as a teenager in 1983.
He waxed on and on about the “night-time” lighting in the the Blue Bayou restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean and how amazing an environment he thought it was. He’s a big fan of lighting technology and this scene just stuck with him.
Then he went on to tell me how clever he thought the technology used in the Haunted Mansion‘s stretching room was (and if you’ve only ever been to Disney World, at Disneyland you move, not the ceiling).
And then he asked whether we should see the popular sound and light spectacular Fantasmic! or use that time instead to hit attractions with short lines siphoned off by the show. (It’s a late-night weekend; we’ll do the second show).
And then, as if I wasn’t already adequately floored, he said, “Point to a part of the park map and let me see if I can tell you what land that is.” And he proceeded to name them all.
From across the room.
I’m pretty sure at this point the magic of Disneyland will be hard for Devyn to resisit, in spite of himself, once we get there. Albeit a television commercial for the Orlando resort, that husband who scoffs to his family about going on a Disney vacation and then ends up willingly wearing mouse ears on his last day there is not off the mark.
Although, Devyn did warn me how much he hated it’s a small world. I’ll keep my mouth shut on that one and let the popular Holiday overlay of the ride sing for itself. As any Disney fan will tell you, changing anyone’s mind about it’s a small world is just one windmill too far.
Michael Thaddeus Doyle
I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.