Disneyland’s Silent Gift

ResortThere is this time when you are staying at the Disneyland Resort Hotel when you can have it all to yourself.

It’s quiet, with the faint hint of music playing in the hotel lobbies in the background. I first discovered it when I offered to grab my wife one early morning a coffee at the shop in the hotel. But the moment I exited the elevator (and the haunting overture from The Jungle Book was playing in the speakers), that I realized I had discovered something unique.

It was still dark outside and I was alone.

I walked along the pool, passed the Tangaroa Terrace restaurant (with its fireplace still ablaze). There is a smell to Disneyland that I have yet to put my finger on, but the blossoms around the hotel and the restaurant added to its intoxication.

It was so peaceful that I almost felt a tinge of regret when the coffee shop finally opened at 6 AM and I had to make my purchase and return to the room and the excited kids. Dawn was approaching, a new day of adventure. Holding sweaty palms, wondering about bathroom breaks, and taking a lot of pictures.

That pre-dawn walk became a little ritual for me during my stay, and I picked up a coffee for my wife every morning at the same time. She always said thank you, but she didn’t need to.

It was for both of us. Continue reading

Advertisements

The Fall of the Vikings

Our time in high school haunts us. Some may brush off that idea (maybe pointing to college as more important), but a lot of who we develop into starts during those four years. We figure out things about ourselves then, to put it more simply, and later we fine tune it. Good or bad, that high school version of yourself still exists someplace inside your psyche, no matter how much you wish to deny it. Yes, the pimples are there still, but just under the surface now.

For me, I had a recurring dream that lasted for about five years after I graduated. In that dream, I am always in different locations (college classroom, my evening job, etc.) and my high school band director shows up in full marching band uniform (which is weird since he would never wear a uniform), screaming that there is an emergency and he is calling everyone back.

Recently, I have learned that my old school, Wyoming Park High School in Wyoming, Michigan, was going away. And upon hearing the news, I was flooded with memories around that old building. Remembering the days when I wore blue and white and proudly told kids from other schools that, yes, I was a Viking. Continue reading

Walt and Me

I was not a Disney kid growing up; I became a fan of Mr. Disney as an adult.

It seems weird to say it, like I should be having my official “literary snob” business cards taken away, but this is one of my quirks (possibly embarrassing) and it was not something I was planning. I am a fan of the man and mainly that all stems from Disneyland.  Let me explain this better:

It was February 2000 and I had just moved from Michigan’s snowy winter to the surrealism that is Los Angeles. I was starting mid-term in the graduate program in writing at the University of Southern California, which definitely put me in an odd position. I was the new kid and many of the cliques were already formed in the autumn, when everyone else started. Plus, to be honest, programs like this are not exactly a place where people make friends; there is a lot of competitiveness in the writing world. You want to have the respect of your professors and be in with the good writers, you do not want to be part of the other groups, trust me.

So to say I was lonely and feeling out of sorts at that moment would be to put it mildly. I was not on my A game.

Anyway, I was watching TV in my grungy graduate apartment (seriously, my roommate was one of the messiest people I had ever met; I was terrified to get near the kitchen, deciding to live off food from the local Starbucks and canned goods), when an ad came up for Disneyland. Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, February 2012

When I originally decided to write more on the blog as my New Year’s Resolution, one of my initial ideas was to capture each month what I was into… and then I skipped doing it in January.

So I guess in January I was into NOT writing about five things I am into.

It’s a snapshot into my life at a given time. A diary, if you will, of consumerism, as compared to creation and original observations…. Boy, that sounded much better in my head than it reads.

Looking over this list, I think you can tell it is February and cold out and I am looking for some extra sunlight someplace. February is never a good time for moody or dark stories or music. We have enough of that in the crisp air and short days.

The Artist

What I love about The Artist the most is how much it loves films. It is riddled with references to classic black-and-white stories, including a few great homages to Citizen Kane. Would I like this film as much if I didn’t love the movies that inspired it? I can’t say. It is light on plot, but most films like this were and are.

For me, I couldn’t stop smiling during my watching of it. And while I wrote before about how I think the idea of giving awards for films is kind of silly…  I really want it to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Does this make me a hypocrite? Yeah, probably. A terrible, terrible hypocrite… Continue reading