The Brickers’ “Retro” Disney World Trip Report

Usually, when those of us who write trip reports sit down and touch quill to papyrus (what, the rest of you who write trip reports don’t do your initial drafts on papyrus?!) the trips are relatively fresh in our minds. For today’s post, I am going to break several trip reporting customs, including the misconception that you even need to remember any aspect of a trip to write a report on the trip. I know I certainly prefer fiction to non-fiction!

The above string of tongue in cheek comments aside, this won’t be a trip report in any traditional sense. For obvious reasons, I don’t quite remember all, or even most, of the details from a lot of these trips, so instead of filling the gaps with concocted content (unless you want to read about my epic battles with the dinosaurs in Universe of Energy), I am presenting little vignettes of things that stood out from each trip, and things that, generally, appealed to me as a child visiting Walt Disney World. It will be an aggregate, of sorts, of multiple trips from my childhood and while there while undoubtedly be some inaccuracies (memories often alter themselves as the years pass), they will be innocuous and unsubstantial, rather than off-the-wall fiction. With that said, let’s board our time machine ride vehicles for the trip report! (Warning: this trip report is traveling at the same speed as your time machine vehicle. Please take small children by the hand, look down, and watch your step into the text.)

My voyages to Walt Disney World began way back in Christmas 1984. In utero, baby! That’s right, my parents were so dedicated to raising a devoted Disney fan even back then that they braved the crowds the week between Christmas and New Year’s just to let me experience the spirit of the Christmas season in the parks. Although I doubt I could see anything, I am certain that I enjoyed the experience’s rhythm, ambiance, or something while asleep, or whatever it is that fetuses do, in there.

Of the trips that I don’t remember, that is the one that sticks out most in my mind right now. This is mostly because I like to say, “I’ve been going to Walt Disney World” since before I was born. Obviously, I don’t actually have any first-hand knowledge of this trip, or the couple of other trips we took when I was a toddler. There are undoubtedly photos from these trips scattered throughout this report. Although I don’t remember the show, I would say one of the highlights of these trips was seeing Country Bear Christmas. What I would give to see that show again!

On one of these trips that I don’t recall, my parents decided it would be an appropriate time to introduce me to the not-so-gentle giants that roamed the earth during the Cretaceous Period. Prodigious, I was not, as I did not have the ability to distinguish between Audio Animatronics and living creatures. I also had no sense of self-preservation, as instead of quietly hiding from the creatures, I wailed and carried on. (Sorry to any of you who may have been riding with us in the mid-1980s!) What is notable here, however, and what I’m constantly reminded of, is that in the midst of the show, I referred to the dinosaurs as “dime-o-saurs.” This is probably not that humorous or endearing, but I am reminded of this at least once per year by my mother, so it’s a memorable Disney experience for our family; thus into the report it goes! Beyond this, though, I can’t say there are any specific experiences that (I’ve been told) stick out from these trips.

Of the trips that I do remember, I’m not really quite sure in what years we took each of our next trips, besides 1989, 1991–because I know we were there for the 20th Anniversary, and 1996–because I know we were there for the 25th Anniversary, but for the most part we went every year in the Spring, although not usually for Spring Break, because my parents saw the importance of avoiding crowds. This means that they *gasp* pulled me out of school for a week for our trips. Shockingly, and much to the chagrin of countless posters on Disney forums, I turned out just fine. Or at least, so I think. I will probably make reference to things my parents did or allowed me to do in this report that would not be kosher in today’s “bubble-wrap your kids before they leave the house” era. I assure you, they’re mostly upstanding individuals.

We drove down to WDW, as far as I can recollect, every single time we went. This was a fun experience for me, as I could look out the window at things and read. In elementary school, my goal was typically to read an entire Goosebumps book before we reached Atlanta. From there, I would focus on whatever homework assignments I had, then nap until we drew closer to Walt Disney World, at which time we’d tune the radio to Disney Radio to get updates on the parks as I watched for the new Disney billboards. I recently discovered a few years of these Disney Radio loops on MouseBits, and they certainly were a blast from the past!

Returning home, on the other hand, was usually so depressing that I locked myself in a grocery bag.

The first trip we took that I remember was in 1989, and I remember this specifically because a new show had just hit the television airwaves. Probably the greatest show ever, actually. I’m talking about Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers. I was obsessed with the show, and come to find out, the campground at which we were staying, Fort Wilderness, had some ties to Chip & Dale. This trip was destined to go down in history as the greatest thing ever.

On this trip, two things really stick out. First, was heading to the Outpost at Fort Wilderness during our trip to buy my one souvenir from the trip. Being terrible parents, instead of spoiling me with lavish and endless amounts of toys, sought to teach me accountability and money management. In so doing, they required me to earn things like “television time” and an “allowance.” On these trips, though, they would buy me one item as a souvenir from the trip. Those readers with an affinity for vermin culture will know that Rescue Rangers starred two delightful chipmunks, and accordingly, Disney capitalized on the two stars by producing two separate character plushes (dang, even back then Disney was an evil giant! ;-P). Since I could only purchase one, I chose the mischievous and irreverent Dale, orange and yellow Hawaiian shirt and all. That Dale was the start of what would later become quite a large plush collection. In fact, he was still living in my parent’s basement up until a couple of years ago, when one of their cocker spaniels took to chipmunk hunting. Sort of sad, especially after the recent exposee on the subject entitled Toy Story 3.

The second thing that really stuck out from this trip was Chip & Dale’s Breakfast Jamboree at Fort Wilderness. Although I don’t completely recall the show aspects, this was a combination breakfast show and character breakfast featuring Chip & Dale. Apparently, it also had Melvin from the Country Bear Jamboree. Now that sounds like a show that would be awesome to see! I wish Disney would bring back something like that.

On a later trip, I remember going into Mickey’s Starland when it was relatively new, to see a new show called Mickey’s Starland Afternoon Show. Located, I believe, where the Toontown Hall of Fame is now located, this was about the coolest thing ever. It featured everyone’s favorite characters from the Disney Afternoon: Gummi Bears, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, DuckTales, TaleSpin, DarkWing Duck, Goof Troop, and Bonkers. Although I had no use for Gummi Bears, the rest of those shows were brilliant and critically acclaimed masterpieces, as far as I was concerned. I now can’t remember what the Starland Afternoon Show was actually about, I think it might have just been a lot of dancing around and character interaction, but it was awesome to me to see these characters in the flesh.

As evidenced by these photos, character meetings were obviously a priority from a young age for me. I can’t say that any of the Fantasyland or other typical “child-oriented” attractions really resonated with me at a young age (although I could be incorrect, as my memory from these trips is mostly gaps), with one substantial exception: Journey into Imagination.

Journey into Imagination is the attraction that, when visiting as a child, I still remember vividly to this day. The opening scene with Dreamfinder seemed like a flight on a mystic contraption, and when Figment appeared, with his child-like inquisitiveness and enthusiasm, that was icing on the cake. It’s easy for me to now see how Figment from this era appealed to children so much, as he essentially was a child. What child didn’t dream of having fun while riding a dragon? Figment took that to the next level, as he had the typical fun of a child while being a dragon(like creature)!

From that initial scene that seemed to last forever–in the best way possible–to the rest of the scenes, all filled with gorgeous set pieces and tons of detail, Journey into Imagination was the coolest thing in the world to me. I remember especially liking the scene of Figment with a bucket and a rainbow, standing in front of a pond with white scenery enveloping him, and waiting to be painted with the brush of his imagination.

Although it’s difficult to pick a favorite scene, another that really stands out is the finale room. In this room, a Figment audio animatronic stood in the middle of a circular room with videos running around the wall (think CircleVision 360, except without that style of video) showing Figment engaging in various acts as the awesome sounds of “One Little Spark” enveloped the guests, and as the ride vehicles passed through the circle out to unload, where the fun was just beginning.

The entire attraction was rife with detail and each scene brought something enchanting, whether seeing it for the first time or the 51st. Although, no doubt, part of this is my waxing nostalgic for the attraction, I wholly believe that this sense of nostalgia is grounded in reality. I am not just nostalgic for the attraction for the sake of nostalgia. I am nostalgic for it because it was truly one of the highest quality attractions to ever grace a Disney theme park. I think that, even today, it would hold up well (obviously a few updates would be in order). I think a fair comparison in scope and detail, but obviously not theme, is the Haunted Mansion. Unfortunately, and my resentment towards my parents is palpable on this, but we have no personal photos or video from Journey into Imagination (how do they have no photo of me and Dreamfinder/Figment?!). So, I recommend checking out this high-quality tribute to the original Journey into Imagination by Martin Smith if you never experienced it:

The dark ride itself was amazing, but the ImageWorks post show was almost nearly as impressive. The games, effects, and that amazing Rainbow Corridor were nothing short of magic to my curiosities. These experiences had my excitement at a fever pitch when we headed into the gift shop. As soon as I met Figment and Dreamfinder, my souvenir budget quickly reallocated itself away from Chip & Dale, and towards them. My dream toy was always the giant, 4 foot Figment plush, given its price tag and my budget, I found myself settling for lower priced, but equally endearing Figment plush that, after numerous “operations” with needle and thread to repair some herniated neck issues, has been a great companion on almost every subsequent trip to Walt Disney World (and Disneyland!) that I have since taken.

One other such toy that really stands out is a spaceman PVC Figment that I still own to this day. At the time, he probably cost $1.99, but he gave me countless hours of entertainment, as his rocket-pack propelled him from handrail to planter to random strangers’ backs (okay, maybe not the last one…at least I hope not) as we watched a water-ski and air show (I believe) over the World Showcase Lagoon and drudged through the uber-boring World Showcase. Funny how that place has grown on me with time.

There are multiple pages in this Walt Disney World trip report. Navigate to the next page below!

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53 Responses to “The Brickers’ “Retro” Disney World Trip Report”

  1. Donnie says:

    I know the feeling of driving to WDW while reading Goosebumps. In all of my childhood WDW pictures I am also wearing a fanny pack… I can’t make fun of you for that one

  2. Amanda says:

    This trip report contains not only sweet outfits but sweet fanny packs as well. A+

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Ha. I can’t believe my parents had the audacity to dress me like this, but I guess it was a different time, style-wise, then. I wonder if I could still rock a fanny pack?

  3. Beth says:

    Thanks for sharing all of this! I can remember so many of the things you wrote about and I’m sure I have some similar photos from our 80s trips!!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I just wish I could remember things better! I’m not asking for a ride-by-ride memory of what we did, just a better memory of the parks, in general. Some things I can remember vividly, other things I can’t remember in the least. Odd how the mind works!

  4. Adam Hansen says:

    Unfortunately most of the photos from my first trip were lost when we moved – I am still upset over that :)

    I loved seeing the fanny packs and the bright pink hat, I remember very similar outfits lol

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That stinks. I know my parents still have plenty more at home, so maybe I will raid the photo albums next time I head home for the weekend. I do know, however, that there are no photos of me, Figment, and Dreamfinder. I would trade all of the other photos for one photo of that.

  5. Ellen says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome! Really enjoyed reading this! I love the retro pics – especially the Epcot characters in their old-school space suits! I had a similar Disney journey as you – going every year growing up before I got “too cool.” Then I rediscovered my Disney love a few years ago at 27 and am hooked now more than ever! Keep these awesome reports coming – this was a delight to read!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Glad you liked it! Those EPCOT Center rainbow costumes were really crazy, weren’t they?

      My “too cool” stage was probably from 2002 until 2005. Oddly, before I sat down to write this report, I thought it was a much longer stage. I didn’t realize our last family trip was in 2001.

  6. FynWDW (Dave) says:

    This report brought back a ton of memories for me. My Disney childhood (almost all school vacations between 1989-2000) was largely spent driving down and staying at Fort Wilderness. Also, because you mentioned Daytona USA, did you ever spend a lot of time in the SEGA portion of Innoventions? For a good few trips that area sucked me in like a Dyson. What’s a 12 year old kid to do when there are *that* many video games around!?

    We should do a joint article on the forgotton arcades of WDW, and the games that made each special. Tomorrowland, Main Street’s Penny Arcade, Innoventions (with the F1 “simulator”), The Contemporary…Heck, even Fort Wilderness’s Pioneer Hall arcade had Mad Dog McGraw! That game was live-action!

    Also, here’s a little nostalgia for you.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That’s an article I’d be interested in reading, but I wouldn’t be able to add anything to it. Besides Twilight Zone pinball, Donkey Kong at Neverland Club, and Daytona USA that one trip, I didn’t play video games at WDW at all. My parents were very anti-video games.

  7. Cassie Dyer says:

    Wow, it’s so funny how very similar our childhoods were! I was born in 1987 and I grew up taking the 20 hour drive to WDW every single year.
    I love all of your trip reports, but this one really resonated with me, especially about Journey into Imagination. To this day I can remember everything about that ride so vividly. Growing up in WDW was such a blast, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
    Thanks so much for another wonderful trip report and bringing back some great memories!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      20 hour drive? That certainly sounds familiar! Yes, I really miss the original Journey into Imagination. I try to be as positive as I can about Disney (doesn’t always happen, I know), but the current JII is just an abomination. Terrible, terrible, terrible.

  8. Jessica @ Acting Adult says:

    I love the trip down memory lane! I only went to the World once with my family when I was a kid. I’ll have to go find those pictures.

    And the Full House episode in WDW? Epic. :)

  9. Wendy says:

    Love this!! It makes me wonder what my kids will remember about their trips…my oldest is 10 and we’re about to go for his 4th time. :-)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      You really never know what they’ll remember. Sometimes the smallest things have the biggest impact. I know that was the case for me. Then there are other things that you might think are huge that they don’t remember at all!

  10. Patti says:

    Thanks for sharing those memories. I can’t wait to visit my mom and dig into her picture box for our old Disney photos!

    And your dad can rock a mustache as well as Tom Selleck can!

  11. Darolyn says:

    I too have a plush Skippy!! He’s one of a few stuffed animals I actually kept in good condition. He sits right in my room.

    JII is one of the attractions I also remember very vividly from my childhood. My sister and I LOVED it. I would gladly give up Stitch’s Great Escape, Tomorrowland Speedway with a little Sounds Dangerous thrown in to get the original JII back!!

  12. This Trip Report was so much fun to read. While I am gulp 9 years older than you and my one and only trip to WDW as a kid was in 1985 and you were just a 1 year old many of the things you talk about I still feel were part of my experience too! :)

    One thing I remember the most and looked around for my kids when we went on our First Family Disney Trip this May 2011 was my parents letting me go on a Day at Disney Backstage Tour for kids. I remember my parents dropped me off and Disney gave each of us one of those old Disk Camera’s and we had like maybe 15 pictures we could take and they took us all around Disney for the day we got to see all sorts of Behind the Scenes stuff it was Great and I was only 10 years old and I felt like BIG stuff LOL!!!

    Epcot was only 3 years old when we went and my biggest memory from then was the fountains that shot water out in intervals back then these fountains were totally amazing they did not have them anywhere else Disney was a Genious but now they are everywhere, I can still say I got to experience them 25 years ago when no one else had them :) Figment and the original JII was a big part of our Journey and My Dad got us reservations at this Amazing Rest. in The living Seas where you could eat inside the Aquarium with fish swimming everywhere and back then that was also unheard of and so very very cool, but now not unusual at all!!!

    Loved reading your trip report and seeing the pictures brings back so many memories. My Kid Disney years ended in 1987 at the age of 12 when we made one last trip to DLR on our way to moving to Hawaii my Dad was killed there in Hawaii so I never got to go again until this year but it was like going Home entering Disney again and now I am totally working on my Husband who says our next trip can be in 5 years because there are so many other amazing parts of America to see besides Disney LOL!!!! NOT in my Book LOL!!!!! I am so glad I got the Disney experience as a kid it was Amazing and I have very found memories. I don’t ever remember having to stand in huge long lines for the Character Greetings like my 4 kids had to do this summer I just remember coming across the characters around the park. My memories might be jumbled and maybe we did wait in lines but looking at your pictures it almost looks like you happened across them here and there too!!!

    Thanks for sharing Tom it was such a fun Blast from the Past to read!!!


  13. Grant Saylor says:

    Know whats funny? I found this entry way before I started regularly reading your blog, and just now realized it was you who wrote it.

  14. Cait says:

    I think that the only thing greater than the Full House reference in this trip report is the amazing 90’s fashion. And that Chip & Dale cutout! One of my family’s pictures that I have always remembered the most is in front of that display. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  15. Michelle says:

    Ha! I though I was the only one who remembers Gummi Bears! I loved that show. My first and only family trip to Disney was in 1990 and included fanny packs, far too much neon and an Im too cool for this attitude :). So looking at these pictures doesn’t make mine look so bad. But I do remember a few of the rides you mentioned from that trip. And when I went back again in 2009 it was like a whole new Disney and now I’m hooked! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Tobias Beck says:

    Hey Tom!

    I’ve been thoroughly enjoying ready your blogs, and have been loving your photography! However, it seems that for some reason most of your blogs photos are no longer showing up for me? There is a red X now, and I’m distraught! Any tips or clues as to why? :(

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Odd–I can see them. Are you reading from a mobile device?

      • Tobias Beck says:

        No, I’m on my work computer, though…so I wonder if there is some kind of firewall up or something. (I don’t know much about computers) lol

      • Tobias Beck says:

        However, I can see them on my that’s what I’ve switched to. 😀

        Loving your blogs, and you and Sarah couldn’t be more adorable! I’m taking my own Sarah for her first visit in September. It’s always fun to take a newbie!

  17. Brie says:

    This is too funny–I think we’re probably about the same age, so I have a lot of the same memories. My most vivid memory from a trip from when I was young was probably when we visited in 1993 and everything was all about Aladdin. Good times.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Ahhh, the days of the Aladdin promo. That was awesome! Although I preferred when they went gung-ho with The Lion King!

  18. Kait Rose says:

    I can’t remember if I’ve read this report before but I definitely got some good laughs out of it (mostly because the majority of OUR pictures from my childhood Disney visits look like this…the fanny packs we wore don’t bother me as much as the neon colored clothing)

    I especially enjoyed the baseball section–I work for MLB Network (not sure if you get our network or if you’re even still a baseball fan) and we send a crew to Braves Spring Training every year…AND in 2010 the All-Star Game was in Anaheim (Red Carpet parade in Disneyland) and the Winter Meetings took place at Swan/Dolphin. Sadly, I’m a graphic designer so I serve no purpose on site and was stuck in NJ (bleh). Instead I was asked numerous “newbie” Disney questions mostly relating to members of our crew needing directions because they were “lost”

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I thought your story was going to have an exciting ending–that stinks that you don’t get to go on those trips! At least you can live vicariously through your co-workers’ experiences…right?

  19. Chrissy says:

    3 Things: 1- I totally remember wanting to be a part of the living seas because of the Full House episode. That two-parter STILL resonates in my brain.

    2- I hate to say it, Tom, but you defo missed out on Mr. Toad and 20,000 Leagues. They were two of my absolute favorite rides ever. EVER.

    3- I’m sad that I don’t remember Figment (And I’m not sure I ever saw him), but I also didn’t get the opportunity to do EPCOT until I was 14. I’m pretty sure that we were Magic Kingdom only up until that point.

  20. Amy Wonsil says:


    Loved reading your memories of your family trips!! I can only hope that some day my kids will have such fond memories of the family trips we took in 1996, 1999, and 2010. Ours are even more special because my parents, their grandparents, went on each trip to make sure each grandchild had a special first trip of their very own. Hope at least one or two of them turn out to be a Disney freak like me:)

  21. Steph says:

    As you may or may not know from Twitter (bareftbch815), I am also a huge of Figment. Unfortunately, I don’t have any personal photos or video (to my knowledge) of the ride. I was transfixed by the video you provided, remembering the little details and the parts of the ride that were lost to me. I remembered some bits, and the after ride was also familiar.

    It’s funny how so much of the things you said also sounded like my childhood trips. I only took three with my family when I was younger, but we’ve been back twice since 2008. Loved reading this!

  22. Nicole says:

    We have just about the entire Melvin the Moose breakfast show on video. I’ll have to make it a point to convert it to DVD.

    Loved your post and all of the comments that go with it. So many great memories.,

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That’s so great. You really ought to convert it to DVD and share it online. I’m sure others would love to see it, too!

  23. Laura B says:

    You loathed the Atlanta Braves, the greatest baseball team in the history of baseball? I’ve lost all respect for you.

    But the TR was great! Took me back to some of my early trips as a kid with my family, from my first trip to WDW (1979) to my first trip to DL (1997).

    • Laura B says:

      After reading this TR again, I caught your comment about taking a late-elementary school trip in 1995. As I graduated high school in 1996, I seriously think I’m going to have to start disliking you again. 😉

      However, you’ve done DiveQuest, so maybe there are redeeming qualities in you. I’m also SSI open-water certified, and I hope to do DiveQuest on one of my 2014 trips.

  24. Laura says:

    This is a great trip report. It really brought up some memories for me though your childhood was my high school years (first trip in 1977 at 11 months old). You are so lucky your parents didn’t like 20,000 Leagues. My dad had been in submarines in the navy, and every time we went we had to stand in an epic line for this ride– in the days before Fastpass. As a kid, I just didn’t get his fascination. Now, I treasure those memories. I also miss the times when Disney used to celebrate anniversaries. I remember the 15th, 20th, and 25th anniversaries. I also remember when Toontown started out as Mickey’s Birthdayland– celebrating his sixtieth birthday. You really should go to the Hoop Dee Doo again. I’ve been twice as an adult, and it brings back such great memories, though I heard that they recently changed some songs. Great idea for a trip report!

  25. Jazmin says:


    So you stopped going to Disney World all together once you were a teen because you were too cool? Or because your parents didn’t want to go anymore? Kind of weird how a Disney crazy family just stops going to the happiest place on earth. =)

  26. Gabby says:

    This is such an awesome trip report! I really enjoyed reading it! I too was one of those once-per-year Disney kids and went through a I’m-too-cool-for-Disney phase in the mid-2000’s: WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

  27. Jimmy N says:

    My family used to go about every year from the early ’90s to early 2000s. We used to drive as well, every time, all the way from Michigan. We also used to stop at the Florida Welcome Center and take our picture by the “Welcome to Florida” sign. We also used to wear neon colored and/or Michigan sport shirts, shoes, hats and fanny packs.

  28. pennypinchin4disney says:

    Thank you for the wonderful reading material each night. 47 days til my first Disneyland trip. what a walk down memory lane. Our family drove from Wisconsin every other year from 85 on and stayed at Fort Wilderness. Not only did we rock the fanny packs we all wore red hooded sweatshirts ( me and my eventually 5 siblings) and my cousins wore green all 5 of them. Love your blog!!!

  29. Betsy says:

    Fulton’s Crab House began life as the Empress Lilly, anchoring what was then known as the Village. It is where my husband proposed in 1979. We, too, got engaged at WDW and honeymooned there the following October. Until the kids were grown, we first camped at Ft. Wilderness, then (because it was yeah, a 20 hr drive) we began flying, staying at the cabins, even before they were in the present log cabin configuration. Now the children are all grown and the husband and I “moved up” to a couple of cruises with stays at the Dolphin tacked on. Since discovering WALKING to Epcot and Hollywood Studios (which we, in our decrepitude, still refer to as MGM), we are sold on staying in that area. We’ve a trip with our daughter and granddaughters planned for next October. We’re hoping to stay at Boardwalk, renting DVC points. Perhaps we’ll purchase in the next year or two. Certainly the contract will outlive us at this point.

  30. Greg says:

    See, this is why corporations should sponsor Epcot pavilions. Kodak sponsored Imagination, it was your favorite, and now you’re a serious photography buff. Too bad for Kodak they didn’t do well in the digital revolution, but otherwise their investment might have paid off long-term.

    • Nita E. says:

      I live in Rochester, NY and we were sad to see some of the “Kodak Photo Spot” signs switched to Fujifilm. (I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with Fujifilm, just that locally our interest is in Kodak.) We’ve been watching the Muppet Vision theatre sponsorship, waiting for that to drop, too. I think the sponsorship on Town Square Theater has already changed?

  31. Nita E. says:

    Haha, I can safely say that I was never “too cool” for anything :) Annual trips were the norm in my family – and Grandma always snuck me away for an extra-long Columbus Day weekend. The only year we missed was in 2001. Our trip was scheduled but I was too scared to fly that October.

  32. Jody says:

    Wonderful report, Tom. Thanks for sharing your childhood memories. I visited Disney World only once as a child, in 1979 with my parents and my two little brothers (I was 11), and it was the happiest experience of my happy childhood.

  33. Rob says:


    Thanks for literally making me cry with laughter at your stories of Disney! I ‘get’ your love of Walt Disney World though I haven’t been there nearly as often as you…yet. I grew up going to Disneyland California every year (great road trips from CO, NV, and Northern California). I still make a pilgrimage to the “Happiest Place on Earth” whenever I get out to CA, which is not so frequent these days.

    I first went to WDW in 1992 with my dad to celebrate graduation from college and didn’t get back there again until 2009 with my wife and daughter during Spring Break. Our second trip was two years later for two weeks in the summer of 2011, followed by a 1-day ‘quickie’ visit to the Magic Kingdom in 2012 with my daughter and my folks just before a 14 day cruise.

    We head down again July 15th for a 10 day trip (our first staying on property) and we’re all getting pretty excited already. Your blog has only served to whet my appetite for WDW (and drive my wife crazy because she doesn’t ‘get’ it, but she’ll happily go as long as I do all the planning. We are hoping to move to FL in 2015 so we can both get way more magic time!

    Keep up the great reviews!


  34. Megan says:

    Tom, this is great! I’m a long time reader of the blog, and occasional poster, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read this Trip Report! (I must say that my only disappointment is that I thought there would be pix and memories from both you and Sarah here, since it would be cute to see what you both remembered from your childhood trips… So Sarah, if you are ever so inspired to do a Part 2 here, this reader would love it!)

    I am about the same age as you and grew up going to Disneyland every year for a long weekend with my family (we lived about an hour away). When I was 10, my dad took me on the pilgrimage to Florida to see my Grandpa and that included a couple of days at WDW. As you mention, it’s strange what you remember… I remember sitting in a restaurant at the Contemporary (where we stayed) and seeing the monorail overhead; I remember riding the monorail and being blown away the first time I saw Spaceship Earth (and 20 years later, I’m still in awe); and I remember being excited when my dad told me we could leave Epcot Center and go back for one more ride on Big Thunder in the Magic Kingdom (which was my favorite ride in Disneyland too).

    Anyway, as my teen years became my 20s and I moved away from home, I had kinda forgotten about the Disney parks. Now an East Coaster, my husband and I took a couple’s trip to WDW in 2013, and loved every minute of it. Your blog was so helpful in my researching our trip! And now, we’re going back with extended family next year, and I can’t imagine Disney vacations won’t be part of my life moving forward. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for the blog and sharing all your memories – old and new. There is so much to both relate to and learn here, and you do a beautiful job with the site. Best wishes to you and Sarah.

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