Enjoying Small World covered in Christmas lights... in 2003 AND 2012, Disneyland Trip 34.

Deep-fried, cinnamon-and-sugared churro. That's the smell. Music and the rattle of roller coasters and laughter and the murmur of the crowd. Those are the sounds. Disneyland is a theme park. I won't try to make it more than that for anyone else. Many adults I know find it gimmicky and childish. But some don't. Like me and my guy. Disneyland was our first trip away together. It's where we went when we got engaged and where we began our honeymoon the following year. We've celebrated birthdays and anniversaries in the park, and we've even completed two Disneyland half marathons!

At Christmas, it's doubly special. In December of 2008 I blogged our 25th trip to Disneyland , detailing our list of park rituals. When the opportunity arose for Jonathan and I to hit the park for a day during our recent trip back to California, we jumped at the chance. Even just one day would ease our withdrawal. We hadn't been to Disneyland since December of 2010, just before we moved to Norway. Not only did we check off most of our old favorites on the ritual list, but we tried out the new Star Tours, lunched at the new Jolly Holiday Bakery, sang Under the Sea on the new Little Mermaid ride in California Adventure, and explored the recently-opened Cars Land.

The night ended with the annual Candlelight Processional and the holiday edition of the nightly fireworks spectacular. When the faux snow began to fall, backed by purplish-blue lights and a slow, sweet rendition of "White Christmas," we held each other close. Though our life now includes the chance for a real white Christmas in Oslo, we loved spending a December day the old way... and remembering all the twinkle-lighted Decembers that have come before for us.

Trip 34