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A big letdown

This time spent at home has Sami Muirhead reminiscing about a much-anticipated trip that didn’t quite meet expectations.

Are you a Peter Pan-type person who still has that inner child?

I find Disneyland is as divisive as politics or religion. You are a fan or you are not. Disneyland and Disney World have both closed indefinitely, to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The mega company has stood down 43,000 employees in the process but hopes every job will remain when this whole thing is over.

I have days where I think this Covid-19 thing is all a bit of a bad dream and other days where I feel quite calm. I have certainly never been more happy to live in our great nation where it seems (touch wood) we really are flattening the curve. That’s the flip side of flying halfway around the world in the airplane seat the size of a chicken coup. We are so far away geographically from other countries that hopefully it will help us now.

Disneyland and I have always had this love/hate relationship. I waited over four decades to go – 12 months ago I went for the first time with my then-seven-year-old daughter. I am fascinated with the world’s obsession with Disneyland and I felt quite dirty and angry forking out a large fortune to get inside the gates of the home to the world famous ride of It’s A Small World After All. A big letdown. We splashed cash on a Fast Pass so we would not have to wait in line but we still had to wait an hour-and-a-half for each of the rides we selected.

I was gobsmacked how busy it was despite the near-freezing conditions and  expense. It was in Paris and all I could think  of was that we should be shacked up back in a cafe looking at the Eiffel Tower eating croissants. Or better still rambling the beautiful parks for free. Instead we were in mouse heaven. Or mouse hell.

That’s the thing with Disneyland: you believe in the magic of it or you do not. I do not. I gave in to my daughter’s begging for a set of Minnie Mouse ears on a headband. I should have kept what that cost me for a small down payment on her first car.

I grumbled with dissatisfaction when the bill came for the overpriced restaurant where we ate cheese that tasted like plastic, greasy hot chips and stale hotdogs from the buffet. But my little girl. She sighed. She swooned. She loved it.

Disneyland is a true test to our backgrounds. Nicola Sloane got to go to Disneyland when I was about eight years old. Nicola Sloane also got a Cabbage Patch kid doll AND a Strawberry Shortcake doll. I was so jealous of Nicola Sloane. She had straight hair and I had frizzy hair. She had a mum and a dad and my parents were divorced. Nicola got to go to Disneyland when I got to go to the local park. It took 40 years but I got there eventually and I am glad I can tick it off my bucket list with no desire to return ever again.

The Happiest Place On Earth? I think we will all stay at home when lockdown is finally over.

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Sami Muirhead is a radio announcer, blogger and commentator. For more from Sami tune into Mix FM.

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