Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why the Disney Addiction???

Why the Disney Addiction???

I can trace my Disney Addiction all the way back to my childhood. I grew up in Burbank, California not too far from the Disney Studio, along with many other studios. Disney is a big part of Burbank life.

Back in 1960 my paternal grandparents decided to take my two brothers to Disneyland but refused to take me. They said I was too young (I was 2 ½) and too much of a problem for them to bother. My maternal grandma decided that was unfair and I had to go to Disneyland! She was elderly and ill but made sure I went. In truth she wanted to go as much as I did.

I only remember grandma going on a few rides that day but she totally loved the place. She fell in love with Peter Pan, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the Skyway. She loved sitting and watching people having fun. She gladly waited as I rode the rides she could not or did not wish to ride with my mother. She would sit on a bench near the exit of the ride so I could run over right as I got off to tell her about the ride with my toddler excitement. I always started calling out to her as the ride vehicle was nearing the end of the ride. I rode many rides that day!! I remember Matterhorn Bobsleds along with many others. She wanted to know about everything I saw and felt on the rides she could not go on. She took me back once or twice a year for the next three years until she was too ill to go anymore. Each time she would say some grandchild or another had to go and my mother had to take them and grandma. If my mother went my brothers and I had to go! Usually my uncle got the tickets for us.

After grandma died I still got to Disneyland an average of once a year. Usually my Uncle would pay for my mother to take some of my cousins to the park in memory of grandma. In the early days of tickets we did not do many rides but we loved watching people and seeing the shows. All through my school years I looked forward to Gradnight at Disneyland. Oh my!! Stay up all night at Disneyland!! How magical is that??

All through my childhood I watched Disney movies. As I grew I found I liked the depth of the stores and characters of Disney movies better than others. I loved the richness of the animation and the attention to detail that Disney took with their movies. No other studio could do animation as well! I remember all the Disney educational films being shown in school. I grew up watching things like, Our Friend the Adam and Donald Duck in Mathematicland. I remember watching Uncle Walt on TV. The Disneyland TV show and Wonderful World of Color were a bright spot in my week. I would watch the clock all day and run into the livingroom and turn on the TV sitting on the floor as close as my mother would allow waiting for Uncle Walt to come on and tell me what wonderful, magical and amazing story he would tell that week! If I was at my grandparents home we would watch it there because grandma was also addicted. During the next week my grandma, mother and I would talk about the story.

In 1978 I was set up with a wonderful guy. From the start we thought it a bad match. We both said no way! Best friends forever! Romantic NEVER!!! For a year that was our mantra. My “Best Friend” went to college and took a two year course in Respiratory Therapy and completed it in nine months! He aced his finals and then his State Boards! What would I do to celebrate his accomplishments?? I took him to Disneyland of course!! We were sitting in the French Market Café enjoying dinner when the Jazz band there started playing love songs and dedicating them to us! We laughed and said, “No Way!!” The band just laughed and told us, “We have the Disney Magic and we can see you two are in LOVE!” The love songs kept coming until we ran out of the café to the laughter of the band and other guests! Within the week we realized we were in love and started dating! January 1980, 6 months later, we were married! Thank you Disney!! We celebrated our 31st anniversary this year.

My husband and I would look for a way to spend a joyful and peaceful day so off we would go to Disneyland. When we adopted a child we quickly introduced her to all things Disney and took her to Disneyland for the first time when she was three months old. We decided to homeschool our daughter and we would take her to Disneyland often to learn. We would walk down Main Street and talk about history, the development of transportation and electricity and in the Opera House we talked about Lincoln, the Civil War, (for a time) development of photography, slavery and state rights. There are many other ways to learn at Disneyland if you have an open and creative mind.

I’ll tell you the one last reason and it’s a secret reason for my Disney Addiction. I suffer from depression, life has not been kind to me in many ways. I choose to take Walt Disney’s advice and live by his example and choose to be happy and make a difference instead of wallowing in self-pity. Walking into Disneyland I truly leave most of my problems at the gate and give my soul time to recharge. As a Christian I take to heart Jesus’ words, “Come to me as a child.” I believe that means I should not be childish but childlike. A child has whimsy and a open heart. There is a willingness to suspend reality (the truths they know for sure) to accept the amazing. Going to Disneyland or watching a Disney movie reminds me to be childlike and be ready to be amazed.

So in short I’m addicted to Disney because I make a choice to find a little joy each and every day and in Walt’s words, “Keep Moving Forward.”

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