When I think about Disneyland, I get excited. Not just a little bit excited. Its more like an "I should be in therapy" type of excited. When Disneyland is in my future, I'm bursting at the seams with so much emotion that it isn't uncommon for me to well up and start crying without notice.
Something amazing happens to me when I walk through those front gates. Entrance into Disneyland grants me a super human increase in energy, strength and endurance. My imagination becomes more vivid and my mind goes into a state of perpetual daydream. Magic and adventure greet me at every corner. Whether it is a gift from Disneyland or just an inherent ability given to me at birth, my character-sense kicks in and links me to any Disney character in the area. I never miss a photo. Wonder and a sort of childhood innocence clouds my eyesight while I take in the elaborate and imaginative scenery and my old familiar friends. When I'm in Disneyland, everyone is my friend.
The part of Disneyland that always amazes me is what I like to call "The Sandbox" effect. Let me explain. Very rarely, as adults, do we get the chance to truly return to the imagination we had as children. I don't remember the last time I sat on a pile of dirt and watched it grow into an entire metropolis in which small stones and piles of grass served as houses and clover-flower cars drove their families hurriedly throughout the city. Even further, of the 4 or 5 times that I have done that this year, none of my friends have ever sat down beside me and shared my my vision. When I'm in Disneyland, everyone is playing in my sandbox. Everyone, even the other guests, want to make my daydream a reality.
This year in Disneyland, I was lucky enough to catch a short line at the stop to see Donald Duck. I hadn't seen him when I was there in June earlier this year so I was pretty jazzed. He was dressed up in his Christmas outfit...BONUS! As Carley and I stood there, we started searching our Disney Pin lanyard for any pin with Donald. A few years back when we saw him last, he was very upset that we didn't have any pins with him on on lanyards and threw my autograph book on the ground and stomped on it. Then also threw my pen on the ground. It was upsetting and I wanted to avoid a similar scene this year. Unfortunately, I had my Donald pin on the back-up lanyard I left back at the hotel. I did, however, have a Huey pin and figured that a relative of his might make him happy enough.
I was wrong.
He instantly reached for Carley's lanyard aruond her neck and noticed that there were no Donald faces looking back at him. He folded his arms and pointed for Carley to leave. I could tell it really hurt his feelings. When he noticed the Huey pin, it was enough to convince him to allow Carley back into the photo as long as he could stand in front of us and block out our faces with his hands.
Later, in the middle of a casual pin-trading session with a Cast Member later that evening, I explained the predicament I'd had earlier with Donald and was looking to trade for a pin of Donald to prevent this issue from arising yet a third time. I selected a pin from his lanyard of Donald wearing a Disneyland Mickey Ear hat.
He melted my heart when he responded, "To be honest, that probably still won't satisfy him because he is wearing Mickey's Ears. You know Donald is #1."