My apologies for the slightly later update this week. I just got back from a three day escape to another world–I spent the weekend at Disneyland with a good friend and her daughter, celebrating my friend’s daughter’s twelfth birthday.

I’ve been to Disneyland twice before–once as a baby and once at the age of five (quite a few years ago :-). I was looking forward to this trip, but mostly because it would be fun to get away for a few days and hang out with good friends. I knew it would be fun to watch my young twelve-year-old friend enjoying Disneyland. I hadn’t realized how much I’d enjoy it myself. I’d forgotten how wonderfully and imaginatively detailed the settings are at Disneyland. Everywhere you look is a feast for the eyes–gas lanterns, cobblestoned paths, fanciful moldings, wrought-iron balconies. Darting between a pirate ship and battlements with cannonfire whizzing overhead or drifting through a town that has to be Tortuga, I felt as though we might happen across the Black Pearl round the next bend. Careering down a hill in a safari jeep with the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” theme blaring, I felt as though I’d jumped into one of my favorite movies. This is quite literally world building. Of course, following up on last week’s post on the gritty side of history, the Disneyland worlds pick and choose historical details to create a prettified, romanticized version of the past. But it’s still a rich, vivid world that the novelist in me couldn’t help but admire and the kid in me couldn’t help but love to step into.

Even more than the rides themselves, I loved the settings round them. The timbered stone cottage of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. The “star port” entry way to Star Tours complete with transport ship and maintenance work being performed. The elegant 18th-century house (complete with pirate portraits) that gives way to a wooden dock as one steps onto the Pirates of the Carribbean boats. And I think my favorite thing of all was the labyrinth-like twisting passage that led to the Indiana Jones ride. It was so like my image of the secret passage cut into the rock at Dunmykel in “Beneath a Silent Moon” that I felt as though I’d jumped into a scene from one of my own books.

Hmm…secret passages, smugglers, a skirmish in the Cantabrian Mountains, a chase round Covent Garden Market. I can imagine quite a fun ride based on the Charles and Mélanie books…

Have you been to Disneyland? Which rides and settings in the park are your paricular favorties? If you could create your own ride or theme park based on a favorite book or movie what would it be?

In honor of Disneyland and worlds that appeal to the child in all of us, this week’s entry in the Fraser Correspondence is a letter from Charles to his young son Colin.