I get asked from time to time about my love affair of Disneyland and everything about it. Why I love it so much, how often I go,what my favorite rides and attractions are. I also get asked why I’m so obsessed about it and some even criticize me for being a 34-year-old man who spends his vacations at a place for “children”.
Those people haven’t heard my tale.
In 2008 I was fired from my job as a deli clerk in a grocery store after nearly two months there. I had left another store that I really liked working at and it was a job I hated leaving and later regretted leaving because of what happened later. While I was never given a clear reason for my dismissal and am now over it, I’m pretty sure it was because of the oncoming recession and I was just the latest victim. After finding temporary work as a pizza delivery driver,I found a job at another grocer,it was a temporary gig that could lead to something permanent down the road.
What it led to was a big time downward spiral that lasted four years and cost me a lot of happiness. I wasn’t making any money to speak of. Everyone was getting promoted to be a checker but me. I didn’t enjoy the company’s policies and their way of doing things. I was late with car payments, I was not making the smartest of life choices and I was clueless as to what to do next. I never had any money, I remember times where I would get the change out of the console of my car just so I could buy something from Taco Bell. I once scraped up $1.62 so I could get a little gas to get myself home from work. I once ate a package of oyster crackers with mustard on my break because that was all I could find in the break room that was lying around without stealing someone else’s lunch. I used to pick up bottles and cans in our parking lot,not because I wanted it too look nice,but because I needed gas money.
Meanwhile I would see a few of my friends on Facebook go to Disneyland not just once per year,but several. It made me mad and jealous at the time because that could’ve been me had I not quit my job the year before to go another one only to get fired and pick myself up to be at a lesser job that was beneath me. I wanted to be the guy at Disneyland having fun and enjoying myself,not being stuck in a job that I hated and I was wishing and hoping for the day I would go again. I had only gone there once when I was 10 and there isn’t much I remember about the trip.
When I finally left that job four years ago for the job I have now,I knew that the worst was over for me. That the universe was finally rewarding me and that it was time to reward myself. In late 2013,one of my co-workers knew how much I wanted to go to Disneyland and suggested we go. We decided to go in mid-February on President’s Day weekend which happened to be when my birthday fell that year. Two of my managers also went with us as well as my manager’s nephew and I had a fun time. Though we had to brave over three hours of some of the worst Los Angeles traffic you’ll ever see,we finally made it. Once we were at the park, I looked at my ticket and I got silently emotional. I couldn’t believe I was actually at Disneyland. I was hooked! A year and a half before that, a trip there was a major pipe dream. It was finally happening and I couldn’t have been happier that it was. It made me appreciate where I was at the moment and what it took for me to get to that point.
I’ve since made four more trips and I bought an annual pass last year. I am making my sixth trip overall on Tuesday with some of my best friends. I’m so lucky I get to share some good times in my favorite place in the entire world to go to with them. The memories I have there have been very special and overall,it’s a place where I’m probably at my happiest and am the least shy.
I understand why people don’t get why I like going there so much,but it’s because it makes me happy. It also makes me appreciate what I have now and the great things I have to look forward to in the time ahead knowing that the best is yet to come. Everyone in life should be doing what makes them the happiest and what makes them feel good (within reason,of course) and for me it’s taking a trip or two to 1313 Disneyland Drive.