Showing: 161-200 of 210
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.

Paul said:   October 25, 2009 6:32 am PST
The Kiddie Kingdom song started going through my head in the shower yesterday. Don't ask me why. I had to go looking to see if I could find a video of the commercial. Thanks for the memories.

Gunter Schaub said:   October 23, 2009 12:00 pm PST
As everyone is saying this site is amazing and brings back a ton of memories. I worked for the family in the summers of '70 and '71 as a ride operator and again in '74 at the Kiddie Kingdom. I was the Rock-o-Plane operator at all the carnivals and was on the Merry-Go-Round set up crew with Paul Jr., Rich Doria and Ken Shriver. Ken was the Merry-Go-Round operator during this time and Ken and I went into the Navy together in Oct. '71. One time while driving one of the heavy carnival truck rigs up to Montgomery Days on I294, I was stopped just past the Franklin Park Rail Yards and kicked off the tollway because I coudn't get the old truck past 49mph. My brother Jeff Stibal reminded me we had borrowed the old pickup shown on the site to take my stuff down to U of I in the fall of '70. Jeff is about 12 years younger than me and he worked at the Kingdom while he went to Bradley in Peoria. I met my first wife, Jan Schaub (nee Less) at the Glen Ellyn Carnival in "71. When I started working for Dispensas we were still using the old garage then later we started using the Sears Warehouse for the trucks - what a change. When I went into the Navy in '71, Johnny Jr. bought my motorcycle which I had bought from Sears in Oakbrook Center. Great memories, great family - Hello to all! I graduated from York in '68 and am now living in Arizona - gschaub@gmx.com

Jim Hubbard said:   October 14, 2009 11:55 am PST
We just sent you a message, after learning that Dispensa's had a website. My wife is interested if you are a member of the family. One of the photos seems to show Johnny and Randy in it. Would appreciate it if you could reply. Tannks.

Richard P. Doria, Jr. said:   October 8, 2009 5:29 pm PST
Well done, my young cousin! If I have anything I can add, I will send it on for your already excellent site. Judging from the guest book entries, Dispensa really did rule the carnival world in Illinois. It was a great life, glad I was a part of it. By the way, I think that's me running the wheel. Can't tell for sure. Might be your father. Hell, we all used the same techinque, could have been any of us.

JoAnn Kruse said:   October 1, 2009 3:02 pm PST
Grew up in Lombard. I remember sitting in the car as a child and seeing the castle from Roosevelt Road. It was the most beautiful thing to me. I have very fond memories Thanks for this site. While playing the commercials, my daughter kept asking me if we could visit this weekend. She doesn't understand why anyone would tear it down.

Kathy said:   September 27, 2009 8:42 pm PST
What a blast from the past!! I grew up in OBT and have great memories of going to the "Castle" and the amusement park. I remember meeting Ray Rayner there, and the huge Henry dog in the doorway. What a great website!!

Nick Demes said:   September 24, 2009 5:10 pm PST
I remember the Dispensas at the New York Toy Fair in 1963. John and his wife walked into the Strombecker showroom. It was my first Toy Fair and very quietly, since they were unannounced, unknown, and without an an appointment, they were politely passed on to a younger salesmen. I was brand new to the scene and given the privilege of working with this delightful couple. They laid down one of the biggest orders of the day and in cash. This was unknown at that time.. Within the next few hours word spread throughout the 200 Fifth Avenue Toy building and I don't think there were many showrooms that ever again received them without some kind of fan fare. My memories John and Nick, his mom and the whole Dispensa family has always brightened my thoughts in recall. A wonderful honest family and it was a pleasure to have worked with them for so many years until the Castle was no more.

Larry Gruchalski said:   September 24, 2009 11:13 am PST
The four new videos additions are great (any ride $0.25). Yes, a gallon of gas was also just $0.25. Keep up the good work by helping recreate my memories.

Terri said:   September 21, 2009 8:58 am PST
Tahnk you so much . My Grand parents and parents took me here every weekend as a kid. I had 10 wonderful years. I loved the train and everything else . I remember the gian stuffe solider in the entrance of the best toy store that was ever around. It was truly heart breaking when it closed. Everytime till this day I think of all the fun time shared there. Bring it back!!!

Kathy Quaid- Rhea said:   September 15, 2009 8:02 am PST
Thanks for putting up this site. I've tried to describe this to my kids and now they can see it. It's great.

Jeff said:   September 14, 2009 4:37 pm PST
I loved finding the commercials at YouTube! 2 weeks later, both jingles are still playing in my head all day! It makes me feel like a 10 year old living in Villa Park again! Thanks!!!

Tracy said:   September 11, 2009 6:26 am PST
I lived in OBT all my life. When I was 7 or 8 my friends and I would sneak across Rt83 at 16th (it was 4 lanes with a stop sign) we would ride our bikes, buy1 ticket for the ferris wheel and buy a bag of cotton candy. I bought all my model trains at the castle. And I remember meeting the Banana Splits there! Thanks!

Lisa B said:   September 10, 2009 8:35 am PST
Hey, awesome job putting this together. I am so impressed. I went through the whole website. That was a great time back then. It brought back memories especially seeing the commericial and hearing the tune.

Ellen said:   September 9, 2009 7:48 am PST
This is a great website. I loved the Castle of Toys and Kiddie Kingdom. Thanks for the memories

Chuck Samuelson said:   September 6, 2009 6:19 pm PST
I worked at the Castle and Kiddie Kingdom for several winters and summers in the 1970's. Thank you for the wonderful memories in these photo's. Joe, John, Florance, and Prudence were wonderful folks! I can still hear the carousel music!

Jim Rohr said:   September 2, 2009 3:23 pm PST
i remember your family well. ours were good friends going back at least to our grandfathers. i even remember the orriginal store before the castle,, its where my first lionel train, road racing set and 3 speed bike came from. and the carnival coming practically to my back yard every 4th of july. and then there was working for your family. that was fun too,, hard work,, but you knew you were safe and everyone watched out for each other, like we all became part of one huge family. my kids loved going to kiddie kingdom when they were young and atill talk about the place often. your family made a lot of fond memories for many families over the years. to me its been an honor knowing the dispenda family over the years

Penny said:   September 1, 2009 7:48 pm PST
Thank you for preserving what you can of wonderful Kiddie Kingdom and the Castle of Toys. It's a shame all of the wonderful kiddie parks are no longer with us. I used to take my son to Kiddie Kingdom in the 70's even though we lived in the far northwest suburbs. The modern theme parks have their place but for young kids they are too big, too expensive, too intense, and there's too much waiting. Thank you so much.

Scott said:   August 28, 2009 4:07 am PST
I still remember going there for a friend's birthday party when I was 7. I vividly remember "Storybook Land"! Kids WERE King!!! :-)

mike said:   August 25, 2009 7:57 am PST
i used to get all my model airplanes and cars from the castle

Juliette Miranda said:   August 25, 2009 6:28 am PST
Thanks so much for creating this site! For years, I've been looking for pictures, commercials, ANYTHING about one of my very favorite places as a kid - so glad you did this!

Dave Berglund said:   August 25, 2009 4:44 am PST
I have started a group on Facebook entitled "I remember Elmhurst When I was a Kid" even though Kiddy Kingdom was actually in Oakbrook terrace We considered it Elmhurst since it was right down the street from us. I have over 10000 members in the group. I have uploaded several of the pictures from this site as well as put the link on my page. Great job!!!!

Christopher Conner said:   August 24, 2009 9:27 pm PST
I loved Dispensa's Castle of Toys. We shopped there tons as a kid. I espeically liked that you had some non mainstream games.

Kevin N. said:   August 24, 2009 6:50 pm PST
Great website, thank you for making it and bringing back memories. I wish the park was still there...

Damon said:   August 24, 2009 6:08 pm PST
Kiddie Kingdom ROCKED. I loved everything about that place. I remember going there with the whole family and shopping in the Giant Castle. I'm sure it wasn't as big as I remember but I loved it all the same.

Renee said:   August 24, 2009 4:27 pm PST
Best memories ever! Thanks for all the pictures please keep them coming!

Susan S. said:   August 24, 2009 4:05 pm PST
Thank you so much for creating this website! I used to LOVE going there and I can't tell you how often I have thought of it whenever I passed the spot it used to stand. The pictures brought back a flood of great memories and I was brought to tears by some of them. This was so great!

Jennifer Schweiger said:   August 24, 2009 3:29 pm PST
oh this is an awesome website! ive been thinkin about kiddie kingdom for many years and how fun that place used to be. my poor husband wasnt fortunate enough to have gotten to go there when he was a kid..so this website sure has been nice for me to show him part of my past. it was hard to explain how cool this place was, but this website was awesome to help show him! so sad that it isnt there anymore. but what fond great memories i had growing up there! thanks!

Dawn I. said:   August 24, 2009 2:22 pm PST
I am sooooooooooo happy to finally see a Kiddie Kingdom site! Thank you for working on this! Kiddie Kingdom was definitely one of my favorite places to go.... lots of memories!

fran said:   August 24, 2009 1:38 pm PST
Thank you for putting together this website. My best childhood memories are from when my parents took me to Kiddie Kingdom as a child.

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