BACK AT THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH
Since June of 2017, I have been counting down the months, weeks, and days to one particular event happening on February 1st: a trip to Disneyland. Yes, you read that right, I bought my ticket back in June to go to an event the following year. But it was for a very good reason.
The tickets were half off, and it was a special event sponsored by California State University Fullerton. In very humble fashion, the school decided to celebrate its 60th anniversary at the theme park, and invited all its students along. Way to celebrate a birthday!
Of course my college friends and I didn’t want to miss this, and so we set our alarms to midnight on June 1st, when tickets went on sale. Luckily, all four of us were able to score a ticket before the event sold out.
Fast forward to February 1st, 2018, ten years after my last trip to Disneyland. The last time I have been to this magical place was Thanksgiving 2008 with my back-then host family and one of my best friends.
I know it sounds very cliché, but when my friends and I stepped foot into the theme park it felt like entering a different world. Perfectly arranged flowers in the shape of Mickey Mouse greeted us and I instantly felt like a little kid full of excitement and happiness.
We made our way towards the famous Main Street, and walked along the many cute little shops located around the area until we reached the Disneyland castle. Of course we couldn’t pass up on not taking any pictures in front of it. This turned out to be quite difficult though, with hundreds of park visitors trying to accomplish the same.
After a few tries we gave up and decided to have some fun by going on one of the many rides. We headed straight to the Matterhorn attraction, which I remember being the favorite of my host kids back in the days. It was quite a fun ride, even though I didn’t dare to look anywhere else than at my friend sitting in front of me due to my fear of heights.
After conquering the Matterhorn, we took a slower pace and headed towards a different area of the park. I am sure many of you have probably visited Disneyland before and know that the park is divided in several different areas, such as Adventureland, Tomorrowland, and Frontierland.
The park has attractions for every age group, from the very little guests to us adults. Even if you are not the rollercoaster type like me, there are still plenty of other fun things to do and explore, plus the park offers many great food options. I could have just eaten my way through and would have been busy all night long.
The only fact that kept me from doing so was that most of the restaurants closed after nine p.m., when the day pass visitors had to leave the park. That turned out to be a challenge for me since I am a vegetarian, and so my other vegetarian friend and I went on a quest to find something good to eat.
I eventually ended up with a vegetarian Gumbo in a bread bowl (yum). Besides this tasty dinner dish, we also indulged in Mickey Mouse shaped macaroons and beignets (so so good!).
After we finished eating, we intended to walk over to Tomorrowland. On our way over, we suddenly heard loud music coming from the Sleeping Beauty Castle, accompanied by a laser show in the colors of the rainbow.
As we walked closer, we saw a group of people dancing in front of the castle while a DJ was playing popular club music tracks. Yup, my school sure knows how to throw a birthday bash.
We danced a little (well, actually it was mostly me) before we continued our way to Tomorrowland, where we visited the Star Tours attraction, a 3D ride through space. For the rest of the night, we went from ride to ride until closing time at 1 a.m. Luckily, we never had to wait long in line.
I am not sure how long it will take me this time till I am going to visit Disneyland again. I am hoping not another 10 years, but since I just saw today in the news that the park raised its admission prices again, I think I will pass until my school decides to celebrate its birthday there again.
Images: Anne-Kathrin Schulte
Anne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.
If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.