From the magical mind of Real Disney Mom Janie GD!
Me on Main Street in 1979
“I’ll start at the very beginning, as it’s a very good place to start” This statement is very appropriate, as this is my very first adventure into the world of blogging!
My own love of Disney began in 1979 during a vacation with relatives in Wisconsin. Our American family had been enjoying visits to Walt Disney World since it opened in October 1971, and thought that their Cornish cousins would like to meet Mickey Mouse too. So off we flew down to Orlando, not having ever heard of Mr. Disney or his mouse before! Can you imagine that today? You’d have to be living on the moon not to be acquainted with Disney in some small way! At least I don’t believe that cable is available yet in other parts of the galaxy?!
We arrived in the beautiful Sunshine State, and lodged in a Vacation Villa on the shores of Lake Buena Vista. At night time from our balcony we could see the charming “Empress Lily” (so named after Walt’s wife, Lillian) gleaming with twinkling fairy lights. A few years later, I enjoyed my first character meal aboard her called “Breakfast a la Disney”. This still impressive steamboat can now be found moored at Downtown Disney, with a restaurant afloat re-named “Fulton’s Crab House”.
For me, the memory of entering the Magic Kingdom for the first time , and walking up Main Street USA with the aroma of popcorn and cookies in my nose, the jolly park music, and the sight of Cinderella’s Castle towering high above, has remained as fresh in my memory as if it happened yesterday. It connected with my senses which was quite a powerful thing for a 10 year old country girl who had never tasted popcorn or ever seen a fairytale princess castle before!
The other memories that remain special to me from that first trip are a particularly hysterical and wild spin on the Mad Hatters Teacups where my aunt laughed so much she almost burst with glee! Then there was the stomping evening entertainment at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness! Here, my Dad was chosen to be the fairy in the shows finale, which I’m sure to this day my aunt pre-arranged for our amusment! (The Revue is the longest continually running musical stage show in the whole of the USA, a “Disney fact” that I love.) I now share all it’s rowdy silliness with my own children!
When I’m asked for some planning advice from a “newbie” Disney vacationer, I tell them to savour the first moments of stepping onto Main Street USA, “Let Disney enchant you and wipe your daily worries away”, I tell them. Yes, I know, I hear you………that’s practically impossible when you’ve got your own little princes and princesses chomping at the bit, ready to race into Fantasyland and take their first flight on Dumbo! So…… I advise, go buy them a tub of popcorn each (so they won’t have to share, and lead to yet more high drama) which then should buy you a few moments to make and memorise your own special Disney beginnings.
Remember it’s not always the “big” things that remain with you from childhood….so now that you’re the parent, don’t stress about making memories happen for your children, because at Disney, the magic is everywhere…even in a tub of popcorn!
Mickey, my mum, and me 1979