Celebrating Life at Disneyland

Welcome to those of you joining me from Capturing Magical Memories and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail. This month we are talking about Celebrating at Disney. I have chosen to focus on celebrating life at Disneyland.

Like many Disney Nerds my Dad’s favorite place on earth was Disneyland. Sadly my Dad passed away in April 2014 after a battle with brain cancer. My heart aches every day because I miss him so much. I was at Disneyland just a few days after his passing and it was such a conflicting time for me being at the Happiest Place on Earth while feeling so sad. However, I am grateful that I was there because I think it helped me through some of the pain.

My Dad was such a character and I even wrote a blog post about his performance at the Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue that you can read here “My Favorite Walt Disney World Memory”


When a loved one passes the grieving process can take a long time and that is ok.  One of the things that you can do to help heal is to continue a tradition that you did with your loved one.

If the Disney Parks played an important role in a loved ones life who has passed how can you pay tribute to them while at the parks? Don’t even think about walking through the front gates with Aunt Emma’s ashes because Disneyland wont allow you to spread her ashes like pixie dust around the parks.

What you can do is continue the traditions that you used to do with your loved one at the Disney Parks.  You can go on their favorite rides, eat at their favorite restaurants, take pictures by their favorite spots and visit their favorite land.

In my Dad’s case this means doing everything in the Disney Parks because he loved it all.  However, I know for sure that he did have some very favorite places to eat and attractions to ride.  I will be riding on Indiana Jones Adventure, eating at Big Thunder BBQ,  taking a picture in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle and visiting New Orleans Square when we are at Disneyland.  We will be visiting Walt Disney World later this year and will attend the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review and go on Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress as ways to honor my Dad.

Creating New Traditions

While at the Disney Parks you can start new traditions to honor your loved one.  One thing that I am planning on doing when I visit Disneyland next is to visit Snow White Grotto.  This area can be found on the right hand side of Sleeping Beauty castle (before crossing the draw bridge into Fantasyland).

The area includes a Wishing Well, marble statues of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a waterfall and you can hear the song “I’m Wishing” played softly in the area.

Snow White Grotto is a nice peaceful spot and a great place to take a break from the Disneyland chaos. Snow White and the Wicked Queen can also be found here from time.

Instead of making a wish in the wishing well, I will say a prayer as I toss a coin in the well.  I will thank my Dad for always being there for me and of course taking me to Disneyland a lot so we could experience the magic together.  All money tossed into the Wishing Well is donated to children’s charities.

Snow White Grotto Wishing Well – #Disneyland

Honoring Walt Disney

During the construction of Disneyland Walt had a private apartment built on the second floor of the Disneyland Fire Department in Town Square for him.  He used this space as an office so he could keep an eye on the construction of Disneyland.

It is a small space, about 500 square feet but just enough room for him to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Disneyland.  From time to time his family would also join him in the apartment.  Cast Members would know when Walt was in the apartment because a lamp in the window was lit; sometimes the lamp was still lit well into the late evening hours as Walt worked.

If you want to take a peek inside Walt’s apartment you will need to sign up for the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps or take a virtual tour in this video taken by Inside the Magic – Walt’s Disney Private Apartment Above the Firehouse.

Since Walt Disney’s death on December 15, 1966 the lamp has stayed lit 365 days a year as a tribute to him.  Paul Hiffmeyer the Chief Photographer for Public Relations at Disneyland took a fantastic photo of the lamp from inside Walt’s Apartment.  You can read more about his experience in Walt’s Apartment on the Disney Parks Blog.

Other Ways to Remember

Give KidsThe World VillageOutside of the Disney Parks there are other ways that you can honor a loved one.  My friends at the Magical Blogorail gave a donation to Give Kids the World in my Dad’s name. It was such a touching gesture and I plan on continuing this every year in his honor.

Give Kids The World is a non-profit organization that exists only to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids The World Village for as long as there is a need.

What are some ways you can think of or have done to honor the passing of a loved one?