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If I Had a Time Machine

Jack Spence Masthead


I'm a big fan of science fiction. As a boy, I watched the full-length versions of many of the movies seen inside Sci-Fi Dine-In at Disney's Hollywood Studios. When “Star Trek” premiered in 1966, I was glued to my TV set every Thursday (and later Friday) night. The show was “fascinating.” I was also a big fan of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” and to a lesser extent, “Lost in Space” (Danger Will Robinson!). Additionally, I spent a fair amount of time in darkened theaters watching movies such as “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Star Wars,” and “Planet of the Apes.” But through it all, one theme seemed to captivate me more than any other, time travel. Even today, the 1960 movie “The Time Machine” starring Rod Taylor, Alan Young, and Yvette Mimieux holds a special place in my heart.


The Time Machine Poster


Perhaps it's my love of history that makes me ponder the subject of time travel. I've often dreamed of being present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Or standing on the deck of the Titanic on that fateful night (as long as I was guaranteed a seat on a lifeboat). But recently, I've started to direct my time travel fascination toward Disney. What if I could go back in time and visit a Disney park? What park would I visit and what date would I select?

Of course, if I owned a time machine, I could pick many parks and many dates. But for this article, I'm only allowed to use my time machine once and I can only visit for one calendar day.

Of course, the first scenario that comes to my mind is July 17, 1955, opening day at Disneyland. What wonderful bragging rights that would give me. Imagine being at a party with all of my Disneyphile friends and casually saying, “Oh yes. Didn't you know? I was there. If you look at the film clip of Walt dedicating Disneyland, I can be seen in the background, second from the left.” This statement would immediately make me the envy of all and the center of attention for the rest of the evening.

But in reality, I don't think I would choose Disneyland's opening day. In terms of “experiencing” the park to its fullest, July 17th was not the day to attend. First off, the park didn't open until 2:30 that afternoon. Half the day was gone already. Then there is the matter of attendance. Roughly 14,000 people were invited to the opening day ceremonies. However, counterfeit tickets doubled this amount. Today, 28,000 guests visiting Disneyland is no big deal. In fact, it would be a rather pleasant day. However, in 1955, this many people would be comparable to sixty or seventy thousand guests crammed into the park today.

But there were other calamities besides counterfeit tickets on Black Sunday, as opening day became known as. There were no working drinking fountains due to a plumber's strike. The park ran out of food. The Emporium was the only shop open on Main Street. There was a gas leak that caused the afternoon closing of Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Frontierland. Not all of the planned opening day rides were working, and those that were, broke down left and right. And the outside temperature reached 101 degrees and most rides were not air conditioned. In addition, the live television broadcast that began at 4:30pm included 21 camera scattered around the park, cordoning off areas to the general public.

No. Opening day would not be the time to visit Disneyland if you wanted to “experience” the park in its infancy. For me, I would wait several weeks for the festivities to die down and more attractions to come on line.

Here is a list of opening day attractions according to “The Story of Disneyland,” a 1955, 22-page soft-cover souvenir booklet:


The Story of Disneyland


• The Story of Disneyland
• 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Exhibit
• Autopia
• Canal Boats of the World (Later Storybook Land Canal Boats)
• Casey Jr. Circus Train
• Disneyland Street Railway
• Dumbo the Flying Elephant
• Explorer's Boat Ride (Later Jungle Cruise)
• King Arthur Carrousel
• Mad Tea Party
• Main Street Cinema
• Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
• Penny Arcade and Shooting Gallery
• Peter Pan Flight
• Phantom Boats
• Rocket to the Moon
• Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad
• Snow White's Adventures (Later Snow White's Scary Adventures)
• Space Station X-1
• Stage Coach through the Painted Desert

Imagine how wonderful it would be to walk through the various lands of yesteryear and experience the original attractions. Picture seeing the Jungle Cruise before it was humorously reimagined by Marc Davis. Driving an Autopia vehicle when there was no track down the middle of the lane and you could bounce off the curbs on each side of the roadway. Or sitting atop a stage coach and riding along dusty trails that will someday become the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland attraction.


Jungle Cruise

Autopia

Stage Coach


However, another time in Disneyland history also beckons me. It's the time period I personally remember when reminiscing about The Happiest Place on Earth. It's a time when ticket books still existed and you would scour through your junk drawer at home before your day began, looking for unused coupons from previous visits " only to discover there were only “A” and “B” tickets left.

The date is sometime in late 1969. All of the World's Fair attractions (“it's a small world,” Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Carousel of Progress, and Primeval World) had been added to the park. The 1966/67 makeover of Tomorrowland had been completed. And Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion were now open. To me, this was Disneyland's turning point. The simple “carnival” rides that opened the park in 1955 had given way to cutting edge technology. Disneyland truly took its place as the leader of theme parks in this era.


it's a small world

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

Carousel of Progress

Primeval World

New Tomorrowland

Pirates of the Caribbean

Haunted Mansion


It would be so pleasing to relive my memories of this fantastic time in Disney history. To be able to ride the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland one more time. To watch Wally Boag, Betty Taylor, Don Novis, and Fulton Burley perform in the Golden Horseshoe Review. To enjoy the original Carousel of Progress and see mother go from a housewife drudge to a yackety modern 1960's woman.


Mine Train Though Nature's Wonderland

Golden Horseshoe Review

Final Scene from the Carousel of Progress


On Main Street, Disney merchandise had not yet permeated every nook and cranny of every shop. Wurlitzer sold piano rolls. A candle shop offered a staggering array of wax wonders. The Upjohn Pharmacy provided guests with free samples of vitamin pills. And the Penny Arcade offered a stunning collection of antique games and mutascopes.


Candle Shop

Upjohn Pharmacy


Even though I visited the Magic Kingdom in Florida three months after it opened, this park does not hold the history or memories for me that Disneyland does, so I would not use my time machine to visit this park. But I might select Epcot sometime in the mid to late 1980's. It would be so wonderful to ride on Horizons and World of Motion one last time. And I would especially enjoy seeing Dreamfinder and Figment in the original Imagination attraction. However, I have many photographs and videos of this era of Epcot so it probably wouldn't make my list.


Horizons

World of Motion

Imagination


Of course, any good time machine worth its money can travel forward in time as well as backwards. Maybe I should take a trip to the future. So what park and date would I select?

I probably would not pick Disneyland. For the most part, this park is complete. Yes, there will be new attractions and experiences in the years to come. And hopefully Tomorrowland will get the complete makeover it deserves. But I doubt that I would see significant changes twenty years from now. Sure, Pirates of the Caribbean will have had another makeover to correspond to the tenth sequel to the original movie, but do I really care?

The same logic holds true for the Magic Kingdom. For the most part, this park is complete.

Once again, I might choose Epcot. It's possible that twenty years from now there will be more countries around World Showcase. But judging by the last twenty years, probably not.

Rumors abound that Disney's Hollywood Studios will be getting a major makeover sometime soon. But I'm still young enough to hopefully witness these additions in my lifetime.

So what park and date would I pick in the future?

Shanghai Disneyland, 2035. From the precious little information Disney has released on this park, it looks to be significantly different from the other five Magic Kingdom-type parks around the world. For example, the castle will be interactive and the largest of them all. The Shanghai version of Tomorrowland will be to the left of the Hub rather than to the right. And many new attractions are being designed to please a Chinese audience.

Although I do plan on visiting Shanghai Disneyland in 2016, I know from past experience with other Disney parks that it will be far from complete. So I will use my time machine to visit again in 2035, twenty years after the park's opening. This will allow plenty of time for the park to grow and add additional attractions.


Shanghai Disneyland


So here is the deal. I'm going to loan you my time machine. With it, you can only pick ONE Disney park and visit on ONE date from opening until closing. Send me your answers and tell me why you chose as you did. I'll post them as fast as I can. Then come back to this blog often to see what others have written.

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is very subjective. Just because I wouldn't pick the Magic Kingdom doesn't mean that it's not the perfect park for you. Also, it doesn't have to be simply about experiencing Disney history or future. It can be reliving a park when your kids were at that perfect age to appreciate all that Disney has to offer. Or visiting with a loved one that is no longer with us.

As you know, I'm always telling you to slow down and smell the roses. Today I'm asking you to stop and remember (or look forward). Think about the good times you have had or will have or wish you could have had at a Disney park.

So now it's time for me to choose. Which of the three dates that I presented would I select, Disneyland in late 1955, Disneyland in late 1969, or Shanghai Disneyland in 2035?

I don't know.

-----------------------------------------------

Hi everyone,

We're having some technical difficulties with the "Comments Section" for this blog. If you aren't able to add a comment, please check back later tonight or tomorrow to add your Time Machine thoughts.

Jack


The previous post in this blog was Pirates of the Caribbean Guest Bedroom - Part Two.

The next post in this blog is Disney References in Non-Disney Theater, Music, Movies and TV Shows.

Comments (44)

DanInNH:

I thought of going back to 1971 to witness my wife as a child and experiencing the magic for the first time, and while tempting,
I would have to say my heart wants to return to Magic Kingdom in 1998 to once again see my boy's (now men) faces when they emerged from under the train station and saw the castle for the first time. And this time I would have a video camera at the ready to grab hold of it, and save it for all time.

I would also take extra turns on rides and shows that will go away in years to come... some may think their favorites will be there forever, but we have learned that is not always gong the case.

And I'd have an extra dog at Casey's corner before they make the bun twice as big and the dog twice as small!!! Pass the mustard please.

And thanx again jack, I know I didn't put many miles on your machine, but I did have it washed and waxed when we were done. All warmed up and ready to go...

Jack's Comment:

I never thought about taking a video camera (or digital camera) with me. If I could go back to Disneyland in 1955, I'd easily take a thousand pictures or more if I had a digital media.

GREAT IDEA!

Betty:

I remember the ticket books my dad would get to take us from his work as they were all good on any ride, no letters, we always used on D and E rides and bought tickets for the few lower letter rides we wanted. also remember getting to pass the hour long ride cause I was the only single rider on the donkey train ride.

Tracy Talarek:

Welcome back, Jack!! We've missed you!

John:

Although I don't have an exact date, I would definitely set my time machine to August 1978 at the Magic Kingdom. This was my family's second visit to Walt Disney World (my first being 1974 at age 4, so I have no real memories). The precise moment I would want to see is my Dad emerging from the Magic Shop with a small bag- later that evening he showed us an amazing trick where a stack of nickels magically transformed into a stack of dimes!
In my memory the Magic Shop moment is bracketed by eating ice cream sundaes and the Main Street Electrical Parade (with a special tribute to Mickey's 50th birthday) and fireworks.

Maybe this wasn't the exact order of events, but I couldn't think of a better moment to see again.

Susan:

I would go back to WDW in 1999, when my daughter was 5, just to experience her awe, wonder and joy when she first saw and hugged her beloved Winnie the Pooh.

Bill:

I didn't go to Disney World until in college. Some friends and I went for Labor Day Weekend, specifically to ride Star Tours, but I've ridden the original so many times that I don't need time travel to recreate it.

What I would do is this: My girlfriend (now my wife) was and still is a Disneyphile. When we went to WDW in the early 90s, the Hopper passes were stamped each day of use. A four-day hopper worked well for a trip: 2 days for Epcot and a day each for Magic Kingdom and the Studios, and hop around as needed for reservations.

On our 4th day, one of the surveyors or ticket takers asked if they could take the passes for data purposes, and traded them with a hopper for the day. On the one hand, we were happy to help, but we've always kind of regretted giving up a cool souvenir. So I'd go back in time and make sure we hung on to those hoppers.

Jack, all of your choices are excellent. I'd have to pick EPCOT in the '80s to go back in time. I'd probably go late enough to see the Cronkite Spaceship Earth, The Living Seas, and maybe even Wonders of Life. So I'd shoot for like 1989 or so. The park was at its peak and had everything that I loved about Future. It also had the original Mexico ride. Horizons, World of Motion, and Journey Into Imagination would be amazing to see again. I loved them as a kid.

I do think your choice of Disneyland in 1969 is also great. It would be amazing to see the upstairs portion of Carousel of Progress, along with the original versions of Pirates and the Haunted Mansion. Seeing Disneyland with the Skyway plus the original subs and the People Mover would be just awesome.

thomas:

I set the time machine to the early summer of 1972 when me and my college room mate stop at US192 and made our way west to DW, just let people know at that time from the Florida Turnpike along 192 was all farm land and 1 very small town call Kissimmee, well we got to parking lot got tickets went in walk around once, walk to my car and drove north to go home, now with time machine I go back so I could slow down and look around and enjoy all what is Walt Disney World. Thank for let me use you time machine it been a long time that I thought about that time

Kara Costello:

Hi Jack! Great topic. I don't have an exact date, but I remember in the early days of Illuminations, each country had it's own moment in the spotlight, to light up, & play music from that country. My parents & I used to do dinner @ the Rose & Crown on the terrace & wait for Illuminations. The CMs of course, knew the show by heart, and would count down, getting everyone all psyched up for England's turn. When the lights went on & the spotlight hit, everyone would go crazy, cheering & waving. It was so fun!

Mel:

Epcot, soon after it opened (or should that be EPCOT?). Although I'd like to take my younger self with me, who would be eleven or twelve. I live in the UK, and in the 1980's around the time Epcot opened there were several TV segments about this amazing looking new theme park, I remember them being on the BBC's flagship children's magazine programme "Blue Peter", but they may have appeared elsewhere too.
All I knew was that I wanted to go there, very very badly, more than I wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom. However there was as much chance of that happening as of me flying to the moon, the days of low(ish) cost transatlantic air travel hadn't really arrived, as a single parent family we didn't have a lot of money, and no one we knew had even been farther than Spain for a holiday, and that was considered pretty exotic. I don't think I even asked my mother if we could go as I knew it would never happen.
I eventually made it to Epcot when I was in my twenties, and it was everything I imagined it would be, and more. Then I married a man whose parents live in Florida, meaning that although we live in the UK we get to visit Disney once a year or so. I now have a six year old daughter, and funnily enough her favourite park is Epcot, she's not a "princessy" girl, but she loves all things to do with space and science and the first thing she always wants to do when we hit the parks is ride Spaceship Earth. I know my childhood self would love Epcot too, and it would be a treat way beyond her wildest dreams.
If I could have a second time travel trip (greedy, I know) I'd then take my daughter back so she could ride Horizons.

Heather Young:

I'd like to go back in time and bring Walt Disney to the future with me, to see if he likes the way things have turned out. How fantastic would it be to walk the parks with Walt himself?

David:

Welcome back Jack. I think that if I had access to your wonderful machine
That I would like to go back and see Uncle Walt in person. He and his show
" The Wonderful World of Disney" kept me alive with hope, imagination, magic and creativity while growing up. I am not sure if the Disney corp. has ever attained the same spirit that he left behind.

Jim:

I too would go back to Epcot early years. My first visit to Epcot was in 1993 and I vaguely remember so many great now gone experiences. To be able to revisit them knowing they are gone would really change how my experience would be. I would definitely take the time to smell the roses of yesteryear. And yes taking a digital camera would be awesome. Taking my wife with me would be even better.

Mine is an easy choice, Magic Kingdom 2008. We took our son for his first visit on his 7th birthday. Experiencing WDW through him was just amazing. He was at the Magic Kingdom closing 4 times in one week and jumped out of bed each day for the next park opening. The cast members made him feel so special, nothing big, just lots of wonderful little things through out the week. We have enjoyed many visits since 2008 but that first time was truly magical.

Josh Weiss:

Hey Jack
If I had to pick only one time and park it would have to be the magic kingdom on my bith date, June 22, 1990. I was raised on Disney all my life and to be able to see things that I don't remember such as the skyway, 20,000 leagues under the sea, Mission to Mars, the list goes on and on. There is so much more that I was not able to experience at other parks as well. I do look forward to the future of Disney to see what amazing things will be in store. Can't wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

Bonnie Lorenzetti:

HI Jack,
What a great and fun story. I also am a science fiction nerd. LOVE star trek, star wars etc. Hard to choose- not sure of exact date but it would be Epcot to revisit some of the by gone rides they had as you mentioned - world of motion, figment with dreammaker and Kitchen Kabaret - I loved the songs in this. I wish they would come out with a DVD of some of the songs from these old rides for us to reminesce (? spelling) with. BUt like others I would have loved to have Mr Disney himself around to have been a part in its progress and future.
Great blog as usual.
Bonnie

While I would be soooo tempted to go back to Oct 1, 1971 to be one of the first people to enter the Magic Kingdom, I would instead select June 22, 2008. That day me, my wife and daughter, my sister, nephew, and niece all started our visit to Walt Disney World. Only my wife and I had ever been, and that had been 20 years before. We started our day at 7:00am (early magic hours) at Epcot and stayed until Illuminations was over, then hopped on the Monorail and rode over to the Magic Kingdom (Park Hopper passes are so awesome) and closed down the MK (extra magic hours), finally going back to our rooms around 2:30am. We were exhausted after 19 1/2 hours, but we still talk about that day more than any other during that visit or the others since. Riding Soarin, Test Track, and Maelstrom, and going thru every pavilion, riding "It's a Small World" at 1:00am then riding the Carousel and embarrassing my nephew who was too cool to ride a Carousel by calling out his name every time we went around. It was truly a magical day, and one of the most happiest days of my life. To be able to see my family experience that day would be the only way that day could have been better. Thanks for yet another mental trip down memory lane of that day, and welcome back, we have missed your posts.

Adam August:

Time travel would be a toss-up between the mid-70s when I was active duty military, and while civilians had their A through E tickets, we had passes on a lanyard ($6)that gave us unlimited access to everything (nevertheless we would park at Howard Johnson's and sneak a ride to the MK on their shuttle bus to dodge the $4 parking fee); Or late 1999-early 2000, when Epcot was in the throes of the Millennium Celebrate-The-Future-Hand-In-Hand events, with another dozen or so countries to visit and that very unique parade.

Kelly M:

Great to have you back Jack. I hope your sabbatical from the blog was a successful time for you. Happy new year!

Brent Hand:

I would choose Epcot in the late 80's. I never got to experience Horizons or World of Motion. My favorite ride of all time is probably the original Journey into Imagination, as it was such a creation and wonder of Imagination that just doesn't exist anymore. I would love to experience Universe of Energy without Ellen, and the Seas without Nemo or his friends.

But the excitement in the atmosphere is what I'd really like to see. I went to Epcot the first time in 1993. I was 10. Even then I could sense that Epcot was a window into the future. There was a heart and soul to the park that somehow doesn't seem present today. That's what I'd like to see more than anything.

Robert Dickinson:

Hi Jack,

Great to see you back and awesome blog. I too would check out Disneyland in 1966.I would also check out the early days of EPCOT. Since my first trip to the world was not until 1999 I missed a lot :(

On a side note I am also a huge Sci-Fi fan, Particularly Star Trek and Lost In Space. I also LOVE that 1960s version of The Time Machine. In retrospect, it’s interesting to consider the Sci-Fi titles that Disney has inspired. West World and Jurassic Park come to mind immediately. Speaking of which can you tell us some of the move titles featured in the Sci-fi cafe or point us to a resource that lists them?

Thanks again and looking forward to future
blogs!!!

Rob

Ashley P. :

I would absolutely choose EPCOT Center in the mid to late 80's. I went in 1992 when I was six and my favorites were Kitchen Kaberet, the World of Motion, and Journey into Imagination. I really loved all the omnimover attractions. By the time I visited again, my favorites were gone. I would love to go back in time and experience them as an adult. I have old souvenir books from Amazon and eBay and I've watched the home movies my dad took and I've watched videos on YouTube, but it would be something else to actually see them again in person knowing everything I do now about all the details. I dont necessarily want them all back because I appreciate the constant state of change Epcot goes through...keep moving forward...but it would be neat if I had a time machine. Great blog, it's really fun to read everyone's stories in addition to yours!

Clare C.:

Very thought provoking article, Jack!

It's hard to pick a date but I guess I'd have to narrow it down to one of two choices. My first option would be my very first to WDW in the summer of 1978 with just me, my mom, and dad. My 2 baby brothers were deemed too young to go so they had to stay with my grandparents. I was 7 years old and had such a blast for 2 days visiting the MK, Hoop-De-Doo, and River Country. My favorite 2 attractions on that trip were the Carousel of Progress and the monorail. My other option would be January of 2008 when we made our first WDW with all 4 of our kids. For some reason, we had a bit more money in our pocket than usual and were able to stay at Riverside, dine at Cinderella's castle,take our daughter to BB Boutique, and did all 4 parks in 4 days. Great memories of both trips!

Irene Gunnels:

Welcome back!! Happy to be able to get new articles!!

For my husband and myself, we unanimously agreed on being able to travel back to the week of September 22,1991. This was our first, of many more to come in the future, trip to WDW. This week was our honeymoon. We were so unprepared, but we didn't care! We finally made it to WDW!!

To be able to have had the ability to have digital photography!! It would have made the scrapbooking that much more difficult, as my husband likes to take pictures. Our pictures were few from that trip.

Wow, to walk down MGM Studios again( before the hat), see the working studios we got to see an animator drawing Lumier! We walked through the real working Hollywood sets and saw the real residential street.

To be able to soak in EPCOT again. The ability to walk up and not to need ADRs for dinner. To ride the World of Motion again. The confusion of wondering what happened when the toilet flushe itself!! To see Figment and The Dreamfider again...
To play the Penny Arcade games on Main Street, or to soak in what Main Street was before the Emporium swallowed it up. To watch the Diamond Horseshoe Review again.To find the Haunted Mansion and ride it!!
Thanks Jack for letting me relive that wonderful week of my honeymoon. Thanks for the time machine of our memories!

Mike:

Once I had your time machine, I'd break your rules.
I'd spin through time and pick up my three kids, my wife, and myself at nine years old, an take my crew of fourth graders to EPCOT in 1984. The park was new but had a couple years to work out the kinks, new countries and rides had just opened, and I'd watch them all smile.

Thanks, Jack

Ashley P. :

I would absolutely choose EPCOT Center in the mid to late 80's. I went in 1992 when I was six and my favorites were Kitchen Kaberet, the World of Motion, and Journey into Imagination. I really loved all the omnimover attractions. By the time I visited again, my favorites were gone. I would love to go back in time and experience them as an adult. I have old souvenir books from Amazon and eBay and I've watched the home movies my dad took and I've watched videos on YouTube, but it would be something else to actually see them again in person knowing everything I do now about all the details. I dont necessarily want them all back because I appreciate the constant state of change Epcot goes through...keep moving forward...but it would be neat if I had a time machine. Great blog, it's really fun to read everyone's stories in addition to yours!

Joan Kmiecik:

I would welcome a return via time machine to February 2007. Fairly recent, but my kids first trip to Disney. My son was 5 years-old and had a great time. He tested our patience though, whining that he was tired or "couldn't walk any more". We powered through the week and flew back home.

Two days later we were in the emergency room with our son and a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. If I could go back to that trip...! I would have noticed he was extremely thirsty and it wasn't hot in Florida. I would have realized he couldn't walk because his blood glucose was low. So many signs! Take me back so I can make it up to him.

Olivia:

If I could choose one date to go back to, it would be Epcot in the late 80s/Early 90s. I'm only 16 so never got to experience things at Epcot such as The original Journey Into Imagination, Kitchen Kabaret, Horizons, World of Motion, etc. and I am a huge Epcot fan so I would love to go back in time and experience that.

Leslie Constantine:

If I could have a time machine I would go back to April 2012. I was able to bring my parents to Disney for the first time in their lives at the age of 65. My dad lived a very rough childhood. He was the oldest of 6 children and they lost their parents at a very young age. My dad bounced from foster care home to foster care home and eventually ending up living with his grandmother, who made him quit school to get a job. Needless to say he was never able to travel or have great family vacations. So when me, and my husband invited them to join us for a Disey World trip he was neverous and excited. I remember the day we spent in Epcot. We were there all day and of course at the end of the day had to stop for Mickey ear ice cream. As we are all sitting around enjoying our ice cream, my dad begins to sob. I thought something was wrong or he was extremelly tired from the long day. But no, he looked at me and said "I have never seen something so beautiful or enjoyed myself so much as I have on this vacation". WOW! That moved me to tears. Next thing I know the whole family is crying because we are happy! It's amazing what magic can happen in Disney World.

Greg Highfill :

Firstly, thanks for the stroll down memory lane of Disneyland in the 1950s & 60s. One of my earliest Disneyland memories is of Space Station X-1. I also remember driving an Autopia car before the center rail. Somehow, I got stuck up on a curb and a cast member had to come out and pry me off with some sort of tool. I remember that I felt horrible humiliation.

Your question of a time machine is nearly impossible for me to answer. It's like when someone asks me which is my favorite WDW park? I don't have one, since I love them all, but for different reasons.

I would most likely choose either Disneyland Paris or Disney Sea. I base these selections on conversations we've had, both "virtual" and in person. Disneyland Paris because you say it's the most beautiful of the Magic Kingdom Parks, and Disney Sea because you say it's your favorite park. I would probably go 10-20 years in the future. I would want to see something that I haven't seen rather than go back in time for things I have experienced. I would also take digital 3D camera equipment!

I may never actually get to experience Disney Parks outside the US, but one never knows. I DO need to get a passport. ºoº

Eric Freilich:

Great column and welcome back! I was wondering if you could please help me with the following question. Back in the 80s, a local South Florida news channel aired a special on WDW in which one of the anchors "worked" as a CM in three jobs-custodian, Q&A at The Living Seas, and in DACS at the MK. He "messed up" all three jobs. I used to have a copy on VHS that is since gone and none of the local stations have any record of the show. Do you have any information on this? Thank you very much!

Jack's Answer:


I have never heard of or seen this broadcast. If it was locally produced, then I suspect it has been lost and forgotten. If it was nationally or Disney produced, then you might be able to find it. I'm assuming you've tried YouTube. Maybe someone who reads your question here will be able to shed some light on the subject. If they do, I'll be sure to post whatever information they provide.

Lori:

So nice to have you back Jack!

And in answer to your question, I just want to get back to Disney NOW (I went oh so many times when I was growing up, but now that I've relocated from the US to the UK, it's not as easy to get over there and I miss it SO MUCH), but I think what I'd like most is to go the Magic Kingdom, at some point in the early 70s, to witness my mom's first trip - to see what it was that captured her heart and made her decide, once she had me, to make sure to take me every year.

Looking forward to future posts and again, so great to have you back!

Kaylyn Winter:

I would go back to July 2002, I don't remember the exact date but it was the first time my mom and I went to Walt Disney World after my parents divorce. We walked into the Magic Kingdom and it was like something just washed over us. We were back. All the troubles and emotions of the last couple of years were gone for just that day. It was the perfect escape. We have been back half a dozen times since then and it's still an escape, but nothing ever quite feels like that first time back :)

Steph:

I would go back to 1996, Magic Kingdom's 25th birthday. My family and I went and it was the last trip where I was still young enough to really be caught up in the magic and not have to worry about any outside stresses, like homework as I got older or missing work now. My family was together, a lot of the attractions that I love were in their "original" (to me) form, and life was good. I know I'm one of the few who feel this way, but I'd even get to see the Castle as the cake again :-) I can still here the "25 years of magic" song in my head from the VHS tape my parents showed us to tell my sister and I that we were going. If only this were true...Welcome back Jack!

Penny from Vermont:

WOW! This was a great trip down memory lane as I did visit Disneyland in/or around 1969.
I was in my late teens and my family had just driven the 3000 miles across the country to visit my Aunt Flo in Fontana, CA. and of course Disneyland was one of the places on our list of things to do.
My very first Disneyland experience was when I was 10 and my brother was 7 so we all looked forward to this visit.
My fondest memory is of the beautiful flower carts after first entering the park. Then it was the thrill of the Matterhorn, Autopia, Mad Tea party, the canoe races, the Skyway to Tomorrowland, and the Santa Fe railroad's panorama, and well I could go on. I think the beauty of the place and having fun with family was part of those great memories.
Needless to say, my brother and I have a very large soft spot for Disneyland even though we have been to Disneyworld a bazillion times over the years. I guess you never forget your first love!
If I had another chance in the Time Machine I too would like to travel to the future of all the Disney properties but only if I could bring Walt Disney along for the ride. That would be something!

Dave Hirsch:

Great article, Jack.

I guess I would travel to the Magic Kingdom in the year 2020 to see the opening day of the Seven Dwarves Mine Train!

Dave Hirsch:

Great article, Jack.

I guess I would travel to the Magic Kingdom in the year 2020 to see the opening day of the Seven Dwarves Mine Train!

Marie Phillips:

I would go back solo to Epcot in the summer of 2000 to see the Tapestry of Nations parade and the old (best) Illuminations.

Tammy:

That's an easy one for me. I would set the time machine to March 1974, when I was a mere 8 years old (I'm sacrificing my age for this piece!). A few months prior, I won a contest that sent about 80 or so Canadian children to WDW with a handful of chaperones for several days (not something you'd see in this day and age). I do still have a few vivid memories, such as my group having to hold onto a heavy, knotted yellow rope everywhere in the park, while sweating up a storm wearing a yellow plastic jacket we were not allowed to take off (which I still have...I was so small!!). I would love to go back with a video camera to capture all those awestruck moments from my first trip to the World, not to mention my first "big girl" trip without my family. To be able to go back into my brain to feel what I was thinking at that time would be priceless!!

Kathryn Lemanski:

Hi Jack,
If I were to use my time machine to go somewhere in Disney, it would be my honeymoon in the future. My fiance and I have been planning to go for the last 2 years, but we haven't been able to get married yet for both financial reasons and unfortunately for his health reasons. He is going through so much right now and when we finally get to Disney, it will be the ultimate victory. He has never in his 38 years on Earth been to the "Happiest Place on Earth". I got to get a teaser taste of the world when I came for a FAM about 2 years ago as I am a travel agent and needed to see it to know what I was selling. Anyhow, when I came back from Disney with my thousands of pictures and tales of "Magical Moments" he was sold. I don't know what the date would be, but I would pick Magic Kingdom because I want to see the look on his face when he comes into the park under the railroad to behold Cinderella's castle for the first time. I know that it will be priceless and his inner child will come out in full force. Plus, I know that as soon as he sees the castle, he will finally put the Mickey ears on that I so desparately want to see on him :-) Thanks for the great article! I've missed them.

Adam:

I've always wished that I'd gotten into Disney earlier, so I could have gone on the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. Stitch is a good animatronic, but otherwise the show is awful. My wife tells me that the ETERRORAE was just amazing.

Stanton:

I would choose the Magic Kingdom in the late 70's (I think around 1979) as a high school student with my parents. My father's business brought with it some perks, and one of them was VIP treatment from GE at the Carousel of Progress. Long story short, my father convinced them to take me down underneath the ride so I could see the "inner workings" of the turntable, robotics, etc. I trace my career epiphany to be an (electrical) engineer to that moment on that day. Oh, and I would take a plunge down the slides in River Country (had never seen anything like it up to that time)!

Renee Bernard:

Welcome back Jack!

I have given this a lot of thought. My Dad just passed away (two weeks ago). I would go back in time to September 2001 when he and my Mom went to Disneyland for the first time. I would go and experience that trip with them. I know they do the flag ceremony at Magic Kingdom for Veterans. If they do that at Disneyland I would try to have my Dad be the Veteran of the day. He served this country for 25 years, mostly in the National Guard and reserves.

Thank you for the opportunity to think about how amazing that trip would be!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 13, 2014 5:22 AM.

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