Happy 55th Birthday, Disneyland!

Saturday, July 17th, 2010
Sleeping Beauty's CastleDisneyland is the only theme park to have been directly supervised and built by Walt Disney.  In my book, that makes it pretty special.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of my earliest memories (at age 3) was in Tomorrowland at Disneyland.  That would have been in 1964.  Just 9 years after Disneyland opened.

Dozens and dozens of my happiest memories are based around Disneyland - the pure magic of being there as a child, my family indulging my belief in Peter Pan by making sure we always rode on his ride, had tuna sandwiches at Captain Hook's ship, stopped to see Skull Rock, and of course, watch Tink fly over the castle before the fireworks began.

For some reason, my dad always took his vacations in August - and down to Disneyland we would go.  We were always at the Disneyland Hotel on their anniversary (August 31), and my parents would hire a hotel babysitter (my sister and I will never forget Mrs. Johnson),Mickey and Minnie in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle and they would go out do dinner at the steak restaurant at the hotel.  Even though we were there during the hottest time of the year, my parents made it so very comfortable for us.  We got to The Park when it opened, and stayed until just after lunch.  We'd ride the monorail back to the hotel, go swimming and then take a nap.  We'd head back to Disneyland for dinner (often at my two favorite places:  the Plaza Inn and the Polynesian Terrace), and we'd stay until well after the fireworks.

My memories grew when I went with friends for Grad Night in 1979, and as a teacher, when I took students there during summer camp.  What an experience to take 9 boys - around age 10 - to Disneyland.  Let's just say I stayed sane by taking them to Tom Sawyer's Island, and waited at the dock, since that was the only conventional way to leave the island!

Mickey in front of Sleeping Beauty's CastleI was there for the incredible 30th celebration, when Disneyland was open all night.  Once you entered the park with your special ticket, you could stay until closing the next night!  Main Street was lined with towering birthday candles, and spotlights arched a kind of rainbow over the castle.  It brought tears to my eyes to stand around the flagpole and sing "Happy Birthday" to Disneyland.

The day after Eric proposed to me, we headed to The Park - after all, I had to make sure he was someone I could have fun with at Disneyland before I agreed to marry him!

And now, I get to celebrate all of those memories, and make new ones with my own children.  My greatest dream would be that we all have lifetime passes and could go whenever we wished.

Disneyland, thanks for the memories.  I pray that you always stay true to your founder's goal - to create a place where families could just enjoy being together, and forget the outside world.

Hope to be there with you to celebrate on the 60th.

Discussion/Comments (4):

Happy 55th Birthday, Disneyland!

I have shared many of those childhood memories with my kids. As an adult, I am so thankful for all the times Mom and Dad took us there. The best memories anyone could ever ask for. Thanks for sharing!

Posted at 7/17/2010 2:30:34 PM byAunt Cindy

Happy 55th Birthday, Disneyland!

Correction: You accepted my proposal or marriage before we went to Disneyland. How could you resist?

Posted at 7/17/2010 2:34:14 PM byEric Mack

Happy 55th Birthday, Disneyland!

Eric - don't think I couldn't change my mind!!! I REALLY enjoyed our last trip to The Park!

Posted at 7/17/2010 8:22:36 PM byKathy Mack

Happy 55th Birthday, Disneyland!

Cindy, we had the greatest childhood. Besides Disneyland - Sunday nights were the best - Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom (watch out, Jim!), Lassie, and the Wonderful World of Disney - complete with Campbell's Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Or, if we were really lucky, Mom would break out the waffle iron! Remember her setting it up on the end table near where Dad sat on the couch? We thought that was the coolest thing! Until we can go to Disneyland together again...

Posted at 7/17/2010 8:25:26 PM byKathy Mack

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