The Kid In Me… by Charlene Sands


dsc00882  I truly wonder sometimes, what our forefathers would say about the ways in which we celebrate our birthdays.  Back in the Old West, a child was lucky to receive a homemade scarf, socks or a new book as a birthday gift.  Little girls would be overjoyed to receive a new frilly dress or a doll.  Boys would love shining new boots or a toy. 


Their celebrations were usually after school and perhaps their mama would cook them up something special like apple pie or peach cobbler. Maybe they’d have kin join them and even a few close friends. 


I thought about this as I entered Disneyland on my birthday a few weeks ago.  Good old Walt wasn’t about to let the economy get in the way of his success. (Okay not Walt, but I tend to think of him looking down at his theme park with that sweet smile of his).  Californians who come to Disneyland on their exact birthday get in FREE. That’s the deal. dsc00880


I warned my dear hubby months prior that that’s what we’d do on my birthday.  He had no complaints and sweet guy that he is, he took the day off from work. It happened to be the day of Michael Jackson’s funeral and traffic on the LA freeway is always horrendous, but especially so this day.


Traffic and my hubby are not friends.


I worried about the drive so we took the long way around and when we arrived at Disneyland without a problem, I let go a silent sigh of relief. I knew it was going to be a good day.


Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth. They gave me a button to wear with my name it and every Disney employee in the park wished me a happy birthday when they saw me. What’s even more fun is that you see all the other people with YOUR SAME BIRTHDAY and you wish each other a happy birthday by name. I was so tickled when a little boy came up to me and said, “Happy birthday, Charlene.” dsc009121

I immediately squinted at his button and returned, “Happy birthday, Adam.”



How novel an idea … and how Disney of them to think of it.  


The day was magical and musical and the kid in me came out to play. We went on our favorite rides, including Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean.  BTW – I counted 3 Johnny Depps as Captain Jack Sparrow – a new addition to the attraction.


The Matterhorn still scared the stuffing out of me and I enjoyed the lyrical, relaxing It’s A Small World ride just as much as when I was a kid. We watched Minnie and Mickey during the Dance Parade from our spot in the shade and I grabbed for confetti shot into the air in the shape of little Mickeys.  Imagine that! 


The highlight of my day came when we got off the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and my hubby suggested we eat lunch at the Blue Bayou Restaurant, a classy little place inside the actual Pirates attraction, waterside with crickets chirping and twinkling lights shining. The entire place was designed with 1800 Louisiana in mind.  It’s the most romantic and popular place to eat in Disneyland. To my surprise, we were let in without reservations (people call days in advance to get to eat here).  Maybe it was my “birthday button.”


The Monte Cristo sandwich is to die for. No one makes it like the Blue Bayou and of course, dear hubby and I both ordered one and filled our bellies.  Next came the birthday surprise dessert. Chocolate mousse or should I say chocolate mouse- they served the mousse with chocolate Mickey ears!


All in all, it was a wonderful way to celebrate and as I walked through Frontierland I wondered what the old west pioneers would have thought of Thunder Mountain, Tom Sawyer’s Island and the rifle shooting galleries. Could they ever conceive of the notion of a theme park?


Are you a kid at heart too?  Have you ever been to Disneyland?  Any adventures to speak of and what’s your favorite ride?  Or do you have other theme parks in your area that really tickle your fancy?








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45 thoughts on “The Kid In Me… by Charlene Sands”

  1. Loved hearing about your birthday!! Sounded like great fun. I’ve never been to Walt Disney World but it was like I was there. 🙂 Did you get your picture taken with any Mickey Mouse’s or princesses?

  2. Charlene Happy belated Birthday!!!!!!!!

    Oh my goodness I want to go even more I got to go to Disney World two years ago and that is all I think about how I would love to go back there and maybe even live there and work it is such a happy place and everyone is so helpful and giving. Some people I work with I think they think I am nuts because I love Mickey Mouse so much. But I love it because like I said everyone is happy not like everyday life people are so crabby or just to tired to enjoy life.
    I loved MGM probably the most and the second one would be Epcot. Oh I so want to go there and yes you do feel like a Princess even hubby loved it a ton and now we have a new grandbaby and one on the way so I see us going again soon, not soon enough.

  3. Charlene, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! It sounds like it was a fab day for you. 🙂

    I’ve never been to Disney World or Land. We just could never afford it when the girls were young, and now that we can, they’re all grown, so maybe with our grandkids some day, eh?

    How fortunate you are that you’re so close. Your hubby is a doll to spoil you on your special day.

  4. My birthday is the same as Disneyland’s (although I am four years, or so, younger!) and I have never been for my birthday. I keep saying I will. Maybe next year I’ll get there, it sounds like so much fun!

  5. Hi Rachel G – thanks for your post today. No we didn’t see Mickey and Goofy at all, except in the parade. They gravitate to the young-uns!

    I’m entering you in the drawing since you were an early poster today!! See the post above this one!!

  6. Hi Brenda,
    We were fortunate to take our kids to Disneyworld when they were young. I STILL remember it. I walked around with my mouth gaping open. I couldn’t believe Epcot – took us a day and a half to see most of it. And I loved MGM too! It’s an amazing place. I’d go back in a heartbeat. I want to see it all over again.

    Thanks for the birthday wishes. If you have to get a year older, you might as well act like a KID for the day!!

  7. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for the birthday wishes!! If you ever get out here, I’ll go with you! And California Adventure is a nice place if you’ve never been to California before — it’s part of Disneyland now, but you need a separate ticket or a Parkhopper as they call it. They have one really amazing ride called Soaring over California that’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

  8. Rachel, Brenda, Aileen and all who posted early, I’m sorry my drawing post didn’t get uploaded so I’ll make sure you’re all included in the drawing at the end of the day!!

  9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Charlene. I used to love Disneyland — had a yearly pass and everything. But years ago, I learned how global the Disney Institute is, and when they started recommending strong, addicting mind-altering drugs to children, I parted ways with them.

    Sent them a notice of my opinion and haven’t been back since…and won’t… My own personal protest. : )

    But all that aside, it looks like a lovely day! : )

  10. Disneyland for your birthday. It sounds great. Usually I’m lucky if I get a pat on the head. 🙂

    So, do you have to live in California to get the freebie? Because I could arrange a day to visit at the right time of year, maybe, someday.

  11. Hi Mary- I THINK you have to live in Californa. You register online and bring proof of your birthday. It has to be the EXACT day. But if you come you’ll get a FIRST VISIT button to wear. I saw so many of them, and spoke to people from England and Germany. That was fun too. You could represent Nebraska. 🙂

  12. Hi Charlene, what a fabulous day you had. We took Carter for his birthday last Christmas; there’s nothing like a child seeing that giant Christmas tree for the first time. And hubby and I are going again next Thursday, just the two of us, for some big-people time.

    Disneyland is totally my favorite place. We spent hours in Frontierland and the island (lots of places fo explore,) got Carter’s picture taken with Mickey Mouse. My favorite ride is Storybook Land, a boat ride through a whole layout of miniature cottages and castles from Disney tales. At Christmas they’re all decorated with tiny wreathes and lights and trees.

    We have been to DisneyWorld, too, but I like “our” Magic Kingdom better.

    And good luck with your upcoming trilogy. I predict some more Booksellers’ Best awards in there for you! oxoxoxox

  13. Hi Tanya – It will be the joy of all joys to take a little grandchild to Disneyland one day. I can just imagine how much fun that day was with Carter. I can’t wait to go again. I Love, Love, Love it!
    And as much as I was amazed at Disney World, I agree that I like our “Land” better. But oh, Epcot blew me away.
    Thanks for the kind words!!

  14. Oh, what a fun birthday! Congratulations! It sounds like it was perfect with lots of fun things to do and good food to eat. Me and my friends went to Disney World in our mid-20s and had an absolute blast. And since you asked, my b-day is 1/25.

  15. Happy Birthday, Charlene! Sounds like you had a blast celebrating it. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s good to sit back and just have a really fun day and let the kid inside us come out to play. I’ve never been to Disney World but I’ve always wanted to go. I have been to Six Flags Over Texas and that was fun. I used to take my kids every summer. Now that they’re grown I haven’t been to see all the changes. It’s no fun going by yourself. Those parks are meant to be shared.

    Thanks for sharing your special day with us!

  16. Hello Charlene,

    Happy Birthday! Love how you shared your special day with us. My own birthday is 1/19. I’d love to be a kid again. The thing is since I can’t I think I’ll just act like it this coming year since it is a milestone for me. The big 4-0. Yea. Can you hear the sarcasm? LOL Hope you had a great day.

  17. You must have had a wonderful day, Charlene. I’ve never been to Disneyland, but have skipped through DisneyWorld many times. I love the way most everyone smiles all the time.

    Happy (late) Birthday!

  18. Hi Roberta!
    It’s great being a kid again! Oh how I remember the BIG 4-0. I’m a speed limit now! Enjoy feeling young Roberta! 🙂

  19. Thanks to Lyoness2009,Lori, Colleen, LuAnn for sharing your birthdays.

    Waving hello to Minna!

  20. Hi Tracy – Yes, most people are happy, happy in Disneyland.

    My hubby won me a Dumbo stuffed animal and when I went to the bathroom in a store there, an employee stopped me, thinking I might be stealing from their store. When I explained, oh my goodness, he was mortified and he wouldn’t leave me alone, trying to make it up to me. He followed me around the store, giving compliments and I could tell he was worried I’d complain about him. But it was all so not a big deal.

    It’s very important for Disney to keep their guests happy.

  21. Hi Jody – Glad you had a chance to visit Disneyland once! Thanks for your birthday date.

  22. Hi Linda!

    We have Magic Mountain close by too. It’s a Six Flags theme park with lots of rollercoasters. It’s been around a long time. I remember seeing Sonny and Cher there before they made it really big. We didn’t need tickets to see them, they were just part of the attraction at the time.

  23. Hi Charlene,
    It looks like a really Happy Birthday for you. I am not a big amusement park fan but I did enjoy Bush Gardens in Virginia. It was a beautiful park and had many attractions besides rides.

  24. Hi! Happy birthday, Charlene! I turned the big 5-0 this year (4/20). I figure ANY age is better than no age, so why not embrace it! As for theme parks, I enjoy going to West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada. It has an indoor wave pool, water slides, tube slides, plus an indoor ice-skating rink. There is a hotel with themed rooms also in the mall. We’ve done it all and not gotten a sunburn or windburn, ha ha, although there can be lots of walking involved since it’s the biggest mall in the world (or at least was the last time I checked)!

  25. Hi Charlene! Happy belated birthday!

    I’ve been to Disneyland many times for my birthday. My birthday and my sister’s are exactly one week apart (different years ) and my parents would take the whole family to Disneyland to celebrate both birthdays.

    Then I grew up and now birthdays are usually celebrated at a Disneyland for adults…Las Vegas! I’m about to add another year (8/5), but there will be no Disneyland or Las Vegas – I spent too much on the National Conference!

  26. Hi Maureen,
    Thanks for stopping by today. We had a Busch Gardens here for a while. It was lovely with lots of features but then, they closed it down. I don’t know why. It was part of the brewery and maybe they needed more beer!

  27. Hi Laney4– Wow, I love to see that mall. I can’t even imagine a mall that big!!

    Happy birthday, a little late!! You hit a milestone and Should celebrate!

  28. Hi Kathy – Oh, no Vegas for you this year? Too bad, but Disneyland will cost you LESS! What a wonderful tradition to go there with your whole family when you were younger! Happy Birthday a little early!!

  29. Loved hearing about your birthday.
    The only theme park I have been to is Six Flags in Houston. Was in Houston visiting family .
    My birthday is 11/23.

  30. Hi Estella,
    Thanks for stopping by. I wonder if all the Six Flags are similar? I’ve been to one here and I know they are big in the south.

  31. Charlene I have a question about Magic kingdom do you have to go through a bunch of stuff to get there? At Disney World that is my only down thing is I was so looking forward to going to Magic Kingdom but you had to take so many steps (meaning) ways you have to go to get there is it like that at Disney Land??
    I will say it was wonderful there in front of the castle I cried it was so magical it took me 40 years to get there and I can’t wait to go again.

  32. Brenda – Disneyland is more compact than Disneyworld. You park your car, get on a tram that drops you off right at the entrance to buy tickets. There’s only one way in and out of the park really and they make it very easy. Disneyland is NOT huge in the way Disney World is. There’s only Disneyland and California Adventure and they both are drop offs from the tram. There aren’t a ton of parks like MGM or Epcot around to confuse you. BUT Disneyland is much bigger than Magic Kingdom. It’s more spread out and just bigger. More walking inside the park, I’d say.

    Hope that answers your question!

  33. We have been to Disney World in Orlando many times. We hit all the parks, but Epcot is our favorite unless we have kids with us. We always go to the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. There are lots of nice exhibits in Epcot. The Safari ride in Animal Kingdom is great. When we took our grandson, we were held up by giraffes for 10 to 15 minutes.

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