Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How Walt Disney defined my vision

Dear Walt (as in Disney),

My name is Valerie and I am simple woman from a simple background.

I grew up without the instant availability of french fries, a stoplight, or home delivery of the mail.

We lived in the Great White North, where we didn't lock our doors even when we went on vacation, kids would hold their graduation parties in gravel pits, and the first true crush I even had was a boy in 5th grade named Travis who I actually heard from on the Facebook just this morning.

No Internet.  No computer.  No cable. 

My dad was a working man, my mom a working mom, and often times money was tight.  We didn't get out of Alaska much so when we did, it was really impactful.
It is funny that I have ended up in Missouri now.  Your home state.  I have been to your hometown of Marceline (ate some Sonic.)  Stood in your dad's old butcher shop.  I had a job offer from the Art Institute that you briefly studied at.  You and I have ties.   :)

Which leads me to my point of this letter....
Thank you, Walt.

What is that?  you say.

Let me say it again.  "Thank you, Walt."  From one Missourian to another.

When I was in the fourth grade, my parents pulled me out of school for an extended vacation during the school year.  My dad was a roofer so we were not able to travel in the summer.  That was work season.

So, we tromped around Hawaii and then spent some time in California, in which we got to go to Disneyland.

I remember all of it very clearly, including coveting the Minnie Mouse stuffed animal with the polka dot dress and the big red bow that I wanted sooooo bad but was too scared to tell my grandma when she asked me if I wanted anything. 

There is one ride that just completely bowled me over.

It's A Small World. 

I never knew such a world exsisted.  

I knew the song before I knew it was a ride.  I had the record you know.

It wasn't the ride itself that impacted me.   It was the pictures my mother took during it that so profoundly influenced me---after the ride.

After we got home and she eventually put the pictures of the dolls from the ride in an album.  I looked at them so much growing up that I thought I would look the ink right off the paper.

I wanted to be where those dolls where.  South America.  Asia.  Scandinavia.  See the costumes.  Hear the music.  It spoke to my soul, even as a kid. 

I never forgot that there was a whole world out there, waiting for me to see it. 

So I've gone.  A lot.

A couple weeks ago we went to Disney World for my first time, and we went on the Small World ride. 

And those feelings from 33 years ago came flooding back to me. 

This time, I took my own pictures so I can visit whereever whenever I want to.  :)

Thanks, Walt, for your vision.  It has broadened mine.