Disneyland trip fulfills childhood dreams
At age 16, junior Katie Barisic gets to experience, for the first time, the magical world of Disney, which finally attained her childhood dreams of vacationing at the park.
In this series, Illustrator Katie Barisic will be sharing pieces of her first-ever experience at Disneyland. At age 16, she finally encounters an opportunity to live out her childhood dreams.
I have never been more willing to get up at two a.m. in my entire life. When I was initially told that I would be going to Disneyland for the first time in my life to celebrate my birthday, I almost fainted. I was so overwhelmed with excitement, all I could do was smile.
I would like to state that an accurate portrayal of my adventures in Disneyland would take 100 pages to complete. Ever since I was a little girl I have heard stories of this magical land of Disney. Sitting in front of the computer, I would Google things about it, dreaming and telling myself one day it would come. And before now, the closest Disneyland trip was a year away, on senior trip.
When I was told by my cousin that she and her husband were going to rope our two birthdays together, both of them being in Feb., and kidnap me to the most magical place on earth, it was still three months away from when we were actually going. So, I spent weeks still in shock and the rest of the time counting down the days.
When Feb. finally came, it was decided that we would go on the 10th, the weekend before a major holiday. The plan was to leave at three in the morning, and I set my alarm clock for two, because I wasn't going to let myself oversleep on this one.
Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until the night before to pack my bags. But fortunately, since we were only going for two days, I only needed three pairs of clothes. I was told to bring a change of jeans, but I figured one would be enough. Throwing my wallet inside my suitcase I climbed into bed only to stare for hours at the clock until the alarm finally went off.
One by one I said goodbye to my drowsy family members and hurried downstairs where my ride was waiting for me. My Dad stood in the driveway waving goodbye as we pulled out and began our long quest towards a dream come true.
"Young children danced around in excitement for what I wanted to believe was their first trip too. I didn't feel 16 at this time, no, here I felt 10 years old again." -- Katie Barisic, Illustrator
Due to my lack of sleep the previous night, I was exhausted. I remember passing the sign that read "Welcome to Visalia," then, slurping my juice box dry, I tucked my knees under my chin, leaned my head up against the window and closed my eyes. An hour later I would open them at a gas station, where our driver was stretching his legs, with a cup of coffee in hand. I almost immediately went back to sleep.
In another hour I awoke to a sunrise and the famous Los Angeles traffic, although I was corrected with, "This is nothing." As we drove through the city, my cousins pointed out all the companies and studios that make up the popular Hollywood. I could see the tips of the palm trees belonging to that of Universal Studios, and the helicopters reporting the morning news.
We continued down a curved road lined with birds of paradise, which are orange and yellow flowers. The large words, "Downtown Disney" caught my eye in that famous signature font. It was around seven a.m. when we turned into a long driveway where I saw the Disneyland Hotel at the end. Pulling up, the valet took our car and put our luggage onto a dolly, where it was taken to our room. The three of us headed straight into the lobby.
As we approached the large welcoming doors, I flipped out my phone to inform my parents, at their request, that I was there. At that moment I was unexpectedly tackled from the side by my cousin's husband, he was yelling in my ear, "Aren't you excited," to which I responded with an equal or more enthusiastic, "Of course."
The three of us stepped through the doors where a giant map of the park graced the wall, and the marble floor met with swirls of Mickey Mouse carpet, on it whimsical seats that appeared to be enlarged tea cups sliced in half. Young children danced around in excitement for what I wanted to believe was their first trip too. I didn't feel 16 at this time, no, here I felt six years old again.
As junior Katie Barisic entered into Disneyland for the first time, the iconic Disney landmarks proved to be everything she ever imagined after dreaming of the trip for years.
Unable to wipe the smile off my face, we made it to the desk where we were issued our room keys and I, my ticket. All of our room keys had our names on them, and my ticket possessed a picture of Donald Duck.
As we walked away, the jolly man at the desk said, "Have a magical day!" Almost killing the mood, my cousin told me, "Yeah, they say cheesy stuff like that." But it wasn't cheesy to me. I was in Disneyland, all the corny stuff they wanted to say to me did not matter, in fact, I might have joined in, it was the perfect place to be cheesy.
Being a Friday, the park officially opened at nine a.m., but since we were staying at a Disneyland Hotel we were permitted to enter an hour beforehand. Breezing through the lobby we ventured into the courtyard, which merged into Downtown Disney.
Peeking up, I could see the iconic Disney landmarks as we passed the well-known House of Blues. Scanning the scenery, it was decided that we would have breakfast at The Rainforest Cafe.
I was amazed at the magnitude of it; I had eaten at another Rainforest Cafe but none as elaborate as this one. It was a wonderful start to our magical stay. We made our way slowly through Downtown Disney, the clock counted down the minutes until we could take advantage of our hour early pass.
Poking our heads in and out of stores was a treat. Due to it being the morning, the weather was a bit brisk, but not quite uncomfortable.
At the end of the shopping center we approached the two great gates of Disneyland and California Adventure. To my surprise, there was not a very long line, though there were many turn stiles.
I was the last of the three to pass through the silver gate. Placing my ticket back in my pocket after it had been scanned, I turned to my cousin and asked, "So am I officially in Disneyland right now?" She smiled and answered "Yes." I was immediately filled with joy, I didn't even think that it was possible for me to be happier, but I was.
Check back later to read more about the exhilarating experience I had during my time at Disneyland.
For more columns, read the April 10 article, Point three: Remodeling the nation's budget.