Friday, January 14, 2011

A Land Apart

Welcome to those of you joining me from A Disney Mom's Love of DisneyI am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

"To all who come to this happy place, welcome.  Disneyland is your land." - Walt Disney, 1955

Disneyland - 1955

Allow me to set up today's article for you.  I'm a "Lander".  I'm not sure if it's a term I myself coined or not (I'd not heard anyone else use it before I started to) but for me the land of Disney fans can be broken down into two primary categories above all others (excluding the foreign Parks):  "Landers" (those who claim Disneyland as their Park) and "Worlders" (those who claim Walt Disney World as their Park).  I assure you, nothing derogatory is meant by either.  It's just something I started saying a while back.

I'm somewhat unique among my blogorailing peers in that I'm the only "Lander" in my entire loop.  So when I was given the topic for this month's Loop, "Talk about your favorite Resort and why it is", it was a little bit tricky for me.  You see, as an annual passholder who never has to stay at The Park, and can come and go whenever I please, there really wasn't anything for me to write about.  Shortest.  Article.  Ever.  So with Beth's blessing, today I'll be writing about my favorite Disney Park.

So, my favorite Park (in case you have to have me say it) is Disneyland Park.  Simple enough.

But why is Disneyland my favorite Park?  Is it too cliche to say that at its simplest it really boils down to Walt?  Well, I'm going to say it anyway.  It really boils down to Walt. 

Disneyland was Walt's Park.  Because he passed away before he was able to see Walt Disney World come to fruition, Walt is inexorably tied to Disneyland in a way that no other Park will ever have.  And that makes it very special to me and to many others.

One of my favorite views in the whole wide world...

No matter how many times I go into The Park, I'm consistently taken aback by the magnitude of the history, Walt's history, that I'm taking part in.  From the moment I walk inside the Main Gates and glance up at The Disneyland Limited ("now leaving for a grand circle tour"...), especially if the Lilly Belle (which Walt himself and his wife once rode in) is on track, I'm powerfully reminded of just who has come before me, looking at seeing the exact same things I find myself looking at decades later. 

Walt's Apartment (and candle) are directly above the Disneyland Fire Dept.

You can't go two steps without looking and seeing something that Walt himself had a personal hand in:  his apartment over the Disneyland Fire Dept.; the Opera House which houses Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln and the very bench Walt himself used to sit in whilst in The Park; the back row of Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room in which I never fail to see in my mind's eye the picture of Walt with his animatronic birds; and both It's A Small World and King Arthur Carousel, which Walt had shipped and moved, piece by piece, from their original locations on the East Coast because he loved them so much and wanted to share them with the rest of the world.  The list could just go on and on.

Like it or not, the Tiki Room is where all of our favorite Animatronics began

Perhaps the greatest reminder of all, though, is walking through the arch of Sleeping Beauty Castle between Fantasyland and Main Street, U.S.A.  Maybe nowhere in the entire Park is the thought "I'm literally walking where Walt himself once walked" quite so powerful.  Our castle might be smaller than Cinderella's, but ours is the one where Walt once walked.  Sometimes walking through, I just have to stop and take a look around, and if I'm in an imaginative mood, I can picture myself in perhaps the exact same spot that Walt once stood, looking around and surveying his Kingdom himself.  That alone is worth the price of admission.

Walt, Mickey and our Castle

There's an entire litany of things I enjoy doing in The Park.  I have my favorite attractions, favorite restaurants, favorite stores, and even my favorite restrooms.  But since the question was "why is it your favorite Park?", I tried to avoid all of those and get to the heart of the matter.  Disneyland Park is my favorite Park because of Walt.

My family and I plan on taking a trip to Walt Disney World again for the first time since 1993 next summer (2012).  There is no doubt in my mind that it will go down in the annals of Elliott Family Vacations as one of the greatest ever.  We literally cannot wait to get there and spend our seven days running around like complete fools, enamored with everything we see.

But it's safe to say that when I do return home after, and walk through the Main Gates of my favorite Park again, the first words out of my mouth will most likely be, "Welcome Home, Chad.  Welcome Home."

for those days when I can't go...

Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Crystal and Bryan's Disney Blog.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail loop should you happen to have to make a stop and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Meet the Magic
4th Stop ~ Days in the Park
Final Stop ~ Cooking with Mickey

This post is also part of the Disney Blog Carnival. Head over there to see more great Disney-related posts and articles.


Beth Doda ~ disneymom2jhe said...

You are too funny! Great article, loved reading it!

DisneyBabies said...

Great post! I've heard the pride that is "Walt's Park" and hope to someday soon experience it for myself!

Disney_Casey said...

I totally get how you feel. Sadly we always go to Walt Disney World because we have to drive and it is an easier drive but I want to go stand where Walt stood and be in the park that was his. I went when I was little but at that point I didn't understand. We are hoping to go in 2013

Mike said...

Being a "Worlder", I have never experienced Disneyland. However, when we bought our DVC, we bought the Grand Californian! We are thinking about a trip to Disneyland in 2013. But with regards to your writing, thank you for sharing such a well thought-out and great tribute to Walt's creation. Now I can't wait to make those plans and head out to California!

If you are at WDW in early June (say around the 9th) or so of 2012, let me know because that is looking like the time for when we will be down for that year!

Thanks for sharing!


Days In The Park said...

Thanks so much, Beth. I really enjoyed writing it. :)

Days In The Park said...

You will one day, Jenn. I demand it. I'm supposed to cheer you on during the marathon, right? :)

Days In The Park said...

Thanks for the comment, Casey. It can be a powerful thing when you stop to think about it.

Hope to see you in 2013! :)

Days In The Park said...

Thanks, Mike!

Nothing wrong at all with being a "Worlder". :)

I was happy to share. Thanks so much for reading and sharing a comment with us. And that's awesome about a possible trip out in 2013. We'll certainly be here! :)

Cozyflier said...

Awww, yes it is Magical. Sounds like you need to be a cast member.

Days In The Park said...

Would LOVE to one day. Just not in the cards right now.

Thanks for reading! :)

Motherhood Magic said...

Great post Chad. I'm so jealous about your planned WDW trip except not the time of year. When I was a kid, my mom would take my sister and I every couple of years in December. One year she took us during the summer, and it was just way too hot for me. I ended up getting sick, so whenever I think of WDW in summer I don't have good memories. Hahaha. It's been over 12 years since I've been, and I can't wait to go back. I need M to grow up a little first, since as you know it will be costly coming from CA.

BTW having been to WDW so much, I can still agree that Disneyland is my favorite too.

Days In The Park said...

About the only time of year we can go. There will be 12 of us going; doing it any other time with school and work and all would be a logistical nightmare. :)

My only trip was in July, and I'm FROM the south, so it'll be okay with me. ;)

Kimberly Hill said...

I grew up in Orange County and took going to DLand all the time for granted... until we moved to the Midwest and finally settled here in SC. This strange place actually thinks USC = the University of South CAROLINA!!

Anyway, I'm a Lander turned Worlder and am really looking forward to going "home" in 2012 when Cars Land opens. It's a totally different place and I miss it.

Days In The Park said...

Hi Kimberly,

Thanks for stopping by! I had almost forgotten I posted this. :)

Yeah, I'm from the south (and SEC country) so I totally know what you're talking about. We lovingly called the Gamecocks USCe, though, where I'm from. Or maybe not so lovingly depending on how you look at it. :)

Awesome! Picking a great time to come back. We're excited about Cars Land, too, and ALL of the changes coming to DCA. :)