Woman and her son celebrate Disney World’s 50th by recreating a special moment

Credit: Susan and Bill Kroll

“I had been to amusement parks before but nothing like that.”

These are the words from Florida resident Susan Kroll when she thinks back about the opening day of Magic Kingdom in October 1971. At the time, Susan and her husband were living in Buffalo, New York, but they had traveled to Florida to visit family along with their one-year-old son, Bill. She just couldn’t wait to go again with her son for the 50th anniversary.

Credit: Susan and Bill Kroll

Lucky Susan–she just happened to be in Florida the day Walt Disney World opened to the public. She was one of the nearly 11,000 Guests who first visited Disney’s central Florida park that day.

“I couldn’t even believe how beautiful it was,” she reminisces. “Everybody that was there was just fascinated with the whole place; everyone was very excited to be there.”

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Susan visited Disney World that day with her family. Little Bill was there for the momentous day as well, but he says he’s too young to remember anything about the day.

Susan says he was very excited to see all the sights that went along with such an occasion. It was a little like the way Bill acted over the weekend when the two visited Magic Kingdom to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Susan frequents the parks, but Bill, though he lives in Orlando, hasn’t been to Disney World in a long time.

“My first impression turning down Main Street was how beautiful the castle looked all painted and ready for the 50th,” Bill explains. “I’ve been to the parks hundreds of times as a Guest and a seasonal employee as a teenager, but I’ve never stopped being amazed at the genius, creativity, passion, and excellence that Walt started and the employees and leaders have carried on.”

Credit: Disney

The highlight of the day for the Mother-son duo was the time they took to recapture and recreate a memory from 50 years ago. On opening day at Disney World, Susan was sure to have her picture made with her infant son, and during this celebratory visit, she wanted to do it all over again, so the two headed for the castle and stood for a photo in the exact same spot where Susan had stood 50 years ago while she held Bill in her arms.

Credit: Susan Kroll

We think we can see some similarities!

Credit: Susan Kroll

After recreating the special moment, Susan and Bill continued their day and celebrated Disney’s 50th by grabbing a popcorn bucket and just enjoying watching others as they passed by, planning their celebratory days as well.

Credit: Bill Kroll

Susan says she has plans to be in the parks two more times this week with friends. She’s going once with her friends and another time with her grandchildren.

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Beyond Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration, Susan says she’s looking forward to enjoying the parks once EPCOT’s new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster opens, and she’s also looking forward to the opening of the TRON Lightcycle attraction.


About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!