Monday, October 25, 2010

Disneyland - A Cup of Coffee at the Station

Greetings, Jungleteers!
As I write this, it is a rainy morning here in Southern California and perfect for a hot cup of coffee.
This has me thinking about spots along the way where I've enjoyed a cup, including, of course, Disneyland.
One early morning trip to the Park, necessity pulled me into the Market House like a tractor beam.
"One large coffee, please."
"Room for cream?" asked Tom, the cast member at the counter.
"Yes, thank you."
"Save your receipt and bring it back for a free refill."
"I believe I will. Thanks for the hot tip. How's your morning so far?"
"It has been nice. I like the cool weather. It keeps us busy. It's not too crowded yet, though."
"I'll take it. I've had my share of crowds. Did you work last New Year's? I had guest control on the Hub, right at the Carnation bridge."
"Oh, wow. You had your hands full!"
"Well, have a good one!"
"You, too. Don't forget your refill!"
Taking the warm foam cup full of fog-lifting liquid from Tom, I headed over to the condiment bar and added the appropriate amount of cream, turning the black coffee a caramel color before replacing the lid and assessing where in the Park I would go to enjoy it.
Coke Corner?
Always a winner, but not the venue of choice for me this morning.
Plaza Inn?
No, it's not raining or hideously hot, and I'd rather be outside.
Stepping out onto Main Street and looking to my left, I had my answer.
Train Station.
Across Town Square, past the dedication plaque and flagpole, and up the steps.
One of those fabulous Main Street wooden benches sat there, empty and inviting.
Taking the lid off my cup so as to maximize the smell of the coffee, I tossed the lid in a nearby trash can and took a seat on the bench---on the right hand side of the elevated station platform as you face Town Square.
The area music lilted in the background as I look out over Main Street and up to Sleeping Beauty Castle. Holding my cup in front of me, the steam warmed my nose and face in the cool morning air. The coffee smelled exactly as it should. You coffee lovers are with me on this.
I watched the people coming into the Park and beginning their march up the Street.
The expectant energy of guests in the morning is contagious.
You can still see the bounce in the step of parents pushing strollers.
There is also the wide eyed look on the faces of the kids (the non-teenager types, mostly---though there are exceptions to every rule of nature).
Everything is forward-looking and positive. The day awaits.
The Park opens its arms.
I sip my coffee above this scene, slightly removed but very much a part of it.
Walt wanted a place where parents could have fun, too. Sitting here on the bench, a parent myself, I nodded in silent appreciation at Walt's sentiment.
Here is a place where I can find a bit of contentment, even doing nothing really, just sitting on a bench with some coffee.
Raising my cup in a solemn salute toward the flagpole, then toward the lamp in the window above the Fire Station, I toast Mr. Disney and the folks he gathered to help make Disneyland a reality.
His words from opening day---seared in my memory and emblazoned on the plaque at the foot of the flagpole---come to me on the bench:

"To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land..."

As I finish my coffee, I gather myself and stand up to leave.
Where to?
I realize it does not matter much.

It's all good.

Think I'll take the train...