Disneyland, August 5, 1981

9 Jan

How do we decide what pictures to take? How do we know what images we most want to capture? How can we possibly imagine what we’re going to want to look at a decade or so later?

I had a bad day. I needed a little magic. So, after chatting awhile tonight with my BFF Lisa (and Eric, and Dan, and Matt, and a buncha other Disney geeks . . . ), I went and dug up the pictures from the one time Lisa and I went to Disneyland together: August 5, 1981. I know for sure that was the day because I still have the ticket! Hard to believe it cost only $8.00, in 1981 dollars even.

I have the strangest assortment of pictures from that day, and only one of them has any of my friends in it: Lisa’s posing with her brother Peter, and a family friend Ginger. Lisa and I were still in our early teens, but she looks for all the world like Peter and Ginger’s mom, posing proudly with her beautiful kids in front of skull rock.

I’ve got the de rigeur picture of the castle, but it’s an odd jumble of people, much more the feeling of the moment than the actual architecture or theming.

I’ve got a picture of Space Mountain’s entrance, nothing to write home about but there it is. I remember riding it with Peter, screaming lines from Star Wars as we whizzed around in the dark, standing by Red Five! Come in, Gold Leader!

I’ve got a picture that I think I took from the Peoplemover, perhaps when it had broken down for a while and Lisa and I thought we’d try to lead the multinational group of tourists in a rousing rendition of The Rainbow Connection. Ah, the days when not only the Peoplemover existed, but was chock full o’ riders!

And finally I find a picture of Astro Orbiter, not as nice as the one my Dad took circa 1976, but still there, steady and solid. (If you click on the link and look at the larger version on Flickr, you can even make out the green Peoplemover sign, looking a lot like the California highways.)

I can’t imagine these are the only pictures I took that day, but it would seem they’re the only ones that survived the years of moving, of being too cool and disaffected for Disneyland memories, of life’s predictable and absurd chaos. But somehow, tonight they’re enough.

13 Responses to “Disneyland, August 5, 1981”

  1. biblioadonis aka George January 10, 2008 at 12:37 am #

    Thanks for sharing those with us…

    And for once, I am going to keep my mouth shut about the first picture!

  2. Geoff Carter January 10, 2008 at 12:52 am #

    Such a wonderful post and series of pictures! You’ve just redeemed my bad day, as well. I miss the way the Space Mountain complex used to be: The speedramp to the second level, the stage cut out of the Mountain, the two-story Starcade.

    I can almost see it when I close my eyes. Thanks again, for putting me back in such a welcome place. For all I know, we were there on the same day.

  3. sambycat January 10, 2008 at 2:16 am #

    um… i don’t even know where to start…. my cousin’s name is CASEY and you never ever ever ever remember that one!!!!!!!!OMG! i remember that picture, that day!!!!!!, so well – and , sadly, that outfit as too… if i don’t die this weekend, i am soooooooooo finding the companion pictures – taken with the beautiful polaroid camera hanging around my neck – that i have in a photo album somewhere so everyone can see what jennifer was wearing that day…. i know there is a good one in fromt of skull rock!!!! how awesome though to see those!!!

    that doesn’t even LOOK like me!!!!

  4. Jennifer January 10, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    Sambycat, since I always forget your cousin’s name, and even seem to forget that she’s your cousin and not a friend of the family, maybe we could just call her Ginger from now on? It certainly suits her hair color.

    I am sure I was not wearing anything spectacular that day. I can tell by your wardrobe choices that we were not wearing our matching outfits.

  5. Matt January 10, 2008 at 10:04 am #

    Where are the pictures of Lisa in her punky brewster outfit?

  6. Jennifer January 10, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    I’m saving those . . . might need them to blackmail her into joining the Pal Mickey Defense Force at MagicMeets.

  7. Biblioadonis aka George January 10, 2008 at 11:16 am #


    I would join, but our family dog at the nose off of both of ours. I’m not sure if my application will be accepted now…

  8. Jennifer January 10, 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    George, we trust that you can mend your ways . . . we’d love to have you join the PMDF!

  9. biblioadonis aka George January 11, 2008 at 12:00 pm #

    So….the PMDF is easier to get in than the CAS?

    We will be buying two more Pal Mickeys in April.

  10. Jennifer January 11, 2008 at 12:17 pm #

    I’ve heard that the Crate Appreciation Society is quite the elite group . . . but PMDF is a bit more of a rag-tag crew, we need all the help we can get!

  11. Jon January 12, 2008 at 5:01 am #

    Jennifer, I’m a graphic designer..so when I saw your photos I thought “PROJECT”. I only touched up one of them, but I’d be willing to do the rest. (Its my hobby). Thanks for the awesome pictures. Since HTML isn’t allowed, check this out… http://img258.imageshack.us/img258/961/2181590333fb8af41fffnn8.jpg

  12. Jennifer January 13, 2008 at 8:32 am #

    That is so cool, thank you! I’d love it if you touched up the others too. The picture of Lisa with her brother and cousin looks the way I remember it now. 🙂


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