Discussion in 'Gay and Lesbian at Disney' started by OrlandoMike, Jan 15, 2012.
What was it like? What were you thinking? Is that when you got hooked?
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I remember begging my parents to take me to Walt Disney World as a child. Growing up money was always tight. Looking back I'm amazed that my parents actually took me out of school and forked the money to pay for it all. I grew up in New Jersey and we drove down. We stayed at the Fort Wilderness campground. I remember having a lot of fun. One of my favorite memories was watching a movie at the campground and having a cookout.
However, it wasn't until I was an adult and got a gig to perform in Walt Disney World that I got the bug. Ooooh My Geeeee! The sheer escape from reality hooked me. Of course being paid to to tour the parks was sweet.
My first Gay Day experience was an experience of a lifetime. Everyone was so HAPPY and friendly! I am a morning person, but the crowd waiting to have breakfast for the first seating at the Crystal Palace practically were doing cartwheels at 7:30 am. Such a joyous experience! I love how there is something for everyone.
My grandma still lived in Apopka so it wasn't hard to make a day trip to the world while we were visiting. At the time, they handed out nice guide booklets at the toll plazas, so of course I spent the time on the monorail planning exactly how I wanted to use those ride tickets (and to this day I am still a planner!).
I remember being amazed at the concept of waitress-service restaurants (and that's what the guide called them) at a theme park - certainly Astroworld never had anything like that. Dinner was at the Adventureland Veranda. It was probably about the quality of your average tv dinner, but at the time it tasted delish to me.
Oh yes, and I was having so much fun that I forgot to take any pictures until it was almost dark. They didn't turn out very well.
I always wanted to go to WDW as a child, and my parents couldn't swing such an expensive trip. Many of my coworkers take their families once or twice a year and talk about it all the time. One day, I said to my partner, "I want to go to WDW." He looked at me like I was crazy! He had been as a child and wasn't too excited about going back. He likes our trips to Ft Lauderdale and San Fran too much to give that up! ....those were his exact words...
Finally, he gave in, and a friend recommended a good Disney TA. We wanted to go in early May to avoid the crowds, and after talking to the TA, she suggest we go during gay days. I didn't really know much about them or that they even existed, but it just hit me..... That's it!!!! ....and the key to getting my partner there and having a good time.
We went and couldn't stop talking about it months later! The sea of red T-shirts for the 3pm parade at MK - we both had tears in our eyes! It was great meeting people from all over, and we've made a number of WDW friends. We are itching for June all ready!!!!!
For whatever reason, I always dreamed of going to Epcot, so that was our first park to visit on arrival day. I was in awe and couldn't stop taking pictures of EVERYTHING....and I loved every minute of it. Now, I'm hooked - I love being in the parks and won't even consider staying off property again! Evening EMHs are my favorite times to be in the parks, and I miss AK evening hours!
My very first trip to WDW occurred when I was a year old. There's a photo of my mother, bless her heart, practically throwing me at Mickey to get a picture. I look terrified.
I have vague memories of some trips I took as a child in the 80's. One of them involves traveling on a now defunct airline called The Peoples' Express, where they would literally go down the aisle after takeoff with a cash cart to collect the fee. The other thing I remember about that airline was they would use one of those giant staircases instead of pulling in to a terminal.
Growing up we often stayed in the cabins at Fort Wilderness, because my grandparents typically accompanied us. I remember riding around in a golf cart with my grandmother, celebrating my birthday with a character breakfast aboard the Empress Lily, getting to go onstage at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, meeting Carl Banks (a former Giants football player...my dad knew who he was!), going to church in the luau cove at the Polynesian one Easter, and being on a boat once during what seemed like a monsoon (and it was that tiny little boat that goes to Fort Wilderness).
At some point as we grew older, we started staying at the other resorts when they got built.
I remember when I finally got the "bug." It was right before I turned 13, when I started reading some of the guidebooks and really took an active interest in planning the trip. My mom let me "plan" lots of aspects of the trip, which really got me into doing research. She gave me a budget, and I got to pick where we stayed, where we ate, etc. As I continued to grow, my interest in the park operations continued to grow, and I kept reading as much as I could about it.
When I became a teenager, the proliferation of the internet made it much easier to access information, and from that point on, I was sold.
When I went to college I was able to convince a bunch of friends to take a spring break trip there one year (because by this point, my parents had stopped going, having moved on to playing golf during their vacations). That was my one and only trip in college for about 6 years (undergrad and grad school). Once I had a job of my own, and was able to go myself, I started doing it. A lot. And I've never looked back since.
My first time was the New Year's Eve of 84-85. Mom drove us down from Michigan to Miami to visit my Great Grandpa for the holidays and stopped in Orlando on the way home. I don't remember a thing about the trip, except sitting on the couch in my GGpa's house with his bird perched upon my hand.
Mom took lots of pictures though. She also gave me, as part of my 18th birthday present, a pretty worn out couple of cassette tapes from that trip. One of Disney songs the other of Sesame Street Sings Country.
This is my fav pic from the trip.
I got the bug when I went back in junior high with my bff and we were given free run of the place.
I took DP for his first trip in Feb of 2011. He wouldn't pose in front of the castle like that for me. He mumbled something about how I'd put it up on Facebook and embarrass him beyond belief. Guess he knows me too well.
Mom and Dad, Sister 12, Sister 11 and I was 8.
Mom and Dad were on a super tight budget so we stayed with relatives in San Pedro whom I had never seen before and never saw again!
I was very excited to go as we always watched the Wonderful World of Color and the newest thing to have opened was the Tiki Room.
I don't remember a lot about the day. We had to choose our rides carefully as we got one ticket book and a couple extra E tickets and that was it.
Our First ride was the Matterhorn. Mom and my sisters went in the first car (this was when there was only one bobsled at a time). Dad and I followed. My Mom was 6'1" tall and all I could think about was that her head was hitting the top of the caves!!!
We got to go in and see the sets from 20,000 Leagues Under the sea in Tomorrowland.
Mom and Dad let us go off on our own but we ended up following them around.
I rode the Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland and Rainbow Caverns and that became one of my favorites.
The Haunted Mansion was already built but had no ride attached to it. It was cool looking and something we were excited to see in the future.
The Tiki Room was way cool back then. I still love it.
I did not get to WDW until I was 40 in 1996.
Here's the aforementioned, frightening looking photo I posted about:
And then, just because...the 1980's were not a kind decade, fashion wise. Not sure how old I was, but man, what an outfit:
I too always begged and pleaded to go to WDW as a kid. But we could never afford it. So after I graduated from college and didn't get picked for the foreign exchange program at Epcot I decided I was going solo Jan 2005. I had friends who were accepted and visited them while I was there. I went to Studios, Epcot, AK and then MK last. When I walked onto Main Street for the first time I teared up, I couldn't believe I was actually there. I was hooked from that moment on this place would be my home away from home I was able to share my parent's first trip in Aug 2005. Showing them around, taking them to the Castle for lunch was amazing. It made me cry all over again.
I, like most of you guys already said, couldn't really afford to go when I was little. I always asked my parents when we were going to Disney World and they would simply reply 'When we're rich.' Well, that never happened. I think I finally gave up asking until 2004 when my parents asked where we wanted to go on vacation and they gave us two options, the beach for like the millionth time, or Disney World. Ummmm, helloooo? Isn't it obvious I want to go to Disney. So 2004 was our first time there ever. I was really happy with everything, although we went over the 4th of July holiday since that was when my dad takes his vacation time. Well, the parks were always packed and it didn't help that we stayed off property and didn't get to the parks until 9:30 or 10 every morning. But back then it didn't bother me because I wasn't as familiar with them as I am now. So I really didn't know what rides were what or anything. I didn't even know they had full service restaurants since we ate mostly from the carts and stuff around the parks. But my overall impressions about the place was great. I was focused on being a kid since I never got to go when I was little. Seeing the characters, going on rides, watching the parades. Our first day was at Epcot and I just couldn't believe how ginormous Spaceship Earth was. I have always heard people talk about Disney and how wonderful it was to them, and them trying to describe things and it always made me jealous. But after I got to experience it for myself I was happy, and it was much better in person than any words could describe. Since then I have been there a total of 6 times, and there are still many more to come!
My first trip was with my inner city Explorer Scouts group as a teenager. We drove down and stayed in mobile homes at Fort Wilderness. Do they still have those?? We fundraised and were given a huge discount because we were underprivileged kids. I loved taking the boats from the campground to Magic Kingdom. Epcot had just opened and I couldn't get over how beautiful and clean and happy everything was.
I dragged my parents down there a few years later and my Mom loved its a small world so much we went on it seven times. I pushed my Dad's wheelchair around all day and he felt guilty that we were able to get on rides faster than other people. That's when wheelchair rentals were FREE! We stayed offsite and in the evenings my Dad would stay at the hotel and my Mom and I would run back to WDW. That's the happiest I've ever seen my mother. That's my favorite memory of WDW.
There was no WDW until I was out of school. DL was a dream I knew would never happen because vacations were for visiting family and the Jersey beach where my Dad went as a kid. Some of my students were huge Disney fans, but it just never occurred to me to vacation there. Then, about 1982, my inlaws invited us to come with the kids to visit. We drove from Sarasota to WDW, stayed overnight at a $39 per night hotel off property, and returned home the following night. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself and we spent every possible hour there. That trip became the highlight of every trip to FL until my in-laws passed. We used a timeshare to visit every few years and went commando every time. Then I started visiting on the way to frequent business trips to Melbourne, sometimes stopping by up to 12 times a year. Friends were members of DVC and I stayed with them a few times. Disney started to dominate my thoughts -- I'd go hang around DTD when I couldn't afford a park ticket. In 2004, we bought DVC and never looked back. If I'm not at WDW I think about it and business trips to California inevitably led to DL visits. I'm happiest breathing the air on Main Street, people and animal watching in AK, or just relaxing at a resort. It's my happy place.
I'm so glad that this question was answered! I may get wordy, and a little emotional, since my first trip to Disney is deeply intertwined with the loss of my grandfather.
Like most of you, I had always wanted to go to Disneyworld when I was little. I was a Disney freak from very young, and back then Disney was a premium channel that you had to pay extra for, and my grandmother made sure to buy Disney just for me when I was at her house. At any rate, we never went. My father was a truck driver who went on long hauls and he would say that he could see the lights and fireworks sometimes from the interstate. I remember following the epic transformation of the castle into a big cake, and being so upset I couldn't see it in person!
During my parent's divorce, my mom and dad were trying to patch things up and we went on a vacation to Marineland. In the Marineland parking lot, I was told that we COULD'VE went to Disneyworld. Do you want to talk about having a conniption fit? So, my dad got all smart@@@'d and put the car in drive and said we were going to Orlando, but would end up only spending about an hour there, then driving around and coming home. ...So we ended up at Marineland.
My grandfather took my mom and aunt when they were very little, and they barely remembered it. All my mom remembers is almost drowning in a pool there! A long story short, my grandfather won the Georgia Mega-Millions in 2002. People wonder why I like Scrooge McDuck, but it's because I saw my grandfather in him! He wasn't stingy, per se, he just always said that we'd ''get it when he died!''. And he'd joke that when he bought us something, ''this is coming out of your inheritance!'' He would NOT buy a Ford, EVER! Everything HAD to be GM! One good memory about my grandfather, (you just have to imagine this short little 5'6 Indian man, on oxygen, cussing out KFC for taking thirty minutes with his chicken...) was that no matter WHAT was on our Christmas list, we got it! I got a new oboe, a bass guitar, Beanie Babies, my little brother got a TV (a humorous story would be... he wanted an atv, and he put ''atv'' and got ''a TV'' instead of an ''atv''...!), golf clubs, you name it! He was very stern and adamant about Christmas being special!
My grandfather always said that he couldn't go, due to his bad health (which he used to his advantage when he needed to! He'd kill me if he knew I was admitting that!) but that one day he was going to give us the money to all go to Disneyworld! He only had two daughters, and my Aunt not being able to have children, me and my two little brothers were his only grands. He just told us to take a lot of pictures for him to see! He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2010, and died only after three months of being diagnosed. I fully believe he never accepted he was terminal, and thought he was going to get better, because he kept saying when he got better we was ALL going to Disneyworld, and they'd just have to put up with his @#$^& oxygen tank! LOL! My grandfather was a piece of work. He was a convicted felon (from keeping two sets of books when he owned his own business, which he owned for over thirty years. For those of you familiar with Savannah, his business was on Barnard St., and he knew ALL the people mentioned in that $#^&&#$% book and did Jim Williams Lincolns for him.) so he couldn't own a gun, but he still had them. When someone would give one of his ''babies or grandbabies'' grief, he'd dramatically inhale on his oxygen and ask who's $#@# he had to blow away! ''Pa, you can't do that! You'll go to jail!'' ''No I won't, baby. With all the medicine I take, they wouldn't be able to afford to keep me in jail. They'd just put me on house arrest!'' LOL!
Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away in July of 2010. We decided that we would go to Disney for him. Of course, it was bittersweet for me. But even though it was everything I ever wanted it to be, and more, it sort of helps me connect with my grandfather. When the wind is whipping in my face on Thunder Mountain, I sort of feel a warm light go on inside of me, thinking about him, you know? I'm not trying to get mushy here, people! Just saying!
My first trip was strictly to the Magic Kingdom, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Walking in the park, it was just like I was stepping into another world! My first experience was a PACKED park, during the Flower and Garden Expo at Epcot. Riding the monorail was a fun experience. It was just everything I had dreamed of as a child that finally presented itself as a young adult!
Was I too long winded? I can't describe my first experience to Disneyworld as anything but magic incarnate! The show with Maleficent and the green flames, where she promises to turn Disneyworld into a place where nightmares come true was so fun to watch, much to the chagrin of my little brother! It was so great him being patient with me incessantly bopping around here and there. I'm going to stop writing now, because I could go on for a few more paragraphs, and I'm sure that my post has already lost interest a few paragraphs up! I just don't know how else to describe my first experience other than: magical!
Great picture, and it shows the majestic Castle before the addition of the much-less-majestic Forecourt stage, which looks like a clumsy add-on that Disney didn't put nearly enough effort into matching the original structure.
Next thing you know, they'll put up a big clunky sorcerer's hat in front of the beautiful Chinese Theater at the studios!
love love love those pics!! So kewl to see retro Disney!
I was four months old. Thanksgiving 1971.
I was 28 and living in Miami Beach. My then-boyfriend was aghast to learn that I had never been, and he took me to Disney for a 4 day trip. We stayed at Dixie Landings (I thought it was scandalous when they changed the name to Port Orleans Riverside).
I was most struck by the way the outside world disappeared once we were on property and how easy Disney made everything.
I also fell in love on that trip with the Adventurers' Club and 8 Trax. We laughed and drank and danced our butts off every night. I was completely traumatized when they closed down those clubs.
My first trip was at Walt Disney World in 1993. I was 10. I remember it was the final step of our trip in the USA. I should go back to Florida one day
My first trip to WDW, I was too younger to remember anything about it. So, after 2 years of thinking "I want to go there!" I finally bit the bullet and scheduled a trip in 2009. I remember being in amazement the first day of the trip when I got to the Magic Kingdom. As soon as I saw the castle standing in front of me, I actually cried. Not sure why but it just happened. I guess it was like my dream coming true haha. But now I'm a big fan like everyone else. Also, I had my first Dole Whip and I haven't stopped talking about it since. I LOVE those things.
My first trip was actually November 2012! I've always wanted to go, but like most people money was always an issue growing up (which, given that I'm 19, is still an issue at my family's house). However, I got married and my wife is much better at getting things that she wants than I ever was, so we planned the trip. Seriously, that woman can get anything out of me, it's impossible to say no to her puppy dog eyes.
She was sooooo excited about it, more than I was actually. It was crazy how happy she was for months before the trip and I was happy too, but I dunno I was nervous? Like when Rapunzel is waiting to the see lanterns. That's kinda how I felt. But when I walked into Magic Kingdom I just fell in love and in wonder. I cried a little bit, not going to lie. It was something that I never thought I'd have and now I'm just to the point of wanting to go back and wishing that I had the money to go again and again every year.
But seriously, it is when I fell in love and now I'm planning our next trip and wishing it was sooner and finally understanding how people can go back year after year without fail (and being insanely jealous that I'm not one of those people).
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