19 Oct

So I had to write a descriptive paper for my essay writing class. My Prof mentioned this as a possible subject passingly, but I saw it as a brilliant idea. What could I explain better than the Disney experience, after all, I have been there upward of ten times. Even after all the time my passion for the place is still fresh, therefore this paper was a pleasing subject. I hope you enjoy and are transported to that happy place in SoCal.

Driving in, I would press my face against the car window as it slowly revealed itself in the distance. The anticipation always began building days before, however, just upon arrival the excitement is palpable. The closer you get, the more noticeable the landscape is in contrast to surrounding areas. Street names resemble childhood friends, landscaped areas are immaculate, and the streets are free from any trace of rubbish. It is here, in the heart of Southern California, that a princess lives in a castle, waiting for a daring Knight to rescue her, where pirates raid the coastal shores and spotting a gang of hungry lions on a jungle safari is the norm. It is here where all your dreams come true. The Disneyland theme park is a place which offers an escape from reality and a taste of childlike naivety and joy which we so desperately cling to. It is not a single thing about the park which makes it memorable, but the combination of the atmosphere testing all of your senses. The total experience leaves an everlasting impression on your memory, and regardless of your age, leaves you coming back for more.
The walk toward the front entrance evolves into a skip in most cases. I believe the hop in one’s step is encouraged by gay mood of all those around, and most likely, the familiar Disney tunes blasting through the air. Do not feel ashamed to sing along, no one here will judge you, in fact, most will probably chime in. Entering the park is undoubtedly the most exciting part of the experience. Regardless of the number of times I have visited, I find myself overcome with anticipation and the desire to feast my eyes and ears on all that surrounds me. Before you even make it to Main Street, cameras are flashing, children are screeching with delight and ordering their parents directly to their first point of interest on the map, and workers are greeting you with unbelievably heart warming and genuine smiles. It is Main Street that defines the park. It is the first place you see upon entering, and the last memory you have when leaving Disneyland. Trolleys bustle to and fro on the street, jingling bells and honking horns, and music continues to diffuse through the air. The buildings along the street are modelled to portray a picturesque small town America setting. Each one is a vibrant pastel ranging from blue to pink to yellow, trimmed with banners and flags of red white and blue. The buildings are not just a display; they are filled with stuffed figures, mouse ears and delighted consumers. There are other shops which reveal themselves through smell alone. The ice cream parlour wafts the gentle scent of vanilla into the air, and the small café on the corner emits the mouth watering aroma of juicy, plump hot dogs. And those are just the shops. There are also a variety of vendors along the street advertising with scent. As appealing as all this may sound, it is not the music, the buildings, nor the incredible scents which cause the most immediate joy. For when you glance beyond Main Street, your eyes fall upon the iconic Cinderella’s castle. When glancing at the castle, I always felt as if I had been thrust into a fairy tale. One moment I was walking through small town USA, the next, I found myself in a mythical land with a castle and moat. That is the wondrous thing about Disneyland, you can find yourself in a fantasy in a matter of mere moments.
As wonderful as the sights and sounds of the park are to experience, in reality, it is the rides which most look forward to. Unlike many amusement parks, Disney rides show great care and attention to detail and establishing a unique setting for each attraction. Each ride you approach transports you into that world completely, and consequently, it makes waiting in line a rather enjoyable experience. One of my favourite rides in the park is Indiana Jones because of this very reason. Once you stray from the main road toward the entrance, you immediately feel as though you have left the world behind you. Rising up in front of you there is a grand stone temple hidden beneath rich vegetation. Rusted oil lamps light your way towards the mouth of the entrance, and big band music breaks the silence. The journey to the ride is not over yet, however. The temple passage is long and winding, the walls are filled with mysterious symbols, and the roof appears to be overwhelmed by the vegetation above. It is dimly lit by lamps, and the air is cool and damp. If you look carefully along the walls, you can see visitors who were not so lucky in manoeuvring the passageways, their bones doomed to rest there forever. By this point I truly feel as though I am a daring archaeologist traversing the tunnels of a lost world. When you finally reach the beginning of the ride the transformation is complete. There is a distinct feeling of excitement, partly due to anticipation of what is still to come, and partly due to what you have just traveled through to get to this point. The ride itself is the culmination of the experience, combining the setting and the atmosphere with the high speed thrill of a jeep ride through the depths of a lost temple. After the ride is over and you have removed yourself from the area back to the main walkway, it is almost necessary to stop and take purchase of your surroundings. So quickly in the park can you travel to another world and back, and the resulting feeling of deprivation can be troubling. In this case, I recommended multiple visits to regain the feelings you so treasured on that particular attraction.
Disneyland is a completely unique theme park experience. It is beyond a plot of land where thrill seekers overeat and overexert their body’s threshold for speed and velocity. Disneyland transforms you into a different world, and a different time. It encourages you to release your inhibitions and meet experiences with youthful delight. It is not just the rides but the sights and sounds and attention to miniscule detail. It is the music, smells, and the friendly workers greeting you with genuine enthusiasm. It is children’s laughter, and the sight of families forming new memories together. The park offers an escape from reality, a chance to see fairytale lands, a glimpse into the world of tomorrow or the past, and the promise of fond memories. It is at Disneyland Park where I can remember some of my happiest moments. Where I have always been able to release my inhibitions and travel to the worlds I so treasured watching on the big screen as a child.


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