When Were You Bitten By the Disney Bug?

I first went to Disney World somewhere in the late 70’s or very early 80’s.  My parents loaded us into the family station wagon (remember those?) and we drove down to Florida, staying in a trailer (before they were made to look like log cabins) in Fort Wilderness.  I have mostly vague memories of the trip–it was before EPCOT was built, so it basically involved seeing the Magic Kingdom and splashing around in River Country (holy cow, I’m dating myself!). 

I remember having a great time, enjoying the Peter Pan ride, the WEDway Peoplemover (my parents say I was especially fond of that), banging the center rail on the Tomorrowland Speedway, riding over the park on the Skyway (RIP), and being stunned and then dissolving into nervous laughter at the ending of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (also RIP).  I loved the familiarity of seeing so many of my favorite characters from the movies.

But although it was fun, that’s not when I fell in love with Disney World.  The scales-falling-off-the-eyes moment (so to speak) for me came on our second trip, in the mid-to-late 1980’s…after EPCOT was opened.  I remember riding Spaceship Earth and being amazed at the perfect spherical construction, seeing possible future communities in Horizons, checking out prototype cars in World Of Motion, and seeing a 3-D movie for the first time.  This was the first time I could remember seeing futuristic technology combined with imaginative presentation in a way that made me feel like I was entering a different world.  I was seeing things I’d never seen before, and the ideas being presented served as raw inspiration to my nerdy pre-teen brain.  That was the “aha!” moment–when I realized this place was something unique and special.

Since then, I’ve grown to find more and more things to love about it.  When Disney-MGM Hollywood Studios was opened, I was able to deepen my love for the movies and appreciate the work that goes into them.  As I became an adult, I started to notice all of the detail in the theme and atmosphere, even at the various resorts.  And then as a parent, I discovered the joy of watching my kids discover the place.  Imagination is allowed to run free in Disney parks.

So when was your “aha!” moment?  When did a Disney park make the biggest impression on you?

4 thoughts to “When Were You Bitten By the Disney Bug?”

  1. I think my Mom was bit when she was pregnant with me.

    I’ve had that strong draw to Disney for as far back as I can remember. Some of the earliest memories I have are from that first trip we took there when I was 3.

    I’ve just always held those memories and had a passion for Disney, but I have to say that I did learn to appreciate it in a different way in 2005. I went on a trip to Orlando with friends. We didn’t do any Disney parks, but we did visit property a few different times to eat at DTD, attend a spring training game at WWoS, visit ESPN Zone and the Boardwalk. I hadn’t been to Disney World in 7 years or so, and it was completely different since I never stepped foot in the parks. I still was thrilled to be on the property and just seeing things from a different and more adult perspective.

  2. I was bitten when we took our honeymoon. I had never been a big Disney person. In fact, I was a Bugs Bunny fan my whole life, which made Mickey Mouse an enemy in my book. LOL

    I had always vacationed at Astroworld and really had no desire to go to that “Mickey Mouse park”. When my wife and I were discussing honeymoon options, I wanted something in the Poconos, she wanted to go to Disney World. She said it was always her dream to get married and then go to Cinderella’s castle. Who am I to rain on her parade?

    Long story short, we started preparing for our trip by buying guidebooks (Birnbaum’s was my first) and it opened up a whole new world to me, literally. Then when we finally got there and experienced the magic, we were hooked.

    Part of me regrets not going earlier in my life, but another part is happy that I discovered it when I did. Now I get to have those experiences with my wife and kids and pass that love on down to them.

  3. I fell for Disney my first trip in 2007. My grandmother (rest he soul) had passed away and left us a little bit if money, so I though what better way to celebrate than to invest in family and take a vacation. I was thinking of going to mexico, or the beach somewhere, but my wife talked me into going on a Disney Cruise and to WDW. I agreed though I really did not care to go.

    Once we booked we out TA got switched due to the shop closing its loacation and we got the most Disney obsessed TA which was great beacuse she got our family excited to go to WDW.

    We the moment for me came as we waled into MK and saw the castle for the first time, and I saw the look in my kids eyes. This became the best experience that we had ever had as a family and we continously go back to recreate the moment as we have yet to find anything that comes as close to creating that moment as going to Disney.

    Our entire family shares a love for Disney, even though my wife always says that she wants to vacation somewhere else when it come time to plan a vacation she always says lets go to Disney.

  4. I was digging around the web for a surprise vacation for my wife and I (kids were gone for the summer). I searched “log cabins” always wanted to stay in yellowstone or Maine, somewhere in the woods in a rustic cabin. With disneys brilliant all consuming ad campaign, they popped up on google. Keep in mind we have never discussed Disney EVER. I thought, my wife loves roller coasters and I love cabins.. “click”.

    Booked wilderness lodge 10 days park hopper, deluxe dining. Didn’t tell her until a week before we were to go. We logged in looked at all the rides and the resort. We had never even looked at Disney so we had no idea what we were up against.

    The wow moment for me was riding the magical express we stopped at the Polynesian resort to drop guests off before heading to the wilderness lodge. The theming was Polynesian!! Absolutely gorgeous.. Then we arrived at wilderness lodge.. The theming was yellowstone! This guy wearing a button up shirt and tan shorts meets us at the door and welcomes us to the lodge.. Walking in and seeing that grand lobby made my wife CRY! that was my moment of love for all things Disney!

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