My wife Tina and I took the baby to dinner Sat. night at Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary Resort. When we got there, Drew had to "potty" so we headed for the bathrooms. Tina took her in to do her thing and I went to sit on the bench near the tower with the tiles.
A little nostalgia came drifting back to me as I sat looking at the mosaic of tiles on the walls near the monorail. Most everyone who knows me, knows that my grandfather help set those tiles that have been there long before any cast member or family ever set foot in the hotel. A lot of people had family who worked on these parks, I’m sure, but it fills me with pride to look at them. Not just the things my grandfather did, but the whole world of Disney. The time and detail that is taken to make these things look and feel like a part of the world is just amazing to me. Other parks try to reproduce it, but in my opinion, fall really short.
The tiles are outdated. They don’t fit the theme of the "Contemporary"
hotel anymore. Still, they are beautiful in their own right and should not be removed. It’s history to me. A part of the park from yesteryear that remains untouched and still perfectly intact. I know that things need to change. I would love to visit the old "Tomorrowland" with "If you had wings" and "Mission to Mars", but I know in my heart that if it were not for the new attractions, people would stop coming. Walt knew this too and so did the countless guests that passed by and commented on how wonderful or beautiful the tiles were.
Still, it brings to mind my time as a child. Walking those parks with my best friend Jim during those hot summer months, standing at the rope drop and racing to our favorite ride to be the first one on. Times that I will forever remember, but never get back. I know everyone feels this way at some point in life, but why at 31 am I so concerned with time passing me by? I still feel like that kid. Maybe a few more aches and a little more winded, but still the 10 year old I remember.
And those feelings get more deep as the holidays approach. Jim asked what was my favorite Christmas gift as a child and as an adult. My fondest memory of Christmas is the year I received the snowspeeder from Star Wars and a Space Invader hand held game. I woke up at 3AM that year and couldn’t go back to sleep no matter how hard I tried. I remember my Grandmother and Grandfather coming over every Christmas morning with gifts piled so high, my Grandfather had to make 2 trips. I remember my Grandmother wrapping them so tightly, the tape showing signs of stress and to further complicate the removal of the paper, she tied ribbons of colored yarn around the boxes that needed a hacksaw to remove.
I remember my Grandfather raking leaves in the yard and waving to us as my Mom and I went shopping for Christmas just weeks before. That same day, the temperature got so cold, the door locks froze and we couldn’t get back in the car. The smell of cookies from the kitchen. The delivery of fudge from the Delaports across the street. The sounds of Burl Ives on the TV while I curled up to watch Rudolph for the millionth time in my life. The lights on our tree, which sometimes included the bubble lights from my mom’s childhood Christmas trees. My Grandfathers laugh.
But I have good recent memories too. My first trip with my wife to Tennessee, also during Christmas. My fourth child 2 years ago and everyday she calls me "Da" when I come home. Winning the battle for my kids. Our first family trip to North Carolina. Our first cruise, dressing up like famous people and going to dinner and a play. Passing my certification tests. And the few precious days with just my loving wife, riding roller coasters or browsing the stores.
It’s just nostalgia, but for me it’s more than that too. It’s a part of me that I take with me everywhere. Memories are like home movies in your mind. The ones you play back when you’re feeling down or hear that song on the radio. The ones that remind you why life is worth living and why some things should never change.
And to think I got all of this from looking at some tile.