Monday, September 17, 2012

Theme Park Junkies

Okay, we are self-confessed theme park junkies. We were two of the many kids who grew up watching the TV show Disneyland, an unabashed infomercial for Walt Disney’s new amusement park being built in Anaheim, CA.
We were both children at the time, but we each went to the park (the term ‘theme park’ was yet to come) during its first year of operation.

My grandmother took my mother, brother, and me in August, 1955, one month after opening, for my birthday. None of us knew exactly what to expect, but Ron and I had been well-primed. The place more than lived up to our expectations. Since I was already in love with fairy tales, the magic captured me immediately.

Larry went first on his brother’s birthday the following March and again on his own birthday in April. He loved it as much as I. We discovered our mutual addiction when we were dating, and in fact, attended the very first New Year’s Eve Party at the park.

We continued to go through the years, and I can’t ever recall having anything but a great time.

That’s probably why when Larry was offered a job helping to build the Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka, Japan, he jumped at the chance. Well, being able to work on Jurassic Park, JAWS and WaterWorld didn’t hurt! The extra bonus was a job for me in Document Control once we arrived in Japan.

During our time there, we made good friends and really got to know the ins and outs of theme park construction. That knowledge merely increased our love for that form of escapist entertainment. We even wrote a book about it: 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park.

After we returned to California, our daughter, Kim, began working at Disneyland, so we bought annual passes. We’ve had them nearly every year since.

We recently celebrated our forty-seventh anniversary. Where did we go? To Disney, of course. Although this time we chose Disney’s California Adventure since we hadn’t ridden on two of the new rides in Cars Land. And, once again, we had a ball.

How about you? Do you like theme parks, too?


  1. My husband, Drew, LOVES to ride the rides. At age 12, I realized that I no longer had the stamina for dozens of fast rides and roller coasters. The motion was just too much for me. So, I gladly go to the parks, enjoy the food and people watch. I will go on a ride or two, but not all of them. I don't want to be throwing up my lunch. That would really put a damper on the day! LOL! We shall see how Lily does...if I go with my gut, she'll take after her daddy and we'll be getting annual passes to Disney as well:) Thanks for sharing! Always fun to read your writings.

    1. Let us know when you are ready to bring Lily to Disneyland and we'll join y9ou there.

  2. Yes! I love theme parks and roller coasters!

    Jolie du Pre
    Precious Monsters

    1. When you come here to California, be sure to let us know. We'll go with you!

  3. The last time I went to Disneyland was to take my 6 developmentally disabled women who lived with us in our care home. What an experience! We didn't have to wait in line that was great. One of our gals jumped out of the boat in Pirates ride because she thought she'd get hit by the cannon balls. Hap got her back into the boat. We also took them to Universal Studios, when Jaws jumped out of the water, another of our gals almost flew from one end of the boat to the other to get away from the shark.

    We took a 4 year old grandson to Disneyland and had to go on the Peter Pan rider over and over because he thought he was actually piloting the ride.