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Residents of Disneyland . . .

Here’s a Mickey that looks a little familiar, in December 1998 at Disneyland in Anaheim . . . . It was our first trip to Disneyland since arriving in Santa Cruz in the summer of 1997. Charlie was three. Fun time!

Check out the sweater!
When our older children were regular visitors at the Paris Disneyland, they each had Disney sweaters, and wore them if we could arrange that. I had one too, and wore it regularly, in the park and outside it.

We bought Disney mugs in the Disney store, one each time we found one that we liked, for the colors or the imagery, for our morning hot chocolate and coffee. We bought Disney swords and shields and other costumes for the children’s parties and disguises.

In 2005, I even bought a leather Disney jacket, which is still (in 2011) my favorite jacket. It commemorates each decade’s anniversary of Disneyland in Anaheim, Walt Disney’s original and extraordinary vision, the tenth, twentieth, thirtieth, fortieth and fiftieth. My first visit was during 1975, the twentieth year, and that 2005 visit was during the fiftieth year.

Here is Tom celebrating his fifth birthday with Minnie, again at Disneyland in Paris. This restaurant was called the California Grill.

Mostly, the jacket was a memento of those wonderful years that we spent, the six of us (or seven after Charlie arrived) on annual passports at Disneyland in Paris. The sweaters are all long gone, and our coffee mugs have mostly broken over the years, and been thrown out. There are a few costumes, or pieces of costumes, left in the costume bins in Alex’s closet, but they’re pretty much gone too. There’s not a lot left of those early years. But I’ve got my jacket, and look after it very carefully.

That’s the only reason now for four Disney pages in this collection of family memories, if you think about it. We rarely go at all any more. Everybody’s gotten older and nobody’s that interested, certainly not in going together. But it’s very important to keep track of the good things. For our little troupe, this was a big one.

Here’s Goofy, or “Dingo” in French. You will notice that the parents were as happy to meet the local residents as were the children! We know, we were older even then, but getting into the spirit of the thing was so much fun!

Daphné was always particularly fond of the “personages,” as she called the Disney characters. (Remember, she didn’t speak a word of English until we moved to California). She would see one across the street or appearing somewhere in the distance, and she would squeal the name and zoom over. There was a lot of squeal and zoom in Daphné’s young life: the squeals were loud and the zooms were fast!

On a few occasions, the four children set themselves the task of acquiring as many signatures of Disney characters as they could during a day’s visit. Little autograph books were obtained for each of them, and little pencils, and off they would charge, here and there (or zoom, in Daphné’s case) pursuing characters and competing madly with each other.

The other parent, equally embraced. “Dingo” was all-round affectionate!

It was an interesting task, because the characters’ appearances in different locations were tightly timed and choreographed, and sometimes one or other character would be obliged to leave as abruptly as she or he had appeared. If one of our four was distracted elsewhere, then that autograph was missed, and great pain resulted. For a few seconds. Then one or other of the four would lose interest or leave the autograph book in a café or want to go on a ride, and that would be that.

Years later, at Christmas 1998, we are still friends with the characters, in this case Nick and Tom with Rafiki:

Still years later, this time during September 2003, we are back at Disneyland, with each of Charlie and Alex exploring illusion and, needless to say, having fun.

We visit Disney parks less often now that we live eight hours away, rather than one hour, and now that the older children have no interest in going there with the parents, but they remain Magic Kingdoms.

Not to forget the Disney Rides. Or the main Disney Page. Or the decor.

Or other vacations.