60 Days to 60 Years – Happy Birthday Disneyland!

Image ©Disney Parks

Image ©Disney Parks

60 Days to 60 Years was just the beginning…what will the next 60 years bring?  My friends, it has truly been an honor to follow along my incredible friends as they shared special moments from the history of Disneyland — 60 years worth of history in 60 days.  For me, this post is simple, because there is no research to be done to try and dig up photos of things that were put in operation in, for example, 1962 (by the way, that was the Adventureland Expansion and Swiss Family Treehouse from Inspired by Dis).  All that I need to share with you is what I’m thinking on this incredibly historic date in Disney history, and to be able to say Happy Birthday Disneyland!

I am beyond words for the incredible faith, trust, and Pixie Dust that my dear friend Didi has shown in me to give me this slot in the rotation.  While you are reading this, I will be at Disneyland. My family has been fortunate enough that we are able to make this journey, a journey that spans more than airline miles, more than expense — no, this journey is both a journey to Disneyland’s past, a remembering of all that went on during those sixty years, as well as a journey towards Disneyland’s future, a wondering of what the next sixty years will bring.

When we took our first trip to Disneyland two years ago, I had a countdown series on my site, and each day was a look at one thing that I was interested in experiencing at Disneyland.  The last post was about walking the same steps that Walt walked, about trying to see the park through his eyes, to remember Walt, and the legacy he built, and to do honor to that legacy.  I imagine that some of the people are going to Disneyland today to be able to say “I was there on the actual day.”  In some ways, I guess I’m partly the same way.  My family was extremely fortunate to be able to be at the Magic Kingdom on Walt Disney World’s 40th birthday, and now we’re able to do the same thing at Disneyland for it’s 60th.  That’s a memory, an experience, that I will never forget, nor will my wife and daughter forget it either.  But being there on the actual birthday goes beyond just being there to say we were there.  Being there on this day is our way of telling the world how great Walt Disney was, and that we are not there just to ride rides and see parades and eat food; no, we are there to honor Walt Disney himself, to remember him on this special day, to tell the world that it is a better place because he lived, and that in celebrating his legacy, we are showing the world that there is some good left in this world.

Sixty years from now, Disneyland will be changed, there is no doubt of that in my mind.  Sixty years from now, Magic Bands will have arrived, technological marvels beyond my imagination will be in existence, and who knows — the Monorail may actually hover over the ground, not ride on concrete rails.  However, one thing will not be different.  In sixty years from today, people will still come to Disneyland, not only because of the rides, the stories, and the churros; no, people will still be coming to Disneyland to pay homage to the man, to Walt Disney, and to marvel at the creative genius that dreamt up this incredible wonderland, all because he wanted to see families able to ride rides with their kids, instead of just sitting and waiting while their kids enjoyed themselves.

In the end, this incredible oasis was put in place for one big reason — so that, in years to come, as kids get older, life gets in the way more often, and so forth, when that happens, families will be able to remember that day, when families were able to put aside their worries, their life distractions, and remember what it is like to be carefree once more.  That, to me, is Walt’s greatest legacy.

Thank you all for stopping by today, as we conclude this incredible look at the 60 years of Disneyland.  If you missed some of the posts, I urge you to check them out in our links below, and I want to thank each and every one of my fellow bloggers for their inspiration, their dedication, and their commitment to this great project.  Most of all, I want to thank my friends Didi from DISTherapy and Gayle from The Disney Gals for including me in this incredible series.  It is truly an honor to be included in such company.

Magical Blogorail Red: Celebrating #Disneyland60

Welcome to this month’s Magical Blogorail Red loop. Today we are discussing the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration.

On July 17, 1955, this Castle enchanted the world.  On July 17, 2015, it will enchant us once again.

On July 17, 1955, this Castle enchanted the world. On July 17, 2015, it will enchant us once again.

Hello everyone, and welcome to this month’s Magical Blogorail Red post!  This month, we are gearing up for all the excitement, grandeur, and spectacle of the #Disneyland60 anniversary!  My family is fortunate in that we will be able to enjoy Disneyland on July 17, 2015 — the 60th Birthday of this incredible vision of Walt Disney!  In this post, I plan on sharing with you all my hopes and dreams for that day, all the things that we hope to enjoy, and what that day means to me personally.  So hop on and join me and my wonderful Blogorail teammates as we share what it means to us!

On July 17, 1955, the following attractions were open for the general public that are still open to this day:

  1. Main Street Vehicles
  2. Main Street Cinema
  3. Disneyland Railroad
  4. Storybook Land Canal Boats
  5. Casey Jr. Circus Train
  6. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  7. King Arthur Carrousel
  8. Mad Tea Party
  9. Fantasyland Theater
  10. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  11. Peter Pan Flight
  12. Snow White Scary Adventures
  13. Autopia
  14. Mark Twain Riverboat
  15. Jungle Cruise

All of these attractions are ones that I want to enjoy when we are there.  To me, there is something extremely cool about enjoying the attractions today that were there in the days of yesteryear.  I imagine what it might have been like to ride on them on that day, whether they had any issues, or was everything running to Walt’s standards.  Just imagining it takes me there right now!

When we were fortunate enough to go to the Magic Kingdom to celebrate the 40th birthday of that park on October 1, 2011, the weather was absolutely spectacular — hardly a cloud in the sky, with perfect temperatures, it was like Disney controlled the weather that day!  For this celebration, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the same thing happen.  It just feels like it will be that way, and regardless of whether it is or not, it will still be incredible.

Cindy, Sophie and I will not be there by ourselves, of course; we will have our niece Stephanie and her husband Shane with us, and we will have our great friend Sheila and her daughter Jagan with us, so the celebration will be even greater because of their being there.  Sheila grew up at Disneyland, it is her home away from home, and she has a fountain of information about the park that I love to hear about.  That will make the day even more special.

Most of all, though, this day is about Walt Disney.  On July 17, 2015, we will celebrate Walt, his vision, his determination, his compassion, and his desire to see families having fun together, and we will look upon his park and give thanks for his life.  On that day, I will look at Sleeping Beauty Castle like it is below, and imagine myself to be there, with Walt welcoming me to the park that day.

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Thank you for joining us today — please check out my friend Julie’s post about the 60th Anniversary Dazzling Decor!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Loop:

Sophie, Miss J, and Riley – Best Friends!

Riley, Sophie, and Miss J at Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Riley, Sophie, and Miss J at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Last summer, Cindy, Sophie and I welcomed our friends Leigh Ann and Riley and our friends Randy, Sheila, and Miss J to join us in celebrating Sophie’s 13th birthday.  Sophie and Riley have been best friends since the day they were born, and in June 2013, Sophie and Miss J became best friends as well when we met them at Disneyland.  Since that visit, scarcely a week goes by without Sophie and Miss J FaceTiming one another over the weekend.

Since last year was Sophie’s 13th Birthday, Cindy and I wanted to do some special, so we invited both sets of families to join us at Walt Disney World.  The picture above was taken when we first arrived at Bay Lake Tower where we were staying.  Riley and Miss J had never met before, and it was like all three of them had been best friends all of their lives.  Those girls were inseparable, and the conversations between the three of them is the stuff of legend now.

What got this post percolating in the back of my mind was a song that Sophie and I heard the other day.  Many of you may know it, the song is “It’s Not Easy” from the Disney Classic movie Pete’s Dragon.  In the song, Elliott is singing about how it’s not easy finding and hanging onto that special friend you have.  In many ways, this is very true.  For Sophie and Riley, they have been friends from before birth, but it’s not always easy because, despite the fact that we both live in the same area, schedules are different, so they often don’t get to spend a whole lot of time together.  For Sophie and Miss J, they didn’t meet until Sophie was turning 12, but the wonder of the Internet has made it seem like they are a lot closer than they the 2,500+ miles that separate the two of them, but that’s difficult in it’s own way.  What I love about this song, though, is that Elliott is able to realize just how easy it is to be best friends with people, and to embrace the differences we all have and the challenges we all face, despite schedule challenges and geographic distances separating the friends.  So now, please take a moment or two and watch the YouTube video of the song “It’s Not Easy” from Pete’s Dragon.

Thank you for stopping by today!  Are there any challenges in your lives that make it hard to hang onto that special friend in your life?

45 Years

Disney Magic — It’s Why We Go to Disney!

Disney Magic

Walt Disney World features thrills, rides, shows, and something known as Disney Magic!

You know, every so often I get asked, “Why do you always go to Walt Disney World?  Why don’t you go to other places on vacation?”

Well, as you can see in the title, there’s one simple answer — Disney Magic.  While those two words don’t necessarily mean anything to anyone who hasn’t been, or who didn’t get it, some of the stories that I’m sharing with you will hopefully give you an insight into what Disney Magic is all about.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy.


Disney Magic

Image ©Jennifer

My friend Jennifer shared a story about her daughter and Merida, and how they interacted, and how Merida turned a tearful little girl into her normally bubbly self, and in doing so, showed what the famed Disney Magic is all about:

Let me tell you about my friend Merida. You know my daughter (name omitted by editor)…sometimes you cannot even tell she has aspergers, and then sometimes, like today, things get tricky. She gets something set in her mind and it must happen. Today, she wanted to finish coloring her picture for Merida because she LOVES her. Her turn came to meet her so soon, though, and she couldn’t finish the picture. Tears. Meltdown. And usually that means the end of the day for us. But Merida saw this and took my daughter to the side so they could finish the picture together, like friends. And she wiped her tears and pushed her wild hair off her face (Merida knows about wild hair) and listened to her. That Merida. She’s so beautiful, inside and out.

What Merida did for her little daughter, in my opinion, is truly what Walt had in mind for Guests of his parks.  He wanted anyone — and I mean anyone — to be able to come to Disneyland (or, in our case, Walt Disney World) and to be able to put aside, to forget, if you will, what their problems are, what their aches and pains and maladies might be, and in doing so, to remember what it is like to be a kid.  Jennifer’s story touched my heart because my daughter suffers similarly to her daughter, and there are times when she has trouble like Jennifer’s daughter does.  So when I read a story like her story, I shed a tear, and I give God thanks for people like Walt Disney, who opened his heart and shared his imagination, his skill, his creative genius, and his heart with all of us.

Donald Duck

Disney Magic

2007: Sophie (age 6) and Donald Duck dancing with excitement!

The year was 2007 — it was the first trip we took where we stayed on property.  Sophie was 6 years old, and was absolutely in love with Donald Duck.  We must have a 100 pictures of Sophie and Donald Duck in various outfits from that trip.  This particular picture was taken in Mickey’s Toontown Fair, and Sophie was so excited to see Donald Duck that she literally started bouncing with anticipation!  That started Donald Duck bouncing, and the end result is a whole set of dance moves that they did together!  I wish I was better at joining them all together, I’d post it for you.

Princess Jasmine

Disney Magic

Sophie was sharing secrets with Princess Jasmine in 2008!

We were at Epcot in the World Showcase.  For some reason we decided to explore the Morocco Pavilion even though we almost never stop to look.  We were at the back of the pavilion, and came around a corner, and there she was — Princess Jasmine and the Genie — with no one in line to see them!  It was pure Disney Magic.  Sophie was able to spend probably 5 or 10 minutes (it felt like an eternity to me) visiting with Princess Jasmine, and the Genie — he was doing everything in his power to get Sophie to acknowledge him, but she would have none of it.  Out of that time, this picture emerged, still a favorite after all of these years.

Goofy being Goofy

Disney Magic

Sophie and Goofy checking out pigtails and ears!

This picture, which takes us back again to 2007, was taken at Restaurantasaurus.  At that time, the restaurant was a character dining restaurant, not a counter service location like it is now.  We had a reservation for breakfast, and during that time, when Goofy came to visit us, Sophie took Goofy’s cue of pulling his ears out and did the same thing with her pigtails!

Stephanie and Shane

Disney Magic

Shane proposes to Stephanie in front of “her” Castle.

Of course, no exploration of Disney Magic would be complete without sharing once again the story of Shane and his bride Stephanie.  As Shane wrote in his own words, his dreams came true in 2012 in front of Cinderella Castle when he proposed to his wife Stephanie.  We all were in tears, and the Disney Magic was so thick you could slice it with a knife.

Walt’s dream when he created Disneyland was to be able to create a space where parents and children could go together, where they could ride the rides together, where they could be a family together, and where they could let their imaginations take them back to their childhood.  The stories I’ve shared today are proof to me that his vision has been achieved, and that Disney Magic, even today, is alive and well.  What stories do you have to share that prove that Disney Magic exists?  Please share in the comments, and thanks!

50th anniversary of it’s a small world

{Editor’s Note:  Today’s post comes to you from my daughter Sophie.  As you’ll see, she hasn’t written in a while, so come see what she thinks of it’s a small world, and show her some comment love!  Thanks!}

Hi guys. it’s me, Sophie. Yes, I know I have not written a post in absolutely ages, but, I’m here now; so please forgive me. As you probably might know, as it is in the title of this post, the 50th anniversary of it’s a small world is today, well, not today it was more like a few days ago. Anyway, today I was thinking “I wonder where Walt Disney got the idea for it’s a small world?” and truthfully… I have no idea. I’m just gonna put it straight out there: I haven’t got a clue. So looks like you just got out of a rubbish post filled with my all time favorite way of getting to know Walt Disney: learning his history. Oh well, I’ll look it up later… So, today I’m just talking about it’s a small world, I guess… and having a conversation with you… yeah, not the best way to start my comeback to the blog. Oh well.

the 50th anniversary of the beloved it's a small world

the 50th anniversary of the beloved it’s a small world

I’m thinking of paying tribute to it’s a small world in a new way! I’m going to tell you guys about a my first experience with it’s a small world. And I want you to comment about the experience YOU had on your first time riding it’s a small world (if you can remember.) My first experience on it’s a small world was on my first trip to disney, 9 years ago. My family and I were going to disney with my friend, Riley, and her family to celebrate her birthday. Riley and I have been friends since  birth and we agree on EVERYTHING. We were four so naturally we would be drawn to fantasyland ,as most little kids are. And we all know that if you’re in fantasyland you’ll ride it’s a small world. We both wanted to ride it’s a small world first. but our parent’s had other plans. we waited patiently. allow me to mimic my four-year-old self: “Can we ride it’s a small world?… Now can we ride it’s a small world?… How about now?…Now?..Now? Now?………” Finally we went on it’s a small world. Would you believe me if I told you we were addicted to that ride? Answer in the comment section below. We loved that ride so much we went to bed humming the it’s a small world theme song that night.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this post I’m Sophie and I will see you all next time. BYE!