I’ve been waiting nearly 30 years to visit Disneyland during the holiday season.  This year it finally happened… and it was everything I had ever hoped it would be.

My only complaint? Rain on Day One…

Rainy DCAIt’s true… I was a scrooge on Day One.  Okay, so maybe I was a little more than a scrooge when the plane touched the tarmac and the sky was black and the rain was pouring down.  I hated the rain, I hated the airline I used to fly into John Wayne airport, and I especially hated my bright, yellow poncho.  People actually came up to me to tell me how amazing that ridiculous poncho was because it came from Disneyland Paris.  Yes, anything from Disneyland Paris is cool, but it was just a beacon in the crowd that reminded me it had also been raining in Paris.

When it rains at home, I love it.  Rainy summer days are my favorite… when it is warm and a little gray outside.  I love to curl up with a book and a blanket and watch it rain.  I love the way the rain sounds when it hits the windows and trickles down the drains.  But, if I’m at the Happiest Place on Earth… well, it’s just plain supposed to be sunny.

But when Sunday morning (Day Two) dawned, the clouds floated away, the sun broke through the sky, the magic was back in all of its splendor.  Let me tell you, when the clouds broke and the sweet, warm rays of Disneyland sunshine beat down on my expectant face… the window to my soul opened up and let the goodness that is Disney Magic flood in.

Renewing Pumpkin Muffins

It was a really good moment.  My mom and I sat on Main Street eating pumpkin muffins… much better than the ones at the local muffin store, here in Denver… and watched the sun sizzle on the pavement, drying up the last remaining drops of Saturday’s deluge.  And, that was pure magic.

The next 3 days were a whirlwind of activities to cross off my bucket list and others that I never even dreamed I could be a part of.  The Disneyland Christmas Parade… check!  It’s a Small World Holiday… check!  A second year of Haunted Mansion Holiday… check!  Not to mention meeting Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen and watching Princess Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee… or eating Candy Cane Cupcakes in the hotel room, a mysteriously wonderful, complimentary upgrade to a theme park view at the Paradise Pier, or watching World of Color testing from that hotel room window.

Christmas Fantasy Parade

Christmas was a little lackluster for my family this year, so my mom and I reveled in this opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in Disney Christmas Magic.  And, just like those Sunday morning rays of Disneyland, this trip was a shining bright moment in the season.  I have been dealing with some major health issues in the past couple of months, and that coupled with some extreme work stress, abnormal financial woes, and unforeseen problems with our house that caused quite an uproar in our family caused an abrupt and unexpected snafu in our normal holiday fun.

Needless to say, I’ve been holding on tightly to the magic and the memories that we made in Disneyland.  In fact, those sunshiny rays beating down on my face that chilly December morning in California have been the pulse beating through my veins and helping me keep my sanity during this stormy season in my life.

Tiana's Showboat Jubilee

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we, as fragile humans, cope with undue stress in our lives… I think there is something to be said for faith, trust, and pixie dust… as well as a good heart-to-heart with my Creator.  But, how do we navigate through the rain and clouds, side-step the drowning puddles, and end up with that precious sun beating down on our faces?  Perhaps I’m rambling, but these memories that keep me going have led me to question some of the deepest beliefs in my life.  All I can think about these days is finding a way to recapture those rays of Disneyland in my everyday life… a deep-seeded hope that they could lift this rain from my life and dry up any remaining drops of pain.

Rays of DisneylandI know I don’t have the answers to any of these questions.  But I do know that somehow this Disney Magic that we Disney fan(atic)s believe in has a lasting effect on our souls.  It’s more than attractions, or fireworks, or even crossing the Christmas Parade off our bucket lists.  Somehow, it’s a feeling that we gain when we let the magic shine on our souls and renew our spirits.

© 2010, Rays of Disneyland. All rights reserved.

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