When I step through those gates into Disneyland for the first time in over a year… I might cry. If anything, it’ll be the music that gets me; maybe it will be “Wells Fargo Wagon”, “Elegance” or “Married Life” as I walk through the tunnel and onto Main Street USA. It could be any of the usual ragtime hits that’ll do me in. But who’s kidding? It’ll probably get me just walking towards the Esplanade. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” or worse…the theme to Soarin’ over California blasting over the speakers.

What’s the very first thing I’ll do? Take it all in. Absorb the sights, smells, and sounds and refresh my memory. Maybe it’ll feel like I was just there or maybe it’ll feel like seeing an old friend for the first time in a while. I’m probably going to go straight down Main Street and turn left into Adventureland–the usual route. But, I think walking through each land before going on any rides would be nice.

Haunted Mansion will easily be the first ride. I haven’t been on the normal, non-holiday Haunted Mansion in what feels like forever because, well, it has been forever. It was closed last March for refurb and before that it had the holiday overlay. The next rides will be Pirates, Big Thunder, Indie, and Jungle Cruise. Most likely in that order but at this point, it doesn’t matter because we’re going to go on everything.

I can’t wait to have a Dole Whip again and go shopping for pins I haven’t had access to. I’m excited to see the cast members and performers from whatever distance they’re going to be at. I can’t wait to get back to Buena Vista Street, my favorite store, Off the Page, and Pixar Pier. But, I’m going to miss the shows. Especially Magical Map which is closed for good. There will be so many other things that are different or gone. I wonder if I’ll notice.

What I’ll definitely notice is when people break the rules. Inevitably, someone is going to wear their mask wrong. There’s going to be coughing and sneezing and touching everything unnecessarily. But I will keep calm and stay away because I’ll be back at Disneyland.

When I go back to Disneyland I’ll wear my mask properly, cover my coughs and sneezes, not touch everything when I don’t need to, and use hand sanitizer frequently. I can only be responsible for myself. And if I’m responsible for myself, I’m helping those around me. I just hope that others will show the same courtesy. Look, I can’t say this stuff enough–I know it’s tiring to hear the same thing over and over again–but this virus is basically here to stay. The goal with masks is to stop deadlier variants from popping up. If everyone does their part then we all can take loads of pictures and be happy and cry and enjoy Disneyland again!

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