Some people travel abroad to a different country a few times a year, others once a year, but a lot don’t even own a passport. I remember being told or reading somewhere that this is true of the majority of the American population. If you think about it, America is a huge country with so much history and culture extending across lots of states; why bother leaving and going anywhere else when you have so much on your doorstep? but I digress!
When I was younger, up until the age of about 5 or 6, my holiday adventures didn’t even extend past caravan parks in Cornwall, Cambersands or anywhere similar. Sometimes I didn’t even holiday at all, my Mum would go off with her man to Spain, along with my grandparents while we stayed with our Dad for a few weeks, who lived with my grandfather (or pops as I liked to call him) ever since our parents divorced when I was a baby!
I was lucky, my father had been to Walt Disney World and loved it enough to want to take us. He used our child savings that were given to us as a gift at an early age (he wasn’t going to use all his own money, but I don’t know what his financial circumstances were like then and I’d rather have gone to Florida so I won’t quibble) and paid for my Mum to go too. My sister had a fold out bed, my father a double and my mum and I shared the other double. It was an amazing time.
We only spent a week at Disney and a week in St Petes Beach or Miami. I remember we only visited the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Sea World and Kennedy Space Centre. My favourite rides at the time (or what I can remember) were Peter Pans Flight, The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Carousel of Progress, 20,000 leagues under the sea (now being renovated into the new Fantasyland) and the PeopleMover (now called Tomorrowland Transit Authority). Tom Sawyer Island and the Swiss Family Treehouse also stand out in my memory – all from within the Magic Kingdom plus the enormous park map (must have been approximately 2 by 1.5 metres) that we asked Cinderella to autograph for us (I still have it).
Epcot: I remember the big golf ball globe ‘Spaceship Earth’, the Monorail, Universe of Energy (now Ellen’s Energy Adventure) and Journey into Imagination with the original Figment and the Dreamfinder. I loved Figment and still have my photo where I stand beside them both. One other thing that stands out in my memory are the Phineas Fog balloons from the Land Pavillion food court,although I thought they were in a different food place, but that’s the last place I’ve seen them!?!
Seaworld and Kennedy didn’t leave as much of an impression as Disney; I remember Shamu and my sister being chosen to kiss and be given a rose by a sea-lion 🙂 obviously I remember the big splashes but also walking through a weird flower garden with streams and a bridge. At Kennedy, I only remember the space rockets in the garden.
I loved every minute of my two weeks in Florida in the early 1980s; it was only the beginning of my Disney adventures.