Memory of Disneyland

When I was in Grade 3 and 4, I had a classmate who was a huge fan of Disneyland. (As kids in Japan, whenever we said “Disneyland,” it referred to Tokyo Disneyland, not the one in California.) Though my hometown was not exactly close to Tokyo, this boy had been to Disneyland several times, perhaps even more. It seemed that he and his family had an annual pass, and they went to Disneyland a few times a year.

Every now and then, he talked about his favourite attractions to his close friend. They were mostly rollercoasters. I heard a lot of “Space Mountain” and “Big Thunder Mountain” and “Splash Mountain” in his conversations.

Once I happened to be seated next to his close friend, and every breaktime, he came over to his friend’s desk and often started telling him about his exciting ride experiences in Tokyo Disneyland. He described the twists and turns inside the Space Mountain using a lot of body language, and explained the thrill of the Big Thunder Mountain using a lot of sound effect with his voice. It was really like watching a theatre performance of these famous attractions. He was unstoppable when it came to this topic, and in the end, either his friend told him to stop or the breaktime came to an end.

I had been to Disneyland only once in the summer when I was six. I was not very interested in speed attractions, nor was my mother, so we spent most of the time exploring the fairyland type attractions. To me, the most memorable was the Cinderella Castle since as soon as I entered the dark room and heard the evil witch’s voice, I got so scared that I climbed up on my father’s back, closed my eyes and did not see anything afterward until the very end when two brave children swung a lighted sword to put an end to the witch.

Many times I thought I would join this boy’s conversation about Disneyland and share my story of the Cinderella Castle. But I never did. I doubted that he would be interested in a story of the Cinderella Castle, and also, I realized that I did not have much to explain about the experience either because I had missed most of the details behind my closed eyes.

Thus, my classmate kept talking about his amazing experiences with Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain while I kept thinking about my time at the Cinderella Castle.