The Bus to Disneyland
As a lad of about age 3 or 4, the highlight of my week was watching "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color". Each Sunday night at seven, my sisters and I would get in our jammies and gather in front of our TV set. Mom & Dad would make sure we had plenty of refreshments (Usually a glass of TANG® and some bacon and mayonnaise sandwiches on white bread. This repast fortified us for the hour ahead, and I still carry on the healthy eating habits my parents established for us back then to this day.), and we'd sit back and enjoy the program.
Oh how I loved this show! I loved seeing Uncle Walt in his office, telling us what wonderful piece of entertainment we were about to watch. Was it going to be a Ludvig Von Drake cartoon? "Sammy the Way-Out Seal"?
Or were we going to have to sit through another "True Life Adventure"? I really didn't care for the TLA's, but I would gladly suffer through them, because maybe, next week, the show would feature one of my favorite segments, A VISIT TO DISNEYLAND!
I lived for these episodes! Disneyland looked to me like the most fantastic place on earth. I especially loved seeing the costumed characters walking around. As impressionable as I was, though, I never believed that that was Mickey. I knew it was a guy in a suit, but I thought that was the coolest job in the world! THAT'S what I wanted to be when I grew up! I would actually spend hours drawing pictures of people dressed as the Disney characters. When an adult would say, "Oooh, Billy! What a good Goofy you drew!", I would have to patiently point out that I hadn't drawn Goofy, I had drawn a guy in a Goofy suit! Sheesh!
Disneyland was an obsession to me, so naturally I had to go there, but how? My parents wouldn't take me, citing the old, "it's too expensive" excuse. They would also remind me we had already visited Storybook Land, and wasn't that pretty much the same? No. It was not. It was Disneyland or nothing, but it seemed like a trip there was out of the question. Or was it?
One Summer day my older Sister ran excitedly into the room. "Billy!", she cried, "Pack your suitcase! The Bus to Disneyland is coming!" There was a bus to Disneyland?! How come I hadn't heard of this? Why hadn't my parents? My sister was seven, though, so she must have known more than I, so I quickly ran and packed whatever I could find into my little Samsonite®.
"Where is the bus stop?", I asked. "It's stopping right outside our front steps", Sis replied, "Hurry! Go out and sit on the front steps, or you'll miss it!" Out I went, and sat, my little heart racing. I was finally going to Disneyland! I sat there on the steps anticipating how wonderful this was going to be. Maybe they were even hiring four year olds to play Mickey Mouse! Once I was established there, maybe I would even send for my parents, to show them there were no hard feelings about not taking me before. So I sat. And sat. And sat.
The Bus to Disneyland never came.
The whole Bus to Disneyland thing was just my sister "joking me". There was no bus. She was bored, and nothing chases away the boredom like getting your naive little brother to make a fool of himself, by sitting with a suitcase in the hot Sun waiting for an imaginary bus.
Eventually, my Mother discovered my Sister's prank, and came out to get me. She patiently explained that buses generally don't make 3,000 mile door-to-door trips, and besides, what was I going to pay for the trip with? I told her I had almost 48¢, which I was sure than more than enough. Deep down though, I realized that I had been had by my Sister. Again. I wasn't going to Disneyland anytime soon.
I was right. I didn't get to Disneyland for another 21 years. Ironically, it was my Sister who took me (Sis, if you are reading this, I forgive you!). Disneyland was well worth the wait. It was everything little 4 year old me could have wanted and more.
They didn't hire me to play Mickey Mouse, though.