Friday, July 17, 2015

Happy 60th Birthday, Disneyland!

Today is a very special day for many of us. Or I should say, many of us Disney fanatics. Today is the 60th Birthday of the Happiest Place on Earth - Disneyland.

I wish you could see my Facebook feed. It's burning up with so many wonderful memories! I've been seeing so many posts on social media, and I'm adding mine to the mix. Many people have asked me why or how I became such a big Disney fan.  Well, one of my first childhood memories was being in a stroller and see the characters as we were riding the monorail. I really do remember that.

Growing up, we would go as a family. It was much easier back then. You could walk around the Park without having to pay admission. Later when I was older, we had a family friend who worked there, and I would get to go with my friend. I learned so much about the Park.

Then in college, I saw a sign that said, 'Work at Disneyland as you put yourself through school!' And I thought to myself, "Why not?" So in 1984, I became an official Disneyland Cast Member. I was an Attractions Host in Tomorrowland. It was the perfect place to not only work, but also launched a 26+ year career for me. If I can make the first Disney/Pixar reference, if you've seen Inside Out, Joy would have had to handle a Core Memory for me.

Of course there's no perfect dream job. Even some days at the Happiest Place on Earth weren't all that happy. It happens. However, looking back, oh so fondly, the friendships I would make have lasted a lifetime. So many of my friends back then still are in my life, and I'm so blessed for that. They are family to me.

It's funny how a common thing like a job, or the love of something fun, can bring people together. But it's those special bonds that keep us together through time and as we've scattered all over the world. I would be remiss if I don't mention our friends who no longer are with us. We still love them and think about them. We know they are smiling today as we all celebrate a very special place in our hearts.

And it doesn't stop there. There's another ring of Disney friends who, while I never worked with them at the Parks, are lifelong friends due to the common love of Disney. These would be my circle of friends who collect Walt Disney Classics Collection, Grand Jester Studios, pins and more. They are just as much part of my Disney family as any one of those Cast Members.

I'll borrow the title of a song Kala sings in Tarzan to tell all my Disney friends, "You'll Be In My Heart", and so will Disneyland.

And since our favorite mice, Mickey and Minnie, love cheese, here's one more big piece of cheese I'll leave with you today.

Happy 60th, my dear friend!

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