Disneyland: the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Living in Southern California, and thanks to the generosity of her grandparents, my daughter, Julia, and I have filled a mental scrapbook of Disneyland memories spanning over a decade.
A school holiday found us standing in long lines to ride all the roller coasters. Windblown hair, sore feet, and hoarse from screaming, I looked forward to enjoying our traditional final stop of the day: the ride It’s a Small World.
We were seated in the first row. We laughed and threw our hands in the air and let out a “woohoo!” when the boat moved off the track and slipped into the water. We drifted into the tunnel and then into the magical world of 300 dolls singing the song that seemingly never ends. Behind us was a Caucasian mom with her preschool-aged daughter. I overheard her explain clogs to her daughter as we passed Holland. We saw Alice, Cinderella, Big Ben, and Italy—and all the while the mom behind us pointed things out to help her daughter learn and understand what she was seeing about the world.
The peaceful ride wound around and through another brief tunnel into the Middle East and Asia section. The explanations behind us completely stopped until Mushu, the dragon from Mulan, was spotted by the Chinese firecrackers. The ride took us through Africa and Latin America and then through the South Pacific and Australia. Unlike our tour through Europe, the mother behind me also had little to say about these other regions of the world.1