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Monday, March 18, 2013

Pirates of the Caribbean & The Blue Bayou: An Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean and the Blue Bayou Restaurant in Disneyland's New Orleans Square. The official opening was March 18, 1967, about 4 months after the death of Walt Disney who worked tirelessly to bring this treasured attraction to life. Earlier today, the Disneyland Twitter feed posed the simple question "What's you favorite meal at the Blue Bayou?" More on that later.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that Pirates of the Caribbean is my favorite ride in the park. Heck, it's my favorite ride ever, anywhere. To this day I still remember my first ride as a young boy (and probably not too long after the ride opened), sitting next to my parents and my sister and taking that first scintillating plunge in the darkness, followed by another, then finally the rollicking world of mostly drunken pirates. Thrills.....Joy.....Pirates had it all and I was lucky enough to share it with my parents and my baby sister. Thank you Walt for a memory I will never, ever forget. I share this gratitude with many.

Fast forward to 2002. My parents by this time had long passed away. A group of family members decided to make a group trip to Disneyland. Going all out, we had four rooms booked at the recently opened Grand Californian. Leading the rag-tag brigade was my older sister. She was ten years older than I was a was so my memories of her when I was a child were fleeting. But she became the matriarch of the family after my mother's passing. This was my only trip to Disneyland with her. I still remember so much from that trip, so many memories to treasure. You see, my sister passed away in 2006 under sad and tragic circumstances. For those who take life for granted - don't - it's just that simple. 

Anyway, my sister wanted to take the gang to the Blue Bayou for a grand lunch. Grand it was because there must have been about 15 or 16 of us. A table that big could not get right by the water for the greatest view of the boats passing by but we got close enough. Lovely, memorable, enchanting, there are countless words that can be expressed about that joyful afternoon but it comes down to the love my sister had for her family. My favorite meal. I really don't know what I had that day but the crab cakes come to mind. On that day in the Blue Bayou, it was all about my wonderful sister and her love for her family and her families love for her. 

I miss her dearly and each and every trip to Disneyland I think about the memories we shared together even if they were a one time deal. You can think about your favorite meal at the Blue Bayou but the better thing to do is to think about the person or people you are sharing that table with in Disneyland's most intimate of settings. 

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