A Bench in the Park

THE Bench. Or at least one of them. There were a few around the carousel at Griffith Park. Photo courtesy Mr. Twitchy

According to Walt, it’s important that we all remember one thing: that it was all started by a mouse. But when it comes to Disneyland, I also can’t help but think…. it was all started by a bench.

As has been repeated over the years, I’m sure by now we all know the story. Walt would occasionally take his daughters on a date to Griffith Park for a day together. As the girls would ride the carousel at the park, Walt would sit and watch, eating popcorn and thinking. Thinking about a park where parents could enjoy themselves as much as their children. Where entire families could have fun instead of someone being relegated to a bench. This bench proved to be a catalyst for Disneyland – a theme park that far exceeded those expectations.

Therefore, it was somewhat both fitting and ironic, when asked by a friend where my favorite spot in Disneyland to just “hang” was, that I responded with “a bench.” But not just any bench. While there are many places to take it easy and rest in the park, there’s one location in my opinion that has the others beat.

Simple, unassuming… and the perfect spot. Photo Courtesy of Mr. Twitchy

While not as exciting as an attraction, nor as appetite satisfying as a restaurant, there’s something incredibly amazing to me about sitting on a bench at the base of Main Street Station, looking out at Main Street toward Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. As one sits on one of these benches, especially later at night, one gets a true feeling of how amazing the park can really be.

Imagine sitting on a bench, listening to turn-of-the-century style music, hearing conversations between cast members and guests, seeing guests hurry into stores to make last minute purchases. Observing other guests as they leave the park for the day with children passed out in strollers. These same little ones who started the day with such energy and excitement are now reliving the adventure in their dreams. While sitting it that spot, you get a whiff of the popcorn from the nearby stand in Town Square, beginning to contemplate giving in and getting your own box. Keep a sharp eye out and you may see a feral cat scurry by amidst all the hustle and bustle, causing you wonder how it feels to be a small feline living in a land of over-sized mice.

If you look further down Main Street, you can see, against a backdrop of a European castle, the outline of a man and a mouse smiling at all the happy guests. At that moment, you turn to look to the fire station and see a light on – indicating that the same man’s spirit lives on…

Yes, that bench is the ultimate “just hang” spot for me. And perhaps that’s the ultimate beauty of Walt’s original Magic Kingdom. With so much to enjoy for the whole family, the benches placed throughout the park give us a view to such an amazing panorama of everything that makes it truly magical.

With that being said, now I ask, dear readers and fellow DisNerds – Do you have a favorite spot to just relax and enjoy within Disneyland or any of Disney’s theme parks for that matter? I’d love to hear from you as well!

On a side note – this weekend (Feb 21st-23rd), Confessions will once again be at Disneyland, including participating in Dapper Day festivites! Make sure you’re following on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for updates and pictures from the park!

9 thoughts on “A Bench in the Park

  1. I do have a favorite spot in Disneyland. It is King Arthurs Carousel in Fantasyland. It is not my favorite ride but I shared a very important moment with my daughter on that ride. It was one of the last nights I shared with my daughter in Disneyland before the Navy relocated me to the east coast.

    It was getting late at night, my 1 year old son was becoming very sleepy and tired. The longer we were at the park the crankier he got. My wife and I decided it was time to go back to the hotel and call it a night. We arrived at the hotel and my son fell asleep within 10 minutes. I looked at my wife and she could see in my eyes that I wasn’t tired. She recommended that my daughter and I go back until the park closes. My daughter heard and the smile that was on her face was ear to ear.

    We started to walk down the street holding hands and all she could talk about were everything that she wanted to do for the 3 hour we had left in the park. As we past the security tents I picked up my daughter and we started to make our way into the park. We immediately went to Fantasyland. We hit all the obvious greats; Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, and Dumbo. It was late and the lights were illuminating the park so beautifully. Then my daughter asks me if she can go on King Arthur’s Carousel. I said of course we can. We got on and watching how happy she was spinning round and round, looking at this stretch of land that has brought such happiness to this little girl, was a defining moment between me and her. She looked at me smiling and I got some pictures that I still look at till this day while I’m out to sea. Being away from Disneyland is upsetting but I have a plethora of pictures and memories that remind me of that spot and that night and every other night in that world.

    Best spot ever!

    • Chris, thanks for your service and I hope your next trip to the park with your family is just as memorable (and not too far in the future).

      • hello, thank you for the nice reply. It always makes me feel great when i can share these memories with strangers that have similar, if not, the same emotions as i do. That was an important day for me. Right now i am out to sea and like i said i look at those pictures everyday. Its a nice reminder of what to look forward to when coming home.

  2. We like to do the same things but we sit on the bench on Fargo’s Palm Parlor’s porch (say that 5 times fast). I even do this by myself a lot, with a cocoa and a cookie for company, especially to close out a weekend late on a Sunday night. I wait to until I hear “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” or (if it plays too soon) when the park has pretty much emptied out. I love walking down an empty Main St. without the crowds. Sometimes I sit on one of the benches on the platform of the Main St. train depot, above the ones in your picture, but it’s usually the porch.

  3. Very nicely written! I can’t wait to be there myself 🙂 I just booked a September trip this morning! Yay! I’ve been to Disneyland on two different trips in 2004. What I always envisioned to be my favorite “Spot” was the walk through Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Reminiscent of the famous photo of Walt walking towards the castle. Unfortunately, on both occasions the castle was roped off and I wasn’t able to do that. I’m really hoping to get a chance to do that this trip!

  4. I’ve sat in that spot and loved it… We were a little more to the right though closer to the tree. Kids were passed out in the strollers and we decided to let some of the fireworks crowd thin out, the park closed at midnight that night. We sat there almost 2 hours chatting and enjoying watching people and Pluto walked pass and a whole ton of stuff. One of my favorite moments with my husband (and kids!)

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