Childhood Memories Friday: Florida Trip, 1973

childhoodmemoriessummerFirst, a note:  did you catch the winning word last night at the Scripps National Spelling Bee?  If you remember my memories post last week, you’ll know that laodicean is actually a word I could have spelled!


My mom loaned me a scrapbook she made of our family’s 1973 vacation to Florida.  I thought it would be fun to look through it and note some things that stood out.

My mom wrote that she had “surprise boxes” in the car for my sister and me with pencils, paper, and other goodies.  I remember these – they were fun.

We drove to Florida from Indiana, and made a stop at the Stephen Foster Memorial.  Gotta love the admission ticket stubs, .25 per child and $1.50 per adult.  The wagon ride cost .33 plus .02 tax!

I also see that that evening my Fisher Price Little People dog was lost in the pool.  Boy, do I ever remember that!

The next day, we visited Disney World!  I see it opened in October of 1971, so it had been open less than two years.  Having gone back in 2008, I can tell you it had changed vastly from my earlier memories – but no wonder.

Mom wrote, “We were amazed at the number of visitors there speaking foreign languages.”  Welcome to 2009 …  She also wrote that the Haunted Mansion was my favorite – interesting, because I really enjoyed it last year as well.

“Our longest wait in line was for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” which is no longer there.

IMG_2309Scrapbooking, 1970s style:  gotta love the Disney ticket books, 5.75 per adult (a 9.55 value!) and 4.75 per child.  I do remember these ticket books; they had a certain number of tickets for each area (Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, etc).  I have to say it’s easier now to just pay admission and do whatever you want – although obviously the price has skyrocketed.  We “did” Disney in two days, and that’s also how long we stayed at the Magic Kingdom in ’08.  The difference now is that there are the other Disney parks to visit besides the Magic Kingdom.

We also visited Cypress Gardens, Busch Gardens, and Kennedy Space Center.  On Sunday we went to Ancient City Baptist Church in St Augustine.  I remember that, even on vacation, we would always go to church and (unfortunately) Sunday School.  Showing up in a Sunday School class of strangers was never high on my list of favorite things to do.  I do remember in that particular class, the teacher introduced me and said I lived in Indiana, “where it snows.”  The other kids were fascinated with that.

We visited Marineland, which I see is still around.  We also played on the beach somewhere along the Atlantic coast:  “Seeing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time was such a thrill for me.  Susan and Jill could care less.  They just want to hunt sea shells and play in the water.”  Hey — we were kids!

Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum was another stop (is it just me, or did we do a LOT?), and I remember that being pretty cool.  We must have taken a tour in St Augustine because I remember clearly all the talk about Ponce de Leon and the fountain of youth.

On the way home, we ate at the Kingfish in Louisville, a restaurant on a boat.  Kingfish always seemed to be people’s idea of the ultimate eating destination during my youth.  I remember once walking down the aisle there and seeing a lady eating frog legs!

The scrapbook is filled with bits of frugality (I get it honestly):

  • “We forgot to return the motel key which added $1 to our room cost for that night.”
  • “We ordered 4 cheeseburgers to bring to the motel and about fainted when the bill was $6.24.  They said it included slaw and french fries.  That didn’t even include any drinks.  We hated that deal.”
  • “Our motel cost $13.54 and is nice.”

Do you have memories of a childhood vacation?  A vintage Disney memory?   1970s vacation memories? Share them …

8 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Florida Trip, 1973

  1. This cracked me up! Sounds just like one of our family vacations growing up! My mom and dad always had every minute of our time scheduled – vacations were not a time of rest and relaxation in our family!

  2. Susan, I loved reading your memories! And it’s funny because your memories have been my daily life for off and on the time we have had our getaway in St. Augustine! And it is still my favorite place in Florida. 🙂 And we have great shells (in a secret area I know about and will tell you if you come back!), Ripley’s, Ancient City Baptist Church, the tours, the Fountain of Youth, and all of the fun things that make St. Augustine so neat. It’s the number one tourist destination for Floridians after (and maybe even before) Disney. 🙂



  3. I have memories of the old fort in St. Augustine. I really enjoyed that city. 1973 was my one time to ever visit Florida.

  4. How wonderful to have such a book to look back on!!

    The four burgers, slaw and fries price cracked me up. We are all thinking, ” what a deal!!” LOL

    I feel your pain on your little people dog. I lost a little people pet that I’d buried on the beach and could never find again. 🙁 That loss ranked up there with a friend’s dog chewing off a barbie hand. Oh the horror. 😉

  5. I have a very distinct Disney memory. The only time I got anywhere near it, I had my parents in the car. I was just ready to drive in when my dad said, “Oh, Elaine, I’m too sick to go in.” Believe me, I was sick then. I was an adult and could hardly keep from crying because I had looked forward to it for so many years. I’m glad I didn’t know then, X number of years ago, that that was my only opportunity and I would never get there later.

  6. What neat memories you have! My parents took us on summer vacations every year. They’d load up the station wagon with suitcases and the four of us kids and take off for 2+ weeks. We traveled all over the US. It was fun, but I’m the youngest in the family and don’t remember a lot of the early trips. But what I do remember are fun times!!


  7. We spent our spring vacation in St. Augustine several years in a row.

    One year, we all got burnt to a crisp due to spending far too much time in the sun. We needed to take a break for a day which meant sightseeing.

    My brother and I had been begging our parents to take us to Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum for a few years at that point, so this was the perfect excuse!

    I LOVED IT! It is probably my clearest memory of all those spring trips.

    I also have fond memories of The Flagler Museum, the university campus in town and the rundown motel we stayed in each year.

    It is such a pretty place with so much history. Some day I will take my family back.

  8. Once my mother married my step-dad we had regular vacations very similar to this! We went to churches too. Difficult because we were camping, so it was sometimes hard to find our “dress” clothes. We lived in Florida so I’ve been to most of the places you mentioned. I loved St. Augustine, found it fascinating. Our itineraries were always packed, I remember my Mom sometimes saying, “Ok, we’re going to have a good time if it KILLS us!” It always made us laugh.

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