Droves of people gather in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland every night at 9:30. People from all across the world fill Main Street U.S.A. Some have scouted out viewing spots two hours in advance. Others scramble to a spot at the last moment.
Whistle! Crack! Boom!
The crowds at Disneyland are always moving non-stop throughout the day, but for 15 minutes, almost everyone stood still as a frenzy of rockets and lights erupted in the sky.
Tanya de Boer, a Canadian resident of Victoria, British Columbia, said her favorite moment at Disney occurred when she witnessed the fireworks for the first time with her high school best friend.
“She grabbed my hand and said, ‘We made it,’ because that was like our dream since we were 16,” de Boer said.
De Boer first came to Disneyland with her husband, Jared, to celebrate their honeymoon. Now celebrating their 10-year anniversary, they brought along 4-year-old son Jake.
Disneyland was created by Walt Disney and opened its doors in 1955. The animator wanted to entertain people who visited the original studio in Burbank. The park has since expanded with additional themed areas, including “Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge” and “Mickey’s Toontown.”
According to Disney News, the theme park has averaged more than 14 million visitors a year since 2006, except for 2020 and 2021, when the park was mostly closed for and then reopened with COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Reggie Libre, a Filipino who immigrated to Bellflower 20 years ago, said he enjoys the happiness that Disneyland brings to LA.
“It’s very different from Asian countries,” Libre said. “There’s a lot more freedom here.”
Libre said he most enjoys staying young at heart and reliving his childhood when he comes to the park.
Same goes for Nelson Maligaya, who moved to Lakewood, California, from the Philippines 10 years ago. When Maligaya brought his 5-year-old son to the parks for the first time, he was mesmerized by the ambience.
“We were amazed because it felt like being a child again,” Maligaya said.
The Walt Disney Company has opened five more theme parks around the world, but Disneyland is the only one that opened under the supervision of Walt Disney.
Melissa Kelly, who visited California from Washington state, said she chose Disneyland over other iconic places in the LA area because it is her happy place.
“I absolutely enjoy the atmosphere, the relaxation and the fact that I can’t hear the outside world when I’m in Disney,” she said.
During Kelly’s first visit to the parks 15 years ago, her father spent the entire day grumpy, but when he saw Goofy, he immediately ran up to the character in excitement.
“Everywhere you look, there’s magic,” Kelly said.