Disney Nerd’s #DisneySide

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Welcome to those of you joining me from Capturing Magical Memories and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

This month we are sharing our #DisneySide with our readers.  My blog is 100% all Disney, all the time because I love Disney.  I previously wrote a mom blog from 2004-2012 but changed to “I Am a Disney Nerd” because I was posting a lot about Disney and my mom blog was turning into a Disney Blog.

So you may be wondering why am I nuts about Disney.  I believe that it all started when my mom took me to Disneyland in 1977 for the first time when I was four.   I don’t remember much about it but I do have some wonderful vintage photos to help me remember the trip.   I live in Northern California and Disneyland is an 8-hour drive or a quick plane ride away.   When I was a kid I went to Disneyland almost every year during summer break.  I grew up thinking it was normal to go to Disneyland every summer.

Disneyland 1977 - 4 years old

Disneyland 1977 – 4 years old .  You have GOT to love the 70’s.  My mom is wearing a shirt that says “Satisfaction Guaranteed”….really mom? To Disneyland???

I think I have missed a few summers at Disneyland, but not many.  1985 was one of my favorite years there. I remember it was the 30th Anniversary of Disneyland. Do you remember the Gift Giver Extraordinaire? Check out this vintage video about the park celebrations at Disneyland that year, I think I won a Mickey Mouse plush.

Disneyland 1985

Disneyland 1985 – I was 12 and full of Disney sass….I am still full of Disney sass.

Each year, my #DisneySide grew bigger and bigger until it just could not be contained anymore and I needed a Disney fix almost every day. I went off to college in San Francisco and as luck would have it a Disney Store was opening in town at the corner of Post and Powell Street in Union Square.  I knew that I had to be a part of it.

I applied for a position and I remember being so excited to interview. I didn’t care if all I did was fold t-shirts all day, I just wanted to be surrounded by Disney all the time. I was hired (thank goodness) and started out as a part-time cast member and worked my way up to full-time cast member, lead cast member, stock captain and finally to assistant store manager.  I worked for the Disney Store for five years.

Our store was a big deal at the time, it was 1995 and it was the largest store on the West Coast.  There was an Adults area that was like decorated like a sound stage, a Kids section themed like Alice in Wonderland, a toy section themed like the Ballroom from Beauty and the Beast complete with a rotating cake, Gepetto’s Workshop for all the plush and a Gallery for all the awesome collectables.

Working at the Disney Store was the best time ever. I won the Teamwork award with in my first year there and competed in the Disney Store Trivia Competition.  I meet some fantastic cast members that I am still friends with today and thanks to the power of Facebook we are able to connect and share our love for Disney even though we are miles apart. I like to call them my Disney Sisters and Brothers.

A few years ago our Disney Store closed and just before it closed I visited the store.  The store was dirty, lights were burnt out and the store was a mess.  It was very sad to see the magic of our store was gone.  But I stood still in the store and I closed my eyes and I imagined all the fun that I had there and the crazy times we spent together.  For a brief moment I could feel it, I could sense the magic of the past and in my mind I could see everyone running around the store helping guests.  I believe that it really does take a group of people with the love for Disney to make the magic happen.

The Disney Store Memories Collage

As you have read, my #DisneySide has been developing since I was a very young girl, but what makes that part of my personality tick today?  The answer is Disney History, I am a nut for all things vintage Disney.  In general I like history, but when you put Disney history into the mix then my brain explodes with dates, facts and figures all about Disney, Disneyland, Walt Disney World , Disney Movies, Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney.  When people ask me a question about Disney I can sometimes turn into Professor Ludwig Von Drake and just give out way to much information and get really excited about the topic.

Mickey Mouse is by far my favorite Disney character because he is our connection that we can have with Walt.  While we can only step foot into Disneyland a few times a year, we can be near Mickey Mouse everyday though our #DisneySide.

Since I live in Northern California I am able to see these letters anytime I want at the Cal Expo entrance and I think that is pretty special because it is a part of Disney History.

Disney's California Adventure Letters in Sacramento at CalExpo

Disney’s California Adventure Letters in Sacramento at CalExpo

I am also growing my kids #DisneySide and taking them to Disneyland as much as possible. This picture below is of me at four years old in 1977 and the one on the right is of my daughter at four years old. Both of us are standing outside of the Storybook Land Canal Boats ride. Too bad they put up a safety fence and took out that awesome rock or else I could have done a reproduction photo, but this is pretty close. I love how less jagged Monstro’s teeth are now.

Dawn and Abby - Age 4 at Disneyland

Me in 1977 and my daughter Abby – both of us are 4 years old in this picture.

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop Disney with Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Capturing Magical Memories
2nd Stop ~ I Am a Disney Nerd 3rd Stop <—-You are here
3rd Stop ~ Disney with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
4th Stop ~ Home is Where the Mouse Is
Final Stop ~ Ashley Aspires

About Dawn

Dawn is a social influencer and has been writing about her nerdy side since 2004. She enjoys writing about Entertainment, Travel, Disney, Star Wars and life with two little girls. Her advice is to keep on dreaming, do what you love and life will lead you a path to your happiness. Dawn also writes for 5 Minutes for Mom.


  1. You’ve definitely got a great #DisneySide, Dawn! Thanks for sharing it with us this week. I love the comparison pictures of you and your daughter – too cute! One of these days I WILL make it out to Disneyland!

  2. AshleyAspires says:

    Wow! Loved your post! Sounds like your Disney side started early, just like mine!

  3. What a great post, Dawn! Thanks for sharing it! I think you and Abby look just alike at that age!

  4. What a fun post. Yout Mom’s t-shirt is the best! Got to love the 70’s. I also like seeing the safety differences. They took all the fun out of it. 😉

  5. I love all of the photos, especially one of you and your daughter at the same age. Too bad there is a fence now. 🙂

  6. james @ HomeisWheretheMouseis says:

    “Satisfaction Guaranteed!” OMG!! I love those vintage pics, and they’re even better when it’s family, right?

    I also grew up believing that every family went to Disney each year. It’s so awesome that you have those pictures of you and your daughter then and now. That’s pretty cool!

    It’s great to be part of the loop this month with you and learning about your Disney Side!!

  7. Great post! Your Disney Store sounds like it was so awesome! I love all of your photos!

  8. Rosanne_Mottola says:

    I will say it time and time again – I love these #DisneySide posts because they truly give us a peek into how we all came to love this wonderful, fulfilling obsession – Disney. I feel like I know you so much better. So cool that you used to work at the Disney Store. And your mom’s shirt – priceless!
    Rosanne @ The Disney Point

  9. Wow! You truly grew up Disney & are raising your family right 😉

  10. ReturnToDisney says:

    How fun!! I went to Disneyland in 1985 too – that was my first Disney trip!

  11. Laura Chrisco says:

    Love this one! Our Post St time is a very special time. I’m so thankful that I met you and we have remained Disney Sisters . Started tearing up when I was I reading about your last visit to the store. I could totally imagine you standing in the store with your eyes closed and just the Magic of our past swirling around you.

  12. Dawn- I’m cracking up at your mom’s shirt! awesome! I also LOVE the picture of you beside the one of abby- classic! This was a great post!! 🙂

  13. The story about the magic of your old Disney Store fading and you visiting right before it closed…that’s so sad. You’re right though! Even our Disney Store at our mall has some magical cast members who make it so special.
    Aside…Monstro’s teeth I had never noticed!

  14. DIStherapy says:

    I simply adore your retro photos- especially your daughter posing in Monstro’s mouth! You have struck a chord with my own 1970’s #DisneySide Dawn!!

  15. DisneyDonnaKay says:

    Great pictures and #DisneySide memories!! I love Disney history too and read everything I can get my hands on.

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