March 13, 2020 was the last day before Disneyland closed its door for a few weeks due to the global pandemic. Those few weeks turned into a few months. Those few months turned into more months and now it’s been a year without Disneyland. Oh, how we needed Disneyland in 2020!!
Disneyland isn’t essential.
Disneyland isn’t a necessity.
I totally understand that it is not essential or a necessity. As a former passholder (before the passholder program was sunsetted), I know what a privilege it was to be able to go to meet up with friends on a whim. It was a luxury to take the 20 minute drive to grab a meal and ride a few rides. Those were the days! How I long for them!! Those days may be long gone and who knows when the carefreeness will return but Disneyland was so needed in 2020.
The Happiest Place on Earth
The fact that we have been through this traumatic experience of living through a global pandemic as well as all the social and political issues and events that have happened has been a lot to digest and work through. In the past, whenever I experienced any kind of trouble in life, Disneyland was always there as a place to escape for a few hours or a day. Even if you were in the foulest of moods, walking down Main Street, seeing the smiling faces of Cast Members and soaking in the energy of being at Disneyland was so cathartic. But without it, it has been hard. This may sound overly dramatic to some but it’s my truth.
People need an outlet and for many annual passholders, it was going to the Happiest Place on Earth to just forget about “it” (whatever it was) and just enjoy yourself. So the past year without Disneyland has only made it even clearer how much we needed it. This isn’t to say that going to Disneyland was the only way I coped with difficulties in life. But it was one of the big ones.
Another reason why we needed Disneyland in 2020 was because it is a place of magic. I think that magic is in the eyes of the beholder. What I mean by that is if your eyes are open to the magic and beauty that is around you, you will see it because magic happens. I have been to Downtown Disney a handful of times and even though it is different, I still enjoyed being there because of the music, sights, smells (yes, even through a mask) and ambiance of being on Disney property. It’s electrifying! It truly is. And the CMs- oh those Cast Members- BLESS their souls. They are really the guiding force that brings the magic to Disney- even with masks and all.
Nostalgic Memories Made
Disneyland is a place filled with happy memories. Some of my best memories of motherhood, friendship and with family have been made at Disneyland. It’s where I went to meet up with other mommy friends while we were going through the trenches of motherhood. Disneyland was the place where our little family of three celebrated birthdays and holidays. Once A started school, I started to incorporate the Parks into our homeschooling. It’s also where I met some dear friends who brought so much joy and laughter into my life. Those memories will be treasured forever and were even more precious during the last 12 months.
I know that these reasons and opinions are trivial in light of all the things that have happened in 2020. But I think other Disney fans will understand. It isn’t to make light of the situation or minimize the horrors that many experienced in 2020. It’s just to say that we all needed some magic and a place to escape and not think about reality. It doesn’t mean we should deny whatever we are going through- but sometimes, we all just need a place that brings us comfort, joy, and happiness. For me and for many of us, it was Disneyland. It was the first time in our lifetime that Disneyland wasn’t there to escape. We couldn’t really go anywhere for a while.
Now that Disneyland is reopening soon and A Touch of Disney is scheduled, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know we are not out of the woods as far as the effects of the pandemic. But these are little reminders of what normal life looked like and I can’t wait for it to return.