Monday 1 April 2024

Disney you say...

So how did my love (some may call it obsession) of Disney come about?

When I think back Disney has always just 'been there' in my life. I remember as a child growing up in the UK we would watch 'Disney Time' a movie clip compilation show that would appear on the TV at special times of the year. 

I have a vague memory of one of my very first trips to the cinema being to watch 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks', although I can't be sure this was during its initial cinematic release as I would have only been about 4 years old. But growing up in the 1970's and 1980's Disney was simply a part of the pop culture we were exposed to.

I very recently re-discovered an album that I still own to this day and which was probably bought for me as a child, it's dated 1975.

Then in November of 1990 during a trip to London we made a point of visiting the then brand new Disney Store on Regent Street; it had only opened that month and was the first Disney Store outside of the US. I have this photo of me wearing the Mickey ears that we had bought. I remember them being of a very hard, shiny plastic and that they dug into my head so hard it meant wearing them for anymore than a few minutes just wasn't doable! Oh how times, and ears, have changed!

Then in 1991 Simon and I made our first trip to Orlando, Florida which was kind of by accident. We had originally intended to go on vacation with my parents who were planning a trip to Austria but I'd gotten the dates mixed up and had booked the wrong weeks off from work. It was also the time of the Gulf war and the rumours were that flights to the US were 'going cheap' so we decided to take advantage and book a Florida vacation. However, when we came to make the booking we soon found out that the rumours of cheap flights were just that, rumours! But as we had chosen where we wanted to go we decided to book the vacation anyway staying in a hotel on International Drive.

On 30th July 1991 we made our way to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World for the very first time and stepping onto Main Street USA I just knew I was 'home'.
Taken 30th July 1991, waiting for the fireworks.
Since then there have been numerous trips to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris, one trip to Disneyland, one Disney cruise and Simon has been lucky enough during work trips to visit Tokyo Disney Resort. I have lots of books and memorabilia, handbags, clothes and just the odd one or two Disney themed tattoos! Oh and I co-host a Disney theme parks podcast with my very good friend Michelle, called the Disney Dream Girls.

So yes Disney plays a big part in my life and I think it always will. 

There is something in the ethos of Walt Disney and the company that he created that draws you in. But it is still hard to explain what it is exactly that drives this love of all things Disney and the indiscernible magic that it creates. It's in the story telling, the attention to detail, the characters, the customer service, the ability to leave the real world behind for a little while and for everyone no matter what age or background to enjoy something together. 

Some will look at Disney and the theme parks and assume it's 'just for kids' but it is so much more than that. And to use a quote attributed to Walt himself from the opening of Disneyland in 1955, and then immortalised in plaques at both Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom...'here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy'...oh and remember 'adults are only kids grown up anyways'!