The Happiest Place On Earth

I'm sure most of you are familiar with The Happiest Place On Earth, Disneyland. I was lucky enough to grow up going to Disneyland pretty frequently. My family went about once every two years, sometimes even more. Disneyland was a magical place for me, and even now as an adult, I still feel a sense of peace when I walk through the gates.

I have so many childhood memories at Disneyland. One of my favorite parts when I was younger was getting to see all of the characters. My parents would get autograph books for my sister and I and we would make it our mission to see all of the characters. I also used to love the different themes in different areas of the park. Disneyland does a great job of having all the rides, restaurants, and even workers meet that theme. I remember walking around the different areas of the park and being simply in awe at all the different magical landscapes. I never had to worry about a single thing at Disneyland. My only concern was when I would get to have ice cream next and how many rides I could fit into one day. It was a state of carefree bliss that only Disneyland was capable of providing.

I'm on the right and my sister Amber is on the left, (gosh look at my hair!)  year: 2000 

As I got older, I still enjoyed those parts of Disneyland that I mentioned, but new things also started to peak my interest. I discovered how fun roller coasters were and the biggest, fastest rides quickly became my favorites. My family loved the fact that I outgrew It's A Small World (which is quite possibly the worst song to get stuck in your head) in favor of Space Mountain. As an adult, certain things about the park have become less enjoyable. I now have to worry about things that I didn't have to as a child. For example I now have to concern myself with ticket prices, parking, where to eat, and most importantly when the best time of year to go is so that I can avoid the terrible lines. When I was a kid, all of those things were taken care of for me. Nowadays, Disneyland can sometimes be tainted by the adult lenses that I see it through today. 

On Tuesday, I got the chance to see Disneyland in a new way. I met my sisters, brother in law, and nieces in Disneyland. The experience was different this time because it was the first time I've ever been there with kids. I went on rides that I haven't been on since I was a child and I got to see my nieces faces light up when they saw their favorite characters. It was so much fun re-living some of my childhood memories with my nieces. 

Brooklynn, my younger niece, thought the characters were great but only from afar. She played peek-a-boo with Goofy and even talked to Pooh about his "yellow shoes" but the second they'd get close and try to give her a hug or high five she'd say "no please!". The poor characters ;) I don't blame her, those costumes sure can look big and intimidating when they're up close! I absolutely love the age that Brooklynn is at right now. At the end of the night, she got two fish stuffed animals as her souvenirs to bring home. I made sure to teach her how to make fish faces with them, she thought it was the funniest thing!  I hope that these memories and my fish faces will entertain her for years to come

My favorite picture<3 I have the cutest nieces 

Sofia, my older niece, begged all day to have her face painted. We promised her multiple times that she could but we just kept getting distracted and it kept getting pushed off. Right before the night time parade started, Sofia remembered and wanted nothing more then to get her face painted. My sister (her mom) and I ran across the park to get to the face painting station only to find out that they were closed. My sister used her charm and convinced them to paint one last face. Ironically, Sofia fell asleep while getting her face painted! The highlight for her was waking up in the chair and realizing she had her little face painted and she kept saying to me "Auntie Cole, I was the last one in the whole park to get my face painted" :) We ended the night by rushing over to catch the end of the parade and wave goodbye to Mickey. 

Disneyland will always be a magical place for me and I am so glad I got to experience it with my nieces. Being around their young, innocent hearts allowed me to see Disneyland through the eyes of a child again.

My sister Jessica and my niece Sofia

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