On one of those online dating profile things, I once described my sense of humor as an odd blend between cheesy and sarcastic. Last weekend I indulged the cheesy side.
I was told once that the only real option for celebrating your 30th birthday was to go to Vegas. You know, embrace your inner 21 year old… stay up all night, drink like your liver is young, and in general, party your face off.
Instead of 21, I decided to embrace my inner 12 year old. I went to Disneyland.
Let me reiterate a couple key facts for those of you just joining me… I have no children. I am a single, almost 30 year old chick. I just spent the weekend in Disneyland, with my parents, by choice.
That’s correct. I spent three days running around like a child; going on roller coasters and cheesy little rides (Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, what?), eating overpriced cotton candy, and generally playing in a cartoon-infused amusement park that I last visited 20 years ago.
While I am certainly not a princess-girl and have never been any sort of super Disney fan, the combination between Disneyland and the newer California Adventure is pretty darn magical, guys. Seriously. I don’t say things like this lightly.
It. Was. Amazing.
As a designer, the absolute attention to detail in EVERYTHING in both parks is fascinating and impressive. While I might not be in the business of theme-ing, it is always enjoyable to view an expertly applied craft. From the large gestures to signage to column caps and lighting, I struggled to find a single element that wasn’t a conscious design decision. To borrow from the eye-roll inducing ANTM, the park was modeling from H2T.
Also, I dare you to not be taken in by the infectious joy and playfulness that infuses this place… after all it’s designed to feel that way. And I don’t care that it is all manufactured… I gladly drank the Kool-ade and let the river of cheesy happiness take me away.
Sometimes, even for sarcastic me, a purposeful break from reality and adulthood is both needed and welcome.
Did I feel a bit silly being there? Yes.
Did I alternate between laughing manically and screaming like a banshee on rides such as the Matterhorn, Splash Mountain and California ‘Screamin? Absolutely.
Would I go again? Yeah, but not for a while, honestly. I feel my inner 12 year old will be content for years to come. For me, the whole Disney experience should be like Halley’s Comet…part of its beauty is derived from its rarity.
For me, the magic would fade with too much regularity. And I don’t want to turn Disneyland into a pedestrian experience. I want to keep it protected within the mindset of a kid.
I don’t care how old you are… roller coasters are a tried and true way to make you feel alive. Both parks are also incredibly beautiful at night, lit up like Christmas year round. All those Super Bowl winner’s had it correct… a great way to do justice to any celebration is to going to Disneyland.
If the manufactured feel of fun gets to be too much for you, just make a game out of counting all the crying children at the happiest place on earth. It’s amusing.
That should quiet the cynic-within and remind you that if you hurry you can probably catch Splash Mountain just-one-more-time before closing. And you should.