When Did You Become A Disney Fan?

In the last nine years, basically since we started cruising, we have met a lot of Disney fans.  Some have told me stories about how they used to get together as a family and watch the Wonderful World of Disney as a child.  Others recall going to Disneyland or Walt Disney World as a child.  For me, my Disney addiction happened much later in life.

I don’t feel that I was deprived at all.  As a child, Disney was just not part of our lives.  We did a lot of other activities as a family.  I never recall asking my parents to take us to Disney.  I do remember my best friend went to Disney World and brought me back Mickey ears.  I don’t know what ever happened with them, it just wasn’t a priority in my life.

The only Disney movie I recall seeing as a child was Bambi.  Boy, have things changed!  We now have quite the collection of Disney movies on DVD.

Our first trip to Disneyland was in 1995, just a couple years after getting married.  My husband had a computer conference to go to in Anaheim and I decided to go with him.  We stayed on Harbor Blvd. and walked to Disneyland from the hotel.  I recall going through the turnstyle and standing between them and the railroad tracks, saying “This IS the Happiest Place on Earth!” with tears of joy in my eyes.  I never knew what the attraction was to Disney until we walked into the park.  In fact, the long walk through the parking lot just made the excitement build even more.

Disneyland is still my first love in all the Disney destinations.  We went there a few more times before even making the first trip to Florida.  I love walking down Main Street in the park that Walt Disney himself used to walk every day.

Disneyland is much smaller than Magic Kingdom, however, this is what attracted me.  You could go on the Jungle Cruise, walk off and in a few steps go on Indiana Jones.  Walking off of Haunted Mansion leads you into the queue for Splash Mountain.

Disneyland also still has Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, which has become a favorite for various reasons.

When Disney built California Adventure, this made Disneyland even more attractive.  Not only were there more attractions, but we didn’t need to get on a bus or boat to switch parks.  We have been known to get a FastPass at Grizzly River Run, go over to Disneyland and go on Splash Mountain, then while still soaked, go back to Grizzly River Run, get soaked again and back to the hotel to change.  The first Disneyland Resort hotel that we stayed at was Paradise Pier.  This was attractive because they had a separate entrance to California Adventure for Paradise Pier guests.  This has since closed, but we still like Paradise Pier.

View from our room at Paradise Pier.

Our favorite roller coaster is at Disney’s California Adventure.  California Screamin’ is a straightforward roller coaster with one inversion, but it still is our favorite.

Our first trip to Walt Disney World sort of was in 1998.  I say sort of, because my husband again was at a conference and staying on Hotel Plaza Blvd.  I came down with him for just a day.  We spent the day at Downtown Disney.  He went to the conference the next day but my flight wasn’t until the afternoon.  I decided to go to Discovery Island.  Remember that?  I drove over to Fort Wilderness, got my ticket and took the boat to Discovery Island.  Spent a few hours there and then left for the airport.

We wouldn’t come back until February 2000, but have come back many times since.  While I love Disneyland, I still think Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World is the most beautiful, especially at the holidays!

So when did you become a Disney fan?  What’s your story?  We’d love to hear from you!

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mark on October 25, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    Our first trip was in early 2002 with my father, brother’s family, my wife & I. In general I have a poor memory but I still vividly remember one of my nieces yelling at Mickey to “Run Mickey Run” during Fantasmic Show and the first time that I was walking down Main Street and saw the Castle that sent chills up/down my OLD spine. I’ve been hooked since. It’s my Happy, I’m a kid again No Stress Zone.

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  2. Posted by Rhonda on October 25, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    When I was growing up, my family always watched the Wonderful World of Disney as a family, every Sunday night. But, when I got older, got a job, and started my own life, I forgot about Disney. Until one day, when our son was 3 years old, he asked if we could go to Disney World! We promised him that before he started Kindergarten, we would take him there.

    So, my first WDW trip was in September of 1988. We stayed offsite (because we didn’t know any better, and we couldn’t have afforded to stay onsite anyway) at the Wynfield Inn Westwood — near Seaworld. As we drove into the Magic Kingdom, under the big sign, for the first time — I actually got chills. I was hooked.

    We didn’t have a lot of money to spend, so we brought our lunch in a cooler and ate out in the parking lot. We splurged for one character breakfast though — it was in Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness, with Chip & Dale. We walked around Fort Wilderness after breakfast, and were in awe of this beautiful campground! We said that we definitely had to drive down and camp there someday. We started the very next year, and it became a tradition for us! For the next 15 years, we drove down from Minnesota, every February, for two weeks and tent camped at Fort Wilderness with our son!

    Then, before we knew it, our son was grown up and starting his own life. But, he moved down to Florida in 2004, and we followed behind him! So, now we get to go to Disney World every couple of months, and he and his wife even join us sometimes!

    We have our first grandchild now, with another one on the way, and we can’t wait to see Disney World through their eyes for the first time!

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  3. Posted by Marc on October 25, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    I was a Disney fan from early on, becoming member number 37, 399 in the original Mickey Mouse Club! Took the bus home from school in the mid-west in time to see MCC five days a week. And we’d re-enact the latest episode from the serial (Spin and Marty was a great favorite) during recess the next day. I was in third grade at that time, so about 8 years old (1953-ish).

    Although we moved to Burbank, home of TWD studios, when I was in high school, after our Grad Night Party in 1963 Disney fell by the wayside during college – until a friend from the UK visited and had to go to Disneyland! From then on, Disney has been a great part of our lives.

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  4. I have been a Disney fan since early childhood days. I remember watching Disney’s Wonderful World of Color as early as age 6 or 7 and I got hooked on Disney. I remember asking my mother and step-father if we could go to Disneyland, not knowing how far California was from New Jersey, LOL!!! My grandmother visited WDW in 1972 and brought back gifts to all her grandchildren from that trip. Looking at photos from her Florida trip made me want to make a trip of my own there one day. Finally in 1983, my wife and I made our first trip to WDW, my mom and youngest brother, along with my grandmother and one of her sisters went with us. We stayed 8 nights in a Fort Wilderness trailer home, since then we have been to WDW more times than I can count. In 2003, we started sailing with DCL and have been on 7 DCL cruises to date. That first DCL cruise was, and still is, the best vacation my wife and I have ever been on.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Nancy on October 25, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    I became a Disney World fan the first time I remember going there, which was in 2nd grade. I loved Disney World because at the time I was afraid of the huge roller coasters and Disney World had lots of different rides that weren’t too extreme. (I think I was a toddler when I first went to DisneyWorld, but I don’t remember it). I never was too into any of the Disney movies growing up, just the parks. We went back to Disney World 3 more times when I was a kid. And several times as an adult. In my mid-20s, I started working at one of the Disney offices in Glendale, CA. As an employee I got free access to Disneyland, so I went probably over 50 times during my 4 years of employment. I think Disneyland is actually better than the Magic Kingdom, but I like all of the rest that Disney World has to offer. When I go to Disney World, there is so much open space I feel like we’re really getting away from it all. Now that we have kids, I’ve come to appreciate Disney World even more! My kids love it there.

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