By Brenda S. Brown


It was the end of the school year in 1956 and our family to include Uncle Bill and Aunt Inez were going on an extended vacation.  I am saving the details of the cross country adventure for a later column; this story focuses on just one magical day of that trip.

Our parents had purchased a brand new Ford Station wagon to transport the six of us on the long excursion but David, six years old, and Brenda, then eight years old, had no idea where we were going except to meet and visit with our long lost uncle, Theophilus Velver Scott, who resided in California.  The coloring books of Mickey and Minnie Mouse should have given us our first clue of the adventure that waited, but David and I were just youngsters and did not recognize the subtle hints.

The adults planned to travel through some nights with the couples taking turns driving and sleeping but surprisingly that plan did not last long, fatigue and different styles of navigating caused them to abandon that arrangement early into the journey.  David and I rode in the back of the station wagon most of the time and when we got weary; adults flattened the seat and we napped on blankets as we rode relentlessly toward the west.

We got up extremely early the day we were going to Disneyland and arrived at the park before the dense crowds gathered; imagine our surprise when we first recognized the Cinderella castle.

Being members of the Richland Volunteer Fire Department, daddy and Uncle Bill visited the Disney Fire Station and learned that it also housed an apartment for Walt Disney and his family and that when he was present at the park, a candle twinkled in the second floor window.

 We purchased a map of the theme lands and attractions, which was designed to take home as a souvenir and color.  While touring Main Street we learned that there was a parade each afternoon so it was decided that we must attend that event.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Cup and Saucer rides were among our favorites, and we used numerous coupons during the morning.  In the opening year the main features were the Town Square, Main Street, the Plaza, Adventure land, Frontier land, Fantasy land and Tomorrow land.

Soon it was time to gather in the town square for the parade and the entire area was decorated with bright banners and colorful balloons. The avenues and the floats were crowded with Disney characters and at the end were the famous mouse couple, Mickey and Minnie, and accompanying them was Walt Disney.  I remember daddy lifting me high into the air to shake hands with the legendary creator.

There is a hand drawn portrait of our momma that hangs in my foyer that is signed and dated; I never have to wonder when we went to Disneyland.  There are still wrinkles where it was rolled up while transported from California back to Georgia.

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