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When did the Magic Begin? A clubhouse, a mouse, and the feeling of Disney magic.

In celebration of Walt Disney World’s 45th Anniversary, the WDW Radio Blog Team members are sharing their Walt Disney World “love stories” about the moment they became lifelong fans.

This was my most beloved present: Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmons The carboard Mickey Mouse Club House. I spent hours in this thing and remember the day that it became so ratty that my parents insisted that we throw it away. I stood at the kitchen window watching as it was piled on the garbage heap. It rained that day and I was miserably sad.

My Clubhouse

1978: I sat and watched the heavy rainfall from our kitchen window. It was a Thursday morning and my parents had piled our weekly trash into bursting gray bags at the end of our driveway. From the view through the window, I saw that atop the heavy mound of trash, lay my cardboard Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It was worn, tattered, and ratty beyond any reasonable usability. Its colors were mostly faded, and the front side door had been torn away from too many ins-and-outs and games of hide-and-seek.

The cardboard clubhouse was my treasured friend; a play companion and hide out — a fortress all my own. I stowed my most valuable stuffed animals inside, including an oversized Pooh Bear and dressed-up Minnie Mouse. (I can still remember the grating, shifting sound of the small styrofoam beads they each held inside.) I hid in that clubhouse, squealing with the assured delight that only a five-year-old has when they are absolutely, positively sure that NO one, not even their prying sister, would find them inside. The clubhouse was my haven for music: it was where I played my records and danced to “Spin & Marty” and “Mouseketeer Club” 35s.

The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was my home away from Walt Disney World – a place where the magic came alive and where I could be myself.

The day we threw the house away still sits markedly in my memory.

My tears were not just for the sadness in watching the house go – but also for the overwhelming love I had for all-things-Mickey Mouse. At the tender age of five I KNEW with a certain and determined conviction, that Mickey was my “forever pal.”

Everything in my young heart (and life) told me so: from my printed bedsheets and birthday plates, to my record player and Mouseketeer Club luggage. I was a “member of the club that was made for you and me.”

I did not know how to talk about it back then, or to put words to my feelings. Now, forty years later, I can tell you with conviction: My love for Disney started when I began to walk, think, and understand what it was to feel joy. That joy came when I was at both the parks and in my playhouse at home. It was when I hugged my favorite characters and watched the parades, and when I snuggled my parents, and when they kissed me “Good night.”

Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons Childhood memories Disney Parks Walt Disney World

Magical Memories: When it all began.

-Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmons


(All photos from the author’s personal collection.)

When did the love of Disney start for you?  I would love to hear from you!


Kristin is a food writer and social media manager in the great State of Maine. When she is not seeking out the next-best-thing-she-ever-ate, she is busy planning for her runDisney vacations and cooking with her family. She can be found at @kafcooks.