Walt Disney managed to get the Happiest Place on Earth built in less than a year, although there were some bumps in the road along the way. Construction on the theme park began on July 21, 1954. On July 17, 1955, the soft opening to the press was fraught with troubles ranging from unexpected crowds due to counterfeit tickets, non-working water fountains, and ladies’ heels sinking into the fresh asphalt on the warm summer day. Disneyland opened to the public on July 18, 1955, and it went on to be a place where memories and magic are made.
Construction on my oldest daughter, Kristen, began in early 1984. The early stage of the endeavor was fraught with morning sickness that could be quelled only by English muffins with melted cheese. Later developments included itchy stretch marks and frumpy maternity clothes. The project was completed after thirty-three hours of labor and an emergency C-section. However, the result weighed 8 lb. 4 oz. and was more magical to me than any Disney creation.
Disneyland is often a place to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations; honeymooners from all over the globe visit daily. My first trip to Disneyland was to celebrate my eighth birthday. Twenty years later, I began taking Kristen and Courtney for celebrations of their own. In recent years, with the addition of Laura to our family, we created a new tradition of an annual summer adventure at the Disney resorts. We visit the Disneyland and California Adventure parks, eat at the Blue Bayou, sometimes stay at the Grand Californian, and wear the matching personalized T-shirts that Kristen creates for us each year. Oh yes, we do. What?
Every year the Disney parks have a theme and a parade to go with it. This summer the theme is “What Will You Celebrate?” It was like the folks at Disney did it just for Kristen.
This summer our family adventure at Disneyland was a special celebration of Kristen and Adam’s engagement, which happened just days before, in a chicken coop. Yes, a chicken coop. What?
Sure, we spent a happy day doing the things that we usually do; still, I can’t help but wax nostalgic about how everything is changing.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love you.
*Yes, I made Kristen and Courtney wear matching MC Hammer pants to Disneyland. It was 1988. Gosh.
(A BIG thank you to the magical folks at Disneyland Resort Public Relations for providing Blog This Mom and her family with complimentary Park Hopper tickets this year. Castle construction photo courtesy of disneydreamer.com. Castle photo and vintage Mickey Mouse courtesy of Google Images. Current Mickey Mouse image courtesy of disneyparks.disney.go.com)