The Happiest Place on Earth

My first big trip? Wow, that’s a tough one. When you’re a kid a trip anywhere new is big! What I would call my first big trip was our first visit to Disneyland! My dad had delivered a lot of the lumber used to make Disneyland a reality. An added bonus were the free passes Disney provided to all the workers and their families! I could hardly wait.

My dad, however could. Although Disneyland opened in the summer of 1955, he didn’t take us until late 1956, early 1957. I was probably around 6 and a half or 7 when we finally went. The anticipation was killer. When he first got the tickets my sister and I would constantly be bugging about going. After awhile it became apparent that he was going to take us when he takes us. Until that day we had to be satisfied watching the wonderful world of Disney and The Mickey Mouse Club. The waiting is the hardest part.

The day finally arrived and we were Disneyland bound! The anticipation was killer! The drive to Anaheim took forever. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion, I remember wondering if we’d ever get there. I was so excited I had to pee, but there was no way I was going to ask my dad to stop. We were on a mission! Fortunately, I was able to hold it until we got to the park Thank God!

My dad could be a funny guy. He really seemed to enjoy watching us squirm. Ir was the whole “Are we there yet, How much further?” scene, with my sister and I, asked every few minutes. Suddenly, without warning, he announced that we were there! Up ahead I could see the big block letters marking the Disneyland entrance. I could hardly believe my eyes, we were really there! We’d made it! Let the adventure begin.

Our visit to the park was amazing! Main Street was even more incredible than it looked on TV! My favorites rides were the Jungle Boat Cruise and Tom Sawyer Island! They were so cool! To this day I can still see my dad and me on the raft ride to Tom Sawyer Island, then exploring the pirate’s secret hideout. It was so much fun! Unfortunately, my sister was too small to go on the raft so she and my mom had to wait for us. I really wanted to ride the Davey Crockett canoes but there was a super, long line, so we went on the big Mississippi Steamship instead.

We stayed at the park until really late. I don’t recall if they had fireworks or not but they did have a Main Street parade. It was cool! We couldn’t believe how many different Disney characters were in the parade, it was incredible! After the Main Street Parade, we went to a portrait shop where my sister and I had our silhouettes done, black on a white background. I still have mine and have them hanging in my man cave. But my favorite souvenir of my first big trip to the happiest place on Earth was my Davey Crockett coonskin cap! Sure wish I still had one!

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