It’s something most boys and girls dream about – the day they get to finally visit Disneyland! As a young kid growing up back east, I always wondered what it would be like to walk through the big magic castle or meet Mickey Mouse in person. So it was no wonder that when I took my first California vacation years ago, the first thing on my checklist was… yup, Disneyland!
Now, years later we live in sunny San Diego so we’re less than 2 hours away from the “happiest place on earth.” My husband and I visit the park at least once a year and if we’re lucky, we sneak in a second trip. For us, it’s not a big deal to drive up north and spend a few hours on rides like Space Mountain or the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride. But for others, like our wonderful friend Chrissi Zabel, it’s a huge deal. You see, Chrissi is from Germany and up until recently, she had never been to Disneyland.
Chrissi’s adventure started last year when she interned at our tour company. During her time with us, we became very close and at the end of her internship she admitted, “I wish I could have visited Disneyland.” We promised Chrissi that if she ever came back to visit us, we would take her to Disneyland. One year later, Chrissi came back to San Diego and we made good on our promise.
Experiencing Disneyland through Chrissi’s eyes was unbelieveable. Marc & I got a real kick seeing her eyes light up as she walked through the entrance gates for the first time. It was like watching a little girl on Christmas Day. One of my favorite memories is taking Chrissi on the Indiana Jones Adventure Ride. We knew Chrissi wasn’t a big fan of roller coaster rides so we weren’t sure if she would like it. But hey, it’s Indiana Jones. How can you NOT like the ride? Fortunately for us, she LOVED it. Other favorite memories include: Jungle Cruise, Captain EO and all the themed rides in Fantasyland.
At the end of the night, we also saw two great shows: the Disneyland Parade and Disneyland’s All-American College Band. Chrissi was like a kid in a candy store… constantly snapping pictures and laughing every minute. It was incredible. But even more incredible, was seeing the park through a visitor’s eyes and realizing… we are SO lucky to live in Southern California!
Want to see photos and video from our fun Disneyland trip? Check out our Facebook Page Traveling Wahine, Live Life to the Fullest and don’t forget to LIKE US!
Darlynne Reyes Menkin is a travel & lifestyle reporter who lives in beautiful San Diego. When she’s not digging for stories, she can be found leading tours & team building Scavenger Hunts with her husband Marc. The couple run Where You Want To Be Tours, an adventure company that specializes in hidden San Diego.