Wednesday, December 14, 2005

From small beginnings

I think we've covered every acre and a majority of the rides. The hit of the day was Toontown which really looks like a living cartoon. It is the home of Minnie and Mickey Mouse. Their cottages are side by side. (They're not married; maybe you didn't know.) My favorite ride was the Indiana Jones attraction. But, the highlight of the day was "Disney on Parade" where characters ride down Main Street on floats. It takes place at sunset and serves as a memorable send-off to the thousands of tired visitors. Children become frantic with celebrity fever waiting to spot Mickey or Cinderella or Pumba come down the street. Allison begged to be lifted onto her daddy's shoulders for a better view and a hope for eye contact with the passing characters. "Tinkerbelle looked at me!" I would be content to call it a wrap and say goodbye, but Robert bought the 3-day package and we have yet to see the Disney California Adventure Park.

Disneyland has done a lot of growing since I visited as a kid. Disney Downtown is an enormous new element. We are staying there at the Grand Californian, an arts and crafts styled hotel. From there it's a quick walk past the shops and restaurants to the entrance to Disneyland which maintains the original Disney features--Main Street leading to the Fantasyland Castle, the Matterhorn to the right. The place is spotless and I can imagine employees are well-trained in Disney philosophy as they are all so curteous and cheerful. Of course nearly everybody (except an occasional frazzled mother slapping a kid's butt) is happy, even giddy. I noticed a lot of parents kissing and tousling their children's hair. Disneyland is the gift every parent wants to give their kid. I've thought often today about Walt Disney and what an amazing legacy he has left. What possibly compares? Sam Walton or Bill Gates can never lay claim to creating the joy that Disney's legacy makes.

Disneyland is celebrating its 50 year anniversary while we are here. People keep coming. Their children will one day bring their own children. It is an amazing success story with no apparent ending in sight. And it all started with a man and a little mouse.

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