This week’s Storyworth prompt was what was your fondest childhood memory. I immediately thought of our family trip to Disney World. We drove to Florida in the Buick Skylark, all the windows rolled up with both of my parents smoking a lot. I cannot imagine making that drive with 2 young kids. I do remember my brother and I playing the License Plate game (write down all of the license plates from states other than North Carolina, whoever saw the most was the winner).
Our first stop was in Atlanta. We stayed in a fancy (to us) hotel and went to the Braves vs Dodgers baseball game. In the 80s this was a huge rivalry. We got the number one finger fan to wave in the air and all the junk food we could eat. A perfect start to a vacation.
We were back on the road the next morning arriving at Disney that evening. We stayed on site which was a real treat because that meant we got to use the monorail for transportation. Small town North Carolina does not have public transportation, so this was all new to me and my brother.
Some of the things I remember most:
- Those visors. Our trip was in June and it was way hotter than we had ever experienced June. My mom went into the nearest gift store and bought me and my brother Disney visors. They did keep the sun out of our eyes, and probably sun poisoning on our faces, but our scalps still got burned. I had flakes falling out of my hair for weeks after that trip.
- Character breakfast. Probably the highlight of the trip for me. Getting to meet the real Mickey and Minnie was amazing. My brother had a loose tooth on this trip. One of those dangling ones that he was going to swallow. Guess who pulled that tooth? Goofy and on full display during breakfast. He twirled my brother’s chair around and around and before my brother knew what had happened, his tooth was out. Way cooler than a visit from the Tooth Fairy.
- Now for the funniest memory of all. Space Mountain. I am guessing both of my parents wanted to ride this amazing roller coaster because all 4 of us got in the looooooog line. I am talking at least a 2 hour wait. There were no Fast Passes or Disney Genie tickets in the 80s. As we got closer to the boarding area, my brother started having doubts about riding. My parents, like all good 1980s parents, ignored him as we snaked closer and closer to board. As we got into the stalls to board, my brother BOLTED. He ran back through the line of waiting people (I am guessing he did not know there was a freak out back way to get out if you decide not to ride). With no cell phones, we all had to run after him to try and catch him. And we did find him, at the entrance to the ride, firmly saying he was not riding Space Mountain. So the first time I rode Space Mountain was as an adult with my son when he was just tall enough to ride. I guess that was how Space Mountain was supposed to be for me.
My parents were good parents, but they did not love Disney like our family does. Probably a lot of that was around not being able to afford it. But for them to save and take us despite their Disney aversion showed a lot of love on their part. And it made for some great memories.