Walt Disney's 100th Birthday:  Afterglow

Wednesday, December 6, 2001
Sunny Suburbia

Greetings,

"It is good to be children sometimes, 
and never better than at Christmas, 
when its mighty Founder was a child himself."
~ A Christmas Carol

I am an exception, of this I am sure, but I'm glad that Disneyland held a low-key, no-fuss observation of Mr. Disney's birthday. I'm not one for frou-frou and over-blown lavish celebrations.  Forget the hoopla.  Forget the crowds.

Small and intimate is my cup of tea, and DH and I had our own heartfelt intimate celebration, undistracted by the frenzy for "stuff."  We passed on the free pins for Annual Passholders and the limited edition buttons for $6.99 with a free cake thrown in.  Thanks, but no thanks.

We have the memories.  Memories, beyond price.  And yesterday, we added to that growing stash of memories:

We arrived after work, and having heard the rave reviews of Blast! at Disney California Park (DCA)'s Hyperion Theatre, headed there first. We missed the show by five minutes, but no matter, we'll catch it another day.  The beauty of the Annual Pass, which by the way is now $100 less than when we purchased it.  $199 instead of $299.  

We'd both skipped lunch, and a shared bread bowl of hot and hearty clam chowder under sunny, breezy skies on the Monterey Wharf appealed greatly.

Again, I am more the exception than the rule, but I like the uncrowdedness of DCA.  Unharried and unhassled, the folks -- the cast members and the guests --  are very friendly and home-townish there.  People look at each other with acknowledging smiles.  Almost having it all to ourselves, we especially enjoy the peace and quiet of the waterfront nooks and crannies.

We did not miss the summer crowds. 

On the stroll over to Disneyland, like two little kids, we photo-opped with Wilderness Santa, alongside his bag of hand-crafted toys and a wood-carved Mickey.  Note the rustic backdrop of Christmas trees ornamented with real pine cones and plaid ribbons that matched Santa's plaid shirt:

 

Main Street, U.S.A. is absolutely gorgeous!  Disneyland goes bonkers at Christmas, and the Christmas spirit is everywhere. We admired the towering 60 foot tall Christmas tree decked with 8,000 lights and ornaments at the town square, and stopped by the plaque at the base of the flagpole to remember Mr. Disney by reading his immortal and cordial words of welcome :


To read the words, 
click on the plaque for an enlargement

I think Mr. Disney quite liked it that we were observing his birthday and paying tribute to him by reliving our fond memories of his Kingdom.  We remembered him by remembering when we were first touched by his magic as a newlywed couple, back in 1975, when the weather was as cool and crisp as today's.

We proceeded up Main Street, enjoying the delights of Christmas along the way. We headed for the Hub, to the Partners statue of Mickey and Walt Disney, hand-in-hand. I love sculptures, and the Partner's statue of by Blaine Gibson ranks among my all-time favorites: 

The Partners statue touches my heart.

Dusk was fast approaching, and the lights began twinkling.  We wandered over to Fantasyland to Storybook Land's Canal Boat Ride, our favorite ride from our first visit and ever since. The tiny lands are decked out in Christmas with teensey wreaths, and even teensier poinsettias.  

We thought of our friend, Bu, who has fallen in love with bonsai trees.  We must persuade them to come down and join us on the ride. The trees are barely knee-high, but over a 100 years old!

>> Here's a fabulous site on this ride by Stuart Kuramoto

We then went over to Tomorrowland's to board the Monorail and get a bird's eye view of Disneyland, DCA, and Downtown Disney.  By then, the sun had completely set, and the lights were brightly spectacular.  It's A Small World is amazingly lit up, glittery and breathtaking in its Christmas splendor.

I had heard about the Chicken Fusilli from the friendly MousePad folks, and that seemed to be the perfect second course to our extended supper.  Their raves were no exaggerations, as with a fresh, green salad, the fusilli was indeed perfect.  Simply delicious, it will lure us back to the Red Rockett Restaurant again. 

We took a brisk, after-dinner walk around the park.  Exercise in the park is painless and never boring.  We ended up back on Main Street in time for the parade, which is so wonderful, it is beyond words.  You must see it for yourself.  It was far beyond my expectation of Christmas wonder.

After the parade, we parked ourselves on a comfortable park bench in the hub, in the forecourt across Sleeping Beauty's Castle. I love the winter weather, when the air is cold, crisp and clear.  I fussed with DH's scarf, arranging it around his neck just-so, making sure he was nice, snug and warm, and then snuggled into the crook of his arm.  Perfect snuggle conditions. 

We shared the bench with a friendly couple from La Mirada, soon to be moving out to a retirement home in Bull Head City, Arizona.  She's a Disney Wizardess, and he is a Disney Muggle, albeit a very good-natured one.  

And then the holiday fireworks over the castle began...Disneyland really outdoes itself.  Streaking comets, shimmering cascades, and flurries of sparkles filled the night sky, and we oohed and ahhhed throughout the whole extravaganza.

>> Here's a website by Julie Zison & Scott Leonard on Disney's "Believe...there's magic in the stars" fireworks display 
to give you an idea of the holiday display

The finale was the snowfall.  Yes, a snowfall.  A beautiful snowfall.  A wondrous snow fall. In the flatlands.  In Southern California.  The gently falling flakes brought all four of us to our feet, and we spontaneously hugged each other. No, not just me and DH, hugging each other, but our bench partners hugging us as well.  Now that is the magic of Disney, when perfect strangers can meet at a park bench, chat like neighbors, and hug each other like bosom buddies at the end of a holiday fireworks spectacular.

I think Mr. Disney smiled alot to see us happy, hugging and smiling. Mission accomplished. 

As we walked out of the Kingdom, arm in arm, DH and I sang "Happy Birthday" to Mr. Disney.  I think he liked that, too.

Bless you, Mr. Disney.  You are remembered with much love and affection. And thank you.  Thank you for the memories, new and old.

Mouse Planet - Mouse Pad

Laughing Place's Full Account of the Day 
with transcripts, video and photos

Intercot: Christmas 2001

Intercot's It's Christmastime in Disneyland

Laughing Place:  Disney Christmas

Thank you, lisap, for the Charles Dicken's quote.

 



"Life is a Gift."

Sincerely,
Author Unknown

P.S.  If you would like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to this journal entry, you may do it here.  


 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
.
September Morn 2001