Spring is almost here. Just thinking about it makes the end of Winter come faster. Especially when your thoughts include those special things that Springtime in Disneyland brings.
It brought such things back in 1983, anyway. I remember one of my first shifts as a new Outdoor Vending Cast Member back then.
It was a 9:45-6:15 assignment behind a red-and-white-striped ice cream wagon just off the Central Plaza between the entrances to Adventureland and Frontierland. Behind me was a planter full of flowers, smiling behind a freshly painted railing and filling the air with fragrance like I'd just stepped into Mlle. Antoinette's Parfumerie in New Orleans Square. As I looked out from my big red umbrella over the top of the wagon, a shining Tomorrowland gleamed.
The day hadn’t heated up yet, and sales of frozen juice bars and ice cream sandwiches were only occasional. I spent much of the morning enjoying the opportunity to act as an unofficial Carefree Corner, dispensing information rather than reaching into the dry-ice-filled wagon for some cold confection. When my Relief to cover the wagon for a break, I almost waved him away.
There was nothing like a new Spring day in the Magic Kingdom to make you feel that everything was right in the world. It was tough to step offstage even for fifteen minutes.
There have been quite a few seasons since then, but you might be able to find a similar feeling when Spring arrives this year.
You won’t see Tomorrowland at its best, of course, and you’ll have to ignore the Ferris Wheel on the skyline as you look down Main Street. There’s no longer perfume in New Orleans Square, and you’ll have to carry your cares around with you without a Carefree Corner to drop them off.
But if you think of Thumper and hunt around the Magic Kingdom this Spring, I hope you find what Walt called “that thing - the imagination, and the feeling of happy excitement- I knew when I was a kid."
I can’t tell you exactly where to find it anymore. If you’d walked up to my wagon in 1983, though, I would have given you directions happily. It would have been easy.
Back then, the thing that Walt was talking about was everywhere you looked.