Memories of the Magic Kingdom

This is what Disneyland in California looked like when my family made our first trip in 1956 only a few months after it opened (for more vintage photos visit Dave's exhaustive site). I was five and I remember having a hard time going to sleep the night before ("We're too excited to sweep!"). When my mom woke me up it was five in the morning. I clearly remember her dressing me and the four of us (Mom, Dad, my brother and myself) getting in the car while it was still dark, which only added to the excitement. About six miles down Ventura Blvd. (this was before the 101 freeway was put in), we stopped to eat pancakes at a diner in Camarillo, then it was off to Disneyland, which in those days was about a four-hour drive.

My memories of the Park that day, although few, are fairly vivid.
  • My dad took me into the Main Street theater to watch the old Steamboat Willy cartoons.
  • My brother and I had our silhouettes made.
  • We rode the omnibus.
  • I got sick and hurled on the tea cup ride.
  • I screamed in hysterics at the witch in the Snow White ride.
  • I loved the House Of The Future and demanded to see it twice.
  • I begged to go on the Dumbo ride and then got sick.
  • I screamed in hysterics on the Jungle Boat ride.
I must have been a load of fun that day.

I remember that we stayed at the Peter Pan Motor Lodge that night and drove home the following morning. It was the first time I'd ever stayed in a motel or hotel and I thought it was a great adventure; the little soaps fascinated me.

Throughout the following years it was a tradition to go to Disneyland every year and as I grew, I watched it grow. I have so many memories of times spent there that I can't always remember which trip was which. Here's a compilation of memories in no particular order:
  • The first time my parents let me loose to explore the park on my own. I think I was 13.
  • Grad Night with Deni. We got separated somehow and I spent the entire night alone and miserable.
  • Smoking pot with Sammy on the Monsanto ride.
  • Memorizing the theme from the GE Carousel Of Progress.
  • Stolen kisses on the Peter Pan ride.
  • Smoking pot with Sammy on the Sky Tram.
  • Getting pretty damned queasy with Jackie on Space Mountain.
  • Joel's first Disney trip at the age of two.
  • Micah's first trip and him continually breaking away, causing me to chase after him through the crowds.
  • Really detesting the Small World ride, but having to go on it for the kids' sake over and over again.
  • Joel's first experience of the Pirates ride (I'd forgotten about the two hills).
  • Sitting in the pavilion in New Orleans Square while my dad's band performed there one full night. I was as proud as could be.
  • Micah's second trip and him continually breaking away, causing me to chase after him through the crowds.
  • The first time I turned Joel and Micah loose to explore the park on their own (sweet relief!).
  • Being really pissed off when they took out the People Mover.
  • The first time I ate a pineapple spear in 100+ degree heat while waiting for the Tiki Room to open.
  • Many exhausted drives home, fighting to stay awake while my friends inhaled helium from the balloons and spoke like munchkins.
  • My last trip 10 years ago, which was also with Joel when I lived in California.
Our itinerary says that we'll be leaving the house around 4:00am tomorrow, but that's really just tonight for me. When we return I'll share pictures.

1 comment :

  1. Here in the Detroit metro area of Michigan, the closest thing we have to Disneyland (and it pales in comparison) is Cedar Point down in Sandusky, Ohio (I live about a 45-minute drive from the Michigan/Ohio border). It takes a good 2 1/2 hours to get there, but it was always worth the drive. I haven't been there in many years, but there were always good times to be had. I've been to Disney World in Florida, but not Disneyland in California. Fun, fun, fun!! I could use an escape into innocence in fun, right now.


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