I have to admit, I haven't been to Disneyland in years. Its been so long, the last time I was there was probably in the mid 90's! California Adventure and Downtown Disney weren't even built yet. On my last visit, I went to see the props that Disney had purchased from my store, Country Roads. Back then, I remember Disney buying my friends large watering trough that use to be in his backyard. They set it in Frontierland. Over those years they bought countless antiques from us, and I remember how exciting it was for me back then to see a lot of our stuff in the Indiana Jones ride, mixed in store displays, the train station and more. If you love decorating, Disneyland is an awesome place to visit. I'm not really sure why I never went back to Disneyland sooner. I guess I just got busy with work, with life and never went back all these years even if Disneyland was in my "own backyard".
So, what brought me back to Disneyland after all these years? It was this little kid, with big blue eyes named Riley, that happens to be my only grandchild. My return to Disneyland was right before Christmas and I was anxious to see the decorations and “just” Disneyland, it had been so long. It was Christmas, and I wanted to see Disneyland with Riley like I had done years ago with my own kids when they were small. I left work early that day and met my daughter Katie, her husband, my son Bryce, and his wife, and my little girl Riley at Disneyland. They all had purchased passes a few weeks back, and I wanted to be included, so I got my pass on that day as well. If you would have told me a year ago that I would have purchased a season pass, I would have laughed. I wouldn't have seen a reason to have one back in those days.
We wanted to see the Christmas parade this particular day. None of us had ever seen it before. We staked out our "real estate" right on the curb way before the parade was to begin! It was a cold winter day with the skies threatening to rain. As many of you know, more and more people just kept arriving and trying to find their own “spots” to claim for parade viewing. Tensions mounted, a large lady sat on Katie and there were words exchanged. Other people were annoyed by being stepped on, and babies were crying, kids were screaming, and it was pretty unpleasant all and all. I have NEVER sat anywhere curbside for a parade, ever! I use to take my own kids to Disneyland often when they were small, but I never had the patience or determination to stake out "real estate" to any parade ever. But when it comes to Riley, there isn't much I wouldn't do for her!
As it got closer to parade time, and people were about at their breaking points, we heard the announcement that the parade was about to begin. I have to tell you, when Disney does something, they do it right. I was in complete awe watching the parade. The music, the costumes, the decorations. . . I loved it all. Then I looked into my granddaughters big blue eyes and I swear they sparkled as she smiled and waved and danced as the parade passed her by. It was magical! Then I looked next to me at little kids and babies, and across the street at more little kids. And it was the same, ALL of their eyes sparkled and gleamed as the parade went by. They waved at their favorite characters and they danced and sang with the music. When Santa finally arrived there was no way you could even begin to describe the pure joy all these little kids had! I know I will never forget it. And as I said, Disney really knows how to put together a parade!
Since then I've been back to Disneyland and Downtown Disney as well. I was so excited at seeing Disney through Riley and other kid’s eyes that I now eagerly await my next visit. Actually, for a Christmas gift I got my sister and her partner season passes. Katie got her sister, Brande, a season pass for her gift. Last year was kind of a particularly tough year for my family. All families have those kinds of years once in awhile. And now, to visit Disneyland with all my family present and look for some of Country Roads antiques in the displays, is all pretty incredible to me. And each and every time I go, I never forget to see and enjoy Disneyland through the eyes of, not only Riley, but all the little kids as well. It's magical!!