Thursday, December 8, 2016

Everything about Disneyland is good but *these* things are even better...

After talking about my reoccurring dream of the past decade of being in Disneyland with time running out or attractions closing, and my rather elaborate blog on how I believe that I will fall in love with whoever takes me to Disneyland, I finally went to Disneyland last week. The mere fact I can write this without lying makes me very happy. I love, love, love Disneyland. Prior to the visit, I was prepared by friends that I might be disappointed: Disneyland is a place for children, and last time I went I sorta was one. So last week, for the first time in ten and a half years, I walked onto Main Street, USA in Disneyland and actually did what I had planned for a long time. Spoiler Alert: I was not disappointed. It would have been crazy for me to not love the experience. Yet, I of course managed to acquire some highlights, and I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t share them.

Every single boy I ever dated knew I had this dream of going to Disneyland. Each one of them promised to take me. None of them, for different reasons, followed through. Now that I went with my friends Camille and Tom I only have one thing to say about that: THANK F***! I have many cool places ruined by the fact I went there with the wrong, or at least no longer right, person. My lifelong dream of being in Moscow is now a distinctive memory of just one person, and I don’t enjoy thinking of what happened with him very much. I don’t think I could ever go back to my ex’s hometown in the Highlands without associating the place with him. Therefore, not making memories with the wrong guy in Disneyland is a win, I suppose. No corrupting places anymore! Instead, I now have memories with friends I’ve had for many years and who will, unlike these boys, never exit my life. I won’t ever regret association of Disneyland with Tom and Camille. And to have such friends, even after all those years of not being around each other, made it extra special.


Paradoxically, one of the reasons I love Disneyland so much is the set of memories I have from it which is the opposite of my prior argument. Disneyland Paris is the only place I remember vacationing with my father. I remembered him going on a high-speed, upside down roller coaster with his briefcase and taking a picture with Goofy, his favorite character. Then I remember my last visit in California, where the park shut for the public and allowed high school seniors to enter only. And finally, I remember that it had been a dream of mine to go to Disneyland as a child, and my mother only obliging when I was eleven. Back then, the robots in the Pirates ride were real AF. Now, the internet corrupted us and anything but CGI is a disappointment. The memories of thinking “whoaaaa, what a ride” however, aren’t going anywhere.

Diversity in a place so white even Trump would be shocked

Disneyland is not a very good representation of France these days. The moment I left the train station on my arrival I immediately noticed the diversity. I feel good in diverse places, in fact, I probably enjoy a society more if it features more than one color. Granted, Disneyland is a pretty white place. I consider it the most American place outside the US, and even in France the main audience was white, rich families, at least it seemed that way. However, I saw certain efforts to still illustrate some openness to all those white kids. “It’s a small world”, a boat ride through a room with dolls dancing from all over the world, had dolls of all color. My favorite, however, was the doll wearing niqab, dancing and singing with all the others. AWESOME! Additionally, one of the Elzas in the parade was Asian. FANTASTIC! Reflecting Disney’s worldview in present-day, Fillon-and-LePen-voting France, I suppose, isn’t the easiest feat, but at least they try.

Disneyland vs Reality

Just by fulfilling my dream of finally being back, my day at Disneyland was one of the best ones I had this year. It reminds me of past days, makes me dream of the future, and for a second I quite literally forgot I live in a terrible world because Disneyland is so awesome. People tell me every day how they just don’t watch the news anymore because it upsets them, or they don’t engage with hatred to protect their heart. Well, I’m not capable of that (and also believe that’s a wrong attitude) but on Disneyday, I succeeded in doing just that. Then, at 8pm, as the grand finale, Disneyland put on a laser show at the castle. The castle lit up with pictures of children singing and dancing around the world: in front of the Pyramids, in the Highlands, on the Great Wall of China. Then, suddenly, all lights went off, and the only thing visible was a huge projection of just one word: “Peace”. Since the end of "My Girl" I hadn't cried this much. We had just spent a whole day never once thinking of reality, and that’s ok sometimes, but the reality is out there, and it’s not peaceful. With goosebumps all over my body, this became my highlight of the entire day because Disneyland gave us a break but didn’t allow us to forget.

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