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 found magic at the Disneyland Resort.
You never really feel like you've made it in radio until you get invited to a Disneyland Resort radio broadcast. For years and years of my radio career I watched in envy 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. Now, even after the third invite, I rejoice when I get the call as if I’ve won the lottery.
In typical fashion, Disney spoiled us from the moment we arrived. A Disneyland Festival of Holidays Sip and Savor pass was placed around our neck with our credentials and we were off to experience all the attractions – new and old - that the parks had to offer.
My iHeart Radio fam spent the first day exploring every inch of the park. And my co-workers and a I watched as one of our team members got to experience the magic of Disneyland for the first time since her early childhood. Cast members greeted us at every turn with the biggest of smiles. We rode rides like the new Spiderman Web Slinger ride, Thunder Mountain, Gaurdians of the Galaxy, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones Adventure, Hyperspace Mountain, the Incredicoaster, and the Haunted Mansion Holiday. We ate all the food – a hot Nashville turkey slider, holiday stuffing mac n cheese & a hot cocoa marshmallow macaroon - from the Holiday Foods Marketplace. We watched in excitement as all of our favorite Disney characters marched through the park to spread holiday cheer in their new holiday best, danced in the streets with the Three Caballeros at Disney ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party and witnessed snow fall in 90 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 with fireworks 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 our Mickey Ears and other holiday merchandise 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 Walt Disney once actually lived IN the park!
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 our staff this weekend. 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 again.