"Sometimes the BEST picture you can take is with the camera that God gave you in your own head."
If you read our post on Wednesday (well, it was mostly just pictures but you get my meaning) you'll know that we spent some time last Sunday evening in the Disneyland Hotel. We were there primarily to eat at Steakhouse 55 but as we have spent very little time in there in the past, we spent quite a bit of time looking around at things before and after.
As we were standing around waiting for our 6:30 reservations to come to us, we wandered around a little bit in the waiting area and spent some time looking into Goofy's Kitchen, which is right next door to the steakhouse. Amy is the only one of us who has eaten at the kitchen before, but we know enough about it to know that it's known for two things primarily: an awesome breakfast buffet and character dining, featuring (of course) a character based on its namesake, Chef Goofy. We stood around a little bit watching beaming parents and their kids take pictures with Chef Goofy (something to remember the special moment by, no doubt) before we were called in to eat.
Fast forward about two and a half hours and we were leaving the steakhouse with full bellies and a desire to poke around the Hotel some more. I had my camera out to take pictures of whatever I might come across, and was preparing to enter full-blown camera mode (picture a robot walking just taking pictures of things back and forth without much thought); I get like that sometimes. But as I was walking out of the restaurant I glanced over to my left and saw a little room with a TV placed in its wall playing classic Disney cartoons. I hadn't noticed the room on our way in, and was just going to continue to keep walking when I felt a little prick that told me I should go back and take a closer look. Thank God for the little voices that tell me to slow down sometimes, because when I went back and looked in the window, I noticed Chef Goofy sitting there, by himself, watching cartoons, still as a statue. I quickly yelled at Amy and Mark to come back and check it out, which they did, and we all just kind of stood there smiling at each other and pointing; it was so unexpected seeing him in there like that. Funnily enough, he was sitting so still that Amy kind of yelled out all of a sudden, "Is he real?!", which drew his attention and made him move, and made Amy squeal in surprise. He gestured at all of us to come on in, so the three of us went in, grabbed our seats next to him and proceeded to spend the next five minutes or so watching cartoons with a Goof.
It really was a surreal moment. You hear about Disney magic all the time, and we firmly believe this was one of those moments! Of course, most of the times when you run into a character, it's in a line where you're just moving through, person by person to have your picture taken and very little interaction takes places. Not so in this instance however. We talked to him and asked him questions (he would nod yes or no), laughed along with him (well, as much as we could I suppose since he didn't actually talk, but he would cover his mouth up and the meaning was well taken), and we all just sat there beaming from ear to ear. For a few minutes in time, we just sat there and watched cartoons with Goofy. It was awesome, there's just no other word for it.
It wasn't too long until a Cast Member arrived to let him know he had "paying customers" waiting for their photo opportunity with him and he had to go. It was a genuine laugh, though, watching Goofy pretend to not want to leave while the Cast Member struggled to pull him out of the room, and then he waved at us and he was gone.
I kind of glanced down at my side at that point and realized that I had set my camera down and never once picked it up while we were in the room (other than a quick picture of the TV in the wall and the carpet right when we walked in and before I sat down). Like a weird cosmic twist, right at the moment I realized I didn't take a picture of us with Goofy, Mark yelled out, "Did you get a picture? Why not? That would have been awesome!" I had gotten so caught up in the interaction that I had completely forgotten! But that was about all that was said of the matter, and I think I know why.
As we walked out I kind of bemoaned the fact that I didn't take a picture. After all, isn't that how we choose to remember things more often than not? With a picture? But the more I thought about it, the more okay with it I was (I know some people just won't get that, but it's true). Goofy didn't have to invite us in with him (he was on a break after all, let's get real about this) and if he hadn't, we very likely might have just walked away. But he did, and we didn't, and now we have this wonderful memory that we'll carry with us from now on. We may not have a physical picture of the memory to carry us through, but we've already relived it so many times since that the picture of it is indelibly burned into our minds. It's not to say that pictures are bad (Lord knows we'll continue to take them by the droves) but I think we were taught a very valuable lesson in just letting our minds form the pictures it wants us to have from time to time. And we think that sometimes, maybe those are the best kinds of pictures; the ones where you take the time to slow down, turn around and see what's behind you that you might have missed, and let the magic come to you.