At the entrance to “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln,” mementos can be found of the place where the idea and the dream of Disneyland were born. Walt would take his daughters to the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round and sit on a bench, all the while thinking that there must be something for parents and their children to do together for amusement. I’m glad he didn’t settle for leaving that as a thought. The horse from the merry-go-round, the peanut cart, and Walt’s bench serve as tangible reminders that “dreams can come true, if we have courage to pursue them” (Walt Disney). I, like I believe many of us, feel a strong, personal connection with Disneyland and its beginnings. Each time I go to the park, I feel more in tune with the past, more hopeful for the future, and I make new memories to cherish. This ability to make a personal connection is what sets Disneyland apart. We make the experience our own and we should. In doing so, we uphold and honor the dream that Walt Disney poured himself out to achieve. The park bears Walt’s name, but in his opening day speech, he dedicated Disneyland to each of us: “To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Disneyland is your land.”
About Matt Hansen
Designer, photographer, and wilderness lover.