There’s been so much drama in the news this week, thanks to the United States’ presidential election. I have no intention of going political on this blog, so I’m not going to comment on it. But with all the heightened emotions happening right now, I’ve found myself taking a step back and trying to be appreciative of all the little things; even the tiniest happy moments can keep you sane in a sea of madness.

With that in mind, here is a list of 10 simple Disneyland things I’m grateful for, today and every day.

1. The first glimpse of the castle from Main Street USA.

I’ve been to Disneyland more times than I can count, and I still get butterflies every time I turn the corner on Main Street and see the castle shining at the end. It’s such a simple sight: a small castle at the end of a small street. But it means so much to so many people, and whisks you away from real life for just a little while.

2. The view from the Astro Orbitor.

For me, the Astro Orbitor is one of the most underrated attractions in the park. The ride itself happens quickly and without much fanfare, but the view is picture perfect. Riders circle above the entrance to Tomorrowland, overlooking the rock features, Main Street, the castle, the fountains, and Tomorrowland’s gateway. For the 90 second trip, you get to sit back and just take in your surroundings.

3. Finding a Hidden Mickey.

I will be the first to admit that I am TERRIBLE at finding Hidden Mickeys. But the few times I’ve been able to spot one, I had this tiny sense of pride and excitement. Finding a Hidden Mickey means uncovering a hidden piece of magic. Not to mention, it’s fun to look for them!

4. The smell of the Haunted Mansion.

Not everyone I talk to agrees with me on this, but I think the Haunted Mansion has a very distinct smell. It’s this slightly bitter, almost dusty perfume-y smell, which is most noticeable for me in the corridors and the ballroom. Smell is a sense strongly associated with memory, and when I smell the Haunted Mansion, I’m transported back into the world of the Happy Haunts.

5. Having a fast pass when there’s a huge line.

One of the best feelings in the world is breezing past a long line, fast pass in hand. You feel like a VIP for a second, and you get to hop right onto a coveted attraction. It’s an experience Disneyland veterans know well, but still, it never gets less awesome.

6. Carthay Circle’s dulce de leche.

It sounds like the most ridiculous dessert ever: a caramel-stuffed pastry served with popcorn flavored ice cream. And I never would’ve tried it had our waitress at Carthay Circle not offered us one for free. But let me tell you, it’s the best dessert I’ve ever had in my life. 10/10.

7. Trader Sam’s Grog.

No tropical drinks taste as good as those at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. He keeps his secret grog recipe far from traveling tourists, but there’s no doubt it has some kind of magic in it. I’m not a huge drinker myself, but I look forward to a little something with grog every time I visit the happiest place on earth.

8. The glow of Cars Land after sunset.

During the day, Cars Land hustles and bustles with passing trucks, parade traffic, and visitors sipping on frozen lime-aid. But when nightfall creeps in, the storefronts light up in full neon, giving off a beautiful glow of color. I prefer most lands during the daytime, when I can see all the little details, but Cars Land just gets better as it gets darker and darker.

9. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at night.

Is it just be, or is Big Thunder infinitely better in the dark?! It just feels faster, scarier, and more exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I love this coaster any time of the day, but the ride really goes to the next level when you’re racing beneath the stars.

10. The magic.

And finally, I’m grateful for that indescribable something that draws all of us Disney fans to the parks over and over again. We call it magic, but it’s really a feeling, and it’s different for everyone. For me, it’s a feeling of inspiration. It’s the return of childlike imagination. That may not be anything supernatural or mysterious, but to me, that’s magic.

10 Simple Disneyland Things I'm Grateful For

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