Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I would like to take this time to wish my mom a Happy Mother's Day and to thank her for everything she's done for me thus far in my life. My mom is an amazing woman—I’m sure that's how we all feel about our mothers. She taught me that it was okay to be different, she fostered the creativity in me, she helped me look outside the box and most importantly she raised me with the help of pixie dust.


I would like to share one of my favorite stories about my mom, and of course, the Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World. Now I ask my mom to tell me this story all the time because I enjoy hearing it so much. I've tried to confirm if this story is true or not—not that I don't believe my mom—I just cannot find any other Disney literature or lore that supports it. I've even contacted Disney historians to ask if there's truth in it or if my mom has some dates mixed up. I've never heard back from them. My father is the only one that can back the story up, so it has always been an exciting mystery.
It was the summer of 1970 and my mother and father decided to take a road trip to the Sunshine State. My parents are old school and still drive everywhere, even to this day. They take their time and enjoy the scenic route, stopping at various points of interest all along the way. They made their way down to Florida and arrived in St. Augustine. While enjoying the town, my mom and dad did all sorts of touristy, road side attraction stuff, like stopping at the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. After touring the grounds, my mom asked one of the workers what else there was to do in the area. The lady told her that Disney was opening a resort over in Orlando, which sparked my mom's interest, so my mom and dad drove over to Orlando.
Mom loves to tell me how small Orlando was at the time and how nothing was grown out around the Disney Resort area. It was literally in the middle of nowhere. They stayed at a hotel in Buena Vista. I'd like to also add that my mom was pregnant with my older brother at the time and she had to make her own maternity swimsuit since back then, you couldn't find swimwear fashion for the pregnant. The next day, they made their way into the park, parked in the parking lot and took the ferry over. Mom and Dad both tell the tale of how the Contemporary was mid-construction as they were ushered across the Seven Seas Lagoon. My dad is a contractor so I know looking at construction in progress always interests him. They say the Monorail was not running at the time. They arrived in the park and mom said only Main Street USA and Fantasyland were open to explore as the other lands were still being worked on. I always ask if there were other people in the park, and she said a few were there, but not a huge crowd because the park wasn't even open yet. She says she distinctly remembers Fantasyland, in particular Pinocchio's Village Haus. She and Dad only spent a few hours in the park, but Mom remembers telling my dad that it looked like a place they needed to revisit when the park officially opened.
Do my parents have their dates wrong? Were my parents subject to a special sneak peek day? Who knows. I love the story and wanted to share. If it weren't for amazing parents, especially moms, none of us would have been able to experience the magic that is a Disney Theme Park. 



Happy Mother's Day Mom. Thanks for all the Magical Memories!  I love you!

UPDATE: After my mom read this she called and provided me some other information about the mysterious story:
- All the highways were just 2 lane highways all the way down from Indiana to Florida
- They stayed at a hotel with multiple floors(which is still there but has changed names) in Buena Vista which she thinks was a Sheridan at the time
- None of the shops on Main Street where open
- None of the attractions were running in Fantasyland (from what she remembers, being pregnant with my older brother who was born in August of 1970, she might have chosen not to ride anything because of being pregnant).

2 comments:

  1. There were previews for construction crew and castmembers, but I can't imagine that Disney would allow vacationing people to experience a park under construction. Looking back at the literature, there were previews in September for castmembers, but not much else.

    Charles Ridgway's book, Spinning Disney's World, talks about a lot of the Magic Kingdom and the two resorts not even being ready for the press event on 10/1.

    The first two hotels at Lake Buena Vista to open were in October, 1972 (then called the American Dutch Inn and the Royal Inn). The first hotel on International Drive was May, 1970 and it was a Hilton Inn.

    I would love for this to be a true story, but I can't find any evidence that it could have happened. I assume that even under Roy and Dick Nunis would never have allowed anyone in the park, for legal and show reasons.

    That being said, once the loop to Epcot Center was finished, guests were allowed to take the monorail around Epcot to see the construction progress. The monorail didn't stop and let people out, but it still gave an interesting view.

    But no photographic evidence?

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  2. I have read all the infotmation u mentioned above as well. My
    Mom says there are things in life you never forget, like being pregnant and she knows she was with my brother at the time when they went. My parents are not photograph people. We have been to wdw over 30 times and we only have maybe 100 photos to prove it. She says she wishes that she had something to proove it as well. I have been looking for proof to! It's a mystery to me.

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