They call it the happiest place on earth. But I don't think you can truly comprehend what that means until you experience it first hand. This weekend, I got my opportunity.
You never really feel like you've made it in radio until you get invited to a Disneyland Resort radio broadcast. I've watched in envy over the years as my peers packed up and hit the friendly skies in route to meet my favorite Disney Princesses, ride all the rides and eat all the foods. So when I finally got the invite, I screamed as if I'd won the lottery.
Disney spoiled us from the moment we arrived. Goofy and Pluto waited for us with bells on (literally), we were decked out in the finest holiday merchandise, given a Disneyland Festival of Holidays Sip and Savor pass and sent on our way with a MaxPass to try all the attractions the parks had to offer.
The crew spent the first day exploring every inch of the park. And my co-workers watched as I experienced the magic of the resort for the first time. Cast members gave me a button to commemorate my first visit and everyone referred to me as Princess. I rode rides like the Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones Adventure, Hyperspace Mountain, the Incredicoaster, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and the Haunted Mansion Holiday. I ate all the food - a turkey and stuffing tamale, holiday stuffing mac n cheese & a hot cocoa marshmallow macaroon - from the Holiday Foods Marketplace. I watched all of my favorite Disney characters spread holiday cheer at the Christmas Fantasy Parade and witnessed snow fall in 80 degree weather after the "Believe in Holiday Magic" Fireworks Spectacular...
That night I returned to my room at the Disneyland Hotel happily exhausted. And as I went to turn on the bedside lamp I found another mystery switch. I flipped it on to discover my headboard start to sparkle and the sounds of " A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" from Cinderella start to play lulling this princess into the soundest of slumbers.
Day two was meant for "work." Radio folk from around the region converged at "it's a small world" Holiday in Fantasyland to experience even more. We interviewed Disney staff, tasted more food, were given more merchandise (I'm obsessed with my peppermint scented Mickey pillow) and I even had the incredible Disneyland historian and artist Stacia Martin sketch me an original holiday Mickey Mouse, complete with autograph as she told me stories of how it was actually Mickey's birthday on that very day! Another staff member then delivered me another commemorative pin proving I was there on such a special day.
They say the magic you experience at Disneyland Resort is something you FEEL, not just something you see, smell or hear. And no truer words could be what describes what it was like for this first-timer. I boarded my plane that night feeling nothing but joy. Gratitude. Wonder. HAPPINESS.
The HAPPIEST place on earth. And I can't wait to go back.