I’ve been meaning to update this. I’ve had the entry written out for a while now. But every time I’ve had the chance to go and sit down to type. Something came up. Those chances were rare too. Between school, my younger brother’s high school graduation, my Tio Chale’s funeral… time has been scarce. So for the people who do read this – I apologize. My goal is weekly updates.
Any ways. Moving on.
This is the first time I will write about Disney. I can guarantee you right now it won’t be the last. The different areas of the Disney Corporation has had such a huge impact on my life, and it means so much me. Disneyland, for instance, is one the most important places I can point out about my childhood.
I don’t know may people who can say that they were raised in Disneyland. I know that none of my siblings can say that. Thanks to my parents and some screwball timing, I can. By the time I was 6 months old, I had been to the park more times than most people go in the span of their lives. Disneyland is where I learned how to walk. It’s where I learned how to talk, use the big girls toilet, and most importantly, how to be happy and greet new people. It’s also where my parents and grandmother made two important discoveries about me. One being, as a very young person I was excessively extroverted. I always wanted to be out with people, and away from home. The other that I was pretty fearless. It took a lot to freak me out and scare me.
The singularly most told story of my infant days at Disneyland is right around the time I was crawling to run away from places. This happened to coincide with the opening a brand new shiny attraction, the Captain Eo 3D show. My parents were not going to miss that opening weekend. So they coerced my paternal grandmother, Laller, to go on a Disney trip with them. Entered the park and promptly abandoned her with me at the entry way to Main Street USA.
My grandmother loves me. I was (sometimes still am) the light of her life. Her first grandchild, and the first baby girl that was a direct descendant of hers.
That said, she mildly resented being trapped at Disneyland with barely crawling infant.
There wasn’t a lot you could do at Disneyland with a baby. There still isn’t, but at least now a days there is still more options. The only instruction Laller was left with was to meet in front of the Carnation Cafe at lunch time. Being unwilling to tote me around the park, she quickly grabbed a few snacks and something to read from the Emporium and went into the Great Moments with Abraham Lincoln exhibit’s lobby.
That isn’t one of the most popular attractions in the park. I haven’t been in it in years. But my memory of that lobby was it being rather large, scattered with various benches and holding items exhibiting areas of US History. Like a model of the White House. Or copies of the Constitution. The show itself was as the name alluded. Abraham Lincoln talking about great moments. It’s actually all pretty interesting. However, the only thing Laller cared about for that day was that the lobby was huge, covered in a soft carpet, and that there were benches she could sit on and watch me crawl all over the place. Which is exactly what she did. For about 10 minutes.
The first character to walk inside and carefully come close to the roaming baby was Goofy. He was followed by Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Dale, and Pluto. Laller watched as they all warily inched closer, stopped, and all look at each other with their frozen smiles and start gesturing. Mickey finally gave Goofy a quick shove towards me, and he went over to where I was sitting eating my fist and bent down.
I’m told most babies cry when faced with giant, smiling large heads. They freak out, panic, and scream until safely jostled by a family member murmuring soothing sounds of safety. That would explain why the characters were so nervous about coming close to me. Why Laller tensed and got ready to dash over to scoop me up. Everyone was waiting for the wail of terror.
No one expected the squeal of delight, and for me to lightly punch Goofy in the nose. Nor did they expect I’d grab on to his nose and pull myself up to continue my exploration of large foreign object. All of the characters scooted in at that point to play with me. They were at some point joined by Donald, Tigger, and Alice. While they all sat there playing with me, a small group of patrons started to circle what I imagine was a very interesting sight. It lasted until one of the character escorts tugged on Dale’s shoulder and tapped on his wrist. Who then frantically started to wave his arms because the noon parade was starting. Their leaving is what finally prompted my being upset.
I’ve heard this story throughout the entirety of my life. It usually ends with Laller going over to grab me, pop my pacifier in my mouth and give me the Goofy toy that was brought along for me. Sometimes its added that she had to prevent me from running away, again (which will be another entry for another time). Sometimes it’s merely I cried for a while then moved on with life. It’s always ended with my grandmother sharing a look with another grandparent, and them sharing a laughing sigh.