Search “Disneyland 1974” and you’ll discover that this year was not the most joyous or celebrated year at the Park. In fact, it’s just downright sad since one cast member lost her life on the “America Sings” attraction.
For me and my family, 1974 at Disneyland was a joyous event. I was one year old and my parents took me to Disneyland for the very first time. Accompanying us were my grandparents and many of my aunts and uncles. My family and I live in San Diego so a Disneyland visit is only a short drive north. It’s a trip we took often when I was a child. This is my family (there were at least ten of us on this trip) walking towards It’s a Small World, circa 1974. My aunt is wearing a patchwork cropped top, bell-bottom jeans and cork wedges. My grandpa, in comparison is wearing slacks and suit jacket! Ahhh, the 70s!
I’m riding in the stroller. Obviously I don’t remember this momentous event in my life but I am certain in saying that this was a turning point in my life. My family loved Disney and had visited the Park the first year it opened in 1955. My dad enjoyed telling the stories of rides from yesteryear. My dad’s love of Disney is what spurred me to start this blog and to share my experiences at the Happiest Place on Earth. It’s what had me ending 2014 as a finalist for the Disney Parks Moms Panel, too. From the first visit to the last, my Disneyland experiences are what has colored my life. I truly love this place and want to share the feeling with everyone I know.
Below is a photo dated July 1957. That’s my dad on the far left. He would have been about 10 years old. He’s sitting with three of his siblings (he was the eldest of eight). Not sure why my dad is wearing long sleeves and jeans in July! I love the writing on the back of this photo. I believe it’s my grandfather’s: “This isn’t really the castle in Fantasyland. It really is the rental house I built behind our house”. I’ve seen this photo in the album for over 30 years and had no idea that caption was on the back until today when I took the picture out of the album to scan! This photo is really a treasure to me, seeing my dad at what was his favorite place (just like me and just like my son).
And my grandpa, that’s him posing with Snow White. Guessing from the background, she was in Tomorrowland, which is strange to me. It also looks like she’s wearing a watch? I wish we had the dwarves doing Meet n’ Greet at Disneyland again.
The more things change there, the more they stay the same. About the only difference from 1974 to 2015 is the addition of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. And the trees are taller.
On that visit my dad bought me this Winnie the Pooh teddy bear. He was my cuddle companion every night at bedtime for a very long time. I think I was a teenager when I finally realized his precious delicacy and shelved him. I have now had this bear for 40 years and even now to see him, my memories flash to a picture of me holding the bear on this happy day. Pooh Bear now sits in my sons’ room, overseeing all the activity (alongside my Year of a Million Dreams MouseEars). I think about my Pooh Bear all those years ago sitting on the shop shelf in Disneyland in 1974, waiting for my dad to lift him up and place him in my arms.
Yep, that’s me at one year old. We’re about ready to go inside and watch the Country Bear Jamboree, an attraction of yesteryear.
I’m certain that taking me to Disneyland for the first time when I was only one year old was something that my family deemed necessary, since they all loved the Parks so much. It was the first of many visits for me and my family over the years. The memories blend together happily now, we’ve been so many times. For me, Disneyland is a warm and happy feeling of feeling safe and loved and surrounded by my family and friends.
Share with me in the comments about your first visit to Disneyland? What year was it and how did it shape your love of Disney?
Follow along with the 60 Days to 60 Years and the sixty bloggers who are sharing Disneyland stories and memories over the past 60 years.