Who says dreams don’t come true? Not me!!! It been over 30 years since my very first trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Some people think I am crazy for wanting to arrive early when I do visit. But one of the things I love about arriving prior to opening is seeing which families will be chosen to help open the park. I will admit that there has been a bit of envy mixed in with the joy I have for those families. Yet getting picked really wasn’t something that I hoped for. It isn’t because I didn’t want to do it, but because I never thought I could be that lucky. So you can imagine how surprised and thrilled I was when a cast member chose my family on Feb. 1, 2015. I was giddy with excitement!!!!!! I felt like a kid instead of a middle aged woman.
We had the opportunity to take pictures without the crowds in front of the train station. We also received honorary citizen buttons and an extra Fastpass! We loudly shouted that it was time to “Let the magic begin” and led the countdown of the opening of the gates. Seriously the best morning at Disneyland EVER!!!! Like I said I never thought that this dream would come true, but this morning proved that dreams do come true!!!
For those of you that follow my blog, you know that last year I challenged myself to have more fun and I did!!! This year I challenged myself to find a reason to smile everyday. So far so good. You also know that I have decided to not waste my precious energy by choosing to leave my Christmas tree and décor up all year. My family and I have declared it the year of Christmas! After we were chosen to open the park, I turned to my husband and said that it really is the year of Christmas. He laughed and agreed. Our daughter then chimed in by requesting that we NEVER take down our tree!!! But there is another challenge that I haven’t shared with you yet. This year I have challenged myself to face my fears. Over the past 10 years I developed deep fears of rides that wouldn’t have scared me prior to living in pain. The only reason my husband and I can think of is that my pain and how I managed it was different than it is now. Back then I feared doing anything that would increase my pain level as my medicinal plan barely brought my body any relief at its normal level. An increase of pain would stay with me for weeks or months. Now that I treat my pain with marijuana, I not only get relief from my everyday pain each night, but it also knocks out my reactionary pain. Last summer I took the plunge and decided to face my fear of Splash Mountain. And guess what? I loved it!!! Not only did I love it, it has become a ride that I must ride every visit. The only reason for not going on it is when it is closed for refurbishment. I even rode it when it was only 38 degrees outside on New Year’s Day!! I also rode Space Mountain which was once a favorite of mine, yet once my life with pain began I would have an anxiety attack just thinking about it. I won’t lie, this ride still scares me, but not enough to never ride it again. After that I vowed that I would be open to trying new things and facing my fears this year.
I started this year by riding something that I had never ridden before, Goofy’s Sky School roller coaster on New Year’s Day. It may not be something that I feel I have to ride each visit, but I will definitely ride it again. On our second visit of the year I went sledding at Olaf’s Snow Fest. This brings me to our third visit on Feb. 1st. I was feeling pretty good after opening the park and felt like I could take on the world, so I decided that I would tackle two fears. After spending the morning at Disneyland we crossed over to California Adventure where I would surprise my family and myself.
The first fear I decided to tackle was my fear of Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Now to be honest with you I have never been a fan of Ferris Wheels. When I first saw Mickey’s Fun Wheel many years ago and noticed that the carts were swinging, I vowed that nothing would ever get me on that ride. So I always ignored this particular attraction. Then last year I realized that they also have NON-SWINGING carts!!! But I still wasn’t sold on the idea. Since this year was about facing my fears, I decided it was time. WOW!! What an awesome experience!!!! The non-swinging carts really don’t swing!! Unlike the carts at the Santa Monica Pier or at various state fairs, Mickey’s carts stay relatively still and are caged. Nobody can lean out and the fear of falling out was put to rest. The best part was that I was able to remain in my wheelchair!!!!!! My back wouldn’t have been able to handle sitting on the cart benches for the duration of the ride. By remaining in my wheelchair I was able to keep my body calm and I didn’t have to worry about an increase of pain. The views were spectacular and I can’t wait to ride it again.
With a sense of pride from conquering my Ferris Wheel fear, my husband and I headed over to The Tower of Terror!!! I have only been on this ride one other time. For the past 9 years I swore that I would never go on it again!! There were a few times when my fear began to escalate and I considered leaving the line. So I made a deal with myself. I told myself that if I really hated it, I would never have to go on it again. Call me crazy, but I LOVED it!!!! There was one drop that I felt was too long, but other than that it was a fabulous experience!!! Although the poor girl next to might disagree as she had to listen to my screaming and deal with me grabbing her hand every time I went for the handrail. My body was a little freaked out afterwards as it took a good 10 minutes to stop trembling, but even that isn’t enough to make me avoid this ride. I will ride it again!!
While waiting for my body to stop trembling we noticed a character meet and greet that only had one person in line. These Incredible super heroes were so much fun!!!
Forget about the Super Bowl!!! By the end of the day I felt like a champion and a super hero!! How many people can say they were chosen to open the park and not only face two enormous fears but also squashed them??!!! It was definitely a great day at the park. Can’t wait to see what else The Year of Christmas has in store for me!!!!!
Wishing you a day filled with Pixie Dust and gentle hugs!!!
The Disabled Diva
Tagged: arthritis, California, chronic illness, chronic pain, degenerative disc disease, Disney, Disneyland, dreams do come true, facing fears, fears, ferris wheel, fibro, fibromyalgia, handicapped accessible, health, invisible disabilities, mental-health, Mickey's fun wheel, MS, pain, pain pals, psoriatic arthritis, spoonie, spoonies, tower of terror