I don't remember how my love for Disney got started. I've heard the stories. My aunt took me on my first trip back in 1979. I was a year old. We only lived an hour or so from Orlando, and I had siblings who were in their teens, so chances are good that we made a few trips before moving away from the Sunshine State in 1980. But I don't remember anything about any trip prior to 1983. That year, my parents took my younger brother and me to the newly opened EPCOT center. I remember only one thing. It looked like this:
My brother and I were fascinated. "It's a giant golfball!" Memory over.
The next few memories are also simple snapshots in my mind. Slathering on Hawaiian Tropics sunscreen in a hotel room. Slathering on Hawaiian Tropics sunscreen in the livingroom of my grandma's house in St. Pete, FL. Slathering on Hawaiian Tropics....yes, to this day, that is the only sunscreen I will use. The coconut smell will always be associated with Disney.
I remember going back to EPCOT with my parents, younger brother, and one of my older brothers.
|Mama, Gerald, me, Leonard - Daddy must have been takiing the photo|
That same trip, my older brother convinced our mom to ride Space Mountain with him. I wish I had a picture of THAT event!
Other trips are more real in my mind, yet there are always those certain snapshots that stand out the most. First trip to MGM. First trip to Animal Kingdom. The horrid birthday cake Cinderella Castle. The even more horrid wand for the millenium at Epcot. First (and only) trip to Disneyland, the year after I graduated high school, and almost breaking into tears at my first glimpse of the original Main Street. Eating baklava in World Showcase. Eating a napoleon in World Showcase. Watching Brandon gobble down a turkey leg (with all the appropriate sound effects) in World Showcase. Fighting with Gerald to see who could spot the monorail colors first. Arguing with the monorail driver over which color monorail was approaching us as we sped along the track (he said coral, I said orange. I won). Sitting by the big picture window in Pinocchio's Village Haus, overlooking the interior of It's A Small World. Seeing the original It's A Small World at Disneyland. First time we stayed on property. The first time I camped out at Fort Wilderness. The summer of the horrible fires near Kissimmee, and walking out of the Art of Animation at MGM into a park completely overrun with smoke. The first trip back after Daddy died, taking Mama to Animal Kingdom for her first time. The first girl's trip with Mama and Carol, spending the day at Epcot, and dropping over $200 at Biergarten on my birthday.
Then there were the two guys with the awesome Mickey tattoos that we followed around World Showcase, until I got up the nerve to approach them and ask to get a closer look. There was that first trip to Disney's Wide World of Sports, to watch my hometown boys in some Spring Training. Can you get better than watching the Atlanta Braves play at Disney?!!?
Disney is, and has always been, a part of my life. I worked as a Cast Member at the Disney Store one holiday season. I wish I'd been able to stay on after the holiday season ended. I wish there was still a Disney Store in the area; I'd go back into retail for a chance to work there again.
I have two trips to the World planned for this year. The first week of November, I am taking my mom back to the Magic Kingdom. It's been awhile since we've been back to that park. We're highly looking forward to being kids again! Then, over Thanksgiving, my younger brother and I are going Disney's WWOS to enjoy a 3-day college basketball tournament. College basketball and Disney ranks right up there with the Atlanta Braves and Disney!
Next year's trips aren't planned out yet, but I truly hope that one of them includes a Disney 5K.