The day started as the entire family lingered into the Disneyland Adventures park during the magic hour. A four year old B with his Mickey Ears with the wizard’s hat, and a 18 month old Aislyn in only a tiny dress as per doctor’s orders to keep her from overheating. We made our way down Buena Vista Street, a large red trolley was parked to our left in Hollywood Land as we pressed on to the ultimate destination of this entire trip, Radiator Springs. Nothing could have prepared me for the magnificence, I was taken aback when we turned the corner finding ourselves looking down the incredibly true to the movie block and background.
Because they were setting up for park opening Mater and Lightning McQueen were cruising down the street to greet the eager guests outside. Their eyes moved, and their voices reacted to the children around them. We were so excited we continued to ask B to turn and pose for the camera, but he was unresponsive. It was no use, he was mesmerized as he witnessed his friends that he had watched so many times on television, and seen so many times in the illustrations kept in his bedtime stories. He had collected their figurines, and slept on their pillows. He had played their video games, and carried their lunch boxes. Today they were here in front of him, a moment he never thought he would experience. When they had passed around the bend and completely out of sight he was not set free from his trance and he looked up at us with such mystical wonder. There was silence a moment longer before his mouth began to contort into the largest of smiles followed by a sudden outburst, “I didn’t know they were real!” That was followed by a squeal of glee (the most satisfying noise a parent can hear). That moment was worth it all. That moment was the most rewarding I had ever experienced as a step-parent. How silly was it that I just wanted to break down and cry right there in the middle of the imaginary cartoon land?
Aislyn and I sat at Flo’s Cafe that morning while the boys rode the rides. There were none available for her in Cars Land, and I started to grow concerned that perhaps this was how the entire park would be. But it was what I made it, and I decided despite feeding into her constant screaming, hitting, pinching, and random outbursts of anger I would just see this as time stolen for just my daughter and I. We would enjoy the shade and breeze as we watched the Cars ride fly by sipping on Fruit Punch, and sharing a snack of pretzel bites at a picnic table. Where better to steal this time than the Happiest Place on Earth?
We moved onto Bugs Land, where we unknowingly wandered into a 4D movie entitled It’s Tough to be a Bug. Quite terrifying for Aislyn, but nice to finally have something in which she could participate. Next we found Flik’s Flyers, another ride Aislyn could experience, boxes built to look like discarded Chinese food and and Animal Cracker containers were extended from the top of a giant stick with acorns and then revolved into the air. Aislyn was constantly attempting to push the doors open to escape while the ride was in motion. She seemed nervous and uneasy through the entire ride. Next stop though was Francis Ladybug Boogie, where little round cars slung you around narrowly missing the other lady bugs on the same course. B really enjoyed this one, and seeing her brother in uncontrollable laughter Aislyn started to realize that this slinging about everywhere was supposed to be fun, and began to smile herself. Finally, we came across The Golden Zephyr in Paradise Pier. Silver gleaming zeppelins that are suspended by cords spun in the air over the water below. Because there was no door on the ride Aislyn was able to see out, she looked at the water that seemed to zip backwards below us and she could feel through this opening the rush of breeze on her face; she smiled her spotted grin and hollered out “EEEeee”! A moment I will forever cherish, the moment she first exhibited the thrill of the ride.
Going to the amusement park was the most memorable and favorite activity I had with my father, and for that reason it was so important to me that I had the moment like our moment on the tea cups with my own daughter.