Sun and palm trees,
Birds of Paradise stretching for what seems like miles.
Green plants that look a bit parched but happy.
Did I mention the SUN?
Traveling to the Natural Products Expo West for the 4th year in a row gives me a bit of perspective.
Just a smidge, though.
I’m ready for the walking,
almost ready for the crowds,
hesitantly excited for all the samples.
There is one thing I’ve been hesitating to do all these years.
Something that most children have done, with ease, well before they are ten.
Not attempting it at 54 for the first time.
I’m here, for the first time, at Disneyland.
A mature virgin at Disneyland.
With an amazing Southern California resident friend as my guide, Sandy made sure I had the true experience.
She greeted me at the gates with a big hug and mouse ears.
I didn’t miss a single exciting moment, like meeting one of my favorite characters from childhood.
She even made sure that we waited in line to capture the picture and get the button.
I was so excited to be there that I was ready to just continue on down Main Street to Tomorrowland.
I know, you’re probably wondering how a nice person like me has never gone to Disneyland, ever.
Since I grew up on the East Coast in New Jersey, the idea of my family of 8 ( I’m #5 of 6 children) traveling all the way to California for vacation was challenging expense.
Add that to the fact that Disneyland didn’t open till just after the birth of the 4th sibling in the family and you can begin to see why going to Disneyland never rose to the top of the family plans.
Disney World in Florida opened when I was 12, a time when the silliness of giant Mice, Dogs and princesses is just too uncool for words. Now that I have a brother who lives near Disney World, I’ll add that to my list of places to go, too.
Lucky for me, you can revisit your youth.
Also lucky for me, the cast members are good sports.
Sandy knew how to squeeze every moment of our day for the highest amount of pleasure, flying us around to reserve times on the popular lines, showing me the more secret ways to negotiate the immense park and enjoying seeing my face as I got splashed, waltzed and shot with lasers.
We stayed till the park was almost closing.
Enjoying some of the rides that had had long lines earlier in the day.
And a dark one of us in front of Cinderella’s castle.
For a child who grew up watching the Wonderful World of Disney, it all felt incredibly familiar.
Don’t hesitate to go, even if you are the oldest person wearing a first timer button.