Hello. I am a childless human adult, and I just went to Disneyland for the first time.
To be clear, the magical nature of the so-called happiest place on earth did not escape me as a child. I lived in the often snowy and frigid Midwest, and many of my classmates would depart for the West Coast come spring break. They would return with a tan and Mickey Mouse T-shirts and rhapsodize over the time they had. My parents were hard-working, blue-collar folks, and though we did have our share of vacations, as any middle-class family might, most were staycations. Not a one of them involved Disneyland, a place deemed expensive, hot, and full of interminable queues.
When I finally moved to California, the idea of spending a lot of money to wait in said queues seemed equally unappealing, despite Anaheim being a relatively short drive from Los Angeles. And besides, I had not grown into the kind of person who retained that much nostalgia for Disney, even though one of my favorite musical genres is Disney Villain Sings Sly, Oddly Sensual Song In Attempt To Beguile Hero Into Trusting Them. That is not to say I am too mature for Disneyland; I just prefer theme parks where monsters will chase you through the fog with chainsaws. I also have decided not to have any children, so I have no tiny creature begging me to take them to Disneyland. Yet slowly, I began to notice that nearly everyone else loved Disneyland -- even fellow adults who purportedly enjoyed Halloween and Norwegian death metal.
So, a couple weeks ago on January 3rd, I went to Disneyland for the first time ever.
I brought with me my friend, Noah Nelson. Nelson runs a podcast called No Proscenium that discusses immersive theater. We met because I love Halloween and he loves immersive entertainment, and somewhere in the middle, those two things often meet. And Nelson, I knew, loved the very immersive Disneyland. He is also someone I knew I could spend an entire day with and not get annoyed, and who would probably only be medium annoyed by me complaining, which is a thing I enjoy doing. I mean that sincerely: I like to complain. I find it soothing.
We got to the park at about 10am and took the tram in from the Mickey & Friends parking lot. It was a slightly chilly and overcast day, with gray skies and temps in the 60s. We were in a line with several annual pass holders, as the 3rd was the first day open to them after holiday blackout dates. As such, it was one of the most crowded days of the year. Many people wore Mickey ear headbands and Disney jackets with patches, and lanyards with carefully collected pins. Some of them were bummed that today was the first day that the beloved Tower of Terror -- the Twilight Zone-themed dark ride supposedly based on the Hollywood Tower apartment building -- was closed forever, soon to become some Guardians of the Galaxy attraction that not a single person seemed to be excited about. We spent 12 total hours at the park. Here are my adult observations: