Yesterday, I went to Disneyland with my younger sister and her best friend. They are both Disney purists- they hate the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay and even some of the changes that have been made to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride over the years- but when I mentioned the change from Tom Sawyer’s Island to Pirate’s Lair, I was greeted with two confused faces.

‘What do you mean it wasn’t always about Pirates?!’

[I sometimes forget now that she is six years younger than me- although she is delighted to remind me of this as often as she can.]

After I explained, they were even more surprised to hear that I hadn’t been over since the remodel- so the three of us boarded a raft and I got a guided tour from the experts! I spook easily, and they were only to happy to shove me and and my unadjusted eyes into the first cavern opening that we came upon.

That first cavern opening was Dead Man’s Grotto. And everything in those caves felt like a giant trap [probably because everything in those caves WAS a giant trap].

‘Go ahead. Touch the chest. Just touch it.’

I will admit to you, dear Innsiders, that my heart sped up and I was Legitimately Nervous. It was partly that I didn’t know what was lying in store for me, partly that I couldn’t see anything, partly that I remembered the walkways being a lot wider [funny how things shrink as you grow!], and partly that I felt the immense pressure of wanting to desperately not to scream in terror in front of my little sister. But I mustered up all my courage, and placed my hand on the chest…and got to feel Davy Jones’ heart beating! How cool was that?!

‘Go ahead. Touch that bar of gold.’

I was feeling a little more emboldened at having managed to touch the chest without any incident, so I touched the bar of gold………aaaaaaand jumped back and screamed at the top of lungs when this popped up at me. My sister and her friend were laughing so hard they couldn’t even stand up straight.

‘Put your hand through that opening.’

Not A Chance! From that point on, if they wanted me to see what kind of cool, neat thing was going to happen- I made them do it; I just stood over their shoulders and watched from a removed distance.I’m a fast learner! :]

The rest of our time there was much less frightening [huge sigh of relief from me]. We climbed into the Tree House, pumped water out of a boat to reveal the sunken treasure, walked across the Pontoon Bridge, watched a group of children hoist up the treasure, and climbed aboard the wrecked Pirate Ship. Just as I was starting to feel a twinge of regret-tinged nostalgia, we rounded a corner behind the Fort and found that the cemetery that I remembered from Tom Sawyer’s Island was still there! It was fun to be able to tell my sister and her friend about that, and about everything that I could still clearly remember about the way it used to be.

After that, we stopped in to pay our respects at Turner’s Blacksmith Shop and then boarded a raft back to New Orleans Square.

On the way, I started to think about my sister and about what our relationship was like when we were kids. I remember how much younger than me she seemed then- and although I always loved her- I remember how I was always keenly aware of our age difference and looking back, I can see how that prevented me from really getting to know her.

Then I thought about how often I hear parents remark that their kids always seem to get along better when they’re at Disneyland, and I remember that being true for us when were little- so I started thinking about why this might be. I could be wrong, but I think that Disneyland provides this perfect landscape for the gap between all of us- whether in age, or culture, or lifestyle, or experience- to be lessened as we all get lost in the magic.

‘Hey! Where are we going next?’

I snapped out of my musings, thought for a minute, and then said- ‘You know what? You lead the way.’

I hope that you all are having a wonderful day, and I hope I get a chance to see you in the Parks soon!


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