A special thanks to Kim and Evert (Olivia's parents) - whom without their trust and blessing this adventure of a lifetime would not have been possible.
In 2005 for my God-daughters 6th birthday I had promised her a trip to Disneyland. The preparations began - the dream was set in motion but the situation at work was in overdrive. Work, work work - stress stress stress...
One afternoon as I was sitting at the table talking to Kim (damn work ! blah blah blah)... Olivia interrupted - 'Aunty Marg' she said in her sweet voice. 'What' I snapped. My mind was in overdrive in work mode. 'I was just thinking' she continued. 'I think the first ride we should go on in Disneyland should be the cup and saucer ride because I'm only little.' AND IN THAT MOMENT MY LIFE CHANGED. She was right. What on earth was I doing worrying about work. All of a sudden life through the eyes of a 6yr old made a lot more sense. What ride - was much more important. I looked at Kim - and we laughed and laughed. The stress of the day had evaporated in a simple question.
When had life become so serious??!! When had we forgotten to laugh and dream?? Mickey Mouse and ice creams - excitement and laughter.
DISNEYLAND - here we go.
Passports in hand, teddy bears in bags, good-bye kisses and hugs. (Kim did amazingly well not to burst into tears at the airport). I promised her I would return one child complete in 2 weeks. Of course Olivia waved good-bye and didn't even look back. ha ha ha I'm sorry but Disneyland seemed to be much more important. It was her first plane ride and she was a dream passenger and travelling companion. Turbulence hit. 'What was that' she shouted. 'Oh just a bumpy cloud' I replied. She would write that in her diary. She was very excited to be going over bumpy clouds. I WAS NOT !!!
We spent the next 10 days having the time of our lives in Disneyland. Yes - the first ride was the Cup & Saucer Ride, followed by every small ride in the park. 'What ride would you like to go on now?' I asked. 'It's a small world' she replied. 'Oh - we've already been on that one' I said. 'I really like that one' she said. hmmmmm OK. A few hours later I asked again. 'It's a small world' she replied. What??!! NO. Bloody hell - oh OK. BUT... by the 5th time of It's a Small World - let me tell you. NOOOOOOO! and I mean NO! never again. (Till this day she still laughs about it. I am however, traumatised).
The days continued - breakfast was always pancakes, bacon and eggs (the serving you see in her photo is the child size believe it or not) OMG. We would then spend the day at Disneyland, back for a nap (I needed it) and then the afternoon at the pool followed with the night at Disneyland again watching all the special 50th Anniversary parades (magical - or at least for the first 3 days anyhow - ahhhh) - then dinner - all you can eat of course and finally bed.
By the third day there was no way I was going on another miniature ride or a small world. Today was going to be Margy's Day I declared. Olivia laughed. It was time for the BIG rides. ha ha ha she was terrified. After every ride I would ask 'Did you like it?' (the look on her face was priceless) 'Yes' she would say. 'Nah - you were scared' I would tease. 'No I wasn't' she would say. "Let's go again' she would demand. yeah right. Lets go eat.
The week ended with a visit to Sea World - having breakfast with Shamu the whale and then watching the show. Again Olivia still laughs to this day. I DO NOT.!!
Shamu is lucky to be alive. Yes - we sat in a section of the crowd that did say you may get wet. It was damn hot - so getting a bit wet in the crowd was not an issue. A bit wet??? Shamu sent a tidal wave in our direction. I'm not kidding. A tidal wave!!! We got drenched - and by the time you realised what was happening it was too late. No time to run or hide. Drenched! Olivia laughed. OK for a little kid but I looked like I was part of an X- rated wet t-shirt competition. OMG !! I had to try and cover myself with my bag as we headed for the first shop and bought the only souvenir t-shirt available to change into. Olivia kept laughing. Lucky she's alive too.
Finally, the water park. I laid in the sun relaxing as Olivia lined up for some insane tube ride - this was more like it I thought as I began to fall asleep. Oh heck... I was here to spend time with Olivia and I couldn't possibly let her go on a ride by herself. She had been lining up for ever. I got up and rushed through the crowd to catch her. She was at the front of the line now. OK let's do this. As we got in the tube with another 2 strangers - I thought Sh#t!!! Then we were off - OMG we were going to die. YES - I was screaming. Everyone was!!!! We survived but let me tell you that I no longer felt guilty about her going on these stupid rides by herself!. The Tidal Pool was next - how dangerous could that be. OK off you go. I laid back down in the sun. hmmmm I hope she's OK. I better go check on her I thought. There she was - she couldn't hear me so I walked in towards her. The water was only up to my waist. She was in a big tube floating merrily there. AND THEN... these sirens sounded and I thought what is that. The the waves started and I thought hmmm OK and then I was knocked over and was drowning. My sunglasses went flying, my hat was drenched - I scrambled to get up and all of a sudden I was in some poor kids tube. I mean inside his tube - face to face with him in shock. ahhhhh Under I went again to get out of his tube, scrambled to safety, got my glasses and went back to my sun chair. In shock. Mind you Olivia was floating happily in her tube totally oblivious to my near drowning.
We survived! Just. Little did I know that whilst we were on our trip to Sea World and the water park - Disneyland had been hit by an earthquake. Unfortunately a 5yr old died and back home Kim was in melt down. We were not in Disneyland that day but the only one of us that nearly died on this trip - was me! We returned home with presents for everyone and memories of a life time.
It doesn't matter how old you are - Disneyland is for everyone.
We don't stop laughing because we get old.
We get old because we stop laughing.
DISNEYLAND - 2005
With my God-daughter - Olivia (6yrs old)