I’m a regular at Disneyland. Rare is the Sunday where I don’t don my fedora and take a walk through the park. I’ve been doing this for years. I don’t know what it is about Sundays but they are special. Through the years, my routines have changed but one thing has remained the same. I come to the park on Sunday.
I love walking into the park, hearing the train, seeing the giant Mickey Mouse made of flowers, and then seeing Mickey himself greeting guests. Whatever cares or stresses I was carrying with me as I came to Disneyland are replaced with a little bit of Disney magic.
Main Street is one of my favorite places. And really, what isn’t to love about Main Street? It is a nostalgic blast from the past. There is something magical about walking down that street that celebrates the history of our great nation. Walt Disney was a very patriotic man. Seeing as I have a patriotic streak myself, this resonates with me. I love the patriotic flag retreat in the late afternoon and the Disneyland Band playing in town square and marching down the street. Add the flags for decoration leading up to the Fourth of July and it is even better! This is the idealized America of Walt’s childhood.
Moving along Main Street there are so many other treasures to be found. An artist paints Disney artwork most of the time that will be replicated onto a watch when done. Across the street a gallery showcases beautiful Disney artwork perfect for any gallery. There too an artist sits, only here the art is being drawn and can be taken home without a watch. Candy is made, baked goods are baked, unique clothing is sold, food is available, music is played. This is Main Street.
At the end of the street a piano sits. It is at what most people refer to as “Coke Corner.” It has sat there for many many years with a musician tickling the ivories. On Sundays now Ragtime Robert plays the piano in the afternoon and evening. Years ago, you could find someone playing the piano until the park closes. Now, about halfway through the evening the music stops. I do miss being able to end my day at the park listening to the piano but am thankful that there is still a piano there at all. Ragtime Robert brings Disney magic to each and every performance as he delights guests throughout the day .
Moving past Coke Corner is the Hub. That beautiful centerpiece that allows guests to transport to the future, the past, or even just fantasy. One thing I love about the Hub is that it doesn’t transport you to the present. Look one way and you see a jungle and adventures waiting to be had with Indiana Jones, a daring explorer, or some incredibly hospitable birds. Another direction you find yourself flying into the future with R2D2, C3P0, Captain EO, and more. Turning yet another direction and you find yourself in the world of Davy Crocket or a bunch of hill billies. Then there is the centerpiece, Sleeping Beauty Castle. Walk through the gates and enter the happiest land of all, Fantasyland. There, inside those walls, reside Peter Pan, Snow White, Dumbo, and many more of the friends I grew up loving.
Each of these lands are lands where dreams and imagination come to life. In a day and age where so many people are just struggling to survive, at Disneyland people can leave that all at the gate and just thrive. The music, the magic, and the people that reside there transport guests to a completely different world. The world of Walt Disney’s imagination. Right in the middle of this embodiment of imagination is the man who dreamt it all up, Walt Disney. He stands with Mickey Mouse 24 hours a day watching his dream continue to grow and be enjoyed by millions.
Every Sunday I make that track back to Disneyland. I walk down Main Street, USA. I see Walt Disney standing there and think of the legacy he has left behind. Today as he stands there, somewhere around the globe someone is enjoying a Disney Theme Park no matter what time it is. That’s a bit mind blowing when you think about his humble beginnings. Walt Disney really was the embodiment of the American dream. Every Sunday I’m so glad that his dream continues on and we are able to enjoy it. Thank you Walt. Thank you for so many enjoyable Sunday afternoons for me and so many other people.