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The Happiest Place in Europe

For many people, visiting a Disney park is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I’m lucky enough to have the resources and opportunities to have been four times. The first time I was 5 years old. The last three trips have been as an adult.

I vividly remember many of the experiences from that first trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. I think the Disney Company goes to great lengths to make things memorable for kids because it might be the only time they ever visit. I remembered nearly every detail of The Haunted Mansion–I had nightmares about it for years. 😉 I also remembered the teacups and my first (and only) pair of Mickey Mouse ears—they were two plastic molded ears stapled to a felt beanie with my name written on it in glitter. I also got a stuffed Tigger and a Winnie the Pooh dining set. My mom still has the fork and spoon in her utensil drawer in Kentucky. My nephews and nieces are using them now. 🙂

I also remember Pirates and forts in St. Augustine, Florida and NASA Kennedy Space Center. I was so captivated by rockets and space travel as a child that while my friends wanted to be nurses, I wanted to be an astronaut.

I anticipate that Liam’s memories will be of the Buzz Lightyear Lazer Blast and Pirates of the Caribbean rides, driving a car at Autotopia, his stuffed Bullseye toy,  and his Buzz Lightyear blaster gun. He’ll think of our adventure in Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower. He’ll remember riding the Eurostar under the English Channel to London, playing in Kensington Gardens, and seeing The Lion King.

Given our resources, opportunities, and proximity to Disneyland California, I imagine this will not be Liam’s only trip to a Disney park during his childhood. It saddens me just a little because I think this first experience will be diluted. Will he remember his adventures at Disneyland Paris or will they blend and mesh with California and Orlando until he won’t remember what happened where? (I know—“First World Problem,” but I’m being nostalgic here.)

I’m sure our parents were just a little sad for us like that sometimes. Sad that we needed new fangled toys to hold our attention. Sad that we might be losing our ability to use our imaginations. I wonder what things Liam will pine for when his children have their own moon rockets? 🙂 I’m not really worried about Liam’s imagination though. Mine and that of modern visionaries my age have remained intact. I think, if anything, having amazing experiences only makes us dream bigger and reach higher.

So thank you Disney, for capturing our imagination, giving us a wonderful experience, and bringing back fond memories of Mickey ears and astronauts.

  1. October 7, 2011 at 20:52

    Aww.. It is a place that we store happy memories from.. 😉

  2. Darcie
    October 8, 2011 at 03:20

    As a child growing up in southern California – I got to go several times, and have been back once as an adult. I still remember it as amazingly magical and one of my standout memories as a child.

    Oh, and I still have my Micky fork & spoon my my silverware drawer. Sometimes I even use them myself, just for the fun 🙂

    • October 8, 2011 at 08:08

      I love that you still use your Mickey utensils!

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