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A Southern California Girl's Lifelong Love Affair With Disneyland
As a Southern California girl I have cultivated a lifelong love affair with Disneyland that will continue for years to come. Although I have not been to the park since November of 2006, in the past three decades I have visited Disneyland on numerous occasions. The first time I went to Disneyland was in 1986, back before there was even a California Adventure, or some of the popular rides such as Splash Mountain. My first visit to Disneyland was very memorable as because I was able to take pictures of the Main Street Electrical Parade, and observe the ridiculous eighty fashions that were in their heyday. Personally I never had an overly eighties hairdo myself, always wore mine long and straight, but looking at pictures you can see many people with those types of bangs and perms. Recently I have noticed young people adopting these styles, which just goes to show that everything that is old is new again. This hub will be a look back on many of my trips to Disneyland over the years, which will truly be a walk down memory lane.
The Infamous Squeaking Donald Duck Hat
One of the first things we did upon arriving at Disneyland was to purchase fun character hats. The clerks at the Mad Hatter Shop used their sewing machines to stitch our names on the back of the hats, which made these very special. I chose a Mickey Mouse hat and my younger sister picked out a Donald Duck hat with a squeaking beak. This hat would become the bane of her existence for the next three days because many people of all ages came up and starting squeaking the beak. If I had been her I would have just left it at the hotel, but she loved the hat, and I think part of her liked the attention too.
The Main Street Electrical Parade
There were many wonderful attractions to see at Disneyland, but one of my favorites on my first trip to Disneyland in 1986 was the Main Street Electrical Parade. I thought they had discontinued the parade, but my mom told me it is now featured at California Adventure. Back in eighties the parade used to first travel down Main Street in Disneyland and then circle out into other parts of the park. At the end of a long day my mom thought it would be a good idea for us to sit down and grab a front "curbside seat" for viewing the Main Street Electrical Parade. I had brought my first camera to Disneyland, and it was a very big deal that I was able to use my disposable flash cubes on taking pictures of this event. Today with digital cameras and instaneous images it is hard to remember what a momentous occasion this was, but looking at the photographs brings back many good memories.
When I had turned seven my grandpa had bought me my first camera for my birthday, and he insisted that I mail the film to San Francisco to be developed. We eventually stopped doing that because it cost more to post it there then it did to develop the prints locally. I can only assume grandpa thought the pictures had to be developed there, but I am not sure why.
This was a very basic camera that took disc film, which means you did not have to spool the film like on the 35mm type of cameras. Interestingly I never was happy about having to spool my film, and years later my grandpa actually broke my 35mm camera when I asked him to help me load it. After that I bought an Advantex, which I loved until I bought my first digital camera. The disc film camera was perfect for a child though because all you had to do was open it up and pop in a new disc.
The images I took with this camera were not bad considering I was only seven years old. Some of the pictures adults thought were funny at the time actually make interesting compositions looking back. I love the shots I took of the Main Street Electrical Parade, and I remember our discusion about how the performers must have beenseeing a thousand little dots from all the flashes going off.
The amusing thing about going to Disneyland is I actually saw more parades there then I saw in my own town. Of course we really did not go out of our way to attend parades, which might be one of the reasons the Electrical Parade continues to have a place in my heart. One of my favorite floats was Cinderella's carriage, but I also loved the caterpillar too! Do not be afraid to give your kids their own cameras when they go to Disneyland, or any other amusement park, because you may be surprised by the caliber of the pictures they generate. As a seven year old I noticed I cut off the top of some of the floats, but overall I did a pretty good job at picture taking. My mom did not have a lot of money to buy us tons of souvenirs like some of the kids were carrying through the park, so my hat and the pictures I took are the mementos I have from this trip. I am glad years later I have photographs because toys and stuff animals do not always stick around, but pictures can always be remembered.
Back When There Was A Bear Country
In 1986 I remember how there was a Bear Country and we ate lunch at the Country Bear Jamboree, which was a cute performance where people could order food. We learned during our visit that there are cheaper places to eat in the park, but often walking a couple of blocks outside of the park is the best deal for the budget conscious traveler. It is kind of gross to recollect, but many of us kids ended up kissing the bear with the puckered mouth pictured below. However, none of us fell ill with the 1986 version of the Swine Flu, which just goes to show people are more hardy than the news lines would have us believe. That does not mean I would kiss a Disney character today, and I would probably be really upset if I saw my niece doing that.
Snow White's Wishing Well
As a kid one of my favorite things to do was to visit Snow White's Wishing well and throw in the pennies my mom gave me. Later on during a school field trip to Disneyland my friend Jacy and I decided to sit on top of the wishing well and take each other's portraits. One family was so excited about looking down the wishing well that they could not wait until I got off of it.
Out And About In The Park
As you can tell from this photo essay I enjoy taking pictures at Disneyland, so I thought I would share some of my favorites. I thought the picture of my friend Jacy above was especially good because it is hard to get one of the characters to pose with you, especially if you are not a kid. My friend loves Disneyland and enjoys posing with the characters, and even once talked about playing one of the characters. Disneyland is a good place to work if you are looking for a part time job and live in the Anaheim area.
I have many favorite rides and attractions at Disneyland, but since I have sciatica I usually do not ride Space Mountain or Splash Mountain anymore. My back is getting better over the years, so who knows, maybe I will ride these again the next time around. The one feature I have liked over the last few years is how Southern California residents can get discounts on annual passes, which is something I want to do again soon. If you are a SoCal person like me the annual pass is a good deal if you visit the park more than a few times a year, especially since it allows you to travel freely between California Adventure and Disneyland. There are so many good memories of trips to Disneyland with family and friends over the years, and I know I will have many more in the years to come.