For the first time in forever . . . DISNEYLAND IS OPEN!!!!
After 412 days (Four. Hundred. And. Twelve. Days!), Disneyland finally got to open up the gates. It was bound to be an emotional homecoming, but I held it together pretty darned well as I stepped through the turnstile and breathed in that beautiful Disney air for the first time in entirely too long.
And then the train pulled up to the station.
And the Disneyland Ltd. rang its bell, and blew its whistle, and Your Attention Please-ed.
And I just. Completely. Lost it.
Those sounds represent happiness, and adventure, and joy. (And snacks!) And I while I spent quarantine watching plenty of YouTube videos (thank you Disney YouTubers!) and cooking up plenty of #DisneyMagicMoments recipes (thank you Disney Parks blog!), for the first time in forever I was back in the Happiest Place on Earth.
And I couldn’t stop my tears.
The park is definitely different than it was during The Great Before. Capacity is limited, mobile orders are the norm, and there are social distancing signs and hand sanitizing stations everywhere. (I actually kind of love these things!) But that special Disney Magic is exactly the same as it always was.
Because Disney people are amazing people.
On opening day, Cast Members lined Main Street to welcome us home. Many of them had tears in their eyes too – they were every bit as happy to see us as we were to see them! There were calls of thank you! and welcome home! – from guests to Cast Members and back. It was beautiful to see just how grateful every single person was to be exactly where they were.
From the Cast Members to the guests to the characters (yes, during my visit I was absolutely that fully grown adult who lined up to meet the socially distanced princesses, thankyouverymuch!) the predominate emotion was JOY.
(This is the face of somebody who is feeling A WHOLE LOT OF JOY!)
The new version of the park has loads of safety enhancements, including distance markers . . .
Helpful reminders . . .
Hand washing stations and sanitizer stations approximately every thirty steps (of course!) . . .
Cast Members sanitizing everything . . .
More Cast Members shepherding the baby ducks and geese (and their parents!), who looked mildly surprised to find their once-empty park suddenly filled with people . . .
And new End Of Line signage . . . which is super helpful, by the way!
But despite it all, Disneyland still felt exactly the same. The snacks tasted the same. (Oh, how I missed you, Mickey shaped snacks!)
The smells still smelled the same. (I missed you most of all, Pirate’s water smell!) And the princesses and Jedi and Clubhouse Friends and pirates and Cast Members brought the same amount of joy to every single person they greeted. Including each other. ❤️
Disneyland has always been a land of pure magic. And getting to come home to that magic after the debacle that was the Year of our Lord, Coronavirus . . . it meant absolutely everything.
Thank you, Cast Members – for coming back to bring us that magic we so desperately missed. Thank you, Imagineers, for all of the extra pixie dust that graced the park while we were gone. Thank you, everyone, who developed the safety measures and vaccines that allowed us to come back. And thank you, Walt Disney, for gifting us a place where we can leave today, and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy. I am so grateful that we’re back in a world where Disneyland is open. And I absolutely cannot wait to go back. ❤️
Oh! And if you’re offered the chance to take the stairs in the Haunted Mansion line, DO IT! You will not be sad!!
**Because of the limited park capacity, I saw a few things I’ve never seen before . . . including near-empty streets, and super short wait times! Peter Pan’s line was fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes!! I took pictures so I’d never forget. ❤️
Come find me on Twitter or Instagram, and tell me what YOU love about the parks.
To all who come to this happy place . . . welcome back!