Day Nineteen: The Bench – 24 Days of Thanksgiving

I’m sure we all have favorite rides at Disneyland. Perhaps we have a favorite land we frequent more than others. Do you have one that comes immediately to mind? If so, why? What happy memories come to mind? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.

For me, I am particularly grateful for perhaps one of the least celebrated, perhaps most easily overlooked “attraction” in all of Disneyland Resort — the humble wooden park bench along Main Street USA. One in particular — the shady green resting spot under the umbrella in front of the grassy area just up and across the street from the old Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner.

Visually, it never disappoints. In spring I am embraced by joyous bold hues of tulip red, brilliant yellow daffodil and snowy white blossoms set against a deep blue morning sky. The fragrance of lavender hyacinth breathes nature’s richest perfume. As I have gotten older, the thrills of Space Mountain speed have been replaced by this wonderland of life, color, and a fresh, hot Starbucks. 

Can you hear in your memory’s mind the familiar old refrains of “The Hills of Old Kentucky” and “Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby” in surround sound as you relax on the always freshly green-painted old park bench? The nostalgic, rhythmic “ker-clip, ker-clop” of the muscular Belgian and Shire draft horses plodding along and the “clang-clang” of the trolley in tow? The squeals of delight from delighted young passengers overhanging the upper deck of the two-story Omnibus? Later in the day here comes one of my all-time favorite Disneyland performers — the incomparable Ragtime Robert — delivering his Disney magic on the familiar white piano.

Across the way at dusk the romantic flames of tiki torches framing the entrance to Adventureland beckon their invitation to enter a world far removed from the one I left in the parking lot, just as Walt intended. To my right, the spotlights illuminating the iconic original Cinderella Castle brings a welcome sense of peace and beauty in its familiar, unchanging presence. Here, the contoured bench is almost caressing me to rest my arms and back to simple receive the gifts of fulfilled senses Main Street USA offers this grateful traveler.

Thanksgiving is the humblest of holidays. This Thanksgiving season I am grateful for that humblest of Disneyland attractions — the old park bench.

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