Growing up I was very fortunate that my family visited Walt Disney World so often. I have so many wonderful memories from our vacations that with Mother’s Day tomorrow – I’m reminiscing about a few of my favorite times there with my Mum.
Our Disney travels in the 70’s usually had us staying at the Contemporary Resort. I remember the nights where the rest of the family would go back to the Magic Kingdom after dinner and my Mum and I would stay at the hotel. As it got close to the time for fireworks, she would walk me down (in my pajamas) to the end of the hall and out to the staircase where we could watch the fireworks and water show together. When I visit the Contemporary now I always look up at those outdoor staircases and smile just thinking about it.
There was no Internet at that time and my Mum had heard about a 3-legged animal in the mural at the Contemporary that she was determined to find. We would sit in the buffet restaurant where the Contempo Café and part of Chef Mickey’s are now and stare at that mural for hours. Years came and went and she was infuriated that we couldn’t find this 3-legged creature! Of course, we now know that it was a 5-legged goat that can be seen from the Monorail platform. I have a chuckle to myself every time I see it now.
My Mum loved Fantasmic and would insist on seeing it if we were at Hollywood Studios. One year it was rained out the night we were there, so we went back a second night to see it. As we were sitting there waiting for the show, it started to rain. My Mum put on her poncho and told me “I’m not leaving until I see the show” – she was so stubborn! I had visions of thunder and lightning all around us with my Mum not leaving! Thankfully the rain eventually passed and we got to see the show. When I walk in to that amphitheater now I think of that night and remember the argument we had because she wouldn’t leave, and how happy she was once it stopped raining and the show started.
I found some old diaries that my Mum kept during our Disney adventures. Even though I was too young to remember the first trip – she wrote down pieces every day. Pictures were too expensive to take a whole bunch in 1974 – but these diaries fill in the blanks for me. Here’s an excerpt from day 1:
September 11, 1974
Arrived at Disney World at 9:15 had breakfast then were all over to the Magic Kingdom. Francine got a scare in the Snow White but loved the carousel and it’s a small world. Stayed in the Contemporary Resort at $66 a night, we are on the 11th floor. I have never seen anything like it in my life. We had lunch at Pinocchio’s house, the Mickey Mouse Revue was wonderful.
My Mum is gone now and I miss her every day. I am so thankful she left me with these wonderful memories to cherish forever.
With cell phones and technology today, you don’t need to write a diary – you can take pictures and videos that your kids can one day look back on and see the trip through your eyes. They are never too young to start making your own treasured Disney memories.