I posted this to disneyland but figured it'd be fun to post in my LJ as well. Enjoy!
Inspired by happyjenn97's post, and specifically the article she linked to where people shared their Disneyland memories, I thought it would be fun to have a thread where people here shared their own favorite memories.
I'm going to cheat a little and admit that one of my favorite things happened in Orlando, not Anaheim. I went to Walt Disney World probably 7 or 8 times growing up, but as I reached adulthood I skipped a few family trips because a week at home alone was a more pleasing thought than spending it with my family. Finally in 2000, right before I moved to San Diego, we planned a trip for the whole family, and, reaching the point where I realized how important my family was to me, I happily joined in.
Saturday night my whole family, including six nieces and nephews, camped out in front of the Country Bear Jamboree waiting for the Main Street Electrical Parade. The music swelled, the electronic voice intoned, "Walt Disney World proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination in thousands of sparkling lights and electrosynthomagnetic musical sounds!", and the parade began.
And I began to cry.
There I was, a 30-something grown man, getting all verklempt at the Blue Fairy coming around the corner. Dad used to play that stupid, sappy Walt Disney World soundtrack cassette in his car constantly. I'd heard this thing a hundred times. When my mother looked at me quizzically, all I could say was the truth - "I never knew how much all this meant to me." I never appreciated my parents more than in that moment.
It turned out to be a great trip and, sadly, the last for my entire family - my father passed away in 2003, but not before realizing his dream of spending a month in Orlando and whiling away his days in the Magic Kingdom, and later getting a job as a Cast Member at his local Disney Store (almost all of his fellow CMs showed up for his funeral).
That brings me to my second memory, which actually is related to Disneyland. After I moved to California I urged my parents to come visit, if for no other reason than Disneyland was just over an hour away. Although they made it to Orlando, my father was in and out of the hospital with cancer and they never made it out, and I've always regretted that. So when he passed away, I took a lock of his hair with me back to San Diego.
My father was a huge fan of Dopey - he had quite the collection of shirts, hats, figurines, etc., and of course we all fed his addiction any chance we got! (My family has since switched gears and is now content feeding my Sleepy addiction!) So the one thing I really wanted my father to see was Snow White's Grotto:
So, since he couldn't visit it in person, I decided that's where I wanted to sprinkle his lock of hair (my sister did the same at WDW when they visited with my mother the following year). Earlier in the day my partner and I had seen the Snow White show at the Fantasyland Theater (then brand new, my first time seeing it), and that certainly got me teary again thinking about how much my father would have loved it. We then headed over to the Grotto and, while Snow White sang, I left a little piece of my father where he wasn't able to go in life.
And all was right with the world. :)
Let's hear yours!