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What’s your first Disney memory?

121175_1007.JPG You can almost tell a person’s age by their first Disney memory whether it be a film, TV show, stuffed animal or theme park.

Anyone who saw “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in theaters when it was first released has to be in their 80s. If they were at the opening of Disneyland, then they should be in their 60s. Those who say it was “Lion King” are probably in their 20s.

My first Disney memory is “The Mickey Mouse Club” and I’m not talking about that ’80s knockoff with Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. The one I watch featured Annette Funicello and a bunch of other young people.

Most people have such a memory. It seemed like a good time to ask some celebrities to share their first Disney memories while I was at the D23 Expo in Anaheim. Here’s what a few had to say.

Joey Lawrence, “Melissa & Joey”: “My mom and dad took me to Disney World when I was 4 years old. I rode on Space Mountain and I peed my pants. I was sitting in my mother’s lap and my dad was behind us. It hit both my mom and dad.”

Brenda Song, voice of Chloe in “Pixie Hollow Games”: “For me it was ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ That was the first movie I ever saw. I have been in love with Belle since then. She’s my Disney Princess. Not long ago, some friends and I bought costumes to wear to Disneyland. We got to the door and they wouldn’t let us in because you had to be younger than 9 to wear costumes in the park.”

Melissa Joan Hart, “Melissa & Joey”: “We would go to Disney World because I grew up in New York and my grandparents lived in Florida. Once or twice a year we would drive down to Florida and we would get to go to the park. It was from the second the gate opened in the morning until the gate closed at night that we were there. The earliest memory inside the park is riding Thunder Mountain.”

Jason Dolley, voice of Rumble in “Pixie Hollow Games”: “The first movie I saw in a theater was ‘The Lion King.’ I probably became Simba at home and walked around on all fours. That’s what I would do. I would watch movies and then for the next week or so I would be one of the characters. That’s where the acting thing got started.

Tiffany Thornton, voice of Glimmer in “Pixie Hollow Games”: “I think my first Disney memory was watching ‘Snow White’ on VHS. My favorite animated movie was ‘Sleeping Beauty’ because I thought I looked like Aurora. I went to Disney World as a kid so I sort of grew up surrounded by Disney.”

Dave Foley, voice of Wayne in “Prep & Landing”: “I think my first movie was the original ‘Fantasia.’”

Michael Giacchio, “Up” composer: “My first movie in the theaters was ‘The Rescuers.’ But before that, I remember watching ‘The Wonderful World of Color’ on TV on Sundays. That would have been the first one.”

Chris Parnell, voice in “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice”: “The first movie I ever saw was ‘The Aristocats’ when I was quite young. I was so young I really didn’t understand what we were going to see. I knew there was a screen but I didn’t know if people in suits were going to come out.”

Responses to "What’s your first Disney memory?"

Allwino says:

Having grown up in a Disney household, I hold many so many Disney memories. But my best Disney memory will always be in the form of my father, the voice of Mickey Mouse. Quite proud to say that’s what the ol’ man did – and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. Love my father dearly – and he and my step-mother Russi Taylor (the current voice of Minnie Mouse) are my Disney memories forever :)

talullah says:

The tickets! A, B, C, D, and the wonderful E tickets! You only had so many tickets in your packet. It wasn’t like it is now where you pay, go in and can ride whatever, whenever and as many times as you want. And the submarine ride. I watched the original Mickey Mouse club (black and white) but they were already re-runs by the time I came around (they came out when my mom was a kid). I can still remember the intro song and exit theme song: “Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company…” Ah, Disney.

Heather says:

Although I’ve been going to Disneyland since I was three, my first real memory is from a few years later. We’d always stay at the Park Vue Inn across the street. We’d get up super early, eat eggs at the Chinese restaurant in front of the hotel (now an IHOP), then walk across Harbor Blvd to the Disneyland entrance. I remember that long walk through the parking lot, and my brother and I getting more and more ridiculously excited as we got closer to the entrance.

Disney California Adventure is great, but I kind of miss that old parking lot.

Kathy Mahan says:

I remember singing “It’s A Small World” over and over again the first time I went to Disneyland as a kid. The first movie I remember seeing in the theater: “The Fox and the Hound.”

Donald Munro says:

I was absolutely terrified of the old microscope ride in Tomorrowland. I remember looking at the cars entering the bottom of the microscope and the miniaturized depictions of those cars at the top — even though they were just little plastic figures — and was convinced I was about to be shrunk. I’ve never forgotten it.

Heather says:

Me too, Donald. Terrified of being shrunk. Strangely, that’s the only part of that attraction I remember.

I also remember being terrified of Monstro the whale at the Storybook Land Canal Boats. I knew he was real — his eye blinked! — but I couldn’t convince my parents.

Danielle says:

I think my first Disney memory for me was after that long car ride from Fresno to Anaheim andI saw the big sign in the parking lot that said Disneyland. My smile was enormous. I was 5 years old and I was facinated with staying at the Disneyland Hotel. I think I took every bar of soap because it said Disneyland on it! Going to the park to this day still gives me that feeling of being a kid again. Walking through those gates are like magic!

Stephen says:

Like Talullah I remember those same things, but living in the Midwest, Disney was a longing dream. My father finally took us when I was about 9 or 10, and it truly was a magical world. I remember Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride the best, and it was cool cuz you might not get the same ride twice.

The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights and I think Bambi was the one I remember most because of Bambi’s mom and me crying about that.

Joy says:

The film Snow White, was in theatrical re-release when I was little. I may have seen it at the Tower Theatre… not sure. The only thing I remember was Snow White was pretty, poised, and dainty; she sang really high; and when she ran through the forest the TREES CAME ALIVE AND TORE AT HER DRESS!

To this day I don’t like walking among trees in the dark.

Terrifying trees. One of my earliest Disney memories.

Heather says:

Donald, I would’ve never thought in my wildest imagination that the yellow submarine would soon turn out to be a wild inside joke with me and my girlfriends. Nothing like a B.o.b. on Friday nights alone!

Dana says:

I loved the Adventure Through Innerspace. Mission to Mars was awesome as well and of course Small World. I remember the Ticket books too, and am glad to see them gone! :-)

My first Disney memory was seeing Snow White at the drive-in. (I’m not 80, so it wasn’t the first release.) But man, I remember thinking that witch was so scary!

cory zamora says:

..i HATE all things disney. at age 5 i was forced to go..the park was new..and so was the mickey mouse club uniform my parents FORCED me to wear….as an adult, all i remember was that it took an e ticket just to get on a monirail to get the heck out of there….to this day, i think that small world thing should be a shooting gallery,and i hate guns!
those of us who grew up in socal,went to pacific ocean park…much much better!

Helen Prince says:

Loved the Mickey Mouse Club on TV with Annette F. and friends. I think it was black and white. Wow, don’t tell my age.