I have felt the cool breeze of San Diego, been oppressed by the dank air of a Florida summer, seen a sea of marble buildings in Washington D.C., and been greeted by the friendship of ‘aloha’ in Hawaii. But of all the amazing places I’ve been, I am still drawn back to one place that, to me, is unlike any other travel destination in the world — Disneyland.
Most people don’t understand why this destination has continued to be my family’s favorite vacation retreat, but the magic of Disney has captured our hearts and my family and I have been mesmerized by the Mouse and continue to go back each year with the same excitement as if it was our first time.
Ever since I was little, the ‘travel’ part of the vacation always started, not when we arrived at our destination, but when we started packing. Even though we hadn’t left yet, the anticipation of ‘going somewhere’ always sprinkled a magic feeling at our house and you could feel the excitement in the air.
Going to Disneyland is no exception. From the pre-trip shopping to the frenzied packing and finally the six hour drive to Anaheim, all of it is considered part of our vacation and is enjoyed to its fullest. There is no way to put into words that wonderful, ‘first day of vacation feeling’ that runs through me as I hear the ticket machine whistle and I push past the turnstile and enter a world of make-believe, childhood and relaxation.
Here, the biggest things I have to worry about are what rides to go on and where to go for dinner. It’s that sense of safeness that brings me back like no other vacation spot, no matter how relaxing, has ever offered. Many friends think that it is funny that I still go with my family to Disneyland, especially since I am 17 and my sister Amy is 20. They are then shocked when I add that we go for an entire week every year.
But I would be shocked if we stopped going or even if we started cutting back because it is all I have ever known. I was raised on Disneyland, going for the first time before I was a year old. I have been to Disneyland seventeen times in my seventeen years and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. The things that make Disneyland so special to my family and not ‘just another amusement park’ is because, to us, it’s not just about the rides, but about the experience.
Of course we enjoy the rides, but I could be happy just sitting on Main Street USA all day not doing anything but listening to the old-time music and soaking up the atmosphere. The main reason I can do this without getting bored is because Walt Disney managed to create not just an amusement park, but an entire unique world that is like traveling to a dozen different places and time periods all at once.
Another thing that makes Disneyland so special to my family is how it brings us closer together. After a busy year full of stress and work and little time to see each other, our week at Disneyland allows us to unwind and get to know each other again and gives us the chance to feel like kids together.
As a traveler, what stands out about the Disney experience is the way you are treated while you are a guest there. From the moment you step onto the pristinely kept grounds you feel not only welcomed and wanted, but it is as if all of the ‘cast members’ (employees) are friends that you can talk with, question and have fun with. They always treat you with a smile and really do make you feel as if you are the only guest that matters in the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’.
It is this kind of service, which I have never experienced anywhere else, that makes Disney hospitality stand out even more.These annual trips to Disneyland have changed me and my family every time we go because we are reminded that there is more to life than stress, work, school and everyday problems and challenges. That for at least a few days out of the year, everything should be put aside in order to feel like a kid again as you travel to the wonderful world of imagination, relaxation, and excitement — Disneyland!
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