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Disneyland Article
Disneyland Memories

ID:TMS-1845
Source:MickeyMousePark.com
Author:Steven Orsinelli
Dateline:April 7, 2010
Posted:April 7, 2010
Peter Pan's Flight
Peter Pan's Flight
 
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Sitting here in the hub of Main Street, coffee in hand, and hands sticky from the cinnamon roll I just devoured, I would like to start my first article with the past, my past, and my early Disneyland experiences that have implanted themselves in my heart and brain over the years.

"Here age relives fond memories of the past"
-Walt Disney

Today, as a man at the tender age 51, the first Disneyland park visit I can remember was probably back around 1963. I was raised about 3 miles from the park in Garden Grove California. Being of Italian descent we would attend the park as a family whenever relatives from back east would come west for a visit. My Mother would pack homemade foot long meatball sandwiches, cold macaroni, and rent a wheel chair to carry it all in. I was constantly embarrassed as a child when we would sit at the Carnation Cafe and watch my dear Mother pull out our feast while on lookers stared at us and our home brought meal.

Though my Mother rarely noticed the attention, she would immediately offer a sandwich to a gawking on-looker now and again and to my amazement, most of the time they would accept one of those incredible foot longs and we would all become friends through my Mothers food sharing network. I could not wait until I got older and was able to buy my own lunch inside the park and eat like everyone else. To this day I will not bring outside food into the park. When at Disneyland I want to experience all it has to offer, the good, the bad and the ugly. My wife does not understand this "buy food" concept, if I allowed her, she would tote egg salad sandwiches and fruit, so if and when she does attend, my way is the only way. Too bad this does not work at home!

Walt's vision of the park being surround by a high earthen berm to shut out the outside world and its problems, was a great one. Even back then as a child I knew that once we crossed under the railway that led to the entrance of the park, we would be in for a treat like non-other, and be able to leave outside worries behind. By the way, we always entered on the left side, never the right. When I turned 50, to mix things up, I started to do things backwards in the park. The first was "entering from the right side" I know, I know, mild you say, but I was 50, living wildly and breaking all the rules baby!

Entering Main Street was always a treasure because it was like living the experience of the turn of the century. How many of us have longed to live in a city like that, horse drawn trolley cars, the beeping of an oga horn and a barber shop quartette singing on the corner. The smell of fresh popcorn popping just down the street always made you want some, if and if you were lucky enough to see the Disney band marching your way it made for a perfect entrance. For me, Main Street is still magical, I can sit there with a cup of coffee for hours and just inhale the sent of the atmosphere and the folks walking by. Just the sound of the motor sputtering on one of the taxi's hauling guests up and down the street, makes you glad you are alive and sitting there.

Once at the hub of the park we had that decision to make, on to Fantasyland to ride Peter Pan, or walk fast to beat the line that was forming at the Matterhorn. Decisions, decisions. The Autopia was amazing for a young lad such as myself, as was the shooting gallery in Frontierland. In either case my family just moved to slow to get to any ride fast in those days. It seemed like it took my Mother hours to just tear out the needed tickets to get on the rides themselves. Notice there is no mention of my Father in all of this, he had the good sense to stay home and sleep on these extended family trips. As I reached the age of 14 and was allowed in the park with friends "without family" that all changed.

1972 at Disneyland took on a whole new magic for my friends and I. Not only did we embrace the new rides at the time, but we were finally free of family! This led us to be constantly on the lookout for girls that we could hang out with in the park. I think we all have a fond memory of someone we met in Disneyland, or a date that we took there. Either one brings a smile to my face as I enter the now "Star Tours" ride. It was there that I loved to take my dates due to the privacy that the old Monsanto ride offered. The seats on that ride are now the "Doom Buggies" in the Haunted Mansion, just think of the stories they could tell!

I noticed everything as a kid at Disneyland, I was constantly trying to figure out how they made things work. How did they make the railings look like wood, when they were not. Where was the sound coming from in various stages of the Haunted Mansion, and how was it all synchronized? Were the boats in the Jungle Cruise on a track or did the funny boat captain really steer it? Who was driving the floats in the parades, and how did they see to guide it down Main Street? Who where the names on the windows on Main Street? I guess I still try to figure things out, except I've read most everything on the subject.

To arrive in the park just as it opened, then stay to the end of a Disneyland day, twelve midnight, all during the summer, was sure bliss for me growing up. I will never forget riding rides with no lines just before the park closed, the fragrance of an Orange County night with the smells of oranges and dampness in the air. Stopping by the magic shop to see the latest tricks was always next to last. There was a particular funny guy who worked there that I really loved to see. Seemed that when he was working it was always hard to make it in the store due to the crowds he drew. His name was Steve Martin and I thought he was the best employee ever in that setting. I would always turn to take a last look at the park from the end of Main Street before I left. I guess to remember it, and to confirm that I had to come back as soon as possible. I must add, my friends and I always begged tourists for their ticket books as they left the park, all the "E" tickets were gone, but there was plenty of A,B, C and D tickets left.

Seems we all have our special early memories of Disneyland, all different and shared at the same time. Aunts and Uncles we rode rides with, friends we shared laughs with, and seeing the fantasy of Disney films and Disney Television come alive right before our eyes, all in real time.

See you at Disneyland!
 

You can contact Steven Orsinelli directly by sending an Email to: Authors
 
 
Attractions Referenced

Adventure Thru Inner Space
Haunted Mansion
Jungle Cruise
Matterhorn Bobsleds
Peter Pan's Flight
Star Tours
Tomorrowland Autopia
 
Restaurants Referenced

 
Parades Referenced

 
 
 
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