Mousetalgia link


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays

The real spirit of Christmas lives in the heart of every child…
It truly knows no political, religious, or class boundaries…
It is the wish for a joyous, wonderful, and peaceful life for all…
It is the heart that all children are born with…
It is a heart of peace and joy…
It knows no violence, strife, or evil...
Those are learned through maturity…

It is the heart that lives in all of us…
It lives in that child that lives within each of us…
Even when we misplace that child or think we’ve outgrown him…

The real spirit of Christmas lives in the heart of every child…

And know, as you ask yourself, what does this have to do with Walt Disney???

If you care to look closely, Walt gave a path back to the inner-child when we lose our way.  I don’t know for sure if he was aware of this, but, I’d like to think so…  J

No matter what festival of celebration you choose at this time of year, I wish you the most joyous, wonderful, and peaceful of holiday.

Your comments or questions are always welcome.  If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

You can find us on Facebook at:  Discovering Disney History on FB

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Latest Mouse-troversy

I’ve been away for awhile, working on other endeavors, but, there is a new Mouse-trovery in Mickey’s kingdom and I had to comment.

Seems that when the newest Muppet Movie release the opening credits just showed the Disney Castle with Disney underneath.  No Walt Disney Pictures, just Disney, in that unmistakable Disney script.  Of course, with Kermit and Monster at the bottom of the screen, there wasn’t the usual space available.  That aside…   The controversy seems to revolve around the removal of “Walt” and “Pictures” from the studio vanity card – the term I think I saw used – that flashes up on the screen at the beginning of the film. 

The root definition of fan truly applied to most Disney Fans and most particularly many Walt Disney Fans.  That root is fanatic and many are just that, fanatical.  Upon seeing this new vanity card graphic rumors immediately began circulating that that the clandestine management team at The Walt Disney Company are trying to excise all memory of Walt from the collective memories of both company and public.

Jim Hill has an interesting article over at Jim Hill Media talking about some of the details of this change.  I will only add…  If TWC is shortening the name, on the splash graphics on its movies, so what?  What is the first thing you think of when you see the name Disney?  For me, as I believe most people, it is Walt Disney.  In my opinion, to excise Walt’s memory from the Company, you’d have to remove more than just his first name.  I tend agree with some of the other assessment that this really has more to do with the branding of the content being delivered today’s new media environment.  With the advent of tables and smartphones, more media is being delivered to devices with smaller screen real estate.  You can make the Disney name bigger on the screen in this environment.  Besides, I might argue that just seeing that Castle on screen invokes images and memories of Walt Disney.

But there is something else to consider… We should all remember, it was not Walt’s idea or choice to rename The DisneyBrothers Studio to Walt Disney Productions…  That was Brother Roy’s choice, in recognition for the company’s creative force, his brother Walt, as was the choice to call Walt’s DisneyWorld, Walt Disney World, again in recognition of its creative founder.  Warner Brothers notwithstanding, I don’t think Walt would have cared if Roy decided to call the company Acme.  Boy would that have messed with the coyote’s mind.  J  Walt Disney, like his character – Peter Pan, was always much more interested in the next great adventure, not memories of past journeys.  Which is what I think is at the base, consciously or not, of our draw to him.  

There are people out there who have researched and/or know Walt Disney far better than I, but from everything I have learn about Walt, over the last few of years, he does not come across as a man all the believing in his own self importance.  He did what he did because he enjoyed it, and believed that others would as well.  He was right, and probably far beyond even his own wildest dreams.

It is an amazing testament to the Man – Walt Disney that his fans take such umbrage at trivial changes in the company he founded, however let us honor the Man by remembering him as a real man he was, not the icon and myth he’s become through the company he founded.  We have the Walt Disney Family Museum to continue the legacy of the man – Walt Disney.  And, even if there was the slightest chance that some, at The Walt Disney Company, were covertly planning the excise of Walt’s memory from the collective minds of all, how epic a fail would that be witness? 

Your comments or questions are always welcome.  If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

You can find us on Facebook at:  Discovering Disney History on FB

Thursday, November 24, 2011

To all my Fans and Loyal Readers,

I'd like to this opportunity to wish you all:

A Most Joyful and a Happiest of Thanksgiving. 

Have a great day,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another Visionary Leaves Us Too Soon

As news struck my brain that Steve Job had passed, the following thought rang out in my brain… “To see the world in a grain of sand.”  Yes, I know it is a line from Lara Croft – Tomb Raider, but it is so much more…

I knew it was coming; all signs were there for everyone to see. Even so, I did not think it would hit me quite this hard, but I sit here with tears in my eyes, mourning a loss in my life. As I sit here, wondering why I feel such a great loss for a man I never met, I am flushed with memories of the profoundly personal effect Steven Paul Jobs has on my life.

My first major research project in college?  A 25 page report on a blossoming young company and its two unknown founders, “Apple Computer and the Two Steves.”  Ask most people today who brought the micro computer to the business market, and you’ll probably get an answer of IBM or TI or HP, but they would be wrong…  It was Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and the Apple II.  All others were following on Apple’s success.  Ask those same people who brought the personal computer to the rest of us, and you’ll most likely be given a similar answer, but again they’d be wrong…  It was Steve Jobs, Apple, and the Macintosh.  The Mac was, and still is today, a computer that anyone can easily understand and use today.  Yes, today, I use a Dell PC and Windows, but, only because the business environment dictates it.  Windows and Microsoft would not be what it is today, if it had not been driven by Apple and the Mac OS.

My first major research project in business?  Armed with a brand new Macintosh Plus, and the newly release Microsoft Excel 1 for Mac, I embark on a mission to track and account for 5000 pieces of newly acquired module furniture spread over 3 buildings and two counties.  The successes of that project lead to being made responsible of $30 million in corporate assets.  And has led me through a career with jobs including, Accountant… Business Analyst… Technical Support Specialist… IT Consultant… Database Programmer, Developer and Admin… Sysadmin… IT Group Manager… Business Intelligence Analyst… and currently as a Business Operations Consultant. I even spent 2 years working at Apple Computer just before Steve returned.  I quite literally owe my career and success to Steve Jobs and an easy to learn and understand Macintosh Computer.  I don’t know if I’d have pursued the directions I have had I not been introduced to little electronic device that allowed me to learn computers and the processes they expedite, so easily.  Even my pursuit of writing might not have come about had it not been for Steve and Mac, as I am more attuned to the keyboard and word processor app than pen and paper.

I should also note that being only 6 months old; Steve Jobs is actually a contemporary of mine.  It is these time that often evoke thoughts of my own mortality, and contemplation of just how truly fragile is the human existence.  In looking at Steve’s life, we find a man who lived it on his terms, and never accepted what was, instead looking to what could be…  He never needed to be believed in, he believed in himself.  He believed in his visions and ideas so strongly as to appear to exclude all others, and usually turned out to be right.  He created products because they were thing that he wanted to use, and felt others would want as well.  Sounds a lot like another man I respect tremendously.  A couple of amazing and extraordinary human beings and our lives are better for their presence in the world.

I opened with the thought, “To see the world in a grain of sand.”  But, did you know there is more?

To see the world in a grain of sand,
and to see heaven in a wild flower,
hold infinity in the palm of your hands,
and eternity in an hour.
William Blake

I can find no better definition for the existence of Steve Jobs, or Walt Disney, or so many others like them.  Our lives have been infinitely enriched by theirs’.  As we mourn our losses, we must also remember to celebrate the gifts.

I’m going to leave you with a quote that can be found on my personal email signature:

Our hopes are so far ahead of our abilities.
When we are satisfied, perhaps we haven't
aimed high enough.
                                                          Rex Brandt

I found this quote 16 years ago hanging on the wall of my Grandfather-in-laws art studio.  It was been with me ever since and ever so more fitting now.

Aim High My Friend, AIM HIGH!!!

Your comments or questions are always welcome.  If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at
You can find us on Facebook at:  Discovering Disney History on FB

Cross posted on my Confessions blog

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What do I find so interesting about Walt Disney

Toward the end of the most recent event up at the Walt Disney Family Museum, Walt’s granddaughter turned a question, asked of her and her siblings, around on the audience, “What you do find so interesting about her Grandpa?”

The question reignited a series of thoughts I have had for some time, and the real purpose of my blog.

So Joanna, here is my answer to your question.

There are, in my opinion, many the easy answers.  Walt was a master of storytelling, or he was a creative genius, or one of the true visionaries of his time.  There is the always present evidence that he was not afraid to fail.  Better put, he was always willing to try something new.  Walt always dreamed big, and had the amazing ability to continually reinvent himself.  He possessed a uniquely balanced view of nostalgia and progress…  This list could go on forever, and each and every one of these is reason enough to support anyone’s grounds for why they find Walt Disney so interesting.  I think there is a much deeper esoteric, and even more deeply psychological, reason for the huge number of people that find Walt Disney so interesting, and even the same reason some choose to admonish him.

A group of 10 year old boys was traversed stealthily into a field of mustard plants on an empty lot, quietly blazing hidden trails to a secret hideout in the center.  Once in this secret lair, the plants have been trampled to fashion a soft bed on the ground on which to lie, laughter rises into the air as these young tell stories, confess fantasies, and daydream of things not of this world.  A young man lies on a disguised platform, built onto the branches of a 100 year old oak, mesmerized by the patterns created as the afternoon light passes through the leaves.  That same young man lies under a nighttime sky, viewing all the stars in the heavens and dreams of alien worlds and the adventures to be had in that vast expanse.  These are the dreams and fantasies of a young mind as yet unfettered by the harsh truth of reality.  And… they are the memories of my youth, ones that I have had the pleasure of unburying and revisiting in recent years.  I think they are not so un-similar to the memories and dreams locked away within the psyche of many or most adults.  In 1st Corinthians 13:11 Paul said, "When I was a child I spoke as a child I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things."  As we approach adulthood we are encouraged, and in some cases almost forced, to put away childish things.  All too often those childish things include our youthful dreams and aspirations, which we sacrificed for the practicality of what we think, is real, and we live our lives in a quiet desperation trying to discover that thing which is missing.

So Joanna, what does this all have to do with my interest in your Grandpa?

My interest in Walt Disney lies in trying to understand the man, and what I believe is his true gift to us.  One of the paths to a truly fulfilling life, it was Walt who allowed me, through his body of work, the rediscovery of my inner child and not only my acceptance of his existence, but to embrace him.  I don’t know, nor do I think we will ever know for sure, but I believe your Grandpa had an innate understanding, if not the actual consciences realization, that we all need to embrace our inner child to lead a truly fulfilling life. 

I think those who are interested in Walt Disney, and his positive contributions to our society, are searching for these answers or have already discovered them, as I have in my life.  Those who choose to excoriate him for his accomplishments and contributions fear what they do not understand and cannot embrace, and they are angered by those who have or want to achieve that enlightenment.

Your comments or questions are always welcome.  If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at
You can find us on Facebook at:  Discovering Disney History on FB

A Special Walt Disney Family Museum Event

I have been in rapt anticipation for the last month awaiting the arrival of September 17th.  So much so, I would gladly trade a week at Disneyland for the few hours I was about to spend at the Walt Disney Family Museum.  So, it was up early, over to the gas station to fill up the car for the 50 mile trek to San Francisco, and then on the road to the Museum.  Several times during the trip up, and at the Museum waiting for the event, Pam told, “You can stop grinning any time now.”  No I couldn’t, the grin was the only way I could control my racing heart and anticipation!   J

Maybe I should back up a bit.  Tickets first went on sale for this event on August 1st.  There was a call in number, but I thought they would also be sold online as usual.  I was wrong, and by the time I realized I was wrong… POOF, all the tickets were gone!  Fortunately, the Museum withheld a few tickets to be sold online on August 11th.  On that Thursday morning, I started to stalk the Museum website, even though tickets were not scheduled to go on sale until noon.  Logged into the ticket sales site, I would click on the calendar button, at about 10 minute intervals, to see if the calendar had gone active.  This activity culminated with a continuous loop of checking the calendar starting at about 5 minutes before the announced sales time.  When the calendar came up, I POUNCED!!!  Luckily, I got two tickets for the event.  I say luckily because I was told later that the online tickets were gone in 30 seconds.  I tell you all this only to stress just how much I wanted to attend this particular event, and that I was not alone in my desires.

So what kind of an event at the Museum could cause so much buzz and expectation?  None other than a one of kind event, really never experienced before by Disney fans; “Our Grandpa – Walt Disney.”

Yes, for the first time ever, 5 of Walt Disney’s grandchildren (Ron and Diane Miller’s children) gathered at the Museum to talk about their Grandpa and their memories of him with a public audience.  To some this may not be seen to be a big deal, but when you understand that the Miller family, as a whole, is a group of individuals who would rather keep their lives private, and with the exception of Walter Elias Disney Miller, most people probably never even realize there was relationship connection.  These are not people (that goes for their parents as well) who have searched out fame or notoriety because of their iconic relative.  They have not trade on the Disney name for their own gain.  They have stay in the background while the Museum, created truly to showcase the legacy of Walt Disney, is gaining in popularity.  So why now, after all these years, are they coming forward?  First, by doing this through the Museum that bears their Grandfather’s name, they could be relatively assured that they would be in front of an audience of true Walt Disney fans, who can understand their desires to remain private people, while still wanting to share these memories.  Second, as I have written in my research, there is still far too much mean spirits misinformation and myth perpetuated about Walt Disney.  This was a chance to experience and understand Walt in some of his most intimate moments with his grandkids.

The day start with our arrival at the Museum at about 11:30, and being met at the door by Trish, one the many volunteers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting over the last couple of years.  We stood and talked about the recent D23 Expo, as she had not been able to attend, and we expressed our excitement for today’s event.  Spent a few minutes at the front desk in the lobby, talking with a couple others Museum people, and got to do a bit of a good deed for the day.  At my Museum membership level, I get several free guest passes for the gallery each year.  This year I still had a few passes that were going to expire in a couple of weeks, so I left me at the desk to be given out to the next few guests coming to the Museum today.  I do enjoy sharing my Disney passion with others.  Next, it was into the Gift Shop to look for new things.  Pam had fun shopping!  J

I then met up with my Museum buddy Leo, who had arranged a meet up for the Friends of the Walt Disney Family Museum Facebook members.  I was helping him with handing out a small keepsake he had made up for the occasion, for those Facebook members who had confirmed their attendance, along with a some of Museum staffers.  It is a nice button with Walt’s picture on it, the name of the event, along with the date and location.  After the first few got handed out, and people were wearing them, many others started querying where they could get one.  We hung out in the lobby, across the way from the case that houses some of Walt’s Oscar awards, until about 2 o’clock and I got to say Hi! to old friends and meet some new one. Leo, you already know this, but the buttons were a big hit.  Thanks you for your thoughtfulness and letting me help out.  A little after 2 I head out to find Pam and head down stair to the theater lobby.  When I didn’t see Pam where I had left her, I assumed she had gone ahead and went downstairs on her own.  I love my wife!!!  When I walked into the lobby, there she was smiling at me, at the front of the line.  She’d managed to beat Heather to the front, something we rarely do.  J  As we waited for the theater to open the lobby filled to capacity with the line eventually out the door again, but it was still, as always, fun visiting and catching up with the guests, staff, and volunteers I’ve met through the Museum.  A little before 3 the doors opened and we were ushered into the theater.  As first in, we had our choice of just about any seat in the room, yup… front row just about center.

At a little after 3, Donna came down front to welcome us, do her house keeping spiel and remember to introduce herself as she’d forgotten in all her excitement, and introduce the moderator for this afternoon event – Jeff Kurtti.  Jeff probably didn’t need an introduction to anyone in room today; he has down several other sessions at the Museum, and was closely involved with the Museum’s design and content.  As well as being a Disney Historian and prolific author on the Disney story with over 30 books published.  Jeff welcomed to the Museum for and a small explanation of Grandparents’ Day, which really occurred the week before, but was sorely though understandably overshadowed by the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and a very most appropriate acknowledgement given this day’s event.  Jeff introduced each of the of his guests on the dais today with a childhood photo on the screen behind him and the reading of a excerpt from one of Walt’s letters to his Aunt Jessie or his sister Ruth announcing the arrival of his most recent grandchild, first Chris, born in 1954, next Joanna – 1956, then Tamara – 1957, now Jennifer – 1960, and finally Walter – 1961.  The Miller’s two other children, Ron Jr. – 1963 and Patrick – 1967, were not with us today.  Given their births proximity to Walt’s passing, they probably have little or no memory of their Grandpa.  The one thing I notice when each one walked out was that slight apprehension in their eyes and step as they took their seats, the one of being a shy and a little scared about what they were about reveal, and giving up just a little bit of their private lives.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I found it endearing and a testament to the unrehearsed reality of which we were about to partake.

While I’m will touch on what I feel were comment that had some importance to me, I am not going provide a litany of the questions asked and answers given, but more a feelings and emotions these responses invoked in me.  While I enjoy and learn something at each of the events at the Museum, I have found that one of the side benefits, particularly at events that touch more on Walt’s personal life, is that they invoke fond memories of my childhood.

One of the early questions was about their perception of Walt personality as seen by the public and what they witnessed in Grandpa at home.  As children, they say the Grandpa they saw in public wasn’t any different than the Grandpa at home or in other private settings, he was always Grandpa.  Joanna remembered the kids going up to the TV and giving Grandpa a kiss when they saw him; though Chris didn’t recall them ever do that while Grandpa was actually sitting in the room with them.   Joanna even recalled friends of her saying that they did the same thing which she thought was a little strange since he wasn’t their Grandpa.  I am in the same age range of Walt’s earliest grandchildren, so I can relate, though I don’t recall kissing Walt on the screen myself, but in that moment I was overcome by the same warm feeling that I felt as a child, lying on the carpet of Grandparents’ living room watching “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.”  To this day, hearing the opening music for or seeing the opening sequence, is one of the things that transports me back to that time of cherished memories of my Grandpa (the man whose name I bear and also a Walter) and Nana.

In recalling their memories of their Grandpa as children, I was not surprised to learn that all the grandchildren felt loved and cherished by the Grandparents and always felt that Walt was present and enjoying them being there, even he was working on things that he brought home from the studio.  Even at Disneyland, while he was very approachable to his guests, he wanted his grandkids to have fun too.  We’ve all heard, well at least I have, the stories about Walt not signing his autograph for guests because he couldn’t do the way it appeared on TV.  It didn’t surprise me to learn from the grandkids that he would stuff his pocket with signed piece of paper, in particular when they were there with him, and that would sign a few autographs for guests, and then start handing out the ones he had in his pocket, so that he could get along and let his grandkids have their fun.  It was also telling to me when Joanna recalled Grandpa talking casually with the young kid running the Monorail, and the conversations being warm and friendly.  Again, the Walt we saw publicly was very much the same Grandpa they saw privately.

One thing I applaud in Jeff approach was how deftly he acknowledged some of the darker claims and public myths about Walt Disney, with sensitivity and not dwelling on them.  Like the hurtful questions to grieving children asking if their Grandpa was really frozen.  5 year old Walter’s retort was absolutely precious when ask if his Grandpa was frozen, “Is your Grandpa frozen?”  A brilliant answer, he you want my opinion.  Joanna did touched on how our media today treats living celebrities, so it not really surprising how Walt Disney is treated, even if it is hurtful.  I too, will not dwell long in this arena, I have written on before in this Blog.  I will only say, if you read something negative about Walt Disney, or anyone for that matter, please check the facts careful.  It has been my experience in fact checking my Walt Disney research that there are few in any facts that support the negative claims, and the few facts there don’t really support any of the atrocious claims being made.  And so, now moving on.

As the session went along, I was constantly struck how normal and down to earth these children of celebrity are today.  On this day we could see a bit of, as Joanna proclaimed, their shyness.  I could clearly see the humility and caring of their upbringing by their parents and grandparents.   Here they sat, sharing with us some of their most intimate memory, and you could see the little hesitations as they each decides how much of their privacy they were willing to sacrifice to share a thought.  Because, after all, that is what they were doing, forfeiting a little bit of privacy and laying themselves a bit more vulnerable with each memory shared.  Joanna shared with us a little chamber pot decorated with Disney character which she received when her son was born, as, a few left at the studio when he was born.  But years earlier, these were not gifts for select individuals, but rather, a gift Walt gave to each of his employees upon the birth of a child.  Joanna also share a moment in her life when she was feeling a bit spoiled by all the wonderful gifts she received at the holidays from Grandpa, until attending a holiday event at the studio and witnessed all of the children of studio personnel receiving a similar treasure trove of gift from her Grandpa.  This was then that she started to understand and appreciate her Grandpa’s true generosity.

When the conversation turned to other celebrities the grandkids were star struck by, the name Dick Van Dyke immediately came to almost everyone’s’ lips.  Walter said how he is to this day tongue-tied when he is around Dick.  Jeff took a moment to comment on how Dick Van Dyke, with all his success before Disney, held out his greatness praise and admiration for the chances he felt Walt was taking on him, and his true appreciation of the man.  Throughout the session, the Vancouver vacation was a recurring theme in the all everyone’s memory.  They didn’t know it then, but this was the last family vacation before Walt passed away in 1966.  As Chris recounts, this was probably the only true family vacation that he remembers.  There was no movie or project going on nearby that Grandpa was monitoring, and Dad (Ron Miller) was not working.  Jeff then talking about all the great home movies that can be seen in the Museum, announced a treat prepared for us by The Walt Disney Family Foundation’s Film Archivist and Preservationist – Scott Zone.  Down go the lights, and the screen comes alive with images of the grandchildren.  Photographs of each one of them, as we had seen at the beginning of the presentation, and then clips from the many home movies.  This viewing culminated with clips from the Vancouver cruise, and there in the dark, a tear came to my eye.  Everyone on the dais had turned to watch the video as well, and when they turned around as the light came back up at the finish, it was clear to see five damp set of eyes in front of us.  More than 40 years after the fact, and memories and emotions for their Grandpa are still very much present in their lives.

During the Q&A period, there was one question that stood out for me and not because of the answers for the Grandkids, but rather, Joanna turned it around on the audience by wanting to know what we all, “found so interesting about her Grandpa?”  Since it came at the end of the program, of course, we did not have time to answer.  But, the question has been posted on the Friends of the Walt Disney Family Museum Facebook page, if you are interested in answering that question.  In thinking about it, I have found the question has a deeper meaning to me, and does not have a simple short answer, so I’ll be working a piece for this blog which will hopefully be finished and posted in a few days.

But, this event is, and should be, a reminder, as Jeff pointed out, that Walt Disney was a real man, with real thought, emotions, strengths, and fault, and foremost, a real family who loved him.

In closing, this session left me a little disappointed.  Not in the content, or the Grandkids, or even Jeff, but rather, that it ended so soon.  I could have sat for hours mesmerized in the stories and memories.  For me, this was more like a family visit then a presentation.  Thank you Jeff for your sensitive approach as an interviewer, your affection for Walt Disney and his family was obvious throughout.  And finally, Chris, Joanna, Tamara, Jennifer, and Walter; Thank You All for taking this time to share your Grandpa with us, in a way that no one else could, and a memory I will cherish forever!  Again THANK YOU!!!

Your comments or questions are always welcome.  If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at
You can find us on Facebook at:  Discovering Disney History on FB

Friday, September 16, 2011

D23 Expo Day 5

So this report has little (okay, nothing) to do with the D23 Expo, the Expo ended on day 4.  But, how could any Disney fan be that close to Disneyland and not spend at least a day in the park?

Walt, you just finished 3 day at the D23 Expo, what are you going to do?

I’m going to Disneyland!!!

Up early, well sort of early…  after 3 days of walking the Expo, the bodies just melted away into sleep and rest to restore the tired muscles, including that large one between the ears, and out the door.  Instead of going the long way around to Downtown Disney and the Esplanade, the short cut from the Paradise Pier Hotel is to cross the street and go through the Grand Californian.  No matter how many times I walk into the lobby of the Grand Californian, I am awestruck.  The open expanse of about 50 by 50 feet and 6 stories of craftsman styling is a sight to behold.  As we move to the GCH entrance to DtD, there was some work going on and the Disney requisite wall surrounding it with a Disney security cast member on his post.  As I passed, I commented (as I do) or asked if we were to “don’t pay any attention to that man behind the curtain?”  Must have been to early for him, as all I got back was a blank stare.

Out to Downtown Disney and on our way.  But wait, we had eaten anything yet.  So next stop was the La Brea Tarpit… err Bakery… for a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs, potatoes, and bacon, nothing special, but good.  The day’s excitement starts almost immediately, as a woman with her daughter approach the open table next to us and hits a small patch of water on the patio.  Slick wet concrete and flip flops are not a good match, so down she went, rather hard.  As I started to get up to help her, she waved me off saying she was fine which she appeared to be even given the force of the fall.  Fortunately for them, the daughter was carrying the tray of food so that made it to the table unscathed.  Not exactly the kind of excitement I like to start my day with, but, at least nothing, but the woman’s pride, was injured.  And it’s off to the Park.  It seems these days to be a guarantee, so if you are with me, pick a different line…  the one I’m in is always going to be the one with issues.  Three little princesses, Dad, and Mom in front of us, can’t seem to find the right tickets in their package and the turnstile CM is really trying not to get frustrated.  As I’m standing there, I notice the package Mom is hold has the “Make A Wish” logo on it and understand the CM’s extra care.  Okay, we can be patience here too.  After the CM Supervisor arrives, the family ushered in and the line continues to move.  And, we’re in!


That plaque could easily be posted above the entrance to my mind.   J

Stepping on to Main Street, there is that sensation that keeps bringing me back to Disneyland, and one that I get nowhere else…  the youthful EXUBERANCE and EXCITEMENT of a 5 year old experience the park for the first time.  Other than the love of my family and friends, it is large part of what has sustained me over the last 20 twenty year and most especially the last 10.  There are very few things for which I’d consider trading that feel

First stop… the Main Street Train Station.  There are few things that are a must do at Disneyland, riding the Disneyland Railroad is one of them.  I ask the station conductor if I could get a ride on the tender, one of the things I have never done before.  I am told that these are the first runs of the morning and they don’t allow tender rides until the trains have made a few trips around the park.  DRAT!!!  Oh well, I’ll have to do that later, but it will be done.  So, it’s into one of the cars and once around the park.  As we come to a stop at the New Orleans Station, I hear the clickety clack of the station telegraph ringing out, and a little knowing smile crosses my face.  Any real Disney fan knows this, but how many others who pass through that station know what is being tapped out in that telegraph in a continuous loop?

”To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land.”

Yup, it’s the first two lines for Walt Disney’s opening day dedication speech.  On every visit to Disneyland, I find something I’ve never spotted or knew before.  This visit was no different.  As we sat in the New Orleans Station while the engineers took on water, I noticed a plume of steam rising up out of the trees behind the station and wondered what piece of equipment Disney might have back there producing that column of mist?  Then it struck like a DOH! moment, it was the locomotive blowing off the steam in the boiler before they took on more water.  Don’t know if it OSHA, or just Disney thinking ahead to safety, but there is grated small brick structure right in position where the engine stops next to the water tower.  This little structure lines right up with the steam vent on the engine, and is actually a small tunnel that extends several yards out past the tracks.  When the train stops and needs to take on water, this tunnel becomes a secondary vent to funnel steam away from the train and possible issues with the guests or cast members.  Very clever!!!  After filling the water tank, we were on our way again on our trip around the Magic Kingdom, and relaxing and enjoyable trip it was, as we arrived back at the Main Street Station, and debarked.  At street level we began our meandering trip down Main Street.  With the exception of sauntering down the middle of the street and far more inhabitants then you might find, it is very much little visiting any number of small town Main Street across America.  I was immediately reminder of a nice I had recently with a friend in Livermore, whose main drag is not all the different then where I was at the moment.  I wonder how many others on the Main Street today are taking the time to truly experience all that Disneyland’s Main Street really has to offer, or rather, rushing off to experience one thrill ride or another.  My advice, no matter what you do, remember to take the time to experience the moment.  Good memories beget good memories, and if we are always anticipated the next one, we miss so much.

First thrill ride of the visit is for Sam.  She loves Pirates… has since the first time rode it when she was 7.  Bonus, we in the park early enough, the wait is only 15 minutes.  Thank you Touring Plans, and your Android app for Disneyland.  With your help, I knew that before we arrived what we were looking at for a wait time.  So this was my second ride on Pirates in as many days, and wouldn’t know it…  I got soaked again!!!  I do hope this is not a harbinger of things to come, cuz’ I not really a water ride kind of guy.  I don’t like squishing around the Park, even for a little bit on a hot day.  Fortunately, getting wet on Pirates is not as traumatic as, say…  Splash.  J  Now on to the Haunted Mansion where my favorite part of the ride is really the stretch room, I always get a kick out of watching the portraits grow.  Time for a short rest and b-room break for the girls, over by the New Orleans Square train station.  As I look to my right, who is standing there next to me but Mousetalgia’s own – Dave.  In a moment, Becky shows up with Button.  Guys, Sam got a really good picture of her that I’m going to have to get to you.  After a couple of minutes we were off again.  A trip through Adventureland and, of course, a visit to the “back side of water.”  Yes, it’s time for a cruise on the Jungle Boats.  Where else can you transit the great rivers of world, the most notable exception being North America, in the matter of a few minutes? 

It was getting to be lunch time and since we were only going to be there for one day, I had bothered to make any reservations.  Note to self:  Don’t do that again!!!  Well, we decided to try our luck and the Carnation CafĂ©, and were lucky enough to only have a 25 minute wait.  Well worth the wait for Chef Oscar’s “Loaded Potato Soup”, YUMMMMM…  After lunch we headed over to the Main Street train station; I AM going to scratch the tender ride off the bucket list, TODAY.  The Conductor at the station has me sit on the bench inside the station while he checked for the next available tender ride.  Turns out, that one, not all the locomotives have a tender that can be ridden in, and two, they don’t take riders on all runs for reasons that will become clear.  So, we can sit a wait for a few minutes.  Shortly thereafter, the E.P. Ripley rolled into the station the conductor came in and said, “Follow me please.”  Sam and I exited the station and down the ramp to the locomotive, my heart all a twitter.  Sam looked at me and just started laughing as we boarded the tender; I guess my 5 year old was showing.  I was so besotted just sitting there, that I don’t even remember the names of our Engineer or Fireman, but they were really nice.  I had told the conductor on our earlier ride that she had one of the coolest jobs in the park.  Sitting there between these two gentlemen, I changed my mind… they have the coolest job in the park.  In reality, aside from the costumed characters, they probably have one of the hottest jobs in the park, sitting behind a several hundred degrees of burner and boiling water.  But, they enjoy their work and had no problem telling me that fact.  The Fireman told me that he looked forward to coming work every day since he’d gotten this job.  Being so excited, I didn’t take many pictures, but then I haven't been able to figure out how to include pictures with my blog reports yet, so it probably doesn't make that much difference.

As we were sitting on a hold at the New Orleans Station, the Fireman confirmed to me that I was right in my earlier AH HA moment.  This station is where they take on more water, but before they can do that, they have to blow out the sediment that develops at the bottom of the boiler.  Each locomotive uses between 40 and 50 gallons of water per trip, and can make about 3 trips before needing to take on water again.  That’s why they don’t allow tender rides on every trip, for safety reasons, they don’t want passengers up front when they have to clear the boiler.  Next time down, I’ll try to do this again, and I’ll be much more attentive.

After the tender ride, Sam wanted to take some pictures with her new camera.  So, she and Mom took the fire engine from the Main Street station down to the Hub, and then back, while I checked out a few things in the Disney Gallery.  I needed a replacement for my Mouseketeers shirt that I got at last year’s Destination D, and I found a tin of Mary Blair postcards.   It was late enough in the afternoon that we decide it was time to return to the hotel for short rest before we tackled DCA.  Interestingly, we did not hit Frontierland, Fantasyland, or Tomorrowland on this visit, so I missed one of my other usual must do’s…  Peter Pan’s Flight.  I’ll have to do that one twice next time.

After a short rest, it was through GCH again and this time over to the GCH entrance to DCA… EIEIO.  J  Didn’t know there was a second entrance into DCA?  Well there is, right next to the Napa Rose.  And to clear up something that I’ve heard on several of the fan boards.  The common claim is that the GCH entrance is only for those guests staying at the Grand Californian.  Not true, I took the time to read the board this time, and it clearly states that the entrances is for guests stay at any of the Disney Resort hotels.  So that would include Paradise Pier and Disneyland Hotels.  So it’s over to the recently reopened Corn Dog Castle for, what else?  A corn dog!!!  Yes, I love the Disneyland Corn Dog, and it’s been a tradition of mine to get at least one during each visit, at either the Corn Dog Castle in DCA or the Red Wagon in Disneyland.  Since the Corn Dog Castle has been closed to the last couple of visits, it got the nod this time.  Then it was off to check out the new food offering where the old burger joint was before.  Sam and Pam aren’t corn dog fans.  For park food, the new place is okay.  After dinner, we walk over to the Paradise Pier section and a ride on Mickey’s Funwheel, well Sam and I rode it, Pam wouldn’t be caught dead on anything that looks like a Ferris wheel.  We got to look out over DCA at how things were developing, mostly the new Carsland area.  Carsland is taking shape nicely, and it looks like it going to be a lot of fun when it opens next year.  Then it was off to use the special fast passes we’d gotten to try out the new Little Mermaid ride.  The fast passes were a good thing because the wait time was over an hour.  By this time we were all starting to fade fast, and we still had to walk back to PPH, so we decided to skip the Wonderful World of Color.  It is a great show, but it we didn’t feel we’d really enjoy it as tired as we were, and we had a long drive home coming in the morning.

So there you have it, Disneyland in 1 day.  Definitely not enough time to do everything, but what we did do was a lot of fun.

Watch next week for my report on the special event happening and the Walt Disney Family Museum on Saturday.  It’s going to be Disney-rific event.

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