Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bicentennial Memories and My First Disney World Visit.

Hi and thanks for stopping by. Glenn sure puts out a great spead doesn't he?

In 1975 you could feel patriotism beginning to grow as our nation’s bicentennial approached. Everywhere you looked the colors Red, White, and Blue where on full display. I lived very close to our school. I do not recall exactly how this happened but I became responsible for raising the flag every morning before school. I would go to the office every morning to pick up the flag. In class my teacher began each day with the pledge of allegiance. With the 200th celebration of our independence approaching we had many history lessons and one very special trip in September when the Freedom Train came to Des Moines.

The US Mint got into the spirit of things with special coinage. I still have all my coins.

When July of ’76 finally came around, people where feeling pretty darn patriotic. My hometown of Johnston invited all the kids in town to decorate their bicycles and ride in the 4th of July parade.

Two years earlier we had been in Florida and did not visit Disney World. We spent most of our time in Daytona. I do recall visiting “The Mystery Funhouse” in Orlando. Not sure if that is still around. But 1976 was finally the year we went to Walt Disney World. 24 plus hours sitting in the back seat of a 74 Dodge Charger did not dull the anticipation of getting there.

The theme for 1975-1976 was America On Parade, and the Magic Kingdom was in full Patriotic d├ęcor. Right down to the floral Mickey in Red, White, and Blue outside Main Street Station. That's me with my sister on the left. Yes I'm wearng a Mickey shirt.

Being able to see with my own eyes a park that I had only seen on television was amazing. There were so many things to do. Some of which you no longer can do. We did two days at the park, on the second day my family got to ride in the front cab of monorail yellow. The view approaching Magic Kingdom was amazing. It was like flying. I recall thinking that someday we would have monorails running across our country. The monorail remains one of my favorite things about the park. It represents something I can not quite put into words. There is just a certain sense you get when you travel on it. Perhaps once again it comes down to the anticipation.

I met Mickey on Main Street. Not sure why I do not have a picture of that. I also met Tigger and Chip & Dale. Me in the white cap. Eating a Mickey bar.

My favorite memory is of ridng the Nautilus. 20,000 Leagues is my favorite live action Disney film.

There was still quite a bit of themeing that needed to be added. Look closely at the sky glider station on the right hand side. No theme at all.

On our last day we visited Treasure Island. (as it was called then) It was really just a bird santuary, but it was fun to explore.

Here my sister and I are on board the wreck of the Hispanionla

For those of you interested, here are the prices as listed on the Disney 75-76 attraction booklet.


Craig Wheeler said...

Great post, Jeff.

I, too, have some strange nostalgia for the monorail that I can't quite explain. My wife's first trip to WDW was in 2002. She was 18. I hadn't been down in a few years and was excited like a little kid to go again. She knew I liked the monorail, but after her first ride she looked at me and said something along the lines of "what's the big deal? there's nothing too special about it."

I realized then that nostalgia plays a huge role in what I love about the parks. Now that she's been there three times, she is developing some. But having never been there as a child, she will probably never quite get it the same way I do.

Matt said...

Great pictures Jeff! My first trip was in 1986, granted I was still in the womb.

My community college band (that I'm the filing clerk for) did a patriotic half time show for the Bicentennial. They had fireworks and all sorts of props. Who knew that I would still be dealing with all that junk and music 32 years later!

Chris said...

Wicked jealous as I never went as a kid :-( The last trip my parents took was when I was a couple of months away from being born. My brother and sister ALWAYS had ALL the fun. LOL Tough luck being the youngest I suppose.

Thanks for sharing!

DebWDW said...

Great pictures and memorabilia! And it's so cool hearing your stories!