Friday, July 6, 2012
"It's All About the Kids"
As promised - as my friend Bill says about his trips to Disneyland - "it's all about the kids". It got to be a reoccurring joke between us when his kind were younger (ages 4 - 6 let's say). "You mean you didn't ride on California Screamin'" - "nah, the trip was all about the kids".
"You mean you went all the way to Disneyland and didn't ride Space Mountain?" "Nah, the trip was all about the kids".
"You mean you didn't go in and see It's Tough To Be A Bug? That's for kids." Nah, a little too scary, it's all about the kids".
You get the picture here.
I remember bits and pieces of Disneyland when I was a kid. I vividly remember being on Pirates of the Caribbean with my parents and making the first drop. I remember sitting in the Tiki Room with mom and dad. I remember standing in line for the Matterhorn with my older brother, my first roller coaster ride. I treasure those memories. Disneyland is for kids.
Or is it?
Certainly Walt Disney didn't envision a park just for kids. His whole deal was creating a park that parents and their children could enjoy together. He succeeded grandly. But there is that awkward age when children just aren't quite old enough or big enough for the larger rides. Does the parent just skip those like my friend Bill did on a couple of his trips?
Some rides do have something called ride swapping where one waiting parent stays with the child who cannot ride at the loading platform while the other parent rides, then they switch. Parents can also use single rider options. Then you can do what my friend Bill eventually did - bring grandma along.
Disneyland is mostly about kids, but its about the kid in all of us. For families its about compromise, good planning, and a balance of activities (no coloring though). Fun for all can be found. And I think about my friend Bill when he is able to take his kids to Disneyland, now that they are old enough, get in line for Space Mountain as a family. "You kids, you know when you were younger there were times we came down here and we couldn't go on this ride".
Hopefully they are thinking "yeah, but we can go on together now, all of us". Disneyland is the building of memories from one trip to the next, each one a new adventure, a new experience. What is taken for granted at the time will become a special memory. Kids grow up and become adults who eventually remember what it was like to be a kid again, a kid in Disneyland. It's all about the kids.