Most people give me a you-must-be-crazy look when I mention that I’ve been to Disneyland over 500 times. Then I explain why. I’ve been a very prolific writer at the park which is where I’ve worked on screenplays and my novel, The Sound of Violet. One writing day at Disneyland has equaled two writing days anywhere else. Why? Inspiration. Disneyland inspires me to write because everything there is based on stories.
Each attraction supports a narrative that features you as the main character and takes you on an adventure. Not only that, but characters from those stories walk around and interact with you. It’s as if you’re in the middle of stories that have come to life.
On a Friday afternoon, I was working on a screenplay while sitting on a park bench in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The Mad Hatter noticed me and wandered over with Alice and the Queen of Hearts close behind.
“What is that contraption?” the Mad Hatter asked, pointing to my computer with a confused look on his face.
“My computer. I’m working on a screenplay,” I said.
“May we read it?” the Mad Hatter asked.
I laughed. “Of course.”
I turned the screen so the Mad Hatter could look it over. He directed Alice to read along with him and they enacted a scene from Hooked where two characters go on a date. As they delivered the lines, a crowd gathered. The Mad Hatter and Alice finished the scene with relish and the crowd applauded. The Queen of Hearts, however, held her nose and motioned that it stunk.
I winked at her. “Everyone’s a critic.”
As they walked away, it struck me how magical it was to have three people, who were playing characters created by Lewis Carroll, reading and bringing my story to life. That doesn’t happen at Starbucks. Unless it’s the Starbucks at Disneyland.
When tourists have noticed me working on my laptop, they usually have a different reaction. They typically glare at me as if I’m a workaholic likely neglecting my kids. Because no one ventures to Disneyland alone, right?
In the summertime, people have jokingly yelled at me to get off my computer and go enjoy myself. On one afternoon, I was writing in a section of California Adventure and a little boy wandered over to inform me that I shouldn’t be working at Disneyland. He then turned and dashed away.
Some tourists have been confused by what I was doing. During one of my trips, my computer battery was dying so I plugged it into an outlet at Hungry Bear restaurant which is at the far side of the park, next to the future Star Wars land. While I wrote, the fireworks exploded overhead.
A man wearing mouse ears passed by me and said, “That’s so cool.”
“What?” I asked.
He pointed to my computer. “That you’re doing the fireworks.”
I laughed and told him I was writing. From his look, that didn’t seem to make sense to him.
When I’m not writing, I’ve taken frequent trips to Disneyland with my family too. I’ll write about bringing my 6 month old daughter in my next blog.
Has Disneyland inspired you? If so, let me know how in the comments below.