My Happy Place

Everyone needs to have at least one happy place, a place where you can just exhale and not worry about life for awhile.  I tend to classify mine as everyday happy places, where I can relax after a hard day, but where it feels like a brief pause, and then the big, super relaxing happy places.  Small happy places are a bubble bath with a good book (or an episode of NCIS, Jane the Virgin, or some other show on my binge list), a sushi dinner with the hubs, or even an afternoon to myself when I get off work early and the kiddo is still at school.

This week, though, I got to spend 3 whole days at my biggest happy place, a place that is AMAZING for my mental and emotional health.  It feels a bit cheesy to call it my happy place, though, mostly because its tag line is “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

sign above disneyland entryway
I feel myself physically exhale and relax at the sight of this sign whenever I walk under it.

Yep.  We took advantage of our annual passes and spent 3 days in the SoCal heat, with literally thousands of other people at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventures.  It seems strange to me that, as an introvert, I would be so happy at a place that is so very crowded, but it’s true.  I relish in the magic, especially when I get a glimpse “behind the curtain” to see the works behind the scenes.  It makes it even more impressive, in a way.  Plus, as a very details-oriented person, I am always SO satisfied at the attention given to even the slightest details.

Since I was away for 4 days (we spent Sunday in Pasadena), and I didn’t pre-write anything, I’ll share some of the highlights of our time at my happy place.

On Casey Jr - monkey car
We rode this twice in our 3 day trip, and both times, we got edged out of the caboose. Kiddo’s a champ & took it in stride, riding in the Monkey Cage and the Wild Animal cage.

The first day we took it pretty easy.  We rode Casey Jr, Teacups, the Train (always the train – we’ve got a train kid), and Astro Blasters (at least – the 3 days have blurred together, and I can’t remember all of what we did each day).  We also watched the new Pixar Play Parade, which was SO fun.  The kiddo loved it, and we were all glad that I woke him from his nap to watch.

We kept Day 1 fairly short, and ended up back at the hotel by kiddo’s bedtime.  Day 2, we started out with a train to Fantasyland (like I said, train kid), and then Small World.

It’s pretty popular to “hate” this ride, because of the song, but I really enjoy it, and not just because it gets me out of the heat.  I like it for the same reason I like just about everything else in Disneyland.  It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s nostalgic.  I have a lot of happy childhood memories of Disneyland, and I am wanting to share the joy of the park(s) with my son.

Pixar Fest Welcome Sign - DCA

Partway through the day, we headed over to DCA (California Adventures).  Kiddo fell asleep on the way in, so we went over to the Animation Academy, because it’s dark and cool.  I got in line for one of their 15 minute character sketch classes and came out with a fair semblance of Lotso.

Animation Academy - before session

We met up with a friend partway through the day and spent the rest of our day enjoying ourselves (read: not a lot of pictures were taken).  We sort of caught the fireworks as we were funneled from Tomorrowland to Frontierland with no opportunities to pause.  We ended up near Big Thunder Mountain with a side view of the fireworks, which was pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

The next day, after a short night’s sleep, we checked out of our hotel (how did the time fly so quickly?!?!) and headed towards the park for a breakfast “surprise.”  We had made reservations at one of the character dining experiences in the hotels (PCH Grill at Paradise Pier Hotel).

kiddo-hugging-minnie.jpg

We were able to meet Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and Stitch!  Kiddo loved every minute of it, and to be honest, so did I.  I had some fun teasing Stitch about not being able to steal my left shoe.  Once we were all stuffed full of Mickey waffles and more, we headed out for our last day in the park.

Each day was relaxed with no major plans, no rushing, no worries.  It was heaven.  I was able to just experience each moment without worry, without stress, without feeling like I had to “handle” anything.  We got LOTS of activity (in fact, Tuesday was my highest step day ever, at least since I got my activity monitor).  We ate when we were hungry, stopped when we were full.  We had familiar experiences and tried new things.  We ended the trip with the kiddo getting his face painted for the first time ever (and promptly falling asleep).  He picked R2D2, because he loves all things Star Wars, in addition to trains, even though he’s never seen any of the Star Wars movies.

We got home around 10 Wednesday night, and I think the aura of relaxation and happiness from Disneyland should last me a little while.  That doesn’t mean I’m not already looking forward to planning our next trip, though. In fact, I can’t wait!

Do you have a happy place?  Is it somewhere you can get to easily, and if not, are you looking for a second, closer happy place?

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