A Sneaky Blind Date

During the college break in the spring of 1970, my roommate and her boyfriend (now husband) were making plans to go to Disneyland. I told her to find me a date, and I would go with them. There was a young man that attended their small church who had just gotten out of the Army, so they asked him if he would like to go with them…and accompany her roommate. He said, “Sure, why not!” Thus, the blind date was arranged!
The four of us got to the gate about 9 a.m. and our “friends” turned and said, “See you later” and left us at the gate. We spent the next 8 hours or so going from one ride to another, having a great time!
This turned into a good friendship that lead to a wedding in September of that same year…and my husband and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary last September 19th. Disneyland has always held a special place in our hearts!
— Betty Gleason, as told to her son Kirby Gleason, Portland, OR

Pirate proposal

Tami and I got engaged at Disneyland. She wanted to do it during the fireworks show outside the castle, but my 4-year-old nephew sat in my lap for the entire thing (it was his birthday, and we were there with the extended fam). She came up with a good back-up plan on the fly, though. We were alone in the pirate shop outside Pirates of the Caribbean and I was distracted, i.e. geeking out over all the cool pirate stuff (my favorite!). She pulled me over to a barrel of fake pirate jewels and said we should pick some out to take home. I plucked a fake sapphire (my other favorite!) off the top of the pile and said I wanted that one. She plunged her hand into the barrel, came up with the ring box, and went down on one knee, revealing the real sapphire in the ring setting. Her proposal: “How about this one?” I promptly burst into tears and had to reassure her that 1) it was happy blubbering, and 2) that was a yes.

Julia Watson

America the Beautiful

I would think many of us who have been to Disneyland might have our own Disneyland date stories. Years ago while I was in the Navy, around 1978 (before I was married), I met a young lady and spent the day with her. My ship had pulled into Long Beach and I rode the bus out to Anaheim and started riding rides. My first attraction of the day was America the Beautiful, a 360-degree travel film of the US. As the camera started down Lombard Street in San Francisco, she leaned too far and started to fall. I caught her and we talked and we introduced ourselves; we spent the day together and said goodbye as the park closed. I will always remember her because of her name: she went by Babbitt, because her brother couldn’t say Elizabeth, he called her Babbitt and it stuck. We wrote a few times and then just lost touch.

Rod Richards


Welcome to Theme Park Love. I’m Kate Abbott, author of the middle-grade novel Disneylanders, in which a girl meets a boy at Disneyland and it changes her life. (At least for the summer.)

I’m starting this blog to share true stories of chance encounters, first dates, and other eventful, romantic trips to theme parks. Do you have a story you’d like to share? Please e-mail me!