Yesterday I flew out to LA and tomorrow I'm attending the Monster Eneregy Supercross series race in Anaheim, but today I went to Disneyland for th first time in my life. I do have to say I have been to Disneyworld but that was on a sponsor's exemption pass and I could only get in two hours before the park closed and this was back in 2003.
Anyway, this was my first official trip to a place many people have been and I didn't have any expectations of any kind. For one, I really am not a fan of roller coasters, secondly I'm not a big fan of crowds, but here I was navigating the parking system and one thing progressed to another and I was in the park.
Quickly I noticed the family element. Yes, I know, obvious statement there but to me it was deeper than that. How deep? I actually was misty eyed for much of my time there as I thought about the memories being made by all who were there. It was unfiltered emotions as I thought, "I wonder what that kid is going to think in 35 years of this moment being made right now." Now, add thousands of kids to this kid adding to these thoughts and it was, well, could I call it empathy in a future's sense? Whatever it was it was hard to deal with.
I had to put this aside because there were places to go, things to see, and rides to possibly avoid. Again, I became observant and another observation was that this was a place of timelessness. It was a, it was, I'll call it a neat experience to see parents as enthusiastic, or even more so, as their children were having their photos taken with Pluto, Goofy, The Mad Hatter, or even Mickey Mouse. It brought a smile to my face seeing such a thing.
After walking around a bit the spinning teacup ride caught my eye so I rode that and that was rather fun. When the ride came to a stop I still could see the world spinning and it was rather a unique experience sitting across from someone and whilst spinning really fast my eyes could perfectly focus on them but when trying to make sense of the world outside the spinning teacup (writers note: I never thought I'd ever have a sentence in my blog that contained the words "world outside spinning teacup") it was nothing but a blur. I felt this would make a great metaphor in a future piece about focus, or something of that nature.
As the day progressed the crowds grew and grew and the wait times for some rides grew to an hour. They have a fast pass system but I didn't look into that and I wasn't really there for the rides but for the experience.
I did come across another ride I wanted to try and this one was a roller coaster. This coaster wasn't th biggest and most certainly wasn't intimidating and after driving on highway 34 last week near Piedmont, Missouri I already felt as if I'd conquered a roller coaster so I went in line and it was in this line that I had a revelation.
Several years ago I my blog I wrote, in regards to storms, "it isn't the storm, exactly, that can be the worst part but rather the anticipation of the storm." That being said there's more to a roller coaster than fast speeds, fast turns, and high G-loads. For myself, being on the autism spectrum, the part I've feared the most, and I don't know if you'll believe me, is the screaming. Yes, the screaming! Tone is something I'm highly sensitive of and typically screams mean something really bad is or is about to happen therefore avoid a place where people are screaming at all costs. Truly, the sound of screaming makes me want to turn about, run as fast as I can, and scream twice as loud.
With each run this coaster made there were screams and each time I wanted to tuck tail and run away. I stood steadfast, um, I stood confident, um, I stood there like a nervous wreck certain that life as I knew it was about to come to an end. I mean, how else could it? People were screaming!
I got on and the coaster began and it wasn't that bad, the anticipation that is as I was at the front. This was a short coaster, maybe 30 seconds at most so I knew it wasn't going to last that long and as we went up up and and reached the top and made that drop I, well, I loved it. There was no screaming from the group I was with and I was able to enjoy the ride without having my body's defenses triggered. That's what screaming does; it triggers things and creates alerts within my body I can't control but without the screaming I want to, at the end, go faster!
After a trip on the Mark Twain riverboat my trip ended where it began with a trip down Main Street USA. I looked up "things you should do/see at Disneyland" and it mentioned the daily parade but more importantly the retreat of the colors which means the lowering of the flag by th Disneyland color guard accompanied by singing by the Dapper Dans. Seeing this triggered another unexpected emotional response as this ceremony has been daily, twice actually with the raising of the flag in the morning and lowering at the evening, since the start of the park. I'm not sure what it was, whether it was being just six feet away from the ceremony, or the people that served in the armed forces being recognized, or the formality of it all, I'm not sure, but I was brought to the brink of, and over actually, tears.
It was an experience, for sure, and while I didn't go all in like some people do I'm okay with my day because I soaked in the place, the atmosphere, learned a little bit more about myself, and was in the midst of an infinite number of memories being made in a place that, at the end of the day I learned, is timeless which adds to the aura of the place.