Über Malibu nach Los Angeles
The day is finally here. The day a single 31 year old Disney fan enters the Magic Kingdom ON HER OWN!
To help justify my solo attendance I opted to undertake the exclusive 'Walking in Walt's Disneyland Footsteps' Tour which was a special 3.5 hour tour including lunch with which we would be taken around the park and told stories about its construction, the imagineering and ultimately it's creator- the man himself Walt Disney.
I've done a lot of research on Disney over the years especially during my degree. Many people have referred to media degrees as Mickey Mouse degrees so during mine I steered into the curve and wrote essays on Disneyland, Baudrillard, Hyper-realism and Mary Poppins. I think I thought I was proving a point. Regardless, I already knew a fair amount about Disneyland's construction and how much the park had meant to Walt in his later years. Due to the crowds, we wore ear pieces to ensure we could hear our tour guide but this also meant he could play us significant audio clips from Disney history. I can't lie, I got chills when he played us his opening speech from July 17th 1955. It's short but sweet so I thought I'd include it below:
"To all who come to this happy place - welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."
I believe this speech still epitomises Disneyland today.
The true highlight of the tour was spending half an hour in Walt's very own apartment above the Fire Station in Main Street USA. This really did give me tingles. Walt spent a lot of time here in his later years especially during the park's construction and early days. There is a lamp in the window which was always left on during his times of residence. As a mark of respect the lamp has remained lit since his death in 1966.
As the park was so busy I opted to go on very few rides and simply soak up the Disney atmosphere and indulge in my photography. Doing this I made several inreresting observations. The first was the realisation that kids were still carrying around autograph books and they were on sale in all the gift shops. This was a nice surprise as I'd assumed the autograph had been subsumed by the selfie. Second was the 'Bibbidy Bobbdy Boo Boutique' just inside the Castle. On entering you struggle to focus at first through the mist of hairspray and glitter but once the fog clears you are greeted with a frenzy of little girls sat in parlour chairs having their hair done by Fairy Godmothers and being dressed as Princesses. It was magical and a little creepy all at the same time! I confess I was tempted to ask whether big girls could play too! My 3rd interesting observation was that there is no signal on the Haunted Mansion. Spooky huh? I was also chuffed to find the entrance to 'Club 33' which was Disney's exclusive club set upstairs in the New Orleans houses of Frontierland.
The day ended with 'Fantasmic' - Disney's infamous night time show on the water in Frontierland. I first saw this in 1994 and thought it was the most magical thing I'd ever seen. I still do.Read more