Let me set the scene. Standing in line for a ride. Three friends are chatting away oblivious to the fact that there are small children with light sabers standing a few feet away. Eager to catch up on life as we spend the day at Disneyland. The topics range from menopause to our crazy teens to other health issues that face late 40s early 50s women. I can’t imagine what questions we made a few moms answer over corn dogs later that day. “Mommy, what is meno plause?”
Disneyland turned 50 in 2005. I turned 50 this year. Our relationship has changed greatly now that I’m 50. Rides that used to entice me are on my no list. Foods that tempted my palate are no longer even a consideration. Shady trees and benches make me happy.
I went to Disneyland yesterday with 3 incredible friends. One of our dear friends has the ability to sign us in so we get in for free. It’s a real treat. So at least once a year, sometimes twice, we grab whoever is available and head out to the Happiest Place on Earth. I must say, Disneyland still brings joy at any age. The feeling you get when you walk onto Main Street is exhilaration. That has never changed for me.
We headed to our first ride – Star Tours. Because I have had vertigo and get motion sickness, I passed on the ride. I just hung out in line with my friends until the last moment then I exit. I don’t mind. I just want to be with my friends and talk and laugh. We did a lot of that. As we considered the next ride, a few were immediately denied due to neck issues and low back problems. The easy go to is Small World but it’s closed.
We venture to Buzz Lightyear next then onto the Tea Cups. Again a no for me due to vertigo. A no to our other friend who was still recovering from Star Tours. Disneyland is not for wimps. The best part about the Tea Cup ride was watching the two who went on it. They obviously had gotten into a deep discussion in line that continued during the ride. The sat facing one another, turning the wheel to spin the cup and had looks of deep concern on their faces. Their intense conversation lasted until the cup stopped spinning.
As the day progressed, all of our concerns, cares, joys and delights were shared. We never stopped talking. It is the best way to spend a day catching up with a friend. Between the deep conversations there were loud bursts of laughter. We went on nostalgic rides because they didn’t trigger any of our aging issues. The rides were cheesy but hysterical. We laughed at everything.
The magic of Disneyland isn’t the rides. It isn’t the parade or the fireworks (even though they were awesome). The magic of Disneyland is the shared experience. Not only did I get to be a kid and laugh and giggle. I got to divulge my deepest pains and struggles with three amazing women over the course of an entire day. Disneyland as a child vs. Disneyland with kids vs. Disneyland with dear friends are worlds apart. Each season is precious. I am grateful for this season I am sharing with companions who get me and are going through similar life experiences. Thankfully, we got in free due but even if we didn’t, the $150 (or whatever crazy number is it now) would have been worth it. The conversations were invaluable, the laughter brought healing and joy and the memories are forever.
Dream Big! Pray Big!