My very first Disney memory was that of Walt talking on my TV during The Wonderful World Of Disney. I remember watching every Sunday night right before bedtime while growing up in SouthWest Ohio in the late 1960’s. I had an obsession with Halloween, maybe because it fell so close to my Birthday, and anything to do with scary fun. So, when I first saw the plans to open this so called retirement home for restless spirits, I became a nuisance, begging my Parents for a trip to visit Disneyland.                                       As fate would have it, my Parents divorced in 1970 when I was 6 years old and my Mom moved us to Southern California. My first visit to Disneyland came a few weeks after we arrived on the West coast. It was quite a memorable day. The first thing we did was look in the shops on Main St USA. I got an ear hat and wore it proudly while posing for a photo with Mickey.                                                                                                             All that stuff was great, but I couldn’t wait to get to the Haunted Mansion! It seemed as if everything we did before that, like visiting The Enchanted Tiki Room, was annoying because it was keeping me from seeing what I REALLY wanted to see! I now LOVE The Enchanted Tiki Room, by the way!                                                                                 When we first walked up to the gated entrance of the stately old manor, I had goosebumps running up and down my arms. The line was long, but I stood patiently taking in the enormity of the House looming over me. Once inside the foyer, and then the stretching room, and then the hall, my head never stopped turning back and forth to look at what was on the walls, and the floors, and the ceilings! OH MY! My first ride in a DoomBuggy was spent with my eyes closed half the time. Especially in the graveyard. What really frightened me about that part of the ride were the spooks that would pop up from behind the tombstones and screech at you. But, that didn’t stop me from wanting to ride it again and again! We would visit Disneyland anywhere from five to ten times per year during my childhood and I unfortunately cant tell you how many times exactly I’ve been on The Haunted Mansion, but my love for it grew every time!                               As a child I enjoyed going to the theater to see the Animated Disney releases that are now classics such as Robin Hood, Lady and the Tramp, and The Aristocats. I also had my share of Disney themed toys. One of my favorites was a Disney themed alarm clock radio that my Mom got me on an early trip to Disneyland. I wore that thing out listening to Angels and Dodgers games well after I was supposed to be asleep. They go for $200-$500 on Ebay if you’re lucky enough to find one.                                        1_468093e75d061aaa5651067e72047bba                    One of my greatest Disney memories came just after High School. My friend, Ryan, worked as a ride operator at Disneyland and he was given the opportunity to visit the Disney Studios in Burbank and asked if I wanted to come along. “YES!”, I said. For four glorious hours we walked the grounds of the studios, peeked through the halls and doors of the Animation Building and visited Dave Smith in the Archives. What a thrill it was to actually meet him and look through all the cool stuff they have there! Little did I know my greatest thrill would be later at the Commissary while sitting down to eat lunch. With all the costumed people and the artists and celebrities floating about, Dave Smith walked over to our table and asked if he could sit with us. “YES!”, We said! He said he was so impressed with our knowledge and interest in Disney History that he thought it would be fun to sit with us and talk “Disney” over lunch! WOW! I can’t even remember all I asked him but I was in shock for days to come. To me, that was like any rock star, you choose the one you want to enter into the story, walking over and asking to have lunch with you and talking about their music! My only Momento from that day is a business card of his that I laminated because I knew I would want to keep it for generations to come!                                                                             IMG_0017                              My first visit to Walt Disney World wouldn’t come until I moved back to Ohio and married my second wife, Elizabeth. She is also a huge Disney fan! Marrying her was the best thing I ever did, even if just for the fact that my first wife didn’t have much interest in Disney and since then I’ve realized how much I missed during that time. She is the love of my life and encourages the passion that we both have for all things Disney. My favorite memory with her comes from a trip to WDW in 2004 while she was eight months pregnant with our second daughter, Morgan. My wife’s favorite character is Tigger, with Pooh coming in a close second. Her one goal on our trip was to get her picture taken with them and get their autographs. It was our first ever visit to Animal Kingdom and we entered the Park and started across the bridge. As I looked down to the right I saw someone standing in a reception area and motioned to my Wife to look. “TIGGER!!” She screamed, and was off to the races! As much as I tried, I never caught up to her until we were both standing in line to meet the bouncy fellow, and Pooh showed up too! Coincidentally, Morgan’s nickname later became Morgiroo and shortened to just Roo as a reference to the character in the Winnie the Pooh stories. Our oldest daughter together, Aliyah, has a nickname too, but it doesn’t pertain to Disney so I won’t give it away and embarrass her here!                                                                                               DSCF2358 2                                              Currently, our Family enjoys everything Disney in our everyday lives and we try to plan a trip to WDW at least every other year, more often if we can afford it. I havn’t been back to California since I moved to Ohio about twenty years ago, so there’s a lot out there we havn’t seen and a trip to Disneyland is a must for the Family soon.                        You will definitely catch me on Twitter @dabenter supporting everything Haunted Mansion, everything Frozen, as we are friends with Livvy Stubenrauch the voice of Young Anna and her Family, they live near us and are BIG UC BEARCAT fans like myself!  The Disney Parks Blog with my friends Steven Miller and Erin Glover, and Dole Whip Daily and Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast with my friends Keith, Alan and Sean.                                                                Until next time, may your day be Magical!                                                                     Mahalo,David