LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Friday marked the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World opening near Orlando and families like the Murphys of Wellington were eager to celebrate.
The Murphys moved to Wellington a few years ago from New Jersey. Now that they live closer to the mouse, they like to visit about once a month. To say they are Disney enthusiasts is an understatement.
"This is Jimmy, my oldest son (on) his first trip to Disney. And that was in 2011," said Sarah Murphy as she showed WPTV NewsChannel 5 one of her many Disney picture frames.
Jimmy Murphy, 11, has Disney books, bed spreads, furniture, paintings, stuffed animals and Legos tastefully placed all over his bedroom and house.
Jimmy especially loves the creator, Walt Disney.
"He built a lot and he created a lot. He drew. He acted. He produced. He did it all," Jimmy said. "He came out poor but he rose and he worked so hard to do what he did. He created Mickey Mouse. He made countless movies. Really countless."
Jimmy's Walt Disney collection is vast and he's been collecting Disney paraphernalia his entire life, so this is really old Mickey. I don't exactly know when it's from I but I can assume it's from the 70s."
I asked if that was old (I was born in the '70s, "yes," Jimmy said confidently.
"OK," I said, deflated.
The Murphys made their way to the Magic Kingdom on the official 50th anniversary.
"Oct. 1 marks the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World," Jimmy said. "I've been going to Walt Disney World for all my life. So it's really cool that I get to go, and I really like it."
His father loves the lifetime of memories Walt Disney World creates for his family.
"To be able to think that our kids one day will be able to possibly attend the 100th anniversary, you know, and look back at the photos and maybe you this interview and say, 'Hey, you know, we were there with your grandfather and this and that.' And so, it's special, and that's why we're here today," Jim Murphy said.
Jimmy's mom likes the escapism Walt Disney World creates.
"I guess I appreciate walking through any of the parks and just looking around and everyone just seems to be happy and there doesn't seem to be any issues in the world," Sarah Murphy said. "You kind of forget about life itself, and I think that Walt created that and it's been carried out through the 50 years."
She thinks the theme parks are the therapy kids need right now.
"And I think that with kids and all they're going through with being in school and out of school and mask and whatnot, it gives the kids just that fun time to see characters and go on some rides and just have fun," Sarah said.