Live Through This

Paradise Lost

I was standing in Tomorrowland, and all I could think about was yesterday.

Illustration by Sonja.

When my sister was six years old, she went to Walt Disney World and temporarily lost her shit. We had just finished a go-round on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, a Wind in the Willows-based attraction that ended, if I remember correctly, with the light from an oncoming train threatening to take out all of the ride’s passengers. I was eight at the time and knew that it was unlikely for vehicular homicide to be a part of the “Disney experience,” so I laughed when the car swung around at the last moment and pulled us back to the entrance. My sister, however, flipped out.

First, she screamed. Then she cried. She refused to listen to reason. We had been in Orlando, Florida, for four days, and the vacation was taking its toll. “She’s exhausted,” my mother said as my sister sobbed about the train while eating a Mickey Mouse ice cream pop. She later confirmed my mother’s diagnosis at dinner by falling asleep while eating a grilled cheese sandwich. “Exhausted,” my mother said again.

Of course she was exhausted. We all were. My parents and my older sister, who was 15, seemed to be exhausted by the lines and the humidity. My younger sister and I were exhausted from the emotional stimulation. We were at Walt Disney World! We didn’t take a vacation like this every year. This was a special trip, one that we weren’t sure we’d ever make again. It was too much to take. There was so much magic and so little time.

We hugged costumed characters and begged for their autographs. We ate breakfast with Mickey and Donald, rock stars on the level of Madonna or Michael Jackson (it was the ’80s, OK?), and felt honored to be in their silent, waving presence as we ate pancakes in the shape of Mickey’s head. We rode the Haunted Mansion a million times and were convinced that every single instance of “technical difficulties” was the result of actual ghosts messing with the ride. We got picked to ride the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids bee, which I still brag about to this very day, for obvious reasons.

We believed in everything and took it all in like we were visitors to an alien land. The sarcasm and cynicism that would define us as we got older hadn’t seeped in yet—we still wrote letters to Santa Claus and freaked out when he ate the cookies we left for him—and we felt as though we’d been given the keys to an alternate universe where the world was designed for kids, for fun, for happiness, sort of like that island in Pinocchio, only without the cigar smoking and horrific donkey transformation. We were Goonies. We were Lost Boys. We were on an adventure, placed in a world that we’d dreamed about for as long as we could remember. It was, my sister noted, even more beautiful than it looked on television.

When it was time to leave, we were each allowed to pick one toy from the Disney store to bring home. I chose Elliott from Pete’s Dragon. My sister chose the Cheshire Cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Magical creatures, naturally. We held them on the plane ride home and sighed dramatically as Florida fell out of sight. We never wanted to leave. We made promises to return and blew kisses to the air. We were in love.

***

“If Pluto tries to hug me one more time,” I said to my sister, “I’m going to kick him in the face.”

It was eight years later. Our cousin was getting married in Florida, which gave the entire family an excuse to go to Disney World for a few days. I was 16 and perpetually gloomy, worried about a boyfriend who was, as I suspected, crafting his “you’re dumped” speech while I was away. I had entered what Eglantine Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks calls “The Age of Not Believing”: “When you set aside your childhood heroes / And your dreams are lost upon a shelf / You’re at the age of not believing / And, worst of all, you doubt yourself.”

I spent a good portion of the trip down scribbling in my journal about “corporate bullshit” and how unfair it was that I had to go to a wedding at the exact moment I had realized that love was dead or whatever. Also, Florida was hot, and my mother said I had to wear shorts or I’d “sweat to death.” Shorts! I hated shorts. I hated everything. We were in “the happiest place on Earth,” and I was miserable.

There is a small window for a certain type of magic: you can love the idea of Santa Claus for as long as you live, but you only get to believe in him once. The same holds true for Disney World. There comes a point when you realize that there are people underneath the costumes, when the animatronic pirates look silly rather than scary, and when you find yourself saying things like “Can you believe how much they’re charging for ice cream?”

At night in our hotel, I’d try to call my boyfriend, who would make weird excuses not to talk to me, or say things that made it fairly clear that he was thinking about not talking to me when I returned. You know that stage right before someone dumps you, when they’re trying to decide whether to go through with it, and you can see it coming but you hope that they’ll miraculously reconsider? It was that stage. I could feel it in my heart. Even browsing the gift shops for something to bring back to him felt like an act of desperation.

For years, I’d carried this memory of Disney as a magical place where nothing could go wrong. Yet here I was, surrounded by dream machines and smiling faces, and things were going wrong. I spent the nights staring at the hotel ceiling, trying to keep my heart from breaking, and the days walking around a giant wonderland, trying to keep randos in costumes from giving me hugs. I didn’t want any autographs. I found It’s a Small World terrifying as opposed to enchanting. (The line between “Neat! Dolls that talk!” and “Effing creepy, those dolls are singing” had been crossed at some point in those intervening years.) And I didn’t want to take the MGM Studios tour, because I was afraid I’d see the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids bee turned upside down and rotting in a back lot somewhere. I noticed the humidity, the lines, and the slightly sickening smell of fair food. And I also noticed the little girls walking around with their Minnie ears on, wide-eyed and screaming, pointing at everything they saw, their expressions wavering between excitement and exhaustion. They looked so happy. I was terribly, terribly jealous.

It is strange how a dream world can lose its hold on you, and how places that once seemed almost supernatural can fade into just another pile of concrete, costumes, and rides. To see that it still existed for other little girls was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. I wanted to go back. But I was ever so much more than eight, and the window had closed.

While walking around, I came across a ride that my family and I had ridden (and giggled through) at least three times during our first visit to Disney—the Carousel of Progress, an educational spin through time that showed us various eras in American history as we watched an animatronic family adjust to changes in technology and such. It was the kind of ride that Walt Disney loved—a chance to show the progress we’d already made while envisioning the future ahead of us. I seem to remember the final panel of the Carousel of Progress ending with the family dressed in silver space suits (remember, the ’80s), and the ride’s theme song is still stuck in my head: “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day!”

The family on the ride just kept getting happier, and life kept getting easier, and the message seemed to be that tomorrow was only going to bring brighter and better things—and that General Electric sure was a swell company! When I saw the ride again, it was closed for some reason, progress on hold, which seemed fitting, as I was standing in Tomorrowland and all I could think about was yesterday.

When you’re younger, people like to point out all of the exciting things that are waiting for you. The perks of getting older are dangled in front of you as an incentive to leave childish things behind. It’s not as terrifying, for example, to have your teeth fall out of your mouth if you’ve been promised a visit by a fairy with deep pockets. But childhood is filled with mourning periods—things seem to move so fast that you become nostalgic for versions of yourself that exist only in awkward school photographs, girls who have your face but are too small to fit into any of your clothes. I wanted so badly to believe in the magic of the park—the way you want to hold on to Santa Claus long after you recognize that his handwriting is suspiciously similar to your mother’s—but the spell was broken. Toward the end of our trip, I ended up with the same sad feeling I’d had the first time. I didn’t want to leave. But this time, it wasn’t because I’d be leaving the fairy tale world behind. It was because I knew that a not-so-happy-ending was waiting for me at home. I couldn’t even hear “great big beautiful tomorrow” in my mind without making it sound like a Joy Division song. My younger sister noticed. “We’re at Disney,” she said. “You could at least try to have fun.”

And so, on our last day at the park, my younger sister and I took one last ride on the Haunted Mansion. Our car got stuck right in front of our old favorite ghost, the translucent one with the beating heart. “We are experiencing technical difficulties,” a gentle voice cooed over the loudspeaker.

“GHOSTS,” my sister yelled, and we started giggling and trying to scare each other. I was bummed when the ride started moving. For a second there, it seemed like everything was real again, and I didn’t want to leave. We spent the rest of the day going on our favorite rides, like Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain, laughing and yelling and forgetting about the world outside. It wasn’t the same as when we were small, but it was fun. We were able to get lost. I let myself fall back in love with imaginary things.

On our way out of the park, we tried to find Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, only to discover that the ride had been shut down. My sister played it off like she didn’t care. But as we walked on, I swear she turned to look behind us, to make sure she wasn’t standing in front of a train that never existed in the first place. ♦

60 Comments

  • rosiesayrelax June 5th, 2012 3:10 PM

    i’ve always been scared of people dressed up as cartoon characters. it’s just blurring the lines of reality too much.
    ugh, i shudder now just thinking about them.
    ha.

    Rosie Say Relax

    • Yellie June 6th, 2012 11:29 AM

      Same here, there is just something wrong about all that.

  • Claire June 5th, 2012 3:11 PM

    My family and I went to Disney World when I was 12, and it didn’t feel like a vacation at all. The lines, the people, the going-to-bed-late/waking-up-early thing, and the unabashed commercial glitz of it all was a little hard to stomach. I feel like everyone goes to Disney World because they feel like they’re obligated to give their kids this particular memory (and depending on the age of the child, maybe not even that).

  • mdoodle13 June 5th, 2012 3:13 PM

    I feel this way in reverse about my own experiences during my childhood (like Disneyland). I seem to delight in what I did then more now than then.

  • Marguerite June 5th, 2012 3:21 PM

    i’ve never been to disney before :(

  • Jennifer T June 5th, 2012 3:22 PM

    Beautifully written, Pixie. I think this kind of disillusionment, even though it comes with a certain sadness, ultimately is very healthy.

    I held on way too long to my obsession with fairy tales and other ideals, and it cost me. Here’s a true account I wrote of it (the recent release of the new Snow White movie inspired me to finally get it all out): http://mortalsenseofbeauty.typepad.com/mortal-sense-of-beauty/2012/05/snow-whitewashed.html

    • madpie June 5th, 2012 10:13 PM

      I read your snow white piece. It was incredibly moving. Keep writing!

    • bewarethejabberwock June 10th, 2012 4:50 PM

      I read your account, it’s great and really well written! And sad, but in that good makes-you-think way. I second madpie, keep writing!

  • allydoubleyou June 5th, 2012 3:28 PM

    This is a really beautiful article. :)

  • Alienor June 5th, 2012 3:39 PM

    sometimes i feel like peter pan. i don’t want to grow up. i want to go be back to being little where everything is easy.

  • papayapetunia June 5th, 2012 3:45 PM

    Really beautiful post. It made me nostalgic for my Disney days. :) I really looks forward to taking my own kids there.

  • Cruicked June 5th, 2012 4:07 PM

    This was so excellent!

  • Cruicked June 5th, 2012 4:08 PM

    Not relevant to this but IS THAT GILLIAN JACOBS on the Sweet Dreams post?

    • Phoebe June 5th, 2012 4:10 PM

      It is!

      • Cruicked June 5th, 2012 6:32 PM

        I am so excited for it but I can’t stay up to 5am to see it :( It’ll be the first thing I check in the morning though!

  • Jane June 5th, 2012 4:28 PM

    your writing is spectacular! love this line in particular…the way you make prose sound like poetry:

    “When I saw the ride again, it was closed for some reason, progress on hold, which seemed fitting, as I was standing in Tomorrowland and all I could think about was yesterday. “

  • GlitterKitty June 5th, 2012 4:30 PM

    This is a great post. I completely understand where you’re coming from. For me, it was Christmas. I spent the first 12 or so years of my life thinking that Christmas was LITERALLY THE BEST THING EVER. When I was around 13, Christmas was coming up and I was shocked that I wasn’t even excited. So Christmas day came and I hardly even cared. Obviously I liked getting stuff and seeing my family but I wasn’t hopped up on excitement like I usually was. It made me horribly sad. When I was 14, I broke out in tears on Christmas Eve because I just couldn’t handle my lack of excitement. I’ve mostly gotten over it now but I still miss those days when Santa was the coolest thing ever.

  • phoebelouise June 5th, 2012 5:08 PM

    Ah, I’ve never been to the American Disney, but I’ve been to the Paris one a few times. Does the American one have that hotel that looks like Sleeping Beauty’s palace? I’m obsessed with that hotel and all its Minnie Mouse soaps. I stole them all and took them home with me. :P

    And yes, I get this nostalgic, sad feeling too – about places I used to love, like Disney, or as someone else mentioned, Christmas. Ah, well – I still have lots of great things I enjoy from when I was a kid, like slumber parties – we just watch 18-rated horror movies instead of Finding Nemo now, haha! :P

    • ladylaurenia June 5th, 2012 5:44 PM

      You went into the palace!?

  • grizzly June 5th, 2012 5:11 PM

    I went to DisneyLand a few months back with a couple of friends for the day and sort of ‘what the hell’ moment. Maybe I’m just not the grumpy sixteen year old I should be but I full on sobbed when walking into the park. We went on SpaceMountain 3-4 times in a row, each time just as scary as the last.

    I had never been as a kid and the youngest of three sisters meaning that I always wanted to be older than I was and just like them which meant missing out on all the Disney magic as a kid because I thought I was “too old for the that kiddy stuff” at the mature age of 7 or 8.

    I guess I’m still like that today, always had older friends always known to be mature one but for that day at Disneyland I could actually act like a kid for once. Too me Disney will always be magic.

  • ladylaurenia June 5th, 2012 5:43 PM

    This article got me really teary-eyed. It was so beautiful. I’m only in highschool but I wish that I hadn’t tried o grow up so fast in my younger days…reading this article made me realize that maybe it’s not to late for me to hold on to those “childish things”. I have a 22-year old cousin who loves amusement parks, the Happy Feet movie, playing video games and sleeping in Snoopy pajamas. I admire her for that…

  • Moxx June 5th, 2012 5:48 PM

    Doesn’t this happen for everything? But even in the other way, like how things you thought were the most embarrassing experiences of your life seem like nothing much a year later?
    Maybe it’s because we can never remember objectively, and when we think about what we used to think, the way we remember can also never be objective?

  • pocketmouse June 5th, 2012 5:53 PM

    Last time I went to Disneyland I was about 15 and I also was experiencing troubles with my then boyfriend, I remember asking to borrow my best friends cell phone while desperately calling him, it was a rough time, and the ride home was all too exhausting. I’m going back this October, by then I’ll be 20, and Im currently going through all those childhood nostalia about to not be a teenager and needing to become dependent feelings, I’m nervous– but excited for tomorrow :) (heh I had to say it) Great article, it’s crazy how much I can relate to everything on Rookie.

  • youngfridays June 5th, 2012 5:58 PM

    I’ve never been to a Disney World, probably because I live in Australia hah, but idk I went through my “I hate everything stage” when I was about 14, so I’m glad that I can throughly enjoy all the things I did before unabashedly because at least now I can recognise the fun in it, rather than just dissmissing it because I didn’t find it cool enough.
    I am 16 now and I can honestly say that Tangled is by far one of my favourite movies :3

    • Marguerite June 5th, 2012 7:48 PM

      I LOVE TANGLED!

      • Perfumed.Pansies May 10th, 2013 10:00 AM

        Who doesn’t! I just wish that Flynn cut her hair so it was a little bit longer. I mean it’s not going to grow so she needs something to work with. I don’t know, that’s just me.

        - Bailey Rose

  • anisarose June 5th, 2012 6:03 PM

    I think that going to Disney as a kid is a magnificent experience— everything looks huge, perfect, and made for you. But as a teenager, it looks small, old, and made for the screaming little kids that are running about. There’s an interesting lesson in there about perception and memory distortion but it also holds some magic and if you allow yourself to let go of some cynicism, those feelings that you had as a child in Disney Land can resurface.

    http://anisarose.blogspot.com/

  • Laia June 5th, 2012 6:41 PM

    this was beautiful.

  • Arden June 5th, 2012 6:55 PM

    This article was written so beautifully. Thank you for bringing me simultaneously to tears and smiles.

  • kruisin June 5th, 2012 7:00 PM

    Pixie, this was so beautifully written. Really expresses what I went through at the age of 16 as well. But I could never put it into such expressive writing.
    While I was reading some of the passages I felt the same way I felt after reading Weetzie Bat or Violet & Claire…

  • Sophii June 5th, 2012 7:34 PM

    I love this. I went to Disney World in Florida when I was seven and went to Disney Land Paris when I was eleven. I’m now fourteen and do still adore Christmas and Disney and I really want to go back to Disney World but I think it’s mostly to try out the roller coasters that I was too young to go on last time and Christmas is perhaps subconsciously to do with presents.

    I watched Sleeping Beauty the other day as we got out our video player and I was really excited about watching it again and whilst it sort of took me back to my childhood it was the first time I realised how simple the plot was and how short the film was.

    I always feel so excited in the build up to Christmas. My friend even said to me that I was like the opposite of Scrooge because I get really angry at people who are’t Christmassy enough.

    I do feel that some dreams are lost with childhood and replaced with a bitter realisation of what the real world is like but these childhood dreams are also replaced with new dreams and new opportunities. I know I wouldn’t want to go back ten years mostly because that means I’d have ten years of school ahead of me!

    http://thechicmuse000.blogspot.co.uk

    P.S. I find that films like the Lion King never get old and I love it <3

  • sherbert June 5th, 2012 8:28 PM

    i think this was well written but there’s something about reflecting on the innocence of yore with starry eyed adult “knowing” that’s really annoying. its a cliche dude, big deal.

    • Abby June 6th, 2012 9:37 AM

      I think it’s more about the sadness of leaving your childhood behind. That’s what I got out of it, anyway.

  • Ben June 5th, 2012 8:34 PM

    Yeah, last year all the holidays that used to exite me so much went by so quickly and i wasn’t nearly as exited. I used to plan out all the decorations and everything months ahead of time this christmas I barely decorated and christmas wasn’t as magical and it’s just sad. I didn’t even plan a birthday party this year! At least i got to live the illusion longer, I belived in santa till I was 12 or 13 and I think all my siblings know now and they are only 10 and 7! I love disney land but I know next time I go it won’t be as magical and that is sad but I don’t want to be younger because like sophii said then I’d have to redo school!

  • Eryn June 5th, 2012 8:35 PM

    This may be irrelevant, but Walt Disney was my grandmother’s fifth cousin. I’m not sure what that makes me, but I thought I’d share that because I’m always pretty proud to be related, however distant.

  • Sssophiabh June 5th, 2012 8:47 PM

    Wow, this was so beautiful and touching <3

  • anodien June 5th, 2012 9:31 PM

    I went to Disneyland in FL as a kid, twice: when I was 7 and at 12. I had a blast on those two occasions, they’re great childhood memories (plus that first trip was actually my first international trip! I’m from Chile).

    I actually had the chance to go to Disneyland Paris last year, at age 22, and I had THE BEST TIME EVER, which was unexpected (I thought that, like you, it wouldn’t be magical anymore), but at the moment we went through the door my friends and I were screaming and dancing and acting goofy and ooohh it was awesome. I guess there are things that can still make you happy even if you know the TRUTH behind them!

  • missmadness June 5th, 2012 11:07 PM

    god, I’m 20 and I still adore Disney. I think half of my love is due to the fact that it’s a place where everyone (down to the street sweepers) is working so damn hard for one thing: to make kids happy. also, I had a few friends that worked there through a scholarship program and they said it really is a great place to work. I watched a documentary oncr on the secret city under disney that keeps everything working, and that’s fascinating too.

  • Mags June 5th, 2012 11:21 PM

    Man, I STILL love Disneyland. It is truly magical, and I don’t even know why. It’s obviously not really magic and all those characters are probably sweating their asses off inside their costumes, counting the minutes until their next smoke break, but there’s just something about Disneyland and all the pastel colors and attention to detail and cheerful music on repeat…it’s just spectacular.

  • EnidEnvy June 6th, 2012 9:18 AM

    when i was 12, my cousin (who i had never met) got married in florida, so my nana thought it would be a good excuse to take my brother, my other cousin, and myself to disney and universal studios. i was really excited but it ended up being a horrible time (for me at least.) my brother and my cousin were around the same age, both boys, and had each other. i was older and had no one to hang out with, so i felt more like i was babysitting. i had to do all the little kid things that the boys wanted to do, or all the boring “grown up” things that my nana and her husband wanted to do. i was excited for three things: space mountain and the tree of life at disney, and the jurassic park ride and at universal. the tree of life and jurassic park were both shut down and after more than two hours waiting in line for space mountain, it was pretty disappointing. plus, i just found florida in general to be a miserable place. it was so hot and yet it still poured every single day, you cannot even walk outside bare foot because the grass is just littered with pricker burs everywhere you go, and all of the people were either stuck up rich tourists or nasty racists. i swore i would never go back. but then the wizarding world of harry potter was built…. so now i really want to go back. maybe in a few years when my wee one is big enough to enjoy it. but i swear, if i get there and harry potter is closed, there will be heck to pay!

  • Abby June 6th, 2012 9:36 AM

    This made me cry. Seriously. Because this is exactly how I feel. Even though it didn’t happen at Disney, I’m so sad that I’m leaving my childhood behind. I graduated from high school last thursday and I did my last concert with my orchestra last night (that’s why I missed this). I’ve kind of been in a state of minor depression for the past few weeks, because I’m in such longing for the person I was and the people that everyone else were and the things that things used to be. Even though I know college is going to be great, I just want my childhood back, where I had no cares in the world. I just want it all back the way it was when I was a kid.

  • Stacey June 6th, 2012 12:14 PM

    I live in northern Florida, and I go to Disney World / Orlando all the time. I actually went last week. Disney is my happiest place on earth, and I even went last week! I love the magical feeling I still get when I go. I’m sixteen, and I know none of it’s real, but I love having Disney as my magical place I can go for a day and forget the rest of the world. It’s heaven on earth for me. My sister and I look forward to going all the time. She’s nineteen and we both still freak out when we see characters. We dance around the park and act like Princesses. Most people look at us like we’re crazy, but it’s we feel it’s the one place we can go to be kids, and not be judged to grow up. I also love meeting new people from around the world, and talking to the cast members. I’ve made so many great friends at Disney World, and most of my favorite memories are from my times there. I hope everyone feels the magic my sister and I feel when we go.

  • back2thepast June 6th, 2012 12:50 PM

    Duuude I love this so so much. I could litterally feel your thoughts through you’re beautiful writing. This is one of those feelings that I can’t articulate but have a strong sense of in my head, and you wrote it out spot on. Now I feel like I have my nostalgia and heartbreak put into words thank you so much.

  • awez June 6th, 2012 2:26 PM

    I can relate way too well to this.

    But.

    I fell back in love with theme parks and Disneyland at the age of 20. You get back some of that wonder as you get older, I think.

  • psychedelia_delia June 6th, 2012 4:38 PM

    what a beautifully prosed and thought-provoking article, holy shit!!! i love the idea of how family trips impact you differently during different times in your life. i really connected with the sister-bonding parts of this story. my family went to disneyland when my twin sister and I were about 15 or 14. for some reason, going on all those kooky rides helped us to begin to understand each other for the first time.
    thanks for the great story, pixie!!

    xoxo,
    delia

  • mirry June 6th, 2012 6:24 PM

    For some reason this kinda made me wanna cry. I can relate to this so, so much. That aside, it’s just like.. looking at my childhood and how I’ve grown up in the simplest way, and that hits home hard.

    The first time I went to Disney I was young and it was completely magical; the second time I went I was an angry, misunderstood teenager and I really didn’t care about anything– except for the one ride I had always loved, the tea cups. For a little while after riding it, I loved Disney again.

    I went for the third time last summer, and I guess since I’m not a teenager anymore I had a totally renewed way of looking at the whole thing. Everything was magical again.

  • Quinnpinn June 6th, 2012 6:25 PM

    I really like this article. I can relate to it, as I’m sure most teens can.. I’m turning 15 soon, and I’m sort of at that stage where my whole life is changing. My sister’s going to college, my family may be selling the house I’ve lived in practically my whole life, and I’m becoming less and less of a kid… which I absolutley hate. I feel like everyone my age is growing up, and I just don’t want to yet.. sigh.

  • VanyaTheDinosaur June 6th, 2012 8:41 PM

    The only thing I could think of this entire article was people on Tumblr, especially the ones in fandoms, because we actually seem to be the /least/ likely to experience this stuff. We convene in large groups to basically dress up like imaginary characters and jump around in excitement, for goodness sake. Heck, people in cosplay groups are some of the most fun and childish-in-a-good-way people I know.

    Then you mentioned It’s a Small Word and I just cringed, because when I was two or three my mom and I got stuck on it for two hours and they never stopped playing that song. For two hours. My mom had to deal with a cranky two-year old for two hours /with that song playing./ (Do you guys have HTML enabled?)

    OK, done rambling, sorry.

  • la fee clochette June 7th, 2012 6:02 AM

    La Fee Clochette (what my Parisian friends call me) translates to to Tinkerbell.

    Between trips from Iceland, I came home to America to a Tinkerbell balloon, that my mom paired with flowers and home-made card. When skyping my French friends (who I am staying with now), they saw it and gave me the funny name.

    I was born in Anaheim, got my first barbie & Disney trip for my 1st birthday, and went here with my family and year round pass every weekend it seemed, till i moved at age 11.

    I went back once, when visiting California on my16th birthday. It was an emotionally hard time for me too, but Disney still somehow had magic for me, and made me feel better.

    Sometimes I miss the sadness of adolescence, it seems more mystical and appropriate than my insecurities at 23.

    I turn 24this month,and will still be in Paris for it. It has been 8 years since my last Disney trip. Maybe I will try it again.

  • Miss Erin June 7th, 2012 8:58 PM

    this was a beautiful, beautiful piece of writing.

  • Trissy Ri June 8th, 2012 2:48 AM

    I’ve never even been to Florida let alone Disney World or Land, but I can still relate and be creeped out by people dressed as characters ;)

    I realize at the moment that the sixteen years of age that I am now is not all that sweet like I thought it was so many years ago. So many things that looked amazing and fun and gave me that “AW SNAP, I CAN’T WAIT” feeling are so…not what I expected.

    I see some kids nowadays saying they can’t wait to get older or are letting childhood go by because of Facebooks and video games, and I want to pick them up and shake them and tell them that when they get older they’re going to wish to be young again–and I want to shove a kick ball or hula hoop in their hand and push them outside.

    Gosh, I don’t know. I’d give an arm, leg, and my left butt cheek to go back to when I was born just to start everything over again. I wouldn’t change a thing. I just want to be truly joyous again even if it means I’ll just end up back where I am now. The ride is always funner than the destination anyway.

    –Mucho Amor: Trissy Ri <3

    • Trissy Ri June 8th, 2012 2:50 AM

      Truly beautiful writing, by the way :)

  • Sezweh June 9th, 2012 1:50 AM

    My little brother and sister went to Paris Disneyland and bought me a massive chefs hat with a plush Ratatoille sitting in it holding a wooden spoon, and “Bon Appetit” embroided on the front. I wear it everytime I cook.

  • neenah June 9th, 2012 3:12 PM

    I went to Disney (the first and only time) when I was 16. I hated just about every second of it especially the influence that the Carousel of Tomorrow had on my dad. He woke us up every morning for like, the next 2 weeks, with that song.

  • shjaron June 14th, 2012 6:04 PM

    I loved this so much.

  • guiltfreedonut June 24th, 2012 1:05 AM

    I often feel that we can’t go back to what we had and relive the past no matter how much we want, but I really do feel that Disney is an exception. I love that place. When I’m there I lose everything else on the outside. I think what you have to do is let Disney take your mind off of things without looking for it. I’m glad you were able to get this on the last day.

    http://www.guiltfreedonut.com

  • lucindadee June 26th, 2012 6:07 AM

    This was a wonderful piece to read. It reminded me of my eighth grade graduation trip to Disneyland. You see, I was going through a traumatizing time. My mother passed away a week before graduation. So after losing the most important person in my life, I decided that I was ok enough to visit the happiest place on earth. I did not want to miss out! EVERYONE was going! So the day arrived and I was sooo excited. I mean Disneyland trips were special events for my family. We were a working class family. My mom and dad had to work hard for our day of Disney. My friends and I meticulously planned our day. We were going to enjoy our last day as middle schoolers. At the same time, I took some of my own time to visit various rides and places where my mother and I shared many happy & carefree moments. I made my way to the exact table where we shared some ice cream and laughs the last time we were at Disneyland. I got some ice cream, came back and stared at the chair she sat in and closed my eyes. I wished and wished and wished that once I opened my eyes again, she would be there. And it all would be ok again. But of course she did not reappear. And I was mad at her for that . I was mad at cancer. I was mad at myself. It took me awhile before I could enjoy Disneyland again. I love going now. Plus I got to experience Club 33 with a very nice friend recently. So that is a new Disney memory on its own. But I still find myself making my way to that table, ice cream in hand. But now a calm peacefulness arrives.. she was there all along. She never left me.

  • Tallis August 23rd, 2012 6:28 PM

    Oh goodness
    I love amusement parks
    But when your mom wants you to hug a man in a costume for a picture, I swear, ill kill someone.