From my first trip to Disneyland in the sixties to my last visit to Walt Disney World, the thought sometimes crosses my mind of what could have been.
I grew up with Uncle Walt on the television. Sunday nights meant we gathered around the the tube to learn from him and enjoy the previews of his next creation. Whether it was a new film or an attraction at his park, I was mesmerized. Sitting around the house, drawing pencil in hand, I sketched pirates that filled his bayou lagoon, created a Disneyland all my own filled with attractions I'd never see built, and later drooled over photos of the just opened Walt Disney World resort.
Around the age of ten, begging gave way to permission as I wandered around the park on myown absorbing every detail, every nook and cranny. Spending hours in the Main Street building that housed the Preview of Coming Attractions, I wanted to shrink to the size of the models and visit places never built like Discovery Bay and Dumbo's Circus.
As a fifteen year old, Disneyland was the first place I learned to drive to, and the sight of the Matternhorn from the Santa Ana Freeway still draws a smile. A visit to Walt Disney World was a dream far out of touch until my father took us on a family vacation I'll never forget. Decades later, my own children have their own memories of visits to these parks- and one to Disneyland Paris!
The recent D23 Expo only added fuel to the fire as beautiful renderings for the New Fantasyland expansion in Florida and Mystic Manor in Hong Kong caught my eye on the internet. Wow- to see these things built will be such a treat!
I'm still a kid at heart although I'm now "all grown up"!
My wishing on a star has long given way to praying to the Creator of heaven and earth. My adoration of Walt Disney is now just deep respect for his gifting, with worship given instead to Jesus Christ, the Ultimate Imagineer and only savior. All said, old dreams die hard, and every now and again-still, I wonder what it would be like to have been a part of the Walt Disney Imagineering team.