When I was a teenager, my first priority, after getting my drivers license, was to get a Disneyland pass. From the moment I started driving, I would pack my friends into my 1980's Honda Accord, and we would head to the happiest place on earth! My family had always lived within twenty minutes of the park, but in my high school years, we moved even closer. When we lived in Anaheim, where Disneyland is located, the park was so close to our house, we could hear the fireworks going off at night. You could not escape the magic if you lived near Disneyland park, and I loved it!
Disneyland days, as we used to call them, were filled with fun, friends, magic, and laughter. My Disney squad in high school typically consisted of the people you see in these photos. It would usually include me (see photo below, 2nd from the right), my younger sister (far right), my best friend (far left), and her younger sister (middle). My best friend and her younger sister also lived near Disneyland park, which made it super easy to swing by and pick them up for endless days of Disney fun! We gained a lot of independence during these early years at Disney, and they helped shape who we would all become.
Summer days at Disneyland bring back some magical memories for me. Our Disney squad would get up early, heading to the park as soon as it opened, so we could get on all the rides that would be overcrowded later in the day. We were young, excited, and probably extremely loud and annoying, but we didn't care. We were at Disneyland, and all was right with the world. On a typical Disney day, we would usually swing by the Main Street Magic Shop and find something we could use to pass the time, while waiting in line for our favorite rides. I remember one time, we purchased this contraption, where we would attach money to a long string. We would place the money on the ground, and when somebody inevitably went to pick it up, we'd push a button, and the money would ricochet back to us. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard. When I was at Disneyland with my friends, we laughed constantly.
Nights at Disneyland were spectacular. There is nothing quite like Disneyland after dark. Along with the freedom and independence we were experiencing as teenagers, being out late at night in the park came with a flurry of magical moments to be had. When Disneyland lights up at night, it is a truly moving thing. It could bring tears to my eyes on any given day. Aside from the lights, there's the enchanting music that follows you through the parks. Then, there's the amazing shows and fantastic parades, which provide entertainment of the highest quality. But, the greatest magic of all, comes from the fireworks display. If you could make it through the day and stay late enough, you could experience something like nothing else, that would truly take your breath away. The fireworks display does not just include fireworks. The fireworks display is its own show in its own right, complete with music, a storyline, the castle, and usually a fly over by Tinkerbell herself! It was something not to be missed.
High school can be a very challenging time for many people, including me. When I was in high school, I dealt with social anxiety. Being an introvert at heart, it was hard for me to be around big groups of people, in a classroom environment. But, when I went to Disney, things were different. I could truly be myself there. I remember "getting lost" on rides like Peter Pans Flight. When I would board that pirate ship, and fly over Neverland, I could imagine myself there, in a different world, and all my worries would disappear. At Disneyland, I was free to let my imagination run wild. It was a dreamlike experience that helped me cope with my real life struggles.
Disneyland is a truly special place. As soon as you walk through the gate, you feel as if you are transported to another time period, in another place. My fondest memories reside at Disneyland, and even though I no longer live near the parks, they will always be near and dear to my heart. I love Disney, and I always will!