The best train rides that circled the park were always the ones where they let Lois (Mom’s cousin) and I sit in the very front with the conductor. Aunt Laura would stick around while we explored the park. She would set up a meeting time and place for us so that she could find herself a nice spot to wait and "people watch." However, she did do a few things with us including the Tiki Room...a favorite of all of ours and sometimes the Pepsi Saloon show and the Jungle Cruise.
In the ultimate of all “people watching” (and probably the single memory of which I am most envious), Mom recalls:
It was always fun to spot Walt, himself, strolling around the park. Aunt Laura probably preferred Knott's Berry Farm as an outing, but when Walt showed up, that made the day worthwhile at Disneyland.
When packing for our Disney vacations, shorts and tank tops fill our suitcases. Can you imagine if the following were still the case?
I probably didn't realize it at the time, but the dress code for visitors made an impact on me. There was something safe in knowing that things were watched, through fun loving eyes, and that I don't remember any rowdy situations.
Ladies wore dresses and men wore slacks to the Park in the 50's. I firmly attest that I have never packed my Sunday best for Disneyland. However, I believe Disney’s Cast Members still have that “watchful eye” and I have seen where guests have been asked to turn a shirt “inside-out” to avoid offending other visitors. What would Walt say about the short shorts and the bare mid-drifts of today’s fashion?
My mother shares that, when she and her cousin were older, they used to take in the dances at the Carnation Pavilion at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. I wonder if she had as much fun as I did in the 80’s when dances were hosted at “Videopolis,” in the place that is now Princess Fantasy Faire. Mom reminisces about banana splits during visits to the Carnation Cafe. Me? I prefer the hot fudge sundaes. She would always bring home a bag of rock candy from the candy shop for my grandfather, while my souvenir treats are usually the chocolate-covered, Mickey-shaped pretzels. Mom and I both share a common love for the fireworks and watching Tinker Bell make her magical flight.
It’s always a surprise to me when I meet a fellow West Coaster who has never been to Disneyland. But this story about my mother’s Orange County family puts me in shock:
It always made us smile to think that a couple of my uncles living in nearby Fullerton and Anaheim didn't frequent the park, in fact I don't know if they ever visited it. They always told me that they wanted to "wait until it was all finished." They had been in the area since the 20's & 30's and may have even picked citrus on the very property that became the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
Really, Uncles? Weren’t you paying attention when Walt said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world?”
Those who know me recognize that Disney has a permanent place in my heart. My mother’s memories cause me to reflect how that love was passed on from the moment I was born. The Pixie Dust will surely continue to spread through our generations as my young “pre-natal” Disney fans create special memories that someday they can share with my future grandchildren.
This plaque appears overhead as you enter Disneyland Park. - photo by 4Zs
About the Author: Andee Zomerman lives in the Pacific Northwest and is a wife and mother to a family that loves all things Disney. They seem to be constantly planning their next Disney vacation – even while experiencing the current one.
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5 Sep 2014 at 9:13pm
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