Orphan Survival Stories Index |
"There it is,” I softly muttered, as I stood motionless moving my eyes back and forth in disbelief. After almost 50 years, I could hardly believe that I, Roger Kiser, was actually standing in front of the gate leading into that wonderful place called "Disneyland" (World).
After finishing a book signing in Tampa, Florida some friends of my wife and I asked if we would like to go and see Disney World. Pam had started working for the Disney Corporation several months prior and had several free passes. We entered the gate and began to walk around the grounds. I must say that I was not very impressed with what I saw.
"I really thought it would be a lot more colorful than this. Sort of like the Ringling Brothers Circus or something like that," I said to Craig.
"This is it," he responded as he moved his arm from left to right across the skyline.
I followed his finger until it stopped and pointed at the giant castle. The same castle I remembered seeing on the little black and white television as a young boy living in the orphanage in Florida.
"Now that is really pretty," I thought.
We walked around for a while and then rode several rides. I did my very best to act as though I was enjoying myself. But there was just something about this place that was not very happy to me and I could not quite put my finger on it.
Next we headed to "Frontier Land" and decided the four of us would tackle the "Splash Mountain" ride. We sat down in the hollowed-out, log-style boats and began our slow, down-stream journey inside the dark mountain. We traveled very slowly from cavern to cavern looking at the various brightly lit cartoon characters. Between the caverns there was nothing except total darkness.
Suddenly, off in the distance I heard the sound of music and the words, "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay. My, oh my, what a wonderful day. Plenty of sunshine headin' my way. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay."
I tried to fight off a feeling of sadness that was coming over me. All of a sudden, a picture came into my mind - a picture of four lonely little boys sitting in the television room at the orphanage watching the Disney program on a Sunday evening way back in 1952. I had long forgotten the part of the song that went, "My, oh my, what a wonderful day. Plenty of sunshine headin' my way." I could see in my mind, all of us boys looking at each other as the tune played and the tears welled in each other’s eyes. Not one boy said a single word. We just sat there in our own little individual spaces and cried our little eyes out.
I wiped the tears out of my eyes before we hit the light, so my wife and friends would not see the little boy inside of me crying. When we exited the mountain, we slid down a long chute, which splashed cold water all over my wife as we hit the bottom of the little river. I smiled and then laughed real loud, just like a happy little boy would do and enjoyed the remainder of the day at Disneyland (World).
It was very dark when we finally walked out the gates of Disneyland later that evening. I looked over at my wife and my two special friends. I thought about my children and grandchildren, and instantly understood, "My, oh my, what a wonderful day. Plenty of sunshine headin' my way."