Picture it, Orlando, 1984.
Disney had cemented its utter takeover of central Florida. The other attractions were still scrabbling to make a presence, Epcot (then EPCOT Center) was barely two years old and post-70s optimism was on the up. And there I was, four years old, utterly transfixed by the afternoon parade.
The Magic Kingdom, to my young eyes, was quite simply the most magical place on Earth. Although I’ve since transferred my allegiance to Epcot somewhat, I still literally squeal with delight when pulling in to the Disney car parks and preparing to board the monorail to the Transportation and Ticketing Centre. That look of gobsmacked immersion has never quite left me – I’m sure if anyone had taken a similarly candid photo when we were watching the Spectromagic Parade in April this year I would have looked similarly entranced (and, admittedly, gormless).
There’s a reason why people are so utterly Disney-mad. And for me it all exists in the picture above. I still have the personalised Mouse Ears somewhere…