First off, there are numerous accounts on the internet that are impeccably written and go into great details of all things WDW. Discussions on X. Atencio and Buddy Baker, Mary Blair, and the great Marc Davis. I love these blogs, and find a lot of them inspiration; however I try to write mine from a first person perspective of how I either remember or choose to remember my trips to WDW. So, please bear with me if I can’t remember all of the car names to Mr. Toad, or if I mention the asteroid in Space Mountain as the big cookie.
I am lucky to be the youngest of 5 kids, each of my siblings having some type of influence on me as they were quite older. Their sole responsibility in life was babysitter, while sometimes they would actually watch me, most of the time was spent trying to terrorize me with Muppets and stories of the man with the hook who would kill me if I stepped outside my room. However, generally we all did okay, especially on family vacations.
My folks used to love to vacation all over, I thank them now for the experiences, but those car rides of sitting in between Mom and Dad in the front seat “hump” for hours was never fun. (Back then if you owned a station wagon those things were like tanks and child seats were something of a fad). Anyways, more times than not we would get called to the office at school around noon, and there was mom. She and my dad would have the car packed and off we would go on another adventure; my older siblings grumbling about being too cool to go, the younger ones gearing up for game “are we there yet?”.
My parents were great in that about 4 times a year we would truck from the Midwest to Orlando to go to Disney World. Most of the time we would rent a cabin at Ft. Wilderness. My mom thought Disney was nice as she could basically turn us loose and not have to worry much about how we’d get home. During this time there was no Sea World, Universal, no nothing, except WDW.
I don’t remember my first trip to WDW, I was a toddler and my mom swears that someone kidnapped me at the Contemporary. She claims Security looked for hours only to find me traipsing the monorail queue looking quite flustered. My only thought was that I wanted to get to MK so badly I said “screw this” and looked to the shiny train to get me to the castle. However, I recall none of it, and wonder if it ever even happened. I do, though, remember taking the small boats from MK back to Ft. Wilderness and seeing the Water Pageant. To this day when I hear Handel’s Water Music, I immediately regress back to the days of light up sea monsters and U.S. flags. To digress one second, anyone remember those old brown busses in Ft. Wilderness?
Anyways, our day would begin like this 5am, Mom’s up like a rocket, kicking us out of bed. Peter and John on the bunk beds, Missy on the hide-a-bed, Paul on the couch, and me, curled up on the hide-a-bed cushions with a blanket. We have our Fruit Loops which was already a vacation to us as no sugared cereals unless it was a) Christmas or b) we were at Disney. Next step would be mom putting out our clothes in order from tallest to shortest, all outfits looking the same so we could we be identified easily as the nerdy family from the Midwest, all the long while Dad just drank his coffee. Next, out the door for the mad dash to get to the boat dock, this was quite a sight to watch 5 kids with bowl cuts wearing the same clothes, screaming and yelling at 6 in the morning. Dad, well he just drank his coffee.
We’d get to the MK and wait in line for what seemed an eternity. I could barely hold the anticipation knowing that just behind this flimsy rope was an adventure filled with ghosts, pirates, giant squid, and oversized animals waiting to inadvertently scare the bejesus out of me. While we waited would mom pin our tickets to our clothes (which now seems really odd), and go over her “if we get lost spiel”. My mom was cool in that even in a park of 30,000+ people you could always find her: either at the hot dog place on Main St. now known as Casey’s or at the Tomorrowland Terrace watching Michael Iceberg and his incredible synthamagnetic musical device; “The Iceberg Machine”. All of a sudden the P.A. blared, “To all who come to this magical place…” This was it, it was go time.
(End of Part I)