My first exposure to the Disneyland ‘experience’ was almost 30 years ago when I visited the original of the species — Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. Having also been born in 1955 — the year that Disneyland first opened to the public — I felt an immediate affinity to the place. Since then, I have been back a couple of times, not only to the Anaheim park but also Florida and Disneyland Paris. In fact my recent return to Disneyland Paris represented a bit of an anniversary for me as I had last visited the park in 1992 (the year it opened) when I brought my daughter. My more recent visit last year saw me in the company of my grandson, following in his mother’s footsteps 20 years later almost to the day.
Disneyland has lost none of its magic in the intervening years. Indeed, part of the magic of the place is its timelessness. George Bernard Shaw famously quipped that ‘Youth is wasted on the young’. Shaw passed away some five years before Disneyland Park in Anaheim opened but had he lived to experience what Walt Disney had created, he would surely have reverted to a second childhood.
Strangely, as I get older, I am beginning to appreciate other aspects of the park that I wouldn’t even have noticed in my (relative) youth. The next time you’re there — whether it be Paris, Orlando, Anaheim (Los Angeles), HOng Kong or Tokyo, take a good long look at the architechture of all the buildings, particularly the ones that line Main Street. They are just amazing in all their Victorian detail.
Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 20th anniversary throughout 2012 so it’s a great time to either re-acquaint yourself with an old friend or experience it for the first time. If you do, check out www.breakaway.ie , Disney’s official partner in Ireland.