Why I Love Disneyland

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I was privileged growing up, and numerous times, family vacations were Disney-centric. We went to Disneyland and Disneyworld (the former more often than the latter) and even sailed on the maiden voyage of Disney's first cruise ship. For all the very fair criticisms of the Corporate House of Mouse, there is also an undeniable magic of the creative formula that few other entertainers have ever managed to replicate, and that magic is forever intertwined with happy memories of my family and friends. Until recently, I assumed those memories worked like everyone else's, but while I can recall many details of those trips, there isn't a single picture in my head to go with them.

I'm turning 42 this year. I double majored in theatre and literature, have a master's degree in educational technology, have been an English teacher for over 15 years, and am currently getting a doctorate in leadership–and only realized a few weeks ago I've been an aphant my entire life and have been experiencing the world so differently.

Honestly, my head is still spinning a bit. But I found this group and figured I would share these thoughts…

I was just doing some housework when I had this jarring realization–While I've always known that my love of Disney is rooted in my upbringing and the nostalgia of time spent there with loved ones, I just realized the reason actually going there (which has gotten ridiculously expensive–but there are those new lands and rides and the food has gotten so much better…but I digress) is so meaningful for me is because only part of the experience really lives in my memory. While I can describe much of the park and "know" what it looks like–there are no slides in the slide projector in my mind…at least not ones that I can access outside of my dreams.

I thought this was normal. When I go to the park, I like to go on my favorite rides as many times as I can–this was quite exhausting to my husband, but to his credit, he put in 30,000 steps a day, three days in a row, crushing the parks with me. Though I realized that going on the same ride for him actually does leave him with images that can play on repeat–he doesn't need to go again to see everything. I do. I can tell you about those rides, and when I'm on them, I know what is around every corner, where the hidden Mickeys are, where to shoot for the best score in Buzz Lightyear's Blasters…but I can only access the whole sensory experience in the present moment.

Somehow it's something of a beautiful thought, but it also seemed to fill me with a certain sadness. On the one hand, there is a beauty in recognizing my unique brain wiring is part of what enhances my pleasure of the experience of places and events, but on the other hand, there is a dull ache in the realization the one keepsake I'll never take home from the parks is a mental image.

Also, I still cannot believe I just realized all of this. I also learned late in life that I have ADD. But all of that feels like a post for another day.

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