It is deemed the “happiest place on Earth”. As a teenager, it was deemed by me as “another family vacation”. The last time I had set foot onto Main Street’s walkway was almost ten years prior, and my only memory of the endeavor was a terrified younger version of myself crying and clutching onto a bar in front of me as bright white and red lights flashed in my face on Space Mountain, certain my life was soon to be terminated. It certainly was not the happiest place on Earth in Kayla’s world that day.
Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
Therefore, a combination of my distaste for dark roller coasters and my supposed maturity (a.k.a. being “too cool for Mickey”) left me with an attitude of apathy for the hype of Disney. Interestingly enough, we were greeted in an unforgettable way when checking into the hotel in the form of a lovely surprise. As we later learned, the system had failed to book our rooms correctly, and therefore, we were eligible for an upgrade. I did not know that going from an average stateroom to Mickey’s Penthouse Suite for no extra cost was simply an upgrade, but it is Disneyland after all. I suppose one should expect magic.
Opening the door to our room was an absolute shock. The size of a small house, it featured three bathrooms, a dining room, a PlayStation gaming system, and four televisions, one of which was behind the Master Bathroom’s mirror. The room, as expected, was decked out in Mickey Mouse themed items, from the chairs resembling Mickey’s pants to the telephone and stapler on the desk that were adorned with Mickey glove hands and mouse ears.
The first night was spent in the amazingly expensive room, followed by a day at Disney the next morning. Walking down the bricks of Main Street, I began to feel something different for this trip. Though I had been to Disneyland at a young age and then Disney World a few years later, with the elapsed time came a new meaning for me being in the park. When I looked at the elaborate park map, it wasn’t about getting through every ride, but about reliving all my favorite ones. No longer was I looking to find the thrill of a roller coaster, but to find the sweet memories of the ones I loved. My dad, who had taken me on the trip before I had even entered grade school, lived out of state from me. However, when I rode Gadget’s Go Coaster again, it was as if he was there, riding it with me once more. I didn’t remember what the ride was like for me ten years ago, but riding it now, it didn’t matter anyway. I was making new memories all the while refreshing old ones.
The first night was concluded with the famous fireworks show. Staying in the Penthouse, we had front row seats from any one of our four balconies that spanned the width of our room. The display was a dazzling array of colors and shapes, themes and feelings. As the last firework was shot into the deep, dark sky and faded away into the night, a faint sparkle still lingered deep within my heart. It could have been Tinkerbelle. It could have been magic. Or maybe, it could have been the reminder of all the special memories and experiences I hold so dear to me. It only took going to Disneyland and back to find them once more.
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