My first visit to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida was a typical Klaus family vacation. My family, as well as many of my mother's siblings and their families wagon-trained it down to Florida from Maryland -- we made it down there in an un-airconditioned VW Bus, circa 1973.
When we arrived for our week-long stay, I was so excited. The only amusement park I'd ever seen up to that point was Hershey Park, which is A LOT of fun, but is no Walt Disney World. Everything was so fantastic. The park had just opened a few years before, so everything was shiny and new. The monorail was a revelation to a country girl like me, as were all the animatronics (I especially loved the Hall of Presidents), all the rides and the shows, and the swimming -- oh my gosh, the swimming. We didn't have access to a pool when I was a child, so swimming pools were a big deal. And we not only had a pool at the hotel -- we had River Country. My goodness, the JOY.
I know that Disney is a multi-media entertainment conglomerate. I'm not one for the Disney-style princess, nor are my girls. I don't like some of the treatment Disney has given to female characters. I can't stand the Disney Channel because all the adults on the programs are idiots and all the teens are smart-mouthed meanies. But, the joy of that first Disney World experience has stuck with me and sweetens my consideration of some of those other factors.
Added to my technicolor memory of an extraordinary vacation is the more mundane memory of my family gathering to watch The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night. I loved the whole thing -- the Castle logo with Tinkerbell flitting about, Walt Disney at his desk talking to us like he could really see us, and the movies and programs that enlivened our little domestic scene. Watching The Wonderful World of Disney was one of the mainstays of our childhood and was something we looked forward to every week.
Recently, I was selected to be a DisneySide @ Home hostess, meaning that I was given a hostess kit containing everything I'd need to host a party Disney style. I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to do for it, since I'm not a really wonderful party planner and I didn't want to just slap up a banner and not make some effort. So.... for my DisneySide @ Home party, I've decided that my theme is going be....
- We will have Jell-O, preferably lime with pineapple.
- We will celebrate storytelling (what I think Disney does best) by collaborating on a storyboard.
- We will investigate the world of Imagineers by building crazy contraptions and scale models of "rides".
- We will watch clips from The Best of Walt Disney's True Life Adventures
- We will laugh and have fun and relax with one another and pretend that we are on vacation, circa 1977.
NOTE: I received free products in order to host the Disney Side @Home Celebration, which I will describe, and maybe even show photos of in a future post. Nevertheless, all the opinions expressed here are my own.