This is a guest post from my friend Daniel, the Disneyland Specialist from Destinations in Florida.
I first visited Disneyland when I was about 8 years old. My family went in a van with a porthole. It’s odd what we remember isn’t it? I don’t even know whom that ugly van belonged to. With my family were my Aunt and her children. It was a fairly large group of us traveling from Missouri to California, in the porthole van. Try and imagine a very uncool Mystery Machine van but in brown with 1970’s colors running down the side… Then imagine it 100 times worse and you’ll be close.
We stayed along the way in some fantastic K.O.A. campgrounds… Well fantastic may be a strong word for the accommodations, but we were going to DISNEYLAND! I couldn’t wait; I had wanted this trip for as long as my young 8-year-old self could remember.
I’m not sure I could tell anyone anything specific about our visit. I have memories of just being overwhelmed with excitement, with a bit of fear mixed in. It could have been the Sky Way that caused the fear to be honest. When you first saw it, it went into a mountain! What is going on there? There are of course bits and pieces of memories but overall I know it started my love of all things Disney and that lives on with me to this day.
Image Courtesy of Vintage Disneyland Tickets
It took me over 11 years until I got to visit Disneyland again. This time from Seattle, where we had moved when I was 12 but had never made another family trip to Disneyland, I’m quite certain that is a form of child abuse. Oh how some parents just don’t realize how important Disneyland is to a kid…
Anyways, I had just gotten out of high school and my girlfriend (now wife) and I took a road trip down in my very Blue Ford Escort. What a trip just driving down was!
This was the trip that sealed it for both of us. We were hooked and there was no going back! Unlike my first visit, this one is etched into my memory forever. Every detail. Even if it wasn’t permanently imprinted on my mind, we have 1000’s of pictures, so I could always be easily reminded. Matter of fact I think they are still in the Costco White envelopes. Perhaps I should go on a Picture Treasure Hunt!
Through the years our lives have progressed, and our wallets. So we have made it a must to visit Disneyland a few or more times a year. Heading down from Seattle for a weekend is one of our favorite ways to spend our entertainment dollars. I almost hate to admit this, but my wife and I at times have ditched our son with grandparents and jaunted down to Disneyland for a weekend away for just us. Please don’t send me hate mail over that. :)
In the end, I can simply say that I just love visiting Disneyland (and Disney World!). It truly is a magical place for my family and I. When I walk under the trestle bridge and see Main Street USA, I let go of any stresses I might have had, any troubles and I look upon Disneyland with my 8 year old eyes once again. I’m certain Walt wouldn’t have wanted it any other way…
And really, is there anything greater than that?
I hope you find this information fun, new and worthwhile.
Daniel is a self-proclaimed Disney Geek, Disney Vacation Planner and a Disneyland Specialist. When he’s not adding to the plethora of Disney Trivia in his head, you can find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter…