My Dear Spouse (DS) and I recently made the impetuous decision to snaffle the kids out of school and head to Disneyland. To abscond. To play hooky from life in Beijing. Irresponsible? Maybe. Naughty? A little. Exciting? Oh yes! Because we’re not talking Hong Kong Disney – oh no. Phhht. We’re talking the Real Deal. Yes folks, the place where dreams are made (note to self: pick up a few more dreams at Disney gift shop) – the original, the one and only – Anaheim Disney. (Squeal of delight – and without a trace of sarcasm!)
The most curious thing about making this decision was telling Miss 7 (M7) and Master 5 (M5). Barely able to contain the rising thrill in my voice when I made the announcement, both children simply stared at me, smiled weakly and then asked what was for dinner. Astounded, I let it slide, consoling myself with the fact that they really had no idea what they were in for. Had Hong Kong Disney, in all its appealing yet awfully twee splendour, ruined my children’s faith in Disney? Could they not feel the power and allure of the Real Deal magic, vibrating across the Pacific Ocean, beckoning with sugar-dipped fingers?
Ten days later, I purchased the e-tickets online and printed them, complete with lusciously coloured Monsters Inc characters. This will have them spinning like tops, I thought. Yet they were more interested in the somewhat lacklustre Legoland ticket I held clutched in my less important hand.
Curiouser and curiouser
When Walt Disney first opened his magical land in 1955, he no doubt shared the exhilaration and joy I am feeling about my First Time in Anaheim. Although not a Disney virgin, I can’t fight the sweet bubbles rising in my stomach at the thought of finally clapping eyes on that castle (Fantasyland is by far the most popular Disneyland attraction). Nothing can quell that excitement, not even the questionable responses of M7 and M5. Although, if DS had any idea how much I’ve paid for these tickets (and Sea World and Legoland and San Diego zoo and…), his nervous tic would put that excitement in severe jeopary. The first Disneyland ticket ever sold was to Walt Disney’s brother Roy, for one dollar. Let’s just say 52.5 years of inflation is a looong time.
So, will my M7 and M5 enjoy the grandiose Californian home of Mickey Mouse? I remain convinced the answer will be… without a doubt. And if they don’t, there’s always the highly stimulating and exhilarating 12 hour flight. And anyway – to be honest – my greatest challenge before we leave is not whether or not my kids will have conniptions of joy at the sight of Main Street USA. My greatest challenge will be packing two weeks worth of clothing and other travel paraphernalia into two moderate sized backpacks.