In this blog we shall provide the answer to that much anticipated question…
How did it all begin?
A year before there was a Sista Dillo, it was decided that a family vacation would take place. This during my first grade school year… Mrs. Johnston’s class – she didn’t like me – I was rowdy in her eyes (I wasn’t). She gave me grief when I excitedly told her I was missing school at the, what would become a calendar staple, end of January/beginning of February trip.
In this equation, excited = rowdy.
That vacation would be to the Walt Disney Resort, not yet a decade old. My grandparents, who lived in Ocala, would make the trip down to Lake Buena Vista and stay on 192.
We stayed at the Polynesian Village Resort.
Much like how we still call the Hollywood Studios ‘MGM’, when we don’t call the resort ‘The Polynesian’, I still add the ‘Village’ even though it was removed some time ago. [youtube.com/watch?v=YSGxjt7h6Lw]
That’s me running over the area that is now the Rapa Nui & Tahiti longhouses (before the 1985 expansion). I think we were in Room 1936, but you can’t quote me on that. I don’t remember if we did the Luau or not (I don’t think we did), but I would swear up and down that you could view the Electrical Water Pageant from your table in the now ‘event only’ Tangaroa Terrace. [youtube.com/watch?v=U-27LQL5oyY]
That Seven Seas Lagoon nightly showcase became a must for me until the eventual every other night compromise with Illuminations several years later. 9pm on the Seven Seas Lagoon was better than anything ever on Must See TV. [youtube.com/watch?v=IP97Dyb3kPk]
The Magic Kingdom was the only park to be had. The A – E ticketing system was still in place. I lost mine temporarily in Fantasyland (it was found). It was probably not the best idea for me, at age six, to ride Space Mountain. I am surprised that fingernail marks on the top of my mother’s hands weren’t permanent. I still get a little flutter to this day because I experience it for the first time at too young of an age. Snow White’s Scary Adventures scared the wholly bejesus at of me – and that was just the warning sign in the queue. i remember the Jungle Cruise, and thinking that Mission to Mars was weird.
Downtown Disney was the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, and the Empress Lilly came across as one of the biggest attraction on property. We didn’t (nor would we ever) take in Discovery Island or River Country – now abandoned like the lost colony of Roanoke. And to this day, I will contend that we managed to drive up to the construction site of Future World. In reality, I think it saw a picture or video and then had a dream that it happened.
And that was it. I was hooked… Except, we wouldn’t go back for four years (thanks a lot toddler Sista Dillo!). Luckily, the need to return like it was the island on LOST was balanced by my new found growing interest in baseball. After that trip some four years… every day was like a cry of ‘WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!!’
A seed had been planted – a seed of dreams, and fantasy, and family, and entertainment, and thematic experience that has grown and sits as the foundation of who I am right now as I type this one hundredth blog.