My love for Disney is different than most. I didn’t grow up with all the movies or frequent trips to Disney World. A friend of mine went to Disney World when I was a kid and brought me back Mickey ears. Really didn’t matter much to me. Maybe it was because my parents didn’t like to travel so going to Disney World or Disneyland was out of the question, not even a consideration. We made annual trips to Marriott’s Great America (now known as Six Flags Great America) so why did we need Disney? That was an amazing park! I loved the boat and log rides plus the Model T car rides. It couldn’t get any better than this.
Shortly before getting married, my husband had been going to conferences for work. I tagged along on the trips to see different parts of the country. We went to Boston, New Orleans and Palm Springs. After we got married, he had a chance to go to Anaheim California. This would be the chance to see Disneyland so I definitely wanted to go. We brought my sister with us and Deb and I spent the days exploring Southern California and joined Bill after his conference to visits Disneyland.
The following year, we returned to Disneyland, again for the conference, but this time just the two of us. This time it was much different though. The trip focused on Disneyland for me rather than other locations in Southern California. I did more research for the trip to set our game plan. I would have time during the day to go to Disneyland by myself and Bill would join me in the evenings.
I still recall first arriving at Disneyland that second year. As soon as we walked through the turnstiles, I turned to Bill and exclaimed “This is the Happiest Place on Earth!”. I felt like a little kid again! While Bill was in his conference, I even went on Splash Mountain by myself!
Since that trip to Disneyland, we have been back many times, each with their own memories. We watched Disneyland get a bit larger and the addition of Disney’s California Adventure. A favorite of mine was in 2005. My husband was celebrating his 50th birthday and so was Disneyland! We were taking our first trip through the Panama Canal on the Disney Magic but first a few days at Disneyland. We invited my mom and sister to come with us for the Disneyland stay. This was just a couple years before mom passed away. She was definitely slowing down and at times we needed to get a wheelchair to help her get around. Two rides stick out in my mind.
We went on Soarin’ Over California. Now my mom was very fearful of heights. Somehow though we convinced her to go. The closer we got to the ride, the more nervous she was becoming. As soon as she sat down and locked her strap in, she started to panic. She was almost crying. Just then a castmember came around the corner and it was like a switch turned her off. She was quiet as a mouse! As soon as the castmember went around the corner, she started to panic again. I just looked at her and said “that was your chance!” She made it through the ride though reported that her eyes were closed the entire time.
The other ride was Pirates of the Caribbean. My mom trusted my husband more than the rest of us. He told her that Pirates was an art gallery. Why she never questioned the line to get in escapes me! As we approached the building and went in, she saw the boats returning to the start. She turned and said “This isn’t an art gallery, is it?” We told her it was a boat ride and she asked “just tell me it doesn’t have any drops” so we did. She didn’t ask for the truth after all! For those who haven’t been to Disneyland, Pirates of the Caribbean there actually has two drops! In the end she enjoyed the ride and while she screamed on the drops, we laughed.
Great memories of Disneyland! We also have great memories at Walt Disney World and on our many Disney Cruises. With my job, I am lucky enough to hear great stories from my clients when they return. Not only do they make me smile, but they remind me of my memories too.
Now it’s your turn! Share with us a memory that you have of a Disney visit.
When I was 8 years old, I flew by myself from our home in Iowa to visit my grandparents who had just moved to California. I had been to WDW twice already, but my grandparents were so excited to show me Disneyland. I think they were as excited going through those turnstiles as I was. Not knowing anything about the Matterhorn, I convinced my granny to ride it with me. I was afraid but she was TERRIFIED! She was so afraid that she laughed hysterically the entire ride. I never look at the Matterhorn even today without thinking of her, and how she put her fear aside to please her granddaughter. We had many more trips together to Disneyland and DisneyWorld through the years. I am forever grateful that she got to go to each park with my children before she passed away. That visit to Disneyland in 1978 started a lifelong passion for both of us. For me, it all started with…Granny!
So many great memories but my favorite will always be our first trip when our daughter was almost 4. We went to Cinderella’s Castle for breakfast. Allison was in heaven meeting the princesses and being in the castle. At the wishing ceremony, she closed her eyes and I could just barely hear her whisper “I wish I could be a princess.” I still get a little teary eyed 6 years later!