Some people remember the first time they saw a Disney movie on the big screen. Others recall that time their uncle or their grandma got them a beloved Disney plush toy for Christmas. But for D23 member Natalie Trujillo, it was a trip to Anaheim that started her lifelong love of all things Disney.
“Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when we were young, we’d go to Disneyland on vacation with our parents and grandparents,” says Natalie, a Bay Area native. “It was a special treat… times were different, and it was not something we got to do often—certainly not more than once every few years. Going on vacation to Disneyland was like a dream come true.”
Exploring every corner of the Park during its magical early years is an adventure that sticks with Natalie to this day. “We have many fond memories of using the classic ticket books containing ‘A through E’ tickets—running out of ‘E tickets’ very quickly and always asking for more. We would stay at the Park until we used every last ticket in each book!”
“One of the sights and sounds I specifically remember was the Pepsi-Cola Stage over in Tomorrowland, where they would have all kinds of entertainment for adults and children alike,” Natalie recalls. “It was during one of my very first visits that I remember Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs coming out into the audience and picking kid volunteers to go up and dance with them on stage. While now I would go up there in a heartbeat, [back] then I was too shy… ”
Natalie has passed down her passion for Disney to her children and grandchildren—all of whom now take several jaunts to the Disneyland Resort every year. “Each trip to Disneyland has its own unique magic,” she admits, “where you [can] leave your real-life worries at the door. There’s a certain magical feeling every time we first walk in the front gate and make our way down Main Street U.S.A. —that special feeling that you can only get at The Happiest Place on Earth… and there’s no other feeling like it.”