Disney World 1974 Memory

As one of the newest WDW Dads, I thought I’d take you back to my first trip in 1974 and the Summer I fell in love with Walt Disney World. It was a trip that changed my life forever. And though I didn’t know it at the time, it was a trip that led me on an indirect path to becoming a “Disney Dad.”

I grew up in Florida, and back in 1974 – just two years after Walt Disney World opened – the magic and mystique of “Going to Disney” was already swirling around inside my head. I can’t recall exactly how I got the idea that going to Disney World was THE BEST IDEA EVER. But I did, and made it my mission to convince my parents to take me and my sister there.

John C in WDW 1974
Disney World 1974

So, on the morning of my 9th birthday in 1974, when my parents woke us up before the sun and said, “We’re going on a trip,” I crossed my fingers and hoped we were Disney bound. There were bags already packed by the door and the seats of our giant Pontiac station wagon were folded down and blankets laid out in the back. “It’s going to be a long drive,” my Dad said, “you kids get in and get comfortable.”

SCORE! I had done it! I had somehow managed to get my parents to take us to Disney World! Little did they, or even I, know it at the time but that birthday morning in 1974 is when my love for all things Disney was born.

I remember the exact moment, even all these years later, the very first time I saw Cinderella’s Castle. It’s that “Aha!” feeling you get when you pass through the tunnels under the train station and see Main Street U.S.A. – and there, just off in the distance “The Castle.”

WDW Fantasyland 1974
Walt Disney World, Fantasyland 1974

For me, that “Aha!” moment has lasted a lifetime. To this very day, all these years later, I still get a feeling of anticipation and excitement each time I set foot on Main Street U.S.A. There have been trips when sometimes I will just stand there. And remember that birthday morning in 1974, and think, “Right here at this spot is where it all started.”

I’m lucky enough to have been able to share that feeling with my wife and son many, many times now. And as I welcome another son into the world and we prepare for yet another trip to Walt Disney World in a week I get to share it again.

And it’s there we’ll pick up in my next post, the tales of taking my growing family to Disney. And how the best part of being a Walt Disney World Dad is sharing and seeing the magic through a child’s eyes.

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