Many of you know that my family and I are huge Disney fans, especially Disneyland, and have been to Disneyland over 60 times. When I was invited to be part of a group of bloggers celebrating the 60th anniversary of Disneyland with a special 60 day tribute, I jumped at the chance to share my love of Disneyland in a special way. Today, I am sharing thoughts from our First Visit to Disneyland.
Our first visit was June 28, 2002, and it was thrilling to see the enchantment in my sons eyes as he experienced Disneyland for the very first time. He was four years old, just the right age for a first Disneyland visit, and being obsessed with everything Disney, he absorbed every sight and sound with joyful enthusiasm…his enthusiasm was contagious! With autograph book in hand, he patiently waited in line for a chance to get a photo and hug with Mickey Mouse, Woody, Goofy, and Stitch from Lilo and Stitch (which had just opened in theaters on June 21, 2002).
California Adventure, the newest addition to Disneyland Park, was open for only a year when we first visited in 2002, and was the perfect place for a four year old. Muppets Vision 3D, Animation Academy, and Redwood Creek Challenge Trail were three of his favorites–although–when I lost him in Redwood Creek Challenge, it was the longest ten minutes of my life! When A Bug’s Land opened in October of 2002, we made a second trip back to Disneyland over Thanksgiving weekend, so my son could see one of his favorite movies come to life. I can’t tell you how many times he rode Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train!
In Disneyland, he enjoyed the Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride, Pirates of the Caribbean (although he was a little scared), Casey Jr. Train, and Storybook Land Canal Boats. Nick was too little for some of the rides in Disneyland, so we spent most of our time in Mickey’s Toon Town, and I was just as thrilled to see Mickey Mouse as he was.
Parades were a big highlight of our 2002 trip. We were able to see the Main Street Electric Light Parade in California Adventure. This iconic parade was a Disneyland original from 1972, which had just come back to California Adventure from Disney World. In Disneyland, we sat on the curb to watch the Parade of Stars with Tarzan, Tigger, Baloo, Flik, and the Disney princesses. One of the princesses even came over and gave Nick a kiss!
I have a confession to make. This was Nick’s first time at Disneyland, but it was my first time too, and I felt like a little kid! I never knew such a place could exist, and yet that first visit in 2002 was the start of a beautiful friendship between Disneyland and my family. We have been back many times since, creating wonderful memories with family and friends, and we have many more trips in front of us, but it all started with that first visit to Disneyland in 2002. What was your first time at Disneyland?
Please follow along with my fellow Disneyland cohorts as we bring you 60 years of memories from Disneyland!