Hope At The House of Mouse (Disneyland 2018)

My Day At Disneyland

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The blazing Southern California heat couldn’t touch stop us from having the time of our lives. When the world thinks of Southern California residents, they have a certain image of us. They see beach dwellers, Hollywood obsessed actors and non-stop party goers. They see the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, and the pitfalls of crime and horrors on the streets of our cities. Thanks to social media, a lot of people also tend to assume that anyone who lives in Southern California goes to Disneyland all the time. They would be wrong.

When I was a kid, trips to Disneyland were a once a year adventure. They were ingrained into our childhood memories, like sand mixing into the fibers of a carpet. No matter how hard you try not to dwell on the past and yearn to return to a happy time, those memories just won’t go away. For someone like myself, who struggles with physical disabilities 24/7, getting down to Anaheim and the Happiest Place On Earth is no easy task.

Entering The Park

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For the first time, I got to experience a day at Disneyland and California Adventure like never before. Setting out with my fellow Disney obsessed fans (who happen to also be my mother and sister) we ventured into the park and experienced it like it was the first time. From our first time eating lunch at the famed Carnation Cafe to the soothing ride on the classic attraction Jungle Cruise, the day was like someone scavenged through the memories of my childhood and plucked it out of my mind.

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Honoring My Grandfather

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The highlight, (one of many), of the day for me came in New Orleans Square. Years ago on Christmas Eve, my family and I had the misfortune of having to say goodbye to my grandfather, my mother’s father. He was a kind, caring family man who may not have been perfect, but he loved his family dearly. He was the kind of man who wouldn’t let you get into his home without bombarding you with affectionate hugs. He gave my mother, sister and I our love for cheesy horror movies and musicals. He is the man who introduced my mother, and subsequently me, to the works of Stephen King, the author who would inspire me to become a writer in the first place. He was an amazing soul who worked his entire life as a carpet layer to provide for his family, and gave everyone a lifetime’s worth of memories to cherish.

It was one of those memories that led to this momentous day at Disney. While in New Orleans Square, my mother surprised my sister and I with a glass figurine each. We learned that as a child, her father would take her to Disneyland, and together they would watch the glass figurines being made in that shop, the Cristal d’Orleans. Then he would buy her one of the figurines. It was a symbol of the great memories she made at the park with her father, and for years she dreamt of passing it down to us. After a decade away from the park, we finally had the opportunity to learn of this experience she had, and together we had an emotional bonding moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.

California Adventure

Then we continued our fun in California Adventure. An area of the park we never experienced as children since it had yet to come into existence fully, we explored the fun and excitement of the park. It was Pixar Fest, and we got to see some amazing sights. We traveled back in time to the days when boardwalk games were still popular and won some fun prizes. We listened to amazing Mariachi Music, including a wonderful rendition of our current favorite Disney tune, “Remember Me” from Coco. We shopped and dined, and together we experienced one of the best days of our lives.

Some may not understand fully why a day at Disneyland could be so magical to a family of adults, but to us, honoring our childhood and the memories we shared, is something everyone should experience throughout their lives. The world of Disney helped shape part of our lives, giving us the means to explore masterful storytelling, emotional highs and lows in life, and best of all, discovering the magic of hope. In our daily lives, we experience physical pain from our disabilities, emotional pain from those illnesses and the despairing world around us, and mental pain knowing those things aren’t something we can change overnight. Yet in that one day, we got to experience nonstop wonder, excitement, fun and best of all, hope.

A Day To Cherish

We laughed. We cried. We made memories together, and we made promises to one another. Promises to honor the day we had with one another and make it an annual trip (hopefully) in the future. To make it a goal to get to the park at least once a year, and honor the memories we shared with one another. To honor those who are no longer with us in body, but remain in our hearts. To look adversity and pain in the face and smile, as the hope for a brighter tomorrow races towards us. For myself and my family, that is what the happiest place on Earth means to us. That’s what Disney has done for our family.

What is your favorite childhood memory? What’s one place you will never stop wanting to go to no matter how old you are? Leave your comments below.

https://disneyland.disney.go.com/

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It Came From The Basement By M.R. Kessell REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In one of the most original, one of a kind twists this year, I received a truly remarkable children’s book with a horror twist. It’s called It Cam From The Basement from author M.R. Kessell, and it is a fantastic read that I just had to share with you all. Here’s the synopsis:

“It Came from the Basement” is an illustrated, inky homage to monsters and monster movies accompanied by a collection of thirty-one ridiculous rhymes to make you laugh uncomfortably in the night.

Darkly humorous, M. R. Kessell’s “It Came from the Basement” lies somewhere between Edward Gorey’s “The Gashleycrumb Tinies” and Tim Burton’s “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy.”

Intended for the monster kid in all of us.

I have been a fan of horror most of my life, as well as books. My love for horror came from my mother and her father before her. I still remember the day I first saw the original Trilogy of Terror film as a kid, and despite the ensuing nightmares it brought, my fascination with the storytelling capabilities of the horror genre never dissipated. With author M.R. Kessell’s book, the wonder and dark humor of the genre has finally found a home amongst younger generations.

While it may be a shock to some to have a children’s book within this genre, the truth is horror has always been integrated to a degree within our childhood. Lest we forget shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark or Goosebumps, or perhaps even the chilling moments from classic films, such as the monstrous Rattigan from The Great Mouse Detective or classics like Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, let’s not right off the horror genre for children’s books quite yet.

This book is filled with some of the most gruesome yet hilariously dark rhymes and illustrations I’ve ever seen. From monsters and killers to zombies and other devilish fiends, this book imagines the nightmare ever child has of ghouls traveling from the dark basements of their homes becoming a reality, and the hilarious reactions of the people in the home to these monstrosities will have parents and children alike fascinated, horrified yet strangely entertained all at once.

Overall I loved this book. I can honestly say there is nothing else like it on the market right now. The illustration greatly reminds me of Shel Silverstein, and the writing captures the essence of a good Tim Burton story while the overall book remains truly unique and one of a kind. Author M.R. Kessell has written a truly amazing book that is sure to be a hit, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of It Came From The Basement today!

Rating: 10/10

ABOUT

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M. R. Kessell is a writer, illustrator, and a musician with a penchant for the weird and macabre.

And smoothies.

Born and raised in New Jersey, he recently made the huge cross-country move to Brooklyn, NY, where he resides with his lovely wife and their fat cat.

By day, he works as a project engineer in New York City’s architectural metals industry. You may have seen some of his work.

https://mrkessell.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Came-Basement-M-R-Kessell/dp/0692110135

A Chance Encounter: An Intriguing Experiment

It’s funny, isn’t it? The memories and experiences that fade with each year we get older can pop up in the most unexpected ways. I happened
to be out with my mom one afternoon recently, and we were talking about how long it’s been for each of us to go to one of our favorite spots
in Southern California, and that is one of the many gorgeous beaches we have here. I went to Newport Beach earlier in the year, but I’ve
always dreamed of venturing out to Santa Monica or Venice Beach, or maybe even Laguna Beach. As we talked about our hopes of getting there,
she suddenly remembered a fun day when I was just a few years old, and we went to the beach. Apparently, we had decided to go on a boat ride
to watch for dolphins and whales, and on that boat, I’d met a young girl whom I had befriended quickly. According to my mom, we were inseparable
for the rest of the day, and sadly parted ways, never to meet again.

I have no recollection of this day, but I was suddenly intrigued. I’ve always been a shy guy, but this encounter painted me as a talkative,
active young man with a natural charisma I didn’t think I possessed at that age. I was curious, so I went looking through some old photo albums,
and sure enough, I found the pictures of me and this young girl, (pictured above). Now, the memory still alludes me, but I thought to myself,
how intriguing, that after all these years, these pictures should surface at a time where I’m looking to bolster my confidence.

I began to think about the power that a chance encounter or a spontaneous moment can have on our lives. Hearing that I wasn’t always the
shy, soft-spoken young man I am today gave me a boost of inspiration that I’ve been looking for. Sometimes, the tiniest, most random moments
in time can have a huge impact on others. The world can seem like such a random, chaotic place a lot of the time, but other times, I can
see how we are more connected than we realize. I’m not sitting here saying that fate brought me and this girl together, nor am I saying
that it was our destiny to meet that day. I’m a semi spiritual man, but even my spiritual tendencies are based in science. What I’m talking
about here is the fact that the connections we make ourselves, not the ones destiny has forced upon us, are powerful themselves. We have the
power to impact others and ourselves.

Now, I also found myself curious to know what happened to this young girl. I have no name, only a picture of the two of us together. We were
both so young, but I find myself wondering, what happened to her? What is she doing now? Who is she, and more importantly, is she happy? I’m
not sitting here hoping for some big, Hollywood style romantic scene, where we reunite at that same beach, (I believe it was either Newport
or Laguna, I can’t remember), and have some huge, heart-pounding moment with the rain pouring down around us. No, this is just a curiosity
more than anything. She apparently was one of my first friends, albeit for merely 1 day. Even if I never meet her in person again or get
the chance to be her friend, I at least would love the opportunity to say hi, ask how she is, and thank her for her day of friendship. Like
I said, I’m not expecting anything, but if anyone knows or recognizes this little girl from an old photo, or has seen this photo and would
know who she grew up to be, feel free to let her know about this blog post, or even tag her on social media. I’m curious to see whatever happens
with this blog experiment, because as I said, the smallest moments in our lives can have lasting influences, and this little trip down memory
lane gave me the burst of energy and inspiration I needed to push forward with my career. To her, and to all of you who have left impressions
on me and those in your lives, I say thank you.

#flashbackfriday #flashbackfridays I am the red #powerranger #mightymorphinpowerrangers #childhood #memories #writer #awesome #avinavlogs #askavinavlogs #creative #california #youtube #youtuber #youtubers #pictures #red

#flashbackfriday The time I went to The Scorpion King premiere and got to meet both the incredible @dwayne_tr and the late great Michael Clark Duncan. Both were incredibly nice and cool. One of my best childhood memories. #avinavlogs #askavinavlogs #youtube #youtubers #memories #childhood #entertainment #movies #thescorpionking