Finding the Hidden Magic at Disneyland

Sign upon entering Disneyland

Upon entering Disneyland, we are greeted with this sign. “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.”

Everyone knows that the phrase “Happiest Place On Earth” is synonymous with Disneyland.  In the hundreds of times that I have been in my lifetime, I can honestly say that this may actually be true.  You may be thinking to yourself that that is impossible to measure, and I actually may agree with you.  However, there is an unexplainable magic when you walk through the gates and under the railroad. It is a magic that cannot be measured, but only felt.

Main Street is the Gateway to Another Place

When you walk into main street, it is as if the outside world is gone.  Depending on the time of day, you may see a crowd lined street, or a performance from a Disneyland band, or maybe even life as usual, with a horse drawn carriage, double decker bus, and old time cars honking their horns.  In all the times I have been, IT NEVER GETS OLD!  Main Street is the perfect welcome to a weary traveler of the outside world.  Walking down the hustle and bustle of main street, you pass by the bouquet of Mickey balloons, and draw closer to the plaza, which I liken to the “family room” of Disneyland.  Close your eyes and smell the fresh popcorn, hear the classic American show tunes played only in Main Street, and  also hear something else…laughter.  And lots of it.  Disneyland can be full of so much sensory overload for your eyes that you forget to listen.  It is all around you. Laughter.  From this point, with the exception of the distant screams from the Matterhorn, you will hear laughter everywhere you go.  Adults and children alike laughing everywhere.

Sit Down and Relax for Awhile

An empty park bench awaits

A park bench In the plaza

One of my favorite things to do is to find a park bench and just sit.  Maybe munching on some popcorn or sipping a coffee.  Sitting and doing nothing in a place made for doing things may seem almost unnatural, but somehow, in the stillness, you feel life all around you, and you may notice things that you wouldn’t see if you were heading to a specific destination.  You can watch the joy of families, couples, adults, and kids as they pose for their picture in front of the castle.  Or the toddler squealing with delight as he feeds those waddling ducks who are lucky enough to call Disneyland their home.  People are everywhere, excitedly passing through on their way to other places in the park.  Laughter is contagious and to merely hear it invokes feelings of joy within.  This is the magic.  There on a park bench, stillness in the midst of laughter, lies the magic.  Listening, watching, connecting.  THIS is the essence of Disney.

It All Began on a Park Bench

It was on a park bench where Walt was inspired to create Disneyland.  While Walt watched his two daughters play, laughing, and having fun, he sat there, absorbing it all, listening to their joy, and their laughter.  Today that same bench is on display at the Opera House on Main Street, as a memorial and a tribute to the inspiration.  As you sit and take In the laughter and joy around you, perhaps it will connect you with the reason why Disneyland was born.  It is an opportunity to “walk” in Walt’s footsteps, and to see what he saw.  But now, we are here, living within his inspiration.  We are witnessing the fruits of his labors and the embodiment of his inspiration.  It is as if we are looking into the past and into the heart of Disneyland.  There, on a park bench.   To feel this essence, now THAT is the magic.  So while you are on your way, enjoying the many joys that Disneyland has to offer,  perhaps you may find a few moments to sit and take it in.

Where Walt's inspiration for Disneyland was born

The same park bench that inspired Walt

Griffith Park's Carousel

The Inspiration for Disneyland

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