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Laura said:   November 26, 2020 6:27 am PST
Wow.......Watching The classic WGN holiday special....and thought of when I saw Bozo and Cookie the Clown at the castle.......I googled it and stumbled on your wonderful tribute page!!! Thanks for bringing back great memories and for brightening such a gloomy year....can't wait to share with my brother. We grew up in WoodDale and enjoyed MANY trips to the castle over the years!!!!!

Wolfgang Niedert said:   August 25, 2020 11:14 am PST
I am drawn to this page every few years. Usually by the passing of an older relative with whom I shared a Dispensas memory. This month is no different. My simple message during a global pandemic is "Thank You." Thank you to the people that created this kiddie ride kingdom and wonderful toy store. Something my children may never know. But I loved it and have nothing but wonderful memories of this place. Whoever from this organization still reads this page, thank you. It wasn't a simpler time, it was just a good time. Something I now wish for my children. I miss the people with whom I visited the world you created.

Ausitn K said:   June 10, 2020 5:40 pm PST
Oh my, what a beautiful walk down memory lane... Thank you so much for taking the time to create this website and uploading all those photos and information to it. I was only 10 years old when it closed down, and thus just barely remembered it, but then had so many great memories of my parents taking me there come back to life as I looked through everything. It's hard to believe that it's been 36 years since it closed, yet when I look at these photos it feels like only yesterday, and I can still remember going on those rides and being there with our family vividly. Such fond memories - thank you.

Debra A (Murphy)Larson said:   November 3, 2019 9:34 am PST
I have fond memories of Kiddie Kingdom! I watched it being built from my house(which is seen in one of the pictures) and was saddened to watch it be torn down. My aunt worked in the store and my cousins worked the carnival. I remember our neighbor, Mr. Dispensa handing out returned toys to the neighborhood kids during Easter.

Deb said:   June 3, 2018 12:27 pm PST
Our family LOVED Kiddie Kingdom. One thing I thought was great was the price of the rides so reasonable that every family could enjoy it. My daughter is 39 years and one day we were talking about how much she loved Kiddie Kingdom as a kid and how often we would go there. We would run into all our neighbors and sometimes I'd see my cousins from Elmhurst with their kids. I always hoped you would relocate and reopen. It was just a great experience - never any problems- clean, safe and family friendly. WE also shopped for Christmas gifts at the Castle of Toys and my daughter has many doll collections from your store. Thank you for providing clean, safe family-friendly fun and making so many people happy.

Carol (Trankina) Maloney said:   March 16, 2018 4:10 pm PST
My Mother Marie was related to the Dispensa's and I have very fond memories of the carnivals. St. James zalways had a carnival each year and it was sure a wonderful time for me. I remember helping out in the popcorn trailer. I had no idea this website existed until today. It brings back many good memories for me.

Bill Blackwell said:   September 28, 2017 10:37 am PST
I worked for Nick in the dime toss booth in 1971. My brother worked the Gerri's wheel. My mom and grandma worked other carnivals. We are proud of our carnie heritage.

Heather Gurney Geddings said:   July 31, 2017 6:44 pm PST
I moved from IL years ago and have kept asking folks if they remembered this massive toy store with toy soldiers outside. Finally, today, someone was able to tell me the name. I probably only went a few times, but boy, the memories I have still stick with me.

Wolfgang Niedert said:   June 26, 2017 8:52 pm PST
Thank you for putting this page together. It's impossible we were ever that young. But there it was...

sabrina shure said:   June 20, 2017 8:41 am PST
This brought back such wonderful memories for me. I was so upset when Kiddie Kingdom closed! This was a great trip down memory lane. Thank you for maintaining this site!

Dee said:   April 26, 2017 3:53 am PST
What a wonderful website filled with terrific info. I came to your site after research turned up your families name. I have acquired a very larger toy soldier and wanted to know its history. I believe it has come from your store originally. I remember it from American Pride Gas Station in New Lenox but I had an idea it was somewhere else prior.

Nancy said:   February 9, 2017 6:41 pm PST
This website brings back so many memories. My Dad built our house on the corner of Butterfield by 83. This was my stomping ground as a kid. I remember the warehouse and the castle. We lived across the street from the old fire station, we always went to the carnival. I was 5 when we moved to OBT.

Tom Kaufman said:   November 12, 2016 8:55 am PST
I remember Dispensa's Caste of Toys because it was next to the Drive In on Rt 83 at Roosevelt Road. I always thought Dispensa's was the precursor of Toys R Us. I remember the carnival rides because they were contracted to do the Lowell Jamboree from late 50's to 1967. Particularly remember the train, ferris wheel and tilt-a-whirl that showed up every year.

JEntler said:   October 10, 2016 7:30 pm PST
Thank you very much much for the website. The castle will always be a magical place for me. I was 7 when the park closed but ran into something this weekend that reminded me of the Kiddie Kingdom. I took my twin toddlers to Blackberry Farm in Aurora this weekend and all three if us were mesmoized by the train. I am almost positive that it is the same train that was at the castle. Or, at least the same make and model. Are you aware of the wherabouts of the train to help confirm a 33 year old memory?

Tim Boyce said:   September 1, 2016 1:27 pm PST
The drive in movie and the stop sign on Roosevelt road what a change. I worked for John with his family setting up rides. A great experience, Hope all is well miss the truck rides down 183 with the carnival equipment and setting up the ferris wheel.

Janet Nadolski said:   July 20, 2016 2:20 pm PST
WOW! This is so interesting. We bought Nick Dispensa's house in Westmont and lived down the street from John Dispensa. I never knew they were such a big deal! Very interesting reading......Thanks for writing this!

Bonnie (Jaska) Pyburn said:   July 18, 2016 9:39 am PST
It's 1952. I was 7 years old. We had 2 carnivals a year in Villa Park and waited for each with excitement. One on the 4th of July and then the Firemen's Carnival. Dispensa was always there. I can close my eyes and still smell the popcorn, see the lights and hear those wonderful sounds.

Amanda Bunn said:   June 11, 2016 6:28 pm PST
Before I give praises to this site, I have to be honest about something. Dispensa's was around WAY before my time. ( I wasn't born until 1988) I ended up seeing 2 ads for Dispensa's Castle of Toys & 1 add for Dispensa's Kiddie Kingdom on YouTube. This ended up making me very curious about the history of these places. It wasn't long afterwards that I stumbled across this site. What a fascinating history & a cool looking place as well! I'm sure that if I were around back then, I most likely would've wanted to go there as a child. Thank you for having this site here not only for nostalgia's sake; but for the people who like to learn about history as well.

Felicia Castiglione said:   June 10, 2016 1:04 pm PST
Paul Dispensa was a dear family friend and my brother's godfather. I remember spending lots of days at the park, and never wanting to leave the toy castle (and getting to be in there before and after park hours- it's who ya know!) Thanks so much for this, the nostalgia is awesome!

Peggy Buck said:   June 9, 2016 7:16 pm PST
Nice to meet you today and tell you what great memories my adult kids have of K.K.!

Dave Durland Jr said:   April 16, 2016 10:16 pm PST
Thank you for bringing back many Awesome childhood memories of birthdays and parties spent at kk. So sorry it's gone. Was sold right when we were moving from Lombard to Texas. I was born in 71' and have so many warm fuzzies for that place!!

BFuller said:   February 9, 2016 7:19 am PST
Such wonderful memories. Thank you for making this website.

Ellen Gallt said:   January 25, 2016 5:45 pm PST
So many wonderful memories you helped us make. I sure do miss the castle and all the wonderful rides my kids enjoyed when they were small. Sorry you had to leave, the tower isn't half as much fun and Kiddie Kingdom was. Thanks for the memories!

wayne olson said:   January 13, 2016 12:24 pm PST
i spent countless hours walking over there from our house in yorkfield. what great memories, what great people ! what happened to the train. i have been looking and find anything. thanks wayne

Eric L. said:   January 6, 2016 12:05 pm PST
I just came across this site. I was born in 1973, and I have fond memories of this place. it was rare that I got to go to the toy store, but it was always a treat. Probably the biggest toy store I ever saw. Kiddie Kingdom was another story; The prices for the rides made it a major selling point for my family, and I recall many times having a blast riding all those rides. I still recall the last time I went there, walking through the toy store, it must have been near the time they were closing up for good, as many shelves were empty. It was a sad day, but I'm glad I got to experience this place as a kid. Great memories! Thanks for sharing them!

Danny Gorman said:   November 28, 2015 12:07 pm PST
Thank you for taking me down memory lane. I was born in '72 and my earliest memories are of Kiddie Kingdom. I remember a lego castle which seemed 20' tall but in reality, may have been a couple feet tall.

jimbo said:   November 2, 2015 9:08 am PST
lots of memories lionel trains. said to see it go. never want to leave the store. i wish they could bring it back.i like to see memorbila. awsome store thank you

Erin said:   September 6, 2015 3:12 pm PST
Thankyou for bringing back the best memories of my childhood! I am still sad this many years later that kk no longer exists,I still cringe when i drive by the oakbrook terrace building that "killed" my favorite place :( lets start a petition to try and maybe bring back this magical place?! Santas village returned why not kiddie kingdom :)

SusieQ said:   June 2, 2015 8:14 am PST
My brother and I always reminisce about Kiddie Kingdom and how much fun we had. My parents would try to surprise us when taking us there, but we knew the curved exit that led towards the park and would start chanting "Kiddie Kingdom! Kiddie Kingdom!' Thanks for this website - the photos bring back all the memories, and the story of the Dispensa family was really engrossing! Great family.

MaryLu Krueger said:   November 11, 2014 12:36 pm PST
I remember going to Dispensa's Kiddie Kingdom every weekend. Generally we spent every day of the weekend there. My youngest was born in 1982 and I remember how much he loved riding the rockets. My favorite was "It's a Small World" I loved getting stopped atop of the Ferris Wheel on a clear night with the stars twinkling. My sons first lesson on how to sit still. Thanks for all the fun and memories. My oldest son loved all the model trains and cars in the toy store. Such a great selection and the best of places for family fun.

Karl Boucher said:   October 3, 2014 8:21 am PST
Best selection of toys-period. Got some great glow in the dark board games and cool space halloween masks. The mini mighty mouse roller coaster was my favorite along with the dark room ride on the side of the castle. The little ducky game was also my favorite as a kid. Great place.

Barbara said:   September 24, 2014 8:15 am PST
Just dreamed about Dispensa's. I only remember riding by in the car back seat, and seeing this as we zoomed by. "What's THAT??" I gasped, my eyes wide. It was like Brigadoon rising from the mist.

Janice Nason said:   September 15, 2014 6:51 pm PST
Thank you for creating this site for my generation's Riverview. I remember the plastic duckies you picked up from the water to see what number you got to learn what prize you got, and the octopus ride. You can't bring back the good 'ole days but you can revisit them on the internet!

Dennis Helfritch said:   September 15, 2014 12:38 pm PST
Greetings to all the Dispensa kin out there! I worked for Dispensa Carnivals as a "bingo beater" for five summers (1958-1962). I must have set up 1000 tents. I worked for John and John Jr. It was good, healthy work for a HS/college kid, and I reminisce often.

Sherri said:   August 5, 2014 12:48 pm PST
WOW is all I can say!!! The memories are the best! I remember the feeling that I had to this day when I walked in to the castle of toys! And the rides...loved them all! We went many times a year until I was about 8. Thanks for putting this together, amazing job!

Wallace Larsen said:   January 28, 2014 11:06 am PST
I worked with Nick and his family & Prudy I was with Suburban Life News Paper Nick invited my wife & I to his house for dinner . Loved the castle and the family. We also went to Nicks parents anniversary party . Those were the good years.

Marla said:   January 24, 2014 8:13 pm PST
This website really brings back memories! I loved Kiddie Kingdom as a kid! My mom would bring us there all the time. My favorite was the Storybook ride. It was a little creepy but I remember it the most. I wish that there were some pictures of the inside of that ride. I also remember my Dad taking me the the Castle of Toys to get the My Little Pony stable. It's too bad it isn't still around so I can bring my kids. Thank you for the memories!

Bill Ward said:   January 13, 2014 12:49 pm PST
My Mom (Angela Ward) worked there. It was the last of the great Christmas's but I'll say the memory of that building is etched upon my mind. As a child I looked at that place and always thought of being a successful business owner one day. Thanks for the inspiration and by the way; Now I only like vintage toys!

Scott Hall said:   December 26, 2013 11:09 am PST
My brother and I worked at the Kiddie Kingdom during the summer of 1983. He worked the Tilt-a-Whirl and I worked in the pizza shop. My favorite job as a teenager. What a fun place. Thanks for the memories.

James B said:   November 10, 2013 8:59 am PST
The website is wonderful to reminisce about, as my family went to KK often. We were discussing the rides, but can only remember in general, but cannot recall specific rides and their names. Can you send or list them on the website? Thanks for all your work on the website.

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