Like many Australians of my generation, I grew up watching the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights which introduced me to Disneyland. This was compulsory viewing – unless that pixie got it wrong! She would start hopping around the four lands: Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland and Frontierland. I would sit with fingers crossed, willing her to land on Fantasyland or Tomorrowland but I swear that wench landed on Frontierland far more often then any others – grrrr – cowboys and men with dead things on their heads! Adventureland was tolerable – the problem with Disney, as most fans would know, they have no qualms in killing off favourite animals, live or characters!
I also grew up watching the Mickey Mouse Club, (the second lot not the first lot- I’m not that old!), Mouse Factory, Duck Tails, Tail Spin etc
I desparately wanted to be a Mouseketeer and would leap out from shopping aisles or telegraph poles and say “Beth” with a great cheesy grin followed by a time-step ! ( age has tempered my enthusiasm)
In 1976 my Dsis went to Disneyland and brought me back two porcelain figurines: Mickey and Minnie. They have a wind up on the bottom, turn around and play M-I-C-K-E-Y and A spoonful of sugar, respectively, and they have held pride of place in my life ever since. Wherever I moved they came too and were displayed prominently. I still remember her description of the Haunted Mansion – the lift, the doom buggies, how you look over the balcony at the dancers and the mystery behind how they make the ghost sit next to you!
So I dreamed of visiting DL myself and never considered it within my reach for many years until “Make-a-wish” granted my then 12 year old DS his wish and sent us to DL in 2005. I cried walking in the gates, I cried on every ride and we all howled as we walked out of the gates on the last night. But as we walked through the tunnel and under the railway for the last time I promised them we would come back and in October I am fulfilling my promise!
Listen to Walt Disney’s dedication of Disneyland 1955: