It was to be our first full day at Disneyland with my two year old daughter. We had arrived the previous day and planned to get up early to go for breakfast at one of the hotels by the park and then walk over to the park. My daughter was so excited. I had put the TV in the hotel room on without volume, just to provide some soft light for me to begin getting ready. It was 5:45AM PST. The TV just happened to be on CNN.
Still groggy and rubbing my eyes I looked at the TV and read the ticker at the bottom of the screen that a plane had hit the WTC. I remember thinking to myself some drunk Cessna pilot, no doubt. My wife awoke and I whispered to her about the story that was on the TV, being careful not to wake my daughter. We sat there watching the story unfold and actually, like many others, witnessed the second plane hit the second tower. Horrified doesn’t even describe our feelings.
We did make it to breakfast, but that was as far as our Disney day would go. Throughout the early morning as the events in New York and elsewhere continued to unfold, it was decided that the park wouldn’t even open up that day. I tried to explain to my daughter, but she didn’t understand. We returned to our room and sat and watched CNN until about noon. Getting frustrated stuck in the room with a two year old and having no where else to go (everything was closed) we found our way to the beach. We watched her play in the sand and have fun splashing in the waves as they crashed onto the shore. We ended up with some wonderful pictures of her that day, and when someone asks us about them (they are on display in our famliy room) we tell our tale of Sept 11.
It was scary being so close to a major attraction like Disneyland on that day. Not knowing if any further attacks were planned, and then having to consider how we were going to get home was worrisome. My wife is a timid flier at the best of times.
The balance of our vacation resumed on the 12th as all of the attractions reopened and we did have a wonderful holiday. Being away from home during a time like that was indeed tough, but it was in some ways a little easier beacuse once we were inside the parks, we could avoid the reality of what was happening elsewhere and live through my young daughter’s “unbothered by the events” eyes.