Nine years ago I was nine years old and as excited as a young boy could be. I was going to Disneyland, “The happiest place on Earth”. After completing numerous chores for a quarter a task, I finally accumulated an immense ten dollars to spend. I was ready to go.
My family and I arrived at Disney’s main gates just before they opened. To my dismay, the lines appeared as though every resident of Anaheim, California were attempting to push in the gates, hoping to possibly get into the park a few minutes ahead of schedule. The gates held up long enough to open on their own at the scheduled time, but due to the mobs of people I must have missed out on a half hour of thrilled excitement in the park. The whole family trudged through the crowds until we found ourselves at the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance. Even though the park had only been open less than an hour, the line already exceeded a forty-five minute wait. I reached the front of the line, hopped onto the ride, and enjoyed all two minutes of it. By midday we only went on three meager rides. All of them about an hour wait and a disappointing two to four minutes a ride. Later, after lunch, everyone wanted to go shopping. I thought it would be a great time to spend the ten dollars I diligently earned. The magic shop caught my eye and after watching the man perform several magical tricks I decided on the one I wanted to buy. A clever trick where the magician passes a quarter through a glass cup by tapping a card on the top of it. I handed the man my ten dollar bill only to leave the store in tears with it back in my pocket. Apparently all the exciting tricks cost twenty dollars or more. The rest of the day was spent standing in lines with worn out feet. I remember leaving Disneyland crying again because I never got to spend my hard earned money.
When I imagined the happiest place on Earth, I thought it to be a place where I would enjoy myself. A place where I could get a good magic trick for ten bucks or enjoy a ride without the agonizing wait. Somewhere I would spend the day laughing and smiling. Instead, the happiest place in the world turned out to be just a big disappointment, a sugar-coated rotten apple.
I learned that day that events in life are rarely as they appear to be. Its not just the Disney experience that can be deceptive, but anything. In modern life we expect things to be perfect, but in a realistic world nothing ever is. Had I anticipated a less than perfect experience, I may have been pleasantly surprised.