Thanks for the site! Brought back memories of my father taking me there. Remember looking into the mote and wondering why there wasn't any water in it. Thanks again!
Marie said:June 29, 2010 10:00 am PST
Oh My God!!! Thank you for this site! Where did you find all these photos? I grew up in Forest Park and have great memories of the Dispena's. I live in NYC now and love that I can look back at this. THANKS!!!!
DAVE GLOECKLE said:June 22, 2010 8:49 pm PST
OH MY GOD I AM REALLY GLAD TO SEE THIS COOL WEBSITE! MY FATHER HAROLD WAS GOOD FRIENDS WITH NICK DISPENSA EVEN BEFORE THE CASTLE OF TOYS WAS BUILT.HE BUILT US A GRAND LIONEL 4X8 FOOT TRAIN BOARD FOR THE CHRISTMAS OF 1965,I STILL HAVE ALL OF THE ORIGINAL LIONEL TRAINS INCLUDING THE 2037 STEAM LOCOMOTIVE & TENDER & ALL OF THE ASSOCIATED FREIGHT CARS.I STILL CAN REMEMBER THE DISPENSA & SONS' CARNIVAL IN THE BERKELEY SQUARE SHOPPING CENTER GRAND OPENING A LONG TIME AGO. WHAT A FLASHBACK! I STILL HAVE A BLACK & WHITE PHOTO OF MYSELF AS A 5 YEAR OLD KID LOOKING AT A DISPENSA'S TOY CATALOG FOR 1965,I WAS IN MY GLORY!I GUESS THAT YOU MUST BE A RELATIVE OR A DISPENSA FAMILY MEMBER,SOMEDAY I WOULD LIKE TO MEET YOU.YOU CAN EDIT THIS EMAIL AS YOU SEE FIT,THIS WAS A REALLY GREAT & MEMORABLE TIME OF MY LIFE THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET!
BEST REGARDS,DAVE GLOECKLE BERKELEY,ILLINOIS
Jim Dubs said:June 14, 2010 2:06 pm PST
What a fantastic website! My grandparents lived in the neighborhood next to Kiddie Kingdom. The only thing separating the house from the parking lot was a wire fence, which incidentally had a hole large enough for us to pass through. I remember sitting on their back porch staring at the toy soldiers silently protecting the toy store...waiting in anticipation for my father to give the signal that we were once again headed over. When it was time to go I could barely contain myself from diving through the fence and running across the parking lot. I didn't because such action would be met with a swift and severe spanking to the rear end. I still remember the day when the property and the land my grandparents had owned was purchased. At the time I couldn't understand why my grandparents had to move, and understood less why anyone would bulldoze Kiddie Kingdom. On moving day I remember feeling a great void as I looked over the lot, and where the toy soldiers stood, in their place was rubble and nothing else. That was a sad day, but this site has brought back so many wonderful memories I cannot thank you enough.
I grew up in OakBrook which is now where the OakBrook bank and container store are now within walking distance of Dispensa's and Kiddie Kingdom and practically lived there. I would go in with my brother and we would steel toys and never said anything since my aunt worked there. I have alot of fond memories there.
Heather Crouse said:May 22, 2010 12:58 pm PST
What a great website with a lot of nostalgia for me. I grew up in Downers Grove. I live across the country now and am coming back for the summer with our children. I wish they could have those same experiences but at least they can see pictures.
Barbara Whitehouse Williams said:May 15, 2010 1:44 pm PST
I was good friends with Johnny and Dolores and this was a wonderful trip and also a bit sad. I do miss them both. Thanks for all the hard work in putting this together.
Jenni Lynge said:May 11, 2010 2:50 pm PST
My best friend and I used to cross Route 83 by ourselves to go to Kiddie Kingdom. I really miss those times and all the fun there. I really wish there was another Kiddie Kingdom for me to go to now.
Alison said:April 28, 2010 3:22 pm PST
My first job was at Kiddy Kingdom!! Worked in the concession stand. I was only 15 and worked many hours and very hard. A good friend Lori helped me get the job and worked there with me. Lots of good memories!
Ed said:April 23, 2010 5:45 pm PST
Just found this site. Wow! Brings back lots of memories. I remember having birthday parties at Kiddie Kingdom as a kid.
Chuck said:April 21, 2010 5:54 pm PST
Great page! I was very young and remember this park as the best place in the world. I have pictures of riding the fire truck on the merry-go-round. The banging of the carts in the story building used to scare me alot and my dad had to have the ferris wheel stopped right after it started because my sister was crying she got so scared of being high.
Brett...Villa Park, now in AZ said:April 3, 2010 5:54 pm PST
Wow. GREAT page. Lots of memories....lived in Lombard/Villa Park growing up, and this was one of the best things ever as a kid. Thanks for all the efforts.
kevin oliver said:March 27, 2010 9:02 pm PST
Simply the best toy store ever..I lived in Addison from 1976-1982..a sad day when I moved...was back in the area in 1992 only to discover a big heart break when I was told the Castle was no more..thank you for this site..could you post more of the inside as that is where my greatest memories lay.
Terri said:March 11, 2010 9:53 am PST
Bring it back!!! we need more places like this!! People need to get back to the basics of life. I miss this place so much. I spent every weekend and I mean every weekend of my childhood here with my parents and grandparents.
Pac-man-Pat said:March 6, 2010 2:40 pm PST
I use to love going to this park as a kid. It's sad to see so many of this type of family spot fall into just memories. Great job on setting up this site, it made me feel really good to see the pictures.
Tom B said:February 26, 2010 7:38 pm PST
Now 37 it is almost hard to believe this was the BEST PLACE in the world as a kid! I will never forget every Thanksgiving Day night, my grandparents would let me sleep over and the next morning-time to shop for my birthday!!!!!!
So Cool to see the pictures and share with my children (which really do not understand) and my wife who is not from this area originally.
Seems that it really is the little things that makes memories!
Ken Phillips said:February 25, 2010 8:01 pm PST
GREAT site! Never visited the park but have fond memories of the castle and the commercials.
Congrats on getting this up! Any Facebook page yet? I'll also info the amusement park sites of this as well.
Bret said:February 22, 2010 10:05 am PST
I lived in Villa Park and less than 10 minutes away from the place. We moved away in '79, and then I drove past the place where it used to be in the early '90s and wondered what happenned, and why it was gone. Now my questions have been answered. Thanks for the memories!
I remember trying to make my "acting" debut on your commercial day where you invited everyone to come to the Castle and enjoy the rides while a camera filmed in the hopes of pulling off a commercial for the Castle. I remember how excited I was at the thought and when the commercial was complete and on the T.V., I watched it intently each and every time trying to find myself on a ride. Thank you for everything. what a happy place!
Uncle Jim & Aunt Rose said:February 14, 2010 11:33 am PST
You did a great job on the new video page. We looked at all of them and it brought back some wonderful memories. Keep up the good work!
Mary Farmer said:February 11, 2010 7:11 pm PST
I worked at the Kiddie Kingdom one summer in the games department. Lots of memories of the duck pond, the shooting gallery, etc. and made lots of friends while working there.
MARK L said:February 10, 2010 9:59 am PST
BRINGS BACK OLD TIMES I ALWAYS LIKED GOING HERE AND TO THE TOY STORE AS A KID WHAT KID DIDN'T LIKE GOING TO A TOY STORE ABOUT 1 MILE FROM YOUR HOUSE ANY CHANCE YOU HAVE OLD THINGS ON THE BOWLING ALLEY OR THE ROLLER RINK?
Greg G. said:February 9, 2010 8:49 am PST
I remember this place when I was a little kid growing up in south Elmhurst. We went there alot with my parents and friends. It was so much fun and exciting to see the rides and the lights and smell the popcorn and hear the screaming and laughter. The castle seemed so big in those days. It was like you could get lost inside of it. We were all younger and more innocent then. It's gone now but the memories will remain forever.
Andy said:February 8, 2010 8:01 pm PST
It was a rare treat the few times our parents took us to Kiddie Kingdom. We shopped a lot at Sears in Oakbrook Center and upon exiting that store you could see Kiddie Kingdom / Castle of Toys just over the hill. It was like dangling a treat just out of our reach every time we saw it. It didn't make any difference to us what time of day it was...if we saw the property we always asked, "Mom, can we go to Kiddie Kingdom?!" Sadly the answer was usually no :-( Thanks for keeping the memories alive!
Lisa said:February 5, 2010 7:39 pm PST
My mom was so excited to forward me this site. As the oldest of my siblings, I was the only one that remembered the fun times we had there! Thanks for sharing.
Michael said:February 3, 2010 7:51 pm PST
WOW - so many memories and great images. It's great to see some of these items again.
From toy trains in the castle to the mint chocolate chip ice cream in the parlor.
Time to dig out my photos and more memories!
Beth M. Downs said:January 27, 2010 8:37 am PST
I always loved Dispensa's and as an adult, I've frequently asked my mom, 'What was that cool amusement park you and dad used to take me to?" When she told me the name -- I looked up Dispensa's and found a photo of a postcard online, but that was years ago. I remember my favorite ride -- Storybook Land -- and was wondering if you had any pictures on the INTERIOR of the ride?
Cori R. said:January 25, 2010 3:19 pm PST
My grandparents lived in the condos behind Kiddie Kingdom and we could always see the ferris wheel lit up at night. They used to take us there when we'd have overnights at their house. My sister drove by there yesterday, and although it's gone we had fun reminiscing! Thanks for the memories.
I went to grade school with Nick and thought it was very cool that someone I "knew" was part of the Castle! Just remembered the place during a conversation tonight, and thought I'd try to look it up. Thanks for the site!
Jim Babyar said:January 5, 2010 9:49 pm PST
I rermember the Carnivals (including the one at Butterfield Firehouse in mid 60's), the little toy store, later the castle and later took my kids to Kiddie Kingdom. GREAT!
Phil said:January 2, 2010 11:44 am PST
Great website. Thanks! I worked as a "packer" over a holiday season, and then I helped John Sr. in the shop until getting back on my feet.. The Dispensaâ??s often took care of people â??down on their luckâ?. I was out of college, had left my first two jobs prematurely, and needed work experience. While bagging toys one day, I saw an old carnie come through the door. John Sr. recognized him, shook hands, and then personally â??pricedâ? the items in his cart. John Sr. never accepted tips for carrying items out to a car â?? something I never did either. I guess it was my way of giving back for the Dispensaâ??s kindness in taking me in. I heard a lot of carnie stories and learned that the Dispensaâ??s where welcome in every town because of their fairness and honesty. Having learned the language, I can now talk to carnies about heads, sweeps, centrics, and sceneries. Emil told me when I started that I wouldnâ??t be a â??realâ?? carnie until I came home with horseshoes on my shirt â?? nor would he tell me what that meant. Then a week before I was offered my dream job in the aerospace industry I walked into the lunchroom where Emil took one look said I was now a full fledged carnie. My shirt was covered with horseshoe grease stains. (I wonâ??t reveal how I got them). So although I didnâ??t travel with the Dispensaâ??s, nor work in the park when it was open, I feel as if I earned a place among them. In a short 6 months I got a lifetime of education. And although I always felt I would have been more suited to working in the office (and would have loved learning the business side), I was a sponge soaking up everything I could. Now in addition to my regular job I am an author and lecturer in logistics and supply chain management. But I am forever humbled, having worn the red & white stripes of the Dispensaâ??s uniform.
Mike Willis said:December 26, 2009 9:39 am PST
Wow, what memories this brings back! I grew up in Addison and my mother would take us to Dispensa's for toys and can remember when they added the amusement park. The commercials were a staple of Chicago television and the theme song takes me back.
I also had wood shop at Addison Trail that was taught by Mr.Dispensa, who was the son of the owners. Thanks for putting together a website for all of us to share. I will be emailing a link to this site to many friends that grew up in this area.
Marsha said:December 22, 2009 12:20 pm PST
I loved this place as a kid! I remember wanting to go on the Octopus, but was too afraid to go alone, so I'd only go on it when my dad was with us! :D The train ride was a special treat for my sisters and I. We'd only get to go on it if we were behaving ourselves! =)
Suzanne said:December 17, 2009 10:36 am PST
How sad there is no place to take my kids to a place like this now. I spent my childhood here. How sad that I don't have one picture of me at this place. I know we got one sitting somewhere at my parent's house. My sister took me here as a child. I have so many memories... they closed all my childhood favorite places.... thanks for having this site.
It brings back memories that are hard to remember.
I remember my sister forcing me to go on the cages. After that I loved it and moved on to the roller coasters at Great america.
Bradley Egel said:December 12, 2009 1:14 pm PST
This place was AWESOME! So many memories...loved the train, the dark ride called storybook land and the mite mouse roller coaster! :)
Linda said:December 12, 2009 11:25 am PST
I am SO glad to have found this site. My children and I have such fond, wonderful memories of Dispensas Kiddie Kingdom. It was a fabulous place, and we miss it. I wish my grandchildren could go there now!!!!
Villa Park resident said:December 10, 2009 5:19 pm PST
Every time I drive through the area and see that big huge dark cold building standing where Kiddie Kingdom was, (the building is a monument of corperate greed triumphing over something decent and innocent). I think back to a more pure and innocent time when I would go to Kiddie Kingdom and have fun. It is always about money in life. Does anyone remember the haunted house ride there? The car slammed into the doors that went inside. It sure would be nice if Kiddie Kingdom was still there so I could take my kids there to enjoy. There is a place in Wisconsin called "Little America" it is an amusement park geared towards little kids. Look it up and take the kids there, it is comparable to Kiddie Kingdom or Kiddieland, enjoy.
Jenn said:December 5, 2009 10:01 am PST
So many memories, so little time. I worked the food pavilion, I think it must have been the summer of 81 or 82. My older sister's were already there so being a legacy paid off. What fun being a high school kid working with a bunch of college kids for the summer! The rookies ruled or ruined (one of the 2) the pavilion. We fed all those kids fries and hot dogs and then the ride workers got to clean up the fries and hot dogs they tossed! I worked in the castle for one season too - I can't say I liked that at all - I did love getting to go there to buy toys as a kid - loved the draw bridge into the place!
Moira said:November 29, 2009 6:04 pm PST
Another Kiddie Kingdom alum here - I worked there from 1981-84. I have great memories of running a bunch of different rides, mostly the big Scrambler. Also worked one Christmas in the toy castle in the doll department. I still remember the Madame Alexander craziness. Great memories of a great time in my life. Thanks!
Rob V. said:November 18, 2009 7:54 pm PST
'82-83 while attending Proviso West HS worked part time at Kiddie Kingdom and Castle of Toys.
Since I was the "wet behind the ears" HS kid I was put on the smaller rides such as the German Ride, Spinning Swings, Helicopter Ride, Boat Ride. Quickly learned why the Boat Ride had a 5 gal. bucket nearby. The water was used for a wash down for those that toss one's cookies while on a ride. Depending upon the line if a child approached my ride without a ticket I would sometimes allow them on or remain for an extra spin (to save mom and dad from a child melt down).
In the off season it was time for Castle of Toys. Worked check lanes, stocking, and pulled purchases from layaway. Yes, layaway! Who provides that these days to any great degree? Had a chance encounter with Cookie the Clown from Bozo's Circus while working check out. Cookie was doing an in store appearance.
Stocking shelves required working after hours. That was fun!! Nerf footballs come to mind. I don't know what took longer. Picking up after ourselves or stocking the shelves.
Working for the Dispensa's was a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. However, throwing a football around he store was probably not a good idea. Sorry, Nick!!! While in the Marine Corps I learned of the closing. Very sad. I felt a loss when hearing the news.
EXCELLENT SITE! Like the fact that one has the capabilities to zoom in on the pics posted.
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