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Disney Cast Members Tell Us Why They Love Disneyland

Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy. For anyone who has passed underneath the tunnel leading to Disneyland’s Main Street, these simple words still resonate as strongly today as they did when Disneyland opened to the public over 63 years ago.

To fully understand why people love Disneyland, you have to appreciate the fact that each individual experience and connection to the Park is unique. As someone who grew up in the Midwest, my love of Disneyland revolves around my memories of special family vacations I took as a child. And while my reasoning might differ from yours, it’s our shared respect for a place where everyone is welcome and celebrated for who they are, that ultimately unites us. Read on to find out what other Disney cast members love about Disneyland, as well as some tips that you might find useful for your next visit:

The Nostalgia

For many of us Disney fans, we can trace the love we feel for the movies, TV shows, and Parks back to our childhoods. Whether you grew up in Southern California with Disneyland in your backyard, or you savored special visits to the Park when time and location permitted, visiting Disneyland serves as a connection to adolescence.

Kelly Lin
Kelly and Tigger in Disneyland.

“I was lucky enough to take my first trip to Disneyland when I was 5 and the sights, sounds, and magic left me completely mesmerized. Here was a place where imagination had no limits and beloved characters from my television screen literally wanted to hug ME! (You can see by the picture how that turned me into quite the possessive toddler. Sorry, parents!) From that point forward, literally every lemonade stand and garage sale I had and birthday/Christmas check I received was devoted to the pursuit of that next big Disney trip. In middle school, the only reason why I took up the clarinet and joined the band was because it included a free trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Judging by my placement as fifth chair clarinet, I think the conductor could tell.”

 

Ilana Gelfand
Ilana at Disneyland as a child and as an adult.

“Growing up, going to Disneyland meant getting on as many attractions as we possibly could and having as many Mickey-shaped snacks as we could fit in our stomachs. But now, as a millennial, Disneyland is a second home to me. It’s a place for me and my friends to hang out and just be happy surrounded by all the nostalgia and things we love. Whether it’s a day of dining, people-watching on Main Street, or taking photos at the castle, I can always expect a magical day at the Parks!”

 

The One-of-a-Kind Experience

There’s really no other place on earth quite like Disneyland. It’s the gold standard that is built on an inherent assurance that there’s something for everyone, be it a ride, a character interaction, a type of food, or even just the feeling of being around like-minded people.

Sophia Barnhart
Sophia standing in front of Disneyland's it's a small world.

“What I love about Disneyland is that there’s truly something for everyone. Thrill-seekers can hop onto roller coasters, Instagrammers can find all their perfect photo opps, pin collectors can shop and trade aplenty, Easter egg lovers can hunt for Hidden Mickeys, and foodies (or just really hungry people like myself) can enjoy treats of all kinds. I mean, come on, the Disneyland turkey leg is ICONIC.”

 

Nicole Cassese
Nicole at Disneyland with friends.

“My favorite part about Disneyland is that all your friends always want to go—you never have to go alone. And hanging out in the Parks in a group is always more fun with more people. It’s amazing how no matter what your friends like, they all seem to enjoy Disneyland.”

 

It’s a Place of No Judgement

It’s easy to get caught up in maintaining a certain reticence when it comes to enjoying experiences deemed “childish,” but Disneyland is one of the few places on earth that provides no judgement. Look around any corner of the Park and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of adults indulging in photos with characters, accessorizing with Mickey and Minnie ears, and genuinely enjoying deciding which ride to go on next.

Rachel Horner
Rachel in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Disneyland.

“I grew up on the east coast, so Walt Disney World was always where we went (and that was very, very rarely). As a child, I loved Walt Disney World, but no one ever rode rides with me. We weren’t a ride family. It was lame. So, when I moved to Los Angeles, one of the first things I wanted to do was go to Disneyland and ride every ride. As a 25-year-old adult woman, I had the best day I had ever had. I bought sparkly Minnie Mouse ears, I ate at least five churros, I rode every ride (some twice), and I consumed more turkey legs than any human should. I finally felt like I got the real experience that I had been craving after loving all things Disney for 25 years. I love the feeling of just pure joy that you’re filled with at Disneyland. You just can’t be in a bad mood there. By the time I leave, my mouth hurts from smiling. It really is the Happiest Place on Earth.”

 

Jenny TranJenny jumping in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle in Disneyland while wearing a Dale hat.

“Disneyland is my safe place. I can wear a Dale hat and no one will judge. One of the reasons why I chose one of the clubs I joined in high school is because they went to Disneyland every summer, and everyone’s little kid went on those trips. To me, Disneyland is a place with good friends, good food, and good memories.”

 

Tips of the Trade

The great thing about Disneyland is that each experience is whatever you want it to be. That being said, as cast members, we’d like to think that we know how to really make the most out of a trip to Disneyland.

Sean Reed
Sean dressed in his Disneyland outfit.

“I worked in the Parks for two months before starting my internship here, and one of my favorite memories was working the parade shift during the 60th anniversary celebration. As most of my friends know, I’d much rather be riding Space or Splash Mountain than watch a parade or the fireworks and tbh, I used to think if you’ve seen one fireworks show you’ve seen them all. But there was just something so special about getting to watch the Paint the Night parade and Disneyland Forever fireworks show every night and never tiring of the literal magic. So I amend my statement: If you’ve seen one fireworks show, you’ve seen them all… except when it comes to Disney Parks.”

 

Emily Royall
Emily with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland.

Emily shared the following tips to get the most out of your Disneyland experience:

  • Get some pineapple Dole whip and enjoy it while watching the Tiki Room
  • Meet Mickey in ToonTown because he’s the sweetest
  • Skip down Main Street, U.S.A.

 

And sometimes, our love of Disneyland is best summed up with a simple statement, like Sheri Alzeerah’s: “Disneyland is special to me because come on, look at this guy!”

Sheri and a bear character at Disneyland.

What do you love most about Disneyland? Let us know in the comments!

Posted 5 months Ago
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