If you ask my dad or my grandpa about their earliest Disneyland memories, they'll both mention how Roy Disney was a long time customer of our family Pest Control business and how Grandpa got to ride the "Carolwood Pacific Railroad" in Walt's backyard before Disneyland. They'll remind you of when admission to the new park was free and ticket books were necessary to ride the original rides.
From the early years of the park when my grandparents would take my dad, Disneyland has been part of our story. We went somewhat regularly growing up, even with a family of 8. There isn't a part of the park that isn't made all the more magical from the nostalgia and memories. Dad always does his evil laugh at the beginning of Haunted Mansion. Mom & Dad always mention eating at the Blue Bayou Restaurant overlooking Pirates of the Caribbean early in their marriage. Someone will always mention my brother's shenanigans- flirting with Disney princesses or dancing in the parade. Dad & I will always reminisce and about the time we went to Disneyland, just the two of us.
And this time around we got to enjoy the park with the newest members of our family. Having my nieces and nephew with us made returning to Disneyland even more magical because we could see the park through their eyes and remember what it can be like.
We rode all the rides we wanted to. When we got hungry, we ate. When we got tired, we sat in the shade. The kids were champs all day, waiting in long lines and braving Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion.
And this time more than any other, the experience was so much more about the people I was with. I wish the whole family could have been there, but I know we'll be back making more memories soon!
It was my nephew's first time. These California kids have no idea how lucky they are to live so close! They'll brave the traffic and the crowds and grow up making new memories in these same places. And as for us, we can't wait to take our own family, and to explore Matt's childhood park, DisneyWorld, too!