Sunday, July 05, 2009

We’re in Disneyland!!!

I’m still really, really tired from the convention – the rehearsals, the contest, the show, the emotional roller coaster, the lack of sleep – but there is something rejuvenating about being here. It’s an amazing thing.

A few in our group want to take advantage of the facilities just inside the gate before we go further. My indecision about whether to do so myself is handled for me, as a man approaches and strikes up a conversation. His name is Zack, and it turns out he’s a barbershopper from Denver. He’s seen my Vocal Majority name badge and is happy to see another convention-goer in the parks today. I am, too.

We chat for a bit about the contest, the silver medal, and the convention in general, until my family returns and we’re ready to move on. I’m sure they exist, but I have yet to meet an unfriendly barbershopper.

We cross Town Square past the flag pole towards Main Street U.S.A. I look to my left and – yep, there’s the firehouse. Those who know Disneyland lore know that Walt Disney had a private apartment on the second floor, that he lit a lamp in the front window when he was there, and that since his death that lamp has remained lit to symbolize the presence of Walt’s spirit in the park to this day. The morning sun is shining directly on the window so the lamp isn’t obvious, but I know it’s there.

Ahead we go down Main Street, which looks everything like its Florida Magic Kingdom counterpart – except for the Matterhorn to our right, and of course Sleeping Beauty castle, which is tiny compared to the soaring spires of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. Charming, but tiny.

Still, it is the original, and I find myself just as giddy as it gets closer and closer. A horse-drawn trolley passes us. Music is everywhere. Smiling cast members and laughing guests, fresh at the beginning of the day, are all around.

It may very well live up to its longtime designation as “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

When we reach the hub (and take the required pictures of the castle), we turn left towards Adventureland. This usually works for us – we know that the Imagineers made the right-hand walkways wider because their research showed most parkgoers just naturally turn to the right, so we usually find lighter crowds when we go left.

We haven’t even passed under the Adventureland sign when the Enchanted Tiki Room appears to our left. It looks like the show is loading right now. Cool! This works for us on a couple of levels. First, because this is the original Tiki Room show, recently restored, not the updated “Under New Management” show in Florida, and we’ve not seen it before. But more than that, our very first attraction when we first went as a family to Walt Disney World was the Tiki Room. It’s fitting that it would be our first here as well!

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