01.13.10: Disney, Part One

It’s all about Disney today so come join me in some happy memories...

I have to tell you that my childhood is filled with some very specific & wonderful memories of getting ready to go to Disney, which is why this is Part One. 

The excitement started very early on. I can remember seeing my dad sitting in his office behind a humongous desk, wheeling around in a brown leather, high back chair. Most notably there was some kind of jazz music playing in the background. He sat patiently on the the phone checking for availability and asking a million questions...THIS was his domain. 

We were like expectant fathers waiting for the doctor, pacing outside his office door. This doctor however, came out to tell us - "We have reservations!!". 

No sooner were the dates set and dad would create The Countdown Calendar...

Did you hear that echo? What echo...the echo when I said The Countdown Calendar - see there it is again! No? Just me? Alright then...

The Countdown Calendar...SURELY you heard it THAT time... there was nothing special about it - it just displayed the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until our departure time. It sat on the fridge literally mocking us until the hour we closed the car doors and sped out of the driveway. The joy was in the fact that my brother and I would take turns marking off the day, when we came home from school. There were no electronic Widgets to keep count like they have now a I have sitting on my computer desktop as we speak. It was just a very tangible, excitement-generating thing for us to do. 

Saving up...Mom and Dad paid for everything so we saved to have “mad money” (as mom use to call it). Our savings were kept in her desk in a white envelope with our name on it and "Vacation" scripted in mom's beautiful handwriting. Seems to me they always chipped in $5 to get the pot boiling and they always managed to invent some paying chores (outside our obligatory non-paying ones). But those jobs sucked. Let’s face it though - work of any kind to a child is not “fun".  We had one heck of a clean house though!

                 Gene. He who is "Wubba".

Gene saved so he could get rolls of quarters to pump into the video games located in the old Game Room of the Contemporary Resort. Anybody remember it in it's glory days? His "hygiene bag" (I use the term loosely) would be laden with a mangled hairbrush, toothpaste (cause mom MADE him bring it), a sandwich sized bag of random change and no less than 5 rolls of quarters. 

What makes me laugh is that even now at age 41 when he goes to Disney, Gene brings - in his own words - "some spare change" and “somehow ended up in the game room of the Contemporary”. Somehow. Really....somehow. His world was rocked when they moved the Game Room, made it smaller and now it's all token fed. Those were not happy memories for him.

We knew we were getting close to D-Day (Disney Day) when mom pulled out The Snack Suitcase. Nope, no echo. This was (pardon the sacrilege) the “holy grail” of a good vacation for us.

See, our parents didn’t really allow us to overindulge, except when we were on vacation. We owned our own business so to leave it behind for 10 days meant we were going all out in every way. New shoes, new clothes, haircuts - mom always got a perm the month before we left. Dad went all out and got the oil changed, tires rotated, and got the guide books & TripTick maps from AAA. See how that worked in our family - perm / oil change? 

The Snack Suitcase though, was filled with all the stuff we weren’t really allowed to have any other time...gummy bears, Pepperidge Farm exotic cheeses and sausages with assorted crackers, some kind of canned chicken salad and tuna salad that I thought was the bomb, pretzels for my brother, cookies...just good for nuthin’ stuff. 

It was also known in our family as “the heaviest suitcase known to man”. “Geeze Bonnie what did you pack in here???” as he sat loading the trunk...and she laughed her maniacal laugh. Ok, I made that last part up cause dad didn’t know how to pack a trunk - that was mom’s job. 

She would pack everything the night before we left. We would bring our stuff out and sit it next to the car...then stand there thinking...all that stuff had to fit...somehow. Suitcases, make-up bags, shaving bags, overnight bags for our “lay over” in Georgia, hanging clothes, games, pillows, coolers. It was ugly. It was indeed a work of art when she finished!

Speaking of suitcases, Wubba and I...the ho-down kids...

Wubba and I packed our own suitcases just like mom taught us - shorts first, then socks and underwear folded inside the t-shirt, then shorts again... Raincoat - check. Light jacket - check. Swimsuit - check. Two pairs of tennis shoes - check. Pillow - check. On a personal note, even today I take my pillow with me everywhere I go. TMI?

It’s the simple things in life that make me happy. Phrases like “family vacation” and “road trip” have a special meaning to me...all thanks to Disney and two nutty parents. 

I think maybe Part Deux will have to be about why the phrase “road trip” means so much. You’ll learn about who had/has the smelliest feet in our family and who set the KFC a flyin’ in our car once...for starters. 

See you real soon!!


  1. Anonymous1/13/2010

    Awww Come On!! That's it?? I was just settled in and ready to read for hours and that's all I'm getting??? I hope "real soon" is tomorrow!! Just finished the two assignments due today and I was looking for some unwind time. More D-Day tales PLEASE!!

  2. Anonymous1/14/2010

    At first I thought you were Lisa being sarcastic about the legnth of tales I tell... :)

    Thanks for the boost to do another though! Trying to find some good pics to go with the just makes our family dynamic a bit more funny, ha!