Saturday, July 11, 2009

Have you been to the "happiest place on earth"?

The first time we took Cole and Bella to Disneyland, they were 13 months old. We dragged my mom, stepdad and brother with us because we weren't sure how well the kids would handle it, being so young...would they be overwhelmed? Or would they be completely in awe with all the magic of Disney, just as I was when I was a young child?

Well, they are MY kids, afterall, so they fell in love with Disney! We've been back every year since then and each time it just gets better and better for us.

This past year, in fact, I'd have to say was the BEST year so far. They had just turned 4 years old and they were well aware of all things Disney....the movies, the characters, the princesses, the rides....that's all they talked about the whole drive down there.
When we had lunch with Ariel the Mermaid, along with some of the other princesses, met Mickey and Minnie Mouse in person and watched Tinkerbell sit upon a float at the parade, Cole and Bella were the happiest I've ever seen them. We have yet to take Garrett and Landon with us but we plan to do that the next time we go and I can hardly wait to see their faces light up, just as Cole and Bella's did on their first visit to Disney.

Of course, one can't visit Disneyland or Disney World without wondering how it all started. Most everyone knows that Walt Disney (pictured to the left) was the brains behind it all. As a teenager, Disney worked on his school's newspaper as a cartoonist. He soon dropped out of high school and, within time, found himself eventually creating ads for newspapers, magazines and theaters. While working for a film company, Disney discovered an appreciation for animation and decided to pursue that as his career.

As he became better known in the community for his cartoons, Disney was able to acquire his own studio but soon it would become bankrupt and he would have to start from scratch all over again. It was then that he and his brother pooled their money together and started a cartoon company in Hollywood, CA. They had much success with their Alice Comedies and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit series but unfortunately that too ended in misfortune and Disney found himself on his own yet again.

This is when Disney created the character we now know as Mickey Mouse, which was based on a pet mouse Disney had owned while working in a Kansas studio at one time. Originally, Mickey Mouse was named "Mortimer" but Disney's wife didn't feel like that name suited the character very well and, thus, the mouse was renamed Mickey. What many people do not know is that Disney was the voice and personality of Mickey Mouse for years. Many of the movies that Disney produced starring Mickey Mouse became instant hits and eventually Walt Disney signed a new distribution deal with Columbia Pictures.

In 1932, Disney won a special Academy Award for the creation of Mickey Mouse. Soon after, he created the characters of Goofy, Donald Duck and Pluto. Donald Duck became the 2nd most successful character of all time created by Disney.

After much success with many other films, he built a new campus for the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA in 1939. In the meantime, movies such as Snow White, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan would bring him even more success.

In the late 1940's, he began drawing up plans for Disneyland in Anaheim, CA and that became his main focus, while his studio continued to expand its other entertainment operations. Disneyland, one of the world's first theme parks, officially opened on July 17, 1955. His dream of creating an amusement park that "looked like nothing else in the world" had finally come true.

Disney went on to start making plans for an even more elaborate theme park which would be located in Orlando, FL. When he died in 1966, his brother, Roy, came out of retirement and took full control of Walt Disney Productions and he continued to oversee the development and building of the theme park. In 1967, Roy Disney and the rest of the Disney family officially opened the park, which would be called Walt Disney World in honor of the late Walt Disney. Epcot was the second phase to be designed and it was added in 1982.

While he is mostly known for his creation of the Walt Disney Resorts, in his lifetime, Disney received 59 Academy Award nominations and won 26 Oscars, including a record 4 in one year, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual. He also won 7 Emmy Awards.

Today, the Walt Disney Company owns, among other assets, 5 vacation resorts, 11 theme parks, 2 water parks, 39 hotels, 8 motion picture studios, 6 record labels, 11 cable television networks, and 1 terrestrial television network. In 2007, the company had an annual revenue of over U.S. $35 billion....not bad for a man who originally began his career as a cartoonist for his school's newspaper.

Like many other families, Disneyland will continue to be an annual vacation spot for our family. No matter where else we have gone on vacation, Disneyland continues to be our most favorite place. We always stay at the Candy Cane Inn , which I highly recommend. It's literally a 5-minute walk to Disneyland and the hotel itself is clean and kid-friendly. For those families who plan to visit Disney World in Orlando, check out these Orlando vacation rentals. You can find some great deals there.

Every once in awhile, I'll stumble across someone who has never been to either Disneyland or Disney World. What?! Never been to Disney?? I mean, it IS the "happiest place on earth"....where dreams come true. I always say, "Well, what are you waiting for??? have to visit there at least once in your lifetime!!"

So tell me....have you been to either Disneyland or Disney World? How often? If you have children, have you taken them yet? If you've never been to either theme park, do you plan to go at some point?


Jennifer said...

Disneyland IS the happiest place on earth!!! Luckily, I have been there many, many a time, since I grew up in California. Summer vacations, high school trips... *sigh* I love it there. Like, LOVE.

Unfortunately, the husband doesn't want to bring our 1 yr old there yet, something about 'he won't even remember it!" - but I WILL!


Karen said...

On your next trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, you'll have to let me know! I LITERALLY live FOUR BLOCKS away.

Chatabox Girl said...

I have been to Disneyland, but only once. (Living on the other side of the world makes it a bit hard)

But I LOVED it! I went when I was 14, and it was the trip of a lifetime. i still remember it now, and I wish I could go back.

LaurieJ said...

We took our kids three years ago and left the 3 year old twins home. We promised that we would come back when they were six and could ride all of the rides. Now that year is here and I think that was the fastest 3 years ever!

Buckeroomama said...

I've been to Disneyland only once before, but since we now our own Disneyland practically at our doorsteps, we've gotten annual passes so that we can take the kids as often as we can. :)

When HK Disneyland first opened, there were lots who complained that it's too small. So small that it didn't have It's a Small World --yet (now it's there)! It is small, especially compared to Anaheim's, but despite that though, HK Disneyland has the Disney magic the moment you walk through the gates.

Theta Mom said...

Great pictures!!! We actually just took our kids to Disney for the first time in May AND it was my husband's first trip as well (he was acting like a kid himself). He loved it! My son (3 yrs. old) was in awe the entire day, that was magical...for my daughter (7 months) it was harder, though. She mostly just ate and slept when she could. It was so HOT so she was uncomfortable most of the time. In my experience, I would wait until they are toddlers when they can enjoy the experience for what it is!

Kelli said...

Never been!!! I've always wanted to go to Disney World, and I hope to make that happen in the next few years. It's on my bucket list! Would you say that it's handicap accessible? I can't imagine it not being so.

Booklover1212 said...

Thanks for the tip about the Candy Cane Inn! We're planning a trip there for Nani in the spring, so that tidbit of information is EXTREMELY helpful! Also, how did you manage to have lunch with Ariel and the other princesses? I'd love to do that for Nani!

Great pics!!! I've been to the Disney parks (CA & FL) a total of 18 times and it never gets old!

~ Jennifer

Tami said...

My son's fiances gran'pa was the creator of a cartoon from Disney.
You should see (her being the only grand child) the house he built! He also built her a castle in the back, I sat last weekend, and read a book he published.. AMAZING.

Sad thing is I haven't been to Disneyland since my boys were 5 =(

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

The Semi-Slackers are planning our 2nd trip to Disney World in Sept. I wish our Disney had a character meal with Ariel. She's the only one we have to stand in line for & of course, Baby Girl's fave.

We are currently in talks with 2 different helpers to go with us.

Tina said...

I have never been. I am actually not a fan of packed, busy, people filled places.

I want to experience it but feel a little too nervous. Maybe we will have the money when the kids are older and I will not be quite as nervous.

Glad you all had fun and your post was awesome.

Heather said...

Disney with the kids is the best!

Jen said...

Living just north of Orlando, I've been to Disney World & the other theme parks many times. The older I get, the less patience I have for the crowds & the ridiculous amount of money they charge for everythinggggg. But I make sure my nieces & nephews get to go at least once a year to one (or more) of the theme parks.

Did you know the area around Disney in Orlando...Lake Buena Vista is owned by Disney & all the non-Disney hotels are leasing the property? 100 yr leases & if they don't want to renew, then they have to vacate. The people behind Disney are very smart....tons of revenue.

Lately I've preferred going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween's at night..from 7 pm to midnight. Cheaper prices, cooler weather & less crowds = perfect!

Kristina P. said...

I grew up in Southern California, and went a lot. But I haven't been in a very long time!

In fact, we are going to try to go for Christmas, just me and my husband. I looked at flights into LAX yesterday, and they aren't too expensive.

Tammy said...

Disney is a favorite destination place of ours but as our daughter gets older (she's 13 now), we prefer the Magic of the Disney Cruise Ship.

We went to Disneyworld on our honeymoon, and then took our daughter when she was 2 1/2.

Disneyland when she was not quite 4.

Disneyworld again when she was 5.

When she turned 8 we went on our first Disney Cruise and on the way home spent a day in the Magic Kingdom.

Another trip to Disney when she was 9.

And the last two trips have been Disney cruises- The next one is a biggie, a transatlantic cruise hopping over to Barcelona to reposition the Disney Magic for their Mediterranean/Baltic cruises next summer. We do that next April.

Check out my blog and click on the Disney tab at the top to see pictures from one of our many trips!

mary said...

Boy! are you brave for taking your young kinds to disneyland! the first "real" outing I did was to take my 2.5 year old to the Oakland zoo. of course he loved it but i really can't imagine him enjoying it so much at 13 months old!

Family American Style. said...

Disney is always magical. I have enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for sharing. I am starting a new game It’s… What would your children say? Wednesday. It will be fun, I Hope you can join.

Becca said...

I've never been to Disneyland, but I went to Disney World once. We are moving to Florida soon so I hope I'll be able to go every year now. It really is the happiest place on earth.

MamaHen Em said...

I always think it sounds fun and hubs would LOVE to take the chickies there, but I'm not sure I can do it. I have a really really hard time with large crowds of people and then I get hives and I stress the entire time that I'm going to lose a child while we're there. We have six flags right here and the chickies have never been. . .

The Mother said...

I find Disney the most miserable place on Earth--lines,heat, whining and agony.

Not any more. Never again will I take kids to any of them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Helene,
Samantha here from TTC ....and being Mom.
Funny you should mention Disney, my grandfather was a cartoonist for the LA times for 35 years and was good friends with Walter Disney.(he had his own strip)
They shared the same colorist to "hand ink" the drawings, I have many fun stories of my Mom talking about that early time in Hollywood ( she was born there in 1929) and was part of that era.
I love Disney too and actually have some early illustrations of his through my grandfather.

I hope to bring Tor there one day.
While I love the Walt Disney World, I have a special love the Disneyland as I used to go there as a child :)

Love your blog honey...keep it up

twinmama said...

I have personally been to MGM in Florida, but none of the other parks. We lived in Florida for over a year and never made the 1 1/2 hour trip to Disney World or Epcot. Not sure why...oh yeah! My husband loathes crowds...oh well....

I hope we can get the girls to Disney World is a few years. I think they will really enjoy it.

Great pics!!

Stacey said...

When I was a kid, my parents took my brother and I to DL once every summer. That lasted until I was pretty close to 11 or 12. Since then I've been only a handful of times, but it's my favorite place on earth.

Last year, I went for my 29th birthday. When we walked in the gates, I did a silly little dance because I couldn't contain myself. I have friends who go several times a year - they have annual passes. I'd really like to do that - get annual passes and go every other month or so. I'd really love to go during Halloween and Christmas. I've never been during that time and would LOVE to see how it's decorated.

I'll definitely be taking my kids there when they're big enough...I think younger than 2 is too young, but after that, I'll be taking them all the freakin time. LOL.

Christina said...

Never been, but I can't wait to take the girls there! 4 sounds like it might be a good age to try it.

Jenny said...

I haven't been to Disney World since the 5th grade. I guess that was about 20 years ago.

We'd love to take our daughter there someday.

Amy W said...

We went to Disney World for our honeymoon 11 years ago. Then we went again last April with our girls and my husband's entire family. We didn't tell the girls where we were going or who we were going with until we were almost ready to land in Orlando. It was a blast!!

Kathy B! said...

Ignoring all the rest...

If you enlarge the first picture you can see the reflection of all that is going on in the Mouse Ears!

It's beautiful. On all counts.


Trisa said...

We go at least twice a year as we have to update our travel book "Disneyland and Southern California with kids" We just got back a week and a half ago. It was our 20 month old twins 3rd trip (they are the youngest of 6 kids) Our favorite part of Disneyland is watching the kids reactions to everything. It is all so "magical to them". Great to know you like the Candy Cane Inn, we reference it in our book. Have you been since the new fireworks and parade have started? The new fireworks are incredible! If you watch from small world they project onto the small world front choreographed to the music, and from the castle they have included Dumbo flying over as well as the classic Tinkerbelle.

Creative Junkie said...

I've been to Disney once - about 12 years ago with Zoe who was 3 at the time.

I think I must be the only one on the face of the earth that doesn't go gaga over Disney. Zoe enjoyed it though, which was all that I wanted.

I can honestly say that it wouldn't bother me if I never made it back there.

I know, I know. I'm a freak of nature.

Amy said...

Great facts to learn.

I have been to Disney Land in my teen years. I have not been back there since then. Of course I would love to go back and see all that has change.

I went to Disney World in '06. We went for our honeymoon. I can't wait to go back and take my little one.

Thanks for the kind words the other day for my little one.

City Girl said...

Very interesting post!


Anonymous said...

I've never been either, but can't wait to take the boys when they are older. Funny story, my friend just took her son who is 5 and he was scared to death, she said he hated all the stuffed people animals, (like mickey) and all the rides, she said it was horrible and she couldn't believe he didn't like Disneyland!

Deb said...

Woohoo! That's my most favorite spot for a family vacation. Little did I know that I married an anti-Disney man until after the vows were spoken.

Well, I guess he didn't know that I couldn't cook or clean, either. I guess we are sorta even :)

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Although Disneyland may very well be the most crowded and chaotic place on Earth, it is by far the happiest and the cleanest. Walt was a wise, wise man, like you said, but he was also very green.

A pioneer in every sense of the word. :)

Have I been to Disneyland? Yes. With both my kids. We'll probably be heading back later this fall. We've never been to Disney World. That would require an airplane trip, which I am afraid of with kids.


Anonymous said...

Wooohoooo, what fun! And I loved reading all the background info- so interesting. I can't wait to take my girls to Disney one day. My husband resists this idea, but he's over-ruled 3 to 1 ;)

Aim said...

I haven't been to either. We couldn't afford it when I was a kid. I would love to take my kids to Disney World but hubby is more of a north woods, fishing in a boat sort of guy. Maybe someday though. It is on the lifetime to do list.

Nickel Pickle said...

I used to live in Fl. so we used to visit Disney all the time as a kid.

I took my son about 2 years ago & cant wait to take may be a while before we can save enough money, but looking forward to it!

heather@it'stwinsanity said...

We took Matthew when he was a few months old and then we took the oldest 4 kids last January when I was newly pregnant with the second set of twins. We are planning another trip this October because now the military gets a discount! Yay! Probably the only time we'll be able to afford taking 6 kids to Disney...

heather@it'stwinsanity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heather@it'stwinsanity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
feefifoto said...

The first time I visited Disneyland (at age 17, after having longed to visit my entire life), I cried.

The first time I visited with my niece, I cried. The first time I visited with each of my kids, I cried.

I've developed an immunity to Disneyland and World over the years, but I still hold a warm spot in my heart for both places.

WhisperingWriter said...

I LOVE DisneyWorld. We went last year and it was wonderful. I hope to go again next year.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I live only about 2 hours from Orlando, so I've been to Disney many times. My kids have only been once; after I met my husband, my in-laws gave us an all expense paid trip to Disney. It was awesome!

Elle said...

I'vwe only been to Disneyland once, but I've been to WDW a bunch of times. We've had our two oldest daughters do college internships there and our two youngest are already planning on doing the same. We just got back from WDW in May. Absolutely love it there and can't wait to go back!

The High Family said...

Awesome post!

I've never been to Disney Land (for obvious reasons) but I have been to Disney World several times...the last being in 1993 during a HS band trip. I love DISNEY!

We are planning a trip for Ryan's 5th Birthday in Nov. '10-- can't tell you how excited my husband and I are to take the kiddies there! We already have my in-laws on board (extra hands are always a good idea!) for the trip!

Any tips on what NOT to do with two small children??

Zeemaid said...

wow, you are so lucky you can go to Disneyland every year. I went once when I was 8 and we went to Disney World on our honeymoon.

We so want to take the kids but it just costs so much to save up.

Thanks for the tip on accommodations though, we're always keeping our eye out on things like that.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been there... not planning on it either. We are not vacation people at all- hate to travel!
I don't like Disney characters much at all. I guess it doesn't mesh with our lifestyle. :)

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

Blog Design by Likely Lola