In the past I have asked myself or have been asked, why I am such a Disney Fanatic. I usually don’t have an answer. Or, at the time it might be a convenient answer such as they have good rides or the movies are great. Well, after beginning this blog, joining various Disney forums on the web and listening to every Disney podcast I can get my hands on, I thought I would re-visit this question and come up with a real answer as to why I spend so much time enjoying all things Disney.
I would think to answer this I must travel back in time to when I was a kid. I am from a generation that always had Walt Disney. I was born in 1965. My first memories of anything Disney is from the Wonderful World of Disney show on TV.I grew up in North New Jersey and every Sunday night at 7:00 was time for the ‘Disney Show’ . I have vivid memories of all of us, I had a brother and a sister, running around getting baths, pajamas and getting downstairs on the couch in time for the show to start. So my first experience with Disney is a warm, just bathed, sitting with the family feeling that still sticks with me today. I would have to say that this is the root of my fanaticism.
The next thing that pretty much hit me over the head about Disney are the films. In our childhood there were no VCR’s. If we saw a movie out of the theaters it was shown on a screen with a big loud projector. This was the usual thing we would get at school for a reward. We would have an assembly and watch a movie. The majority of them were Disney flicks. Live action or cartoon did not matter. I remember watching a lot of the live action movies with a young Kurt Russsell. The computer that wore Tennis Shoes would be a good example of one of these movies. There were two other live action movies that totally grabbed my attention back then. The first was Escape from Witch Mountain and the other, of course, was Herbie the Love Bug.
The earliest memory I have of a Disney Cartoon Feature in the theatre was for Robin Hood. We saw this animated movie at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. It was during the Christmas show that Radio City was famous for putting on each year. We saw the Christmas story, with real animals, the Rockettes, and then Robin Hood. This had to be 1973 or 74. Almost every animated feature that the Disney Company comes out with is quality. Especially with the resurgence of their animation with the Lion King and the movies that followed.
My first trip to Walt Disney World was in 1976. This was our first time to the park and we were there for a week and stayed at the Polynesian. For the life of me I can’t remember doing anything other than the Magic Kingdom. But we must have gone to at least Sea World. I’ll have to ask Pops. I had a really good experience with Pluto on that trip that has stuck with me all of my life. That was the first of many trips. Of these trips there were some great memories. My Wife and I spent our Honeymoon at WDW and we stayed at the Grand Floridian. That was special enough, but while going thru the old Animation Tour over at the Studios, we were able to see the Cartoonists working on the Lion King. At the time it was cool, but after the movie came out, that memory grew huge. I actually saw the creation process in action of a great movie. One of the most outstanding memories was the first trip we took with our children to WDW. We stayed at Fort Wilderness with my parents and my Godparents. This was a great trip because we were able to do so many things together as a family. Everything the kids saw was for the first time and sharing that feeling was very special.
The kids are older now and have there own ideas on what movies they want to see and how to tour the parks. Our last trip down was equally special. This time we discovered Pin Trading and Pressed Penny collecting to add to the fun we always have. The key part of these two new activities is that the kids were handling them both pretty much on their own. Very Cool.
Walt Disney made a good point when he said: "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. " And thanks to Walt and his wonderful company, they have been providing us with new doors and new things that have yet to come even close to satisfying our curiosity. May they continue on for many years.