Disneyland Broke My Heart in 1978

cinderella-castle-00Don’t worry, this has a happy ending.

When I was ten years old, my mom and I visited a family friend that lived near Los Angeles. My mom was working at a trucking company back home in Albuquerque as the parts manager, so for the first time in my childhood we weren’t so broke we couldn’t afford to travel. As a kid growing up in the desert, I still remember my wonder at the endlessness of the Pacific Ocean.

On the last day of that trip, we had exciting plans: my mother had saved up enough money for us to go to Disneyland. So after an early morning goodbye to the family friend, we headed to the airport to store our stuff before grabbing the Disney Land shuttle to go check out the park.

This was a big deal on so many fronts; first, my mom hated rides and amusement parks, so it was a big deal that she agreed to go. Secondly, we’d only just emerged from chronic poverty that year; after my mom finished her bachelor’s degree she’d finally gotten a job and we’d gotten off public assistance (we were plunged back into poverty when she entered grad school, alas).

I was ten years old, and you can imagine how incredibly giddy I was about going to Disneyland. I was utterly over the moon.

So, we put our luggage in lockers (ah, remember lockers at airports? No? Oh, hush, you young thing you), and headed over to the shuttle desk. We approached and asked to buy tickets, and the chipper person at the desk said, “Sure! What day do you want to go?” My mom said, “Today!” and the woman’s face fell. Then she said the worst possible thing she could say to us.

Disneyland was CLOSED that day.

Yes, I got “Wally Worlded” (don’t know about Wally World and National Lampoon’s Family Vacation? Oh, hush up, you young thing, you).

I still remember my mom’s face crumbling with distress and horror. As she turned to me, I only remember feeling a hot wave of crushing disappointment flow over me, followed by a sort of numb floating sensation. My mother went to several other LA tourist-type desks but we couldn’t find anything to do.

So we waited. At the airport. For over twelve hours.

My poor mom. My poor childhood self.

It sucked.


Since my daughter found out that Disney wasn’t just the source of her favorite movies but also involved a place, she’s asked to go to Disney World. She must ask me at least twice a month.  So you can imagine her excitement and joy when I told her that indeed, YES, we were going to Disney World, and soon.

But even as you can see from her gleeful reaction in the video below, her joy is nothing compared to the joy wholeheartedly felt by the disappointed little girl that still lives inside of me. I stood up and danced and yelled with joy when I got the email. I cannot WAIT to get there!

Big huge thanks to the Disney Social Media Moms Conference for extending the invitation to me and my family to attend this year; you are making many dreams come true

This post was NOT sponsored, by the way. And it’s all true.

Article Posted 4 years Ago

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