I’m sure there are Disney fans already out there talking about what they’re going to do first when Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure reopen on July 17th, but as a Disneyland Resort Annual Passholder and someone who visits the parks as part of my job, my thoughts may be different than other Disneyland fans.
Here's what I imagine most folks will be planning:
Star Wars fans will likely be trying to get their boarding group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance then heading straight to the Galaxy's Edge for a ride on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, while the Marvel camp could be looking to help breakout the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Other thrill-seekers may want to experience Space Mountain or The Incredicoaster, as the Disney purists use the classic approach and take a ride on the Disneyland Railroad, followed by a voyage on It's a Small World or Pirates of the Caribbean. Families, of course, will probably pass straight through Sleeping Beauty Castle to fly with Dumbo.
While all of those ideas sound like a wonderful way to celebrate the reopening, I have something else in mind.
I will start my morning the same way I start pretty much every Disneyland morning, except this time it will feel different.
I'll pass through the turnstiles and then one of the famous entrance tunnels...probably the right one. Once in Town Square, I'll pause and just breathe it in for a moment....the music, the smells, the beautiful Southern California skies.
I'll then make my way down Main Street proper, heading toward my final destination: Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe.
Once there, I'll head inside to grab a large diet soda and a cookie or muffin, then find a table at the outer edge of the restaurant's seating area and just TAKE IT ALL IN.
The only thing I REALLY need to do that first morning is watch the faces of the other guests as they head to their destinations...the smiles, the laughs, and the pure joy.
Space Mountain and Pirates will be there next trip, but watching the faces of happy families returning to the park they love after this unprecedented closure will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I don't want to miss.