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Growing old with Disneyland


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  • [Chat] Growing old with Disneyland

    My first visit to Disneyland was maybe when I was 2 months old. Now, I'm taking my 7 year old daughter on visits. In between, it's been many many good times at Disneyland.
    Do you reflect on your connectedness to Disneyland over the years? Is this the nostalgia that Tom Skaggs talked about? How do you track these moments?
    Yes, this is the nostalgia that seems so ingrained with us baby boomers. It's captured in pictures, movies, and memories and we want more of them.
    I am old. But still love Disneyland.

  • #2
    Re: Growing old with Disneyland

    I guess the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of your post was "I'll never be old when I'm at Disneyland". And I think that's part of it. My first trip was at 7 months in 1955 and I'm going at the end of this month. Grew up as a local, moved away to marry but returned as often as possible with our two sons, who are now grown. God willing, I will take my grandchildren someday (if I have any!).

    When you grow up with Disneyland it creates an unbelievably strong bond of memories and experiences with your family that you want to, and hopefully do, transmit to your children. They then have that bond with you. And it's a bond of happiness, dreams, & magic. Disneyland is and was a place where adult me can be child me once again. Where the strict limits that parenthood places on our behavior could be relaxed just a tiny bit to indulge our kids and ourselves in some silliness & make believe. Where your adult eyes see the magic through the eyes of your children and for a short time the magic is as real to you as it is to them.

    Nostalgia is yearning for what once was, but it's not the only thing that keeps me going back. As a woman whose children are grown & gone, yes I do yearn a little bit for those 'good old days' when the boys were kids, as all parents do. But now, I enjoy Disneyland as a magical place where I can relax, be silly, & let the world spin for a few days without me!

    How do we track these moments? Yes, with pictures & movies for sure. But it's those memories that spring from your heart in quiet moments by yourself or in laughing moments with your family that keep us coming back.
    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.​"


    • #3
      Re: Growing old with Disneyland

      the first time i went, i was 8 years old. it was the one and only time i went as a child---the trip from canada was too expensive for my parents. i have been several times as an adult, and i find that i have the same magical feeling when i enter the park now as i did as a child. i actually found myself getting emotional seeing WOC in september, it was so moving and beautiful. i love disneyland for the fact that grown adults can be children with their own kids.
      i always have a disney trip planned, usually on the backburner as my children are quite young, but i have already brought my oldest once. i may not be able to come as often as i like (i SO wish i lived closer and could be an AP) but that's why i have micechat!


      • #4
        Re: Growing old with Disneyland

        We went once a year from the time I was about 8. My parents divorced, and while we still went, it was never enough for me. My mom remarried and I was considerably older than my siblings from her second marriage. I ended up taking them as often as possible. We would go 2x a year. When I had my own kids, we continued the 2x a year, and slowly started upping it. My kids are now young adults (22-27) and I have a granddaughter who just turned 2. She has been about 6 times already. My kids love going to Disneyland. When they were teens, it was all about the rides. As young adults, it is now about "the experience." We have friends from all over, simply from our love of Disney. Disneyland is about so much more than rides.
        If you see a cute yellow lab puppy with a yellow cape, WAVE! It might be us! (Or it may be someone else that lurks here!) Thank you for asking before you pet! Next trip, Dec 22-Jan 3rd.


        • #5
          Re: Growing old with Disneyland

          From a picture of my first visit as a 2 or 3 year old kid with that overwhelmed what's happening to me look standing on Main Street, to the spot where I proposed to my future ex-wife, to one of the final dress rehearsals of Fantasmic! I shared with about 400 other guests late one evening, to today, I have grown older as Disneyland just seems to grow into now. The park always seems to be just what is was meant to be.

          I do look back sometimes at what used to be in the park. Lots of changes over the years but the memories remain a constant. Memories can be kept in so many ways. Could be a picture of you as a kid, a picture of your kids or grandkids, remembering Grandma's laugh (my Grandma got a kick out of Rufus the snoring bear at the entrance to Bear Country), the smell of diesel from Autopia, listening for the Monorail horn or Mark Twain steam whistle, video of the Main Street Electrical Parade, everyone has their own keepsakes.

          So even as my hair grows gray and my eyesight gets a little fuzzy, I go back to the park to remember and I go back to the park to make new memories. I don't feel it as growing older with Disneyland, I just keep going back to the park today for the new, I remember past trips for the old and I have a great time over and over.
          ​ Yes


          • #6
            Re: Growing old with Disneyland

            For American WASP Boomers in the 1950s, "Uncle Walt" stage-managed our childhood: the MMC, Disneyland (the TV show), and the succession of wholesome, sweet/sad, moralistic fairytale movies. And of course finally [the real] Disneyland itself, proving that you could travel to and step right into your dreams while still awake. So strong was this atmosphere that I doubt any A/W/B who lived through it could even imagine the experience of childhood without it.

            In successive decades America emerged from A/W/Bism - that movie
            Pleasantville certainly nailed it! - and Disney stumbled uncertainly into the 21st century along with the rest of the world. It started first including, then starring non-WASPs in its movies, while discretely removing subservient centauresses from the old ones. [Don't know if they've figured out a way to PCize the Red Indians in Peter Panlike the Jetsons.

            So for A/W/Bs now in their "golden years", I suspect that revisits to Disneyland are both nostalgic and clashing. It's definitely not "Spin & Marty" anymore, and the
            neatly-dressed/haircut kids of Pleasantland have changed into, well, something else too.

            Perhaps some of us still expect, as Joel Grey might exhort, to "
            leave our troubles outside" [the berm]. But I daresay that they have, at long last, followed us in. Soon the A/W/Bs will all fade away, and those surreal, Disneyfied 1950s will be as incomprehensible to today's generation as the Roaring 20s were to us.



            • #7
              Re: Growing old with Disneyland

              My Mother grew up watching Disneyland being built on TV and her thinking she'd never go...that changed when she was in her teens and her parents moved to So-Cal and had free life time passes for the Santa Fe as a teen she'd go there and hang out on the weekends and go dancing. Well when I was born, we live in Az, and took me for my first bday after that she made sure we never missed a year until we got AP then it was anytime my mom had a couple days off she would not even tell me and just drive to Cali, when I finnally got a job their it was like she had won the lotto!
              I feel like because of my mom I grew up at Disneyland and have a huge love for the place like it were a old friend that just feels right to be with. I remember trips when I was a kid as much as I remember every time I go now. I miss different things from over the years but I also can't wait to see what they are planning next!
              Little and broken, but still good.


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