June 9, 2012

The ABCs Of Why I Love Disneyland : B Is For Buzz Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear is seriously a big deal in my house. No, seriously. A really big deal. In fact, for years Buzz has been my son's #1 pick for everything from toys to clothes to Halloween costumes to birthday party themes. If you feel differently and dare say that Sheriff Woody is somehow better than Buzz, please be prepared to explain yourself in detail because my son does not agree. In fact, Buzz (in his plush form) is the one toy that my five year old son has always asked for each and every day and Buzz is the one toy that my son insists on sleeping with each and every night. We have watched each Toy Story movie more times than I would like to admit and now somehow Buzz even feels like a member of our family.

So given all this, it should be no surprise that my son's hero would also play a huge role in our Disney vacations. A trip to Disneyland for us would not be complete without my son waving to Buzz at the end of Fantasmic!, a few rides on Toy Story Midway Mania and a couple spins on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. One of my favorite Disneyland memories is from when my son first saw Buzz Lightyear. Now I don't mean the first time he saw Buzz in a parade or on a float, I mean the first time that my son saw Buzz walking through the park. Buzz was on his way to take pictures with a line of waiting children by Toy Story Midway Mania when my son spotted him. I hadn't seen Buzz myself but all of a sudden my son started yelling for me to let him out of his stroller right away. Since he had never done this before with such passion, I did what he asked and watched curiously to see what would happen next. Then I saw him. Sure enough, it was Buzz Lightyear and he was getting away! Seconds later, I saw Mark run after Buzz, catching up with him just in time to jump in front of him and give Buzz a surprise bear hug. Because of the "uniform" and my son's shorter height, I could tell that Buzz could not see my son at all but, based on his body language, he must have still felt someone holding on to his waist. Always the professional, Buzz did not miss a step. He gave my son a tight hug back, patted him on the head in a friendly manner and started off walking again down Paradise Pier while gesturing for us both to follow him over to where we too could wait in line and take a photo with him.

This last week has seemed especially Buzz-driven for us so the timing of this post seems very fitting. First, Buzz's right arm was torn while we were on vacation in Washington D.C. and, of course, the tears started to flow. Then the night we got home, my son woke up in the middle of the night screaming for Buzz and worried that somehow he was missing or lost. In reality Buzz had fallen off the bed and my son was probably just having flashbacks from the one time that we lost his beloved Buzz on vacation. Luckily for all of us, a sympathetic fairy godmother at the Grand Californian had quickly mailed Buzz back in a matter of days. I told my son that Buzz was excited about his journey home because he would get to fly in a plane and go on a little mini-adventure before making it to us. That seemed to help. Over the years Buzz has gotten stained, worn and torn but my son insists there is nothing wrong with him. In fact, at one point we tried to replace the older Buzz with a cleaner and newer version but my son politely declined our offer and suggested that we might want or need the new Buzz to cuddle with, not him. Last night at bedtime I asked my son why he loves Buzz so very much and his reply was so simple and so sweet. "Buzz is my friend. He's always with me. I love him." Unlike some Disneyland purists, I love that Pixar has been introduced into all the Disney Parks because their stories are endearing and timeless. After all, Walt always wanted Disneyland to change and evolve with us and their storytelling is something that Walt Disney himself would surely have enjoyed.

The Big Buzz Lightyear Meeting Comes At Last..
Photo Courtesy of My Adventures in Disneyland

4th Birthday at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Photo Courtesy of My Adventures in Disneyland

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