Disney Beginnings

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

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Before You Go, You Have to Know!

Walt Disney was said to describe Mickey as a “very clean mouse”. This is obviously a direct contradiction of what a mouse really is, in any place but Disney World. If this appeals to you, the idea of taking something that other wise might not be appealing, and making it so, then Disney World is for you. Walt looked at many of the carnivals and circuses of his day and wanted to create a place for families that was safer then these places he visited. Thank goodness he did!

Walt Disney World is comprised of four theme parks; Magic KingdomEpcot (formerly EPCOT Center, EPCOT standing for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios), and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and two water parks; Disney’s Blizzard Beach, and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Also on Disney property are Downtown DisneyDisney’s BoardwalkESPN Wide World of Sports Complex5 golf courses, and 23 themed hotels.

To me, Walt Disney World is a utopia. It is a place that you can escape to, if only for one small vacation a year, where you are surrounded completely by a controlled environment that is seemingly nothing but happy and magical. Disney would control the weather if they could! (In fact, Walt actually wanted to do this in his original plans for EPCOT!) One of Walt’s great dreams was to create a utopian community. He came close with his visions for EPCOT, but unfortunately passed away before his vision was realized. The Walt Disney company tried also to do this, when creating the town of Celebration. But as far as vacations are concerned, in my opinion Disney World comes as close to perfect as you can get!

As you can see, Walt Disney World has many things to do and see, and thus requires a large amount of planning which I will discuss in great detail in my next post. In the mean time I hope I have gotten you throughly as excited and intrigued about Walt Disney World as I am!

Epcot 2009

Epcot 2009

Wilderness Lodge

Wilderness Lodge August 2010Epcot 2009

Downtown Disney April 2010

Downtown Disney April 2010

Magic Kingdom April 2010

Magic Kingdom April 2010