Disneyland Memories: More Than Disneyland

Thinking about the last couple of posts – of Mr. Disneyland Traveler and his family memories at Disneyland and Daveland’s photos of the iconic Matterhorn, I started thinking about my own Disneyland memories and the Matterhorn and all of the things woven into Disneyland memories that go far beyond Disneyland itself.

As I’ve mentioned before, my first memory of Disneyland was when my mother, step dad, step sister, and I visited for the first time. I was afraid of that old woman statue sitting in a rocking chair on Main Street. Later I would have a picture taken in that same place. You may remember this pic:


I also remember visiting Disneyland with my grandparents and I was so afraid of the Jungle Cruise, my ice cream cone melted – lol!

So my early memories were ones of fear – lol! But it was my younger brother’s turn to be afraid when I begged him to ride the Matterhorn with me – nope, he was way too afraid of that ride. So I rode it without him. That was the big thrill ride of that time – loved it. I still recall the excitement of handing over my E-ticket and getting in line to ride the Matterhorn.

The closest my brother got to experiencing the Matterhorn was riding the Skyway to Tomorrowland that went right through the Matterhorn – oh boy, do I miss those days. WDW didn’t have this. Here’s a link to Daveland’s pic of the Skyway just before it enters the Matterhorn.

You can also check out many more of Daveland’s Matterhorn photos – loved his comment about not being able to call it “the resort.” Disneyland is Disneyland and that’s all there is to it.

The Matterhorn is the icon of Disneyland and I remember driving past it on trips to visit my grandmother – this was before the Pomona Freeway and you drove down Harbor Blvd. past Disneyland.

No wonder I was horrified the first time I visited the Magic Kingdom at Disney World and said, “Where is the Matterhorn?” I had no idea the MK didn’t have the Matterhorn – I mean, how could it not?

Then there were the trips to Disneyland with extended family – with the older boy cousins and wondering, “Is my brother tall enough to ride Autopia?” That was always the milestone, right? Are you tall enough to ride a certain ride or to ride it by yourself? If not, then you’d ride it with an adult.

The Mickey balloon that had escaped into the night sky. The hot dog I ate to sooth a toothache while waiting to ride the Mine Train where Big Thunder is located now. The Pack Mules I rode during my teen years during the Heath Barkley crush of “The Big Valley” days. lol!

And, of course, my favorite Disneyland memories were with my friends when I was a teen-ager and flirting with the military guys who swarmed it back then.

The highlight, looking back, must have been when my mother said in her casual soft-spoken way, “Look, there’s Walt” and we all watched him in awe.

But it wasn’t just about Disneyland. It was an uncle taking us all to “The Pike” in Long Beach, my mother’s childhood hangout right before he went off to Basic Training.

thepikeIt was swimming in the ocean, relaxing on the beach and eating a frozen banana on Balboa Island (inspiration for Letters on Balboa Island) and listening to my mother’s stories of POP (Pacific Ocean Park, The Pike, Long Beach, and Balboa Island.


It was an aunt visiting us from the Bay Area and going to my first baseball game at Dodger Stadium to watch the Giants vs. the Dodgers when Don Drysdale was pitching. The Dodgers won 🙂

It was celebrating winning the sixth grade spelling bee at Knott’s Berry Farm, of visiting with aunts and uncles and cousins.

knottsIt was spending an afternoon at Fairmount Park with my mother and cousin or Griffith Park with my mother and brother where my mother had gone with her family and where Walt Disney had taken his family and the place that had inspired Disneyland.



So when you mention the word “Disneyland” to me, there’s a whole lot going on. It’s not just Disney or even Disneyland – it’s the “playgrounds of Southern California” as my step dad calls it, and Disneyland is a part of all of that. No wonder Orlando and WDW never had a chance at keeping me longterm.

About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer