Unfortunately, childhood ends. I became an adult (sort of) and moved off to college in Ohio. Almost instantly, Disney theme parks were no longer cool; it was kiddie stuff.
Learn how Disney theme parks regained their cool (at least in my eyes) after the jump.
In May 2001, a few friends and I decided to make the long drive from Ohio to Florida to visit Disney World. It was my first adult experience in a Disney park and, amazingly, I found myself having a great time. Yes, Disney had some odd ability to even bring out the child in the bald, pierced and tattooed cynic I had become.
Over the next ten years, my friends and I made many Disney trips, both to Disneyland and Disney World, but not once did we ever have a child in tow. Sure, these parks were supposedly built for children, but we preferred to enjoy them sans kids.
For us, kids would have just gotten in the way of having fun. We didn't want to take potty breaks or naps; we wanted to go nonstop from the second the park opened to the second it closed. We didn't want to ride Peter Pan's Flight or Snow White's Scary Adventures; we wanted to ride Space Mountain nine times in a row. And we definitely didn't want to wait an hour in line to meet some teenaged kid dressed up as Mickey Mouse; we would rather hit up a bar at Downtown Disney instead.
Ironically, throughout our numerous trips I would often turn my camera on children who looked as if they were anywhere but the Happiest Place on Earth.
From kids being scolded by their parents for having too much fun:
To kids who looked strung out from being doped up on a sugar high:
To kids who just plain looked bored out of their minds:
To cranky and crabby crying kids who didn't get their way:
To kids who had nearly overdosed on all of the magic:
Yeah, going to a Disney theme park with kids in tow looked as if it were one of the least fun things an adult could ever do. And that's exactly why in all of my trips to the parks, I've never gone along with a child.
That's when I will be tagging along with a family to Disneyland. The family's son, Anthony, is four years old, and it will be his first time ever in a Disney theme park. Just as it will be my first time ever in a Disney theme park with a child. I'll be documenting the entire day here on Navel Gazing soon thereafter. I'm assuming you can expect many photographs and stories about Peter Pan's Flight, waiting in line to meet Mickey Mouse, and taking naps.
Many people have told me that going to the park with a child completely changes the experience. Here's hoping that it's for the best.