My son made his maiden voyage to Disneyland last month. In our family, it’s a tradition when you’re on or about your 6th birthday, to go to the happiest place on earth.
I remember my first visit to Disneyland, make that Disney World. It was April 19, 1975. I met Donald, and Goofy, and Minnie. 38 years later, to the exact week, my son did the same. I love it.
The tradition of going to Disneyland in our family is not one you do with Mom and Dad and brothers or sisters – you go alone, with your grandparents.
Last month, Zacharie took his turn and while he may have been happy just becoming a Jedi (check out the review of the Jedi Training Academy at Disney Parks), you can see by flipping through these photos that he simply devoured the entire experience.
Zacharie’s First Visit 1 of 24
Do you remember *your* first visit to Disneyland? Zacharie went last month and these photos will bring your memories flooding back and make you eager to take your kids this summer.
Kid on a plane 2 of 24
Zacharie's 'homework' while he missed school to go to Disneyland, was to keep a diary of his daily adventures. He drew a picture, and a sentence for each day.
Early bird 3 of 24
When it's your first visit to Disneyland, you get up early and get there early. Here's Zacharie waiting for the doors to open.
Nana and Grandpapa 4 of 24
Thank you Nana and Grandpapa!!
Pink trees! 5 of 24
When Zacharie left Calgary, it was cold and the plants were not close to waking up.
When he saw the cherry blossoms in full bloom at Disneyland he excitedly noted "Nana! The trees are pink!!"
1st Visit Button 6 of 24
Make sure you stop into City Hall once you're through the gates and pick up your 1st Visit badge. It's a great souvenir and will also get you some extra high fives from the cast and characters.
Face plant 7 of 24
The first autograph of your first visit to Disneyland is a big deal. Even more memorable when you trip and face plant right in front of Pluto.
Dumbo 8 of 24
Zacharie's first ride was a classic - Dumbo.
Goofy 9 of 24
That is about as genuine a smile as you will ever see.
Jedi Training Academy 10 of 24
Zacharie spent a lot of time at the Jedi Training Academy when he was at Disneyland. It was easily his highlight as he proclaimed when he came home, "I'm a DOUBLE Jedi!"
Mickey’s Toon Town 11 of 24
This is, quite simply, my favorite all-time photo of my son. Oh to be 5, nearly 6, again.
The Big Guy 12 of 24
Zacharie's autograph book was stuffed with everyone - except the Princesses. "No princesses!" he insisted.
Climbing 13 of 24
There are so many candid expressions of excitement when kids visit Disneyland for the first time. I think he just spotted Minnie ...
Minnie Mouse 14 of 24
Donald Duck 15 of 24
"Hey Donald! You're not wearing any pants!"
New and Old 16 of 24
I also visited Disney for the first time when I was 5 years old. It was April 19, 1975 when I visited, my son made the visit on April 19, 2013. So cool.
What has changed in 38 years? Minnie's dress, and the cameras are better.
Ice Cream Lunch 17 of 24
My mother warned me there would be no food fights with my picky eater when they were away. It was his first visit to Disneyland and she would just follow his lead. On this day, he had ice cream for lunch.
Main St Parade 18 of 24
"Hey Minnie! Remember me!?!?"
Character Breakfast 19 of 24
There are all sorts of character experience events you can book when you go to Disneyland. My niece did tea with the princesses for her first visit, Zacharie had breakfast with the characters and met all his pals.
Pluto 20 of 24
"Hey! I know you! You're the kid that tripped in front of me yesterday!"
More Ice Cream 21 of 24
Ice cream for dinner too, apparently.
Lightning McQueen 22 of 24
Look at that smile. It's like he's seeing Santa.
Mater 23 of 24
Yes, Mater talks to the kids and they can have a conversation with the tow truck.
Heading Home 24 of 24
After a fun-filled 3 days at the happiest place on earth, Zacharie (and his Nana), retreat to their iPads while they wait for the plane for the ride home.
Our other child,Charlie, is 3, and was very excited his big brother made his first visit to Disneyland. Ask him and he’ll proudly tell you that he will get to go when he is 6. Look out Mickey, the kids got 3 full years of building anticipation to blow off in the spring of 2016.
All images via Buzz Bishop.