Friday, December 26, 2008

American Egg House Omelet Record

In regards to the American Egg House, Chris Strodder writes in The Disneyland Encyclopedia: fact there's mention of some kind of "omelet record" being set at this Main Street location, though what the record was remains unclear and unverified.
I'm not sure where he got this information originally. Perhaps it came from a souvenir guidebook. The July 20, 1978 Disneyland Line fills in the gap:
An artful display of culinary genius added to the excitement of last Friday's Grand Opening ceremonies at Main Street's American Egg House. Howard Helmer, demonstrating cook with the American Egg Board, broke the world record for omelet preparation. Easily passing the old record of 188 omelets, Howard produced 217 two-egg omelets in only 30 minutes, assuring himself a spot in Guinness's next edition of its famous record book.
Helmer even runs his own blog at

Thursday, December 25, 2008

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers, Part 10

The ninth and final batch of questions relating to Disneyland and Walt Disney Productions, as posed by Disneyland employees in 1972 and published in the August 16, 1972 Disneyland Line. More details can be found in Part 1.
QUESTION: "Has Disneyland ever considered installing a theft-proof type of parking lot or lockers for bicycles?"

ANSWER: The Maintenance Division is now taking the proper steps to prepare an area in the North Lot (that's the fenced-in lot to your right as you enter Disneyland from Harbor Blvd), where you can safely park your cycles and bikes. Bike racks will be provided, and, as mentioned, the entire area is already fenced in.

QUESTION: "Why can't there be more security officers on Main Street during operation hours to keep the guest from boarding the vehicles while moving and unnecessarily bothering the horses?"

ANSWER: According to Ron Dominguez, Director of Operations, keeping people from jumping on and off a moving Main Street vehicle is the responsibility of the person or persons who operate that attraction.

If you have a workable method in which Security officers can aid the Main Street operators in this matter, give Ron Dominguez a call at Ext. 410.

QUESTION: "It was unfortunate that I was unable to attend this meeting of Disneyland employees at the Convention Center, due to my being on a vacation that week.

"Only good can come from meetings of this nature...maintaining a good employer and employee improved relationship.

"What I would have liked to submit is as follows:

"MONORAIL SYSTEM FOR ORANGE COUNTY....This county has developed into an internationally known Vacationland. Traffic and parking conditions have been greatly increased by this progress. As a step into the future (as we approach the year 2,000), the construction of a Monorail System connecting these locales of pleasure and interest would greatly reduce the congestions. This system could be used by the employees getting to and from work.

"Connection to such points of interest:


"Eventually it would include: Marineland and San Diego's Mission Bay.

"One exception which would prevent this vision of Tomorrow would be: Auto industry, oil companies, bus lines, etc."

ANSWER: We have given some thought to extending the Monorail system to other places in the Disneyland area.

Your idea is too great for our financing ability or even our engineering ability at this time.

QUESTION: "When will the Opportunities Questionnaire be passed out?"

ANSWER: Disneyland's Opportunities' Resume, "Where Do You Go From Here," is scheduled to be mailed to all Disneyland employees around the middle of September. When you receive this Questionnaire, fill it out as soon as possible and return it to Disneyland in the envelope provided.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers, Part 9

The eighth batch of questions relating to Disneyland and Walt Disney Productions, as posed by Disneyland employees in 1972 and published in the August 2, 1972 Disneyland Line. More details can be found in Part 1.
QUESTION: "As a very concerned sweeper, I would like to inquire why we in Bear Country have such an inadequate costume.

"Granted, the costumes look good, but they are quite impractical. A sweeper probably does as much walking as anybody, and the heavy boots are not made for walking. The sole is so hard that it has given me shin splints. A sweeper should be mobile - the boots are a hinderance.

"The hats are constructed with no air vents, and one's head becomes very hot and sweaty. The shirts are equivalent to wearing flannel underwear on a hot, humid summer night. They are fine for the winter season, but much too heavy for summer. The pants are closely knit so they keep in the heat. Also, we are required to keep the pants tucked into the boots, which makes the situation even more cumbersome.

"May I suggest that the sweepers wear the traditional white linens. They are practical, cheaper, and much more appropriate for our specific job situation."

ANSWER: "Your costume is a duplication of the kind of clothes the loggers and trappers wore in the old Northwest.

"In our efforts to keep ten years ahead of our competitors, we are trying to theme all sweepers' costumes to the area in which they are assigned to work.

We believe that the white uniforms exclude the sweepers from the Show.

In regards to the question:

1. Hats are being vented as you suggested.

2. The homespun weave of the shirt may appear to be heavy, but actually it is 100% cotton, which is the coolest fabric available. The pants are also 100% cotton.

3. The composition of the last and the sole in your boots are similar to the type of well-constructed shoes worn by many construction workers. Once the boot has been broken in, it becomes quite comfortable.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers, Part 8

The seventh batch of questions relating to Disneyland and Walt Disney Productions, as posed by Disneyland employees in 1972 and published in the July 21, 1972 Disneyland Line. More details can be found in Part 1.
QUESTION: "Since they rehab the Park every year, why don't they do the same thing in the ad building? It could sure use it. I thought we were all part of the Show! Anyway, that's what they tell us."

ANSWER: According to Disneyland's Director of Maintenance, Mel Cecil, most of the ad building will be repainted this summer. Work has already begun in Accounting and Payroll. The Computer Room is next on the schedule, along with the rehab of the hall adjacent to the Mail Room, and the hall displaying Disneyland's history.

As you know, most of the major rehab at Disneyland is performed during the winter months in the Park. Summer is when most of the backstage rehab takes place.

Next year, a complete evaluation of the ad building's air conditioning will take place, and hopefully all of these cooling problems can be solved.

QUESTION: "Why can't there be some improvements done in the Paint Shop? An area for preparation that is shaded and a place to put a finished product."

ANSWER: No sooner said than done! In August, work begins on the Paint Shop to add more shaded area to the shop adjacent to the old steam train building.

QUESTION: "What is planned for the area of land in which the old tin warehouse is sitting on, now that the new one is completed?"

ANSWER: The old tin warehouse is currently being used as a storage area for the Maintenance Division. Molds, parade items, and spare parts currently fill the place.

Within five to ten years from now, the land on which the warehouse sits will more than likely be the site of a new Park attraction.

QUESTION: "Was any consideration given to the principles of spacial ecology (that is, personal distance that an organism, or person, customarily places between itself and other organisms, or persons) when setting the ceiling on in-Park attendance. I feel the present guest count ceiling is an injustice to our guests.

ANSWER: We're doing our best to make it more comfortable for guests to visit Disneyland. Every year, our industrial engineers go through the Park to determine how we can make it better for the next year. Food facilities, restrooms, benches, drinking fountains, attraction waiting areas, and merchandise shops are all studied. And it's then determined how to best handle specific problems on busy summer days in these areas.

Improvements made this year as a result of last summer's studies include larger crowd control areas for attractions, enlarged restrooms, and the installation of more benches and drinking fountains.

One of the main considerations during the construction of Bear Country was to make sure that guests had enough room to roam in that area. Also, Bear Country's restroom facilities are one of the largest in the Park.

Since our guests come from all over the country and from all over the world, they expect to visit Disneyland on the day they have set aside in their travel schedules. It's an inconvenience if they have to be turned away, and in the past, we have had to stop people from entering the Park because we just couldn't handle them.

As Disneyland expands, we will be able to handle more people more comfortably. And, even then, the popular attractions and areas will still be crowded.

Monday, December 22, 2008

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers, Part 7

The sixth batch of questions relating to Disneyland and Walt Disney Productions, as posed by Disneyland employees in 1972 and published in the July 17, 1972 Disneyland Line. More details can be found in Part 1.
QUESTION: "Has Disneyland ever considered manufacturing and selling models of the Park and its attractions to our guests?

"Many guests ask for models of the Park for their kids to make, including model kits of the Autopia Freeway, the Disneyland trains, the Columbia, and the Mark Twain."

ANSWER: Yes, Disneyland has considered the possibility of selling model kits of the Park and attractions. When the Park first opened, a model of the original rocket to the moon was available in our shops, but it sold just fairly well. We have considered other model kits of various attractions, but the cost of molds and the initial quantity to order, would be too great in comparison with estimated sales.

QUESTION: "Why is there so much duplication of merchandise throughout the Park? Is this good business?"

ANSWER: There are more than 25,000 different items sold throughout the shops in the Park. In actuality, a small percentage of these items are duplicated and these are popular items like Winnie the Pooh. The reason for the duplication of popular items is so guests can purchase the item in more than one shop. In other words, we want to make it easy for a guest to purchase an item when he wants to purchase it.

QUESTION: "How do you make an appointment with one of the Park's merchandise buyers if you feel that you have a saleable item?"

ANSWER: Call one of our eight merchandise buyers and make an appointment. They can be reached at Ext 441.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers, Part 6

The fifth batch of questions relating to Disneyland and Walt Disney Productions, as posed by Disneyland employees in 1972 and published in the July 7, 1972 Disneyland Line. More details can be found in Part 1.
QUESTION: "Why must we share our Employee Cafeteria with large groups of charter bus drivers?

"A fifteen-minute break does not allow for any delays, and I do not feel that employees should stand and let the minutes fly by while the line is filled with charter drivers who have all day to eat. Isn't our cafeteria for employees only, and isn't it the job of the cafeteria to take care of the employees' needs first? I have discussed this on many occasions with various cafeteria supervisors and managers and they agree, but shrug it off. Knowing charter bus drivers, I also am aware they are handsomely paid and can afford the breakfasts offered by Hills Brothers, Carnation, and the River Belle Terrace."

ANSWERS: Arrangements have already been made to keep non-employees from the cafeteria from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. As you know, there are signs at the Inn Between that state the cafeteria is for employees only. We are now checking into the possibility of having cards printed up that will be handed to bus drivers as they enter the Park. The card will remind them that the cafeteria is for employees only and that they - the drivers - should use our in-Park [restaurants] when getting something to eat.

QUESTION: "Why aren't more sanitary measures taken or enforced in food service, especially at the Inn Between? Are hair nets no longer required?"

ANSWER: "All female Disneyland employees handling food are required by the Health Department and Disneyland, to wear hair nets or a cap on their heads. It's a law. However, many hair nets worn today, thanks to technology, are invisible. An
employee can wear it, but it looks like she doesn't have one on. As far as sanitary standards are concerned we feel that the Food Division maintains the highest standards possible, and we are always looking for ways to improve.


"What research has been done on the problem of waste disposal, and particularly, waste recycling? Before we are someday subjected to a special tax for resource useage or are limited in our production, shouldn't we become a leader in the food
industry in divising ways and means of better utilizing our resources and in preventing pollution?"

ANSWER: We are doing as much along these lines as possible. By the nature, our business - fast food service - it is almost impossible to offer good service using silverware and regular plates. We do try to use as few paper items as possible in the fast-food operation, and have considered using other utensils. There are companies that make reuseable plastic plates and glasses, but these items still have a paper base. And, since we are required to wash our plates, glasses, and knives and forks, in 180 degree water, these items would melt and dissolve. Industries are working on a feasible and reuseable method in which fast-food operations can cut way down on their paper items. When a method is finally found, it would revolutionize the industry and cause us to do many things differently. Disneyland is aware of the problem and has made many changes already. For instance, we save many of our cardboard boxes, return them to the warehouse which in turn sends them to a recycling center. No longer do we receive soft drinks in paper or wax containers. Coke is delivered in five-gallon stainless steel reuseable containers. We no longer use cardboard containers to carry and store sandwiches - we now use sturdy plastic containers. Any ideas you might have along these lines would be appreciated by the Food Division. Just give them a call, Ext 285, and relay your idea to them.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers, Part 5

The fourth batch of questions relating to Disneyland and Walt Disney Productions, as posed by Disneyland employees in 1972 and published in the June 30, 1972 Disneyland Line. More details can be found in Part 1.
QUESTION: Can anything be done to improve the relations between the Security Department and Disneyland employees in general?

ANSWER: The Security Department has held meetings with their manager, supervisors, and all permanent employees to discuss - in length - all questions pertaining to Security that were asked at the "Disneyland Report."

Discussions in these meetings were centered around how security can come up with better ways to improve their operation.

Security employees talked about any problems they were faced with, and hopefully, relations between Security and Disneyland employees will improve, noticeably. Security officers need love too, and an understanding on our part of what they do every day, will help us all. It's a two-way street and we all have to use it.

QUESTION: "Why aren't supervisors more familiar with the 'Standard Practice Instruction Manual' (SPI)? Because of their lack of knowledge, employees are misinformed, creating an unnecessary amount of dissension and ill will."

ANSWER: You make a very good point. All Disneyland supervision either have SPI manuals or have ready access to one. It is unlikely that each supervisor will know all that is contained in the manual. They can, however, refer to it when necessary to answer specific questions when they come up. If you have any occasion to be unsure about an answer given by your supervisor, ask him if you can review it with him in the SPI Manual. If there is any reason for a more detailed explanation, you may also verify information with Fred Newcomb - Employee Relations Manager at EXT 352.

QUESTION: "Why is not the union or management concerned at the low starting rate for seasonal part-time workers? They work during the Park's most trying and frustrating summer and holiday periods when conditions are most difficult."

ANSWER: Disneyland periodically checks the casual/seasonal start rate for student part-time work with what other companies in the community are paying for similar job activities. With this information, we make every effort to insure that we are paying fair rates.

Seasonal employees also receive progression increases when certain length of service terms are satisfied. A seasonal employee who is on our payroll prior to August 1st and remains through two weeks after Labor Day and is available for work prior to June 10 of the following summer season will receive a 5¢ per hour increase at the time he returns for the new season.

Also, seasonal employees who are on the payroll by July 1 will receive a 5¢ per hour increase on August 1 if they are still on the payroll at that time. This increase pattern continues until the total of 15¢ over the start rate is reached, provided the above conditions are continually met.

In addition, an employee has the potential to become permanent, and within a two-year period go to the top of the rate for his occupation.

QUESTION: "As most ideas and suggestions come from those working on the job in the maintenance shops, many ideas have been used without recognition (some believe supervision gets the credit), therefore, many ideas are withheld. It would be to everyone's advantage if a selection and reward system were set up and employees encouraged to cooperate."

ANSWER: We have used a "Creative Idea" suggestion program in one of our operating divisions and found it to be successful. The individual submitting the idea is told whether or not his idea will be adopted, and the copy of the letter - recognizing he has submitted an idea - is placed in his file in the Personnel office. We are presently looking into the possibilities of making this creative idea program a company-wide operation.

Friday, December 19, 2008

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers, Part 4

The third batch of questions relating to Disneyland and Walt Disney Productions, as posed by Disneyland employees in 1972 and published in the June 23, 1972 Disneyland Line. More details can be found in Part 1.
QUESTION: "Will there ever be an opportunity for Disneyland employees to purchase stock by payroll deduction?" EDITOR'S NOTE: More than 300 employees have asked this question.

ANSWER: "A number of you asked whether it would be possible to inaugurate a plan by which common stock of Walt Disney Productions could be purchased through payroll deductions.

"As promised, we have investigated and find out that such a plan can be arranged. Now we would like to know whether there is sufficient interested to warrant going ahead with it.

"The essential elements would be as follows:

1. You would authorize a deduction from pay, with a minimum of $2 and a maximum of $22 per week.

2. The money would be paid over to a trust administered either by an investment firm or a bank.

3. An account would be established for each individual and periodically the trust would purchase shares of Walt Disney Productions common stock in the open market and each individual's account would be then be credited with the amount of stock represented by his dollar contribution.

4. The Company would pay brokerage commissions on the stock purchases.

5. All dividends, including the value of fractional shares resulting from stock dividends or stock splits, would be accumulated and credited to the individual accounts in the trust.

6. Each individual would receive statements of his account on a monthly basis.

7. An individual could revise or terminate his or her payroll deduction at any time and discountinue the account in the trust at which time you would receive a certificate representing the number of full shares of Company stock which had been accumulated in your account up to that point.

8. The Company would reserve the right to revise the plan or discontinue it entirely at any time.

"It should be clearly understood that participation would be entirely voluntary.

"It is not a condition of employment.

"The Company does not recommend for or against participation for several reasons:

"Individual family financial circumstances vary widely and an additional program of savings through the accumulation of stock might be undesirable in some cases.

"The price of shares of stock go up and down based upon many factors including the state of the economy, world developments, the balance between the supply of stock available for sale and the demand to buy it, the earnings performance of the Company, the evaluation which investors place upon the Company's future prospects from time to time, and other factors.

"Our Company's stock has risen in price very substantially over the past few years and there is no assurance possible that it will continue to rise or that it will not decline. Obviously, the successful financial performance of the Company and a continued favorable evaluation of its future prospects would contribute to maintaining its value.

"Such a plan is not economically feasible unless a substantial number of meployees decided to participate. If you wish to do os, you will be receiving a notice with your paycheck giving you the details.

"When you receive this notice, kindly indicate your desire to participate in the plan and give the probable amount of your authorized weekly payroll deduction. All forms will be turned into the Personnel Department. If the final decision is made to go ahead, you will receive notification, together with the necessary documents.

"Thank you for your interest."

Donn B. Tatum, Chairman of the Board.

QUESTION: "Can you forsee a seven-day, year-round operation Disneyland?"

ANSWER: "Not in the near future." The reasons against a seven-day, year-round operation are:

1. Our crowds are not big enough during the winter months, and 2. Most of our major rehab is performed during the winter. However, at the present time, we do have the manpower and ride capacity to accommodate larger winter crowds if they do become bigger.

QUESTION: "What, where, and when will be the next planned attraction in the Park?"

ANSWER: That decision has not been made yet. Possibilities are: a continuation of Tomorrowland with a Space Mountain complex; a Liberty Square area such as Walt Disney World has; and Thunder Mesa - a table-top mountain resembling those found on Southwestern deserts that includes a pueblo-style village and a series of exciting adventures.

QUESTION: "Is it true that Disneyland is receiving an increasing amount of mail from guests in regards to the UNcleanliness of the Park and will steps be taken to bring our reputation back to snuff?"

ANSWER: No, this is not true. We have not received an increase of letters inferring that we have an unkempt Park. However, if you feel that we are becoming lax in our standards, please contact the Janitorial Department, one of their Supervisors, or Ron Dominguez.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers, Part 3

The second batch of questions relating to Disneyland and Walt Disney Productions, as posed by Disneyland employees in 1972 and published in the June 16, 1972 Disneyland Line. More details can be found in Part 1.
QUESTION: "I know a lot of people have thought this out, but in the few years that I have been in the Park, and the congestion that I have witnessed at the 'Hub' prior to the fireworks, does Entertainment really think that they are going to run the 'Electrical Parade' through that crowd?

"Wouldn't 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. be a better time for the parade? Wouldn't it hold more people in the Park if held at that time?" ---Bob Penfield.

ANSWER: "We have thoroughly discussed all parade particulars with the Operations Division. Prior to the premiere of the 'Main Street Electrical Praade,' there will be dry-run rehearsals observing crowd control in the parade area.

"From the standpoint of show, the 'Main Street Electrical Parade' acts as a prelude to our spectacular 'Fantasy In The Sky' fireworks display, therefore, the programming of the parade as is presently scheduled seems most effective." ---Bob Jani, Entertainment Director.

QUESTION: "Why does the mural in the basement of the Ad Building end with 1967? Also, why can't the halls and the offices in the Administration Building be painted and cleaned up? The hall leading from the mailroom to the band rehearsal room looks like a cattle ramp. We often have visitors here and would appreciate a new look.

ANSWER: Mural design plans are currently being drawn up and work will begin on the mural and the halls in July. Rehab on the Accounting Office will begin later this month. ---Mel Cecil, Maintenance Director.

QUESTION: "If an employee has another interest other than the area he works in, is it possible - on his own time - to visit backstage areas and watch the operations that are performed there? For example, I would be interested in costume making for puppets. I like to work with puppets as a hobby."

ANSWER: Please call Bob Reilly, Director of General Services at Ext. 581 so that you can set up a time for you to discuss your question with him.

QUESTION: "My name is Yolanda Viramontes and I work at the 'Space Bar' in Tomorrowland. I would like to know if there are any future plans to change the costumes in that area.

"Most of them look like the future has caught up with them."

ANSWER: To all "Space Bar" employees and especially Yolanda Viramontes: Yes, we are going to change the "Space Bar" costumes, but the new design will not be ready until Spring, 1973. ---Bob Reilly, Director of General Services.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers, Part 2

The first batch of questions relating to Disneyland and Walt Disney Productions, as posed by Disneyland employees in 1972 and published in the June 13, 1972 Disneyland Line. More details can be found in Part 1.
QUESTION: "The growth of Walt Disney Productions is causing increasing employment opportunities. What careers are opening up in the future? What is the best way to pursue a career with Walt Disney Productions?"

QUESTION: "It appears that there are many and varied opportunities in the Disney organization. A young man may work up in position from sweeper to supervisor in a relatively short time. We are always hearing of the promotion of Merchandising, Food, and Operations personnel, unfortunately however, these advancements to supervision are all men.

"I, as a female employee, am interested in remaining with Disney, but what kind of future do I have? I feel that there are many capable female employees in the Park that would be much more of an asset to Disney if put into a position of responsibility. What avenues of opportunity will be available to us in the near future?"

ANSWER: We are presently working on a company-wide "Opportunities Program" in which you will be asked, "Where Do You Go From Here?"

In the meantime, you will be ahead of the game if you send a resume ... along with your job objectives to: OPPORTUNITIES, c/o BERNIE HANSEN, Assistant Director of Employee Relations.

Also, an "Employment Opportunities List For Disneyland" is published bi-weekly by the Employee Relations Division. This list is posted throughout the Park on bulletin boards. If you are interested in any of the positions on this list, contact the Personnel Department.

The DISNEYLAND LINE also lists, periodically, positions available in the Park.

QUESTION: "I would like to know why a Disneyland employee who has been a permanent part-time for over a year must wait four years before being issued an annual pass?"

ANSWER: Annual Main Gate Passes for all group "C" employees with one or more years of service, are currently being issued. More than 1200 of these passes will be distributed.

All permanent Industry Sales employees working at Disneyland with one or more years of service, will be receiving Main Gate Passes by mail.

All Disneyland employees who have previously been issued Main Gate Passes and whose immediate family consists of five or more members, will have their Main Gate Passes stamped to allow all members of their family to enter the Park at one time. A LETTER WILL BE MAILED TO YOU SHORTLY, RELATING THE DETAILS.

For non-family use, your annual pass will offer the privilege of admission for yourself and a party of three.

Annual Passes that have just been issued have already been stamped to provide admittance into the Park for your entire family.

QUESTION: "Why can't Disneyland personnel purchase Magic Kingdom Club tickets at a discount? We should be able to receive what the public receives at a savings."

ANSWER: Ten-ride Magic Key Books will now be sold year round to all Disneyland employees at a 20% discount. Ticket books are now available at Cash Control.

QUESTION: "About a month before Easter, my son was interviewed for a job at Disneyland and in a week was notified by form letter that they could give him no encouragement at this time...
"...My question is -- is there some specific reason why relatives of employees are not being hired? If so, then why does the DISNEYLAND LINE play up job availability?"

ANSWER: At no time has there been a policy against hiring relatives of Park personnel. In fact, we encourage it. We want to insure that all have the opportunity for an interview. However, it is more important to remember that sons and daughters of employees must meet the same employment requirements that apply to all other applicants.

Applications for sons and daughters are now available through all division offices. Just ask your supervisor for one. Once the application has been filled out, call the Personnel Office for an interview appointment.

Also, if you have friends who you feel qualify and want to recommend, please suggest that they come in and apply in person at our Disneyland Employment Office.

QUESTION: "I am interested in knowing about the organization structure of Disneyland. Is it possible to see, or get a copy of Disneyland's Organization Chart?"

ANSWER: A series of articles will appear in the Disneyland Line explaining The Disneyland Organization.
Since the Disneyland Line did not end up running that series, perhaps the questioner would be interested in the Encyclopedia!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers

Well, technically, if you've got certain questions regarding Disneyland operations in 1972, I have the official answers, but with a month between my posts, you're not going to quibble, right?

On the evening of Tuesday, April 25, 1972, Disneyland held a giant employee meeting at the Anaheim Convention Center, called "Where Do We Go From Here? A Disneyland Report." The meeting's purpose was to bring everyone "up to date on what's going on at Disneyland, throughout Walt Disney Productions in general, and what is in store for both in the years to come." Donn Tatum, Chairman of the Board, Card Walker, President, and Dick Nunis, Vice President of Disneyland/Walt Disney World, gave talks, followed by a question-and-answer session, including questions taken from the audience. They gave out lots of prizes, presumably to encourage people to attend. The Disneyland Line also emphasized how honest the meeting would be, remarking in one issue, "Answers to our questions WILL NOT be 'watered down,' and by no means is this entire meeting designed to be a sham." It was noted that the meeting was to be the "first complete employee gathering of all Park personnel" in Disneyland history.

5,879 Disneyland employees (I almost always prefer the term Cast Members, but as employees was the terminology of the day...) and their guests attended the event. In the months following, the Disneyland Line ran some of the questions posed and answered at the meeting, as well as other questions posed by Park employees. I particularly liked how Dick Nunis addressed the possibility of toning down any questions:
"Who was the deciding body as to what questions were to be asked of the panel and what questions were to be white-washed?"

This question was the lead-in remark by one Disneyland employee who attended the Park's employee meeting (The Disneyland Report - Where Do We Go From Here) at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 25.

The answer to this question was given by Dick Nunis: "These questions were reviewed by the President of the Company, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, all Disneyland Directors, members of the University of Disneyland, and the editor of the DISNEYLAND LINE.

"With the exception of personal questions, such as the one which asked, 'Is Dick Nunis the SOB that everybody says he is' ... we have not white-washed any questions."

And with that remark, the Vice President of Disneyland and Walt Disney World began answering the hundreds of questions submitted by Disneyland employees.
Over the next week or so, I'll be sharing the questions and answers as they appeared in the Disneyland Line. They deal with the generic daily concerns of employees in any workplace, but they also reflect present-day Disneyland concerns over theming and cleanliness.

The first thing I'll share isn't a list of questions, but ten action items that were "direct results from questions submitted by Disneyland employees" at the meeting, as appeared in the May 5, 1972 Disneyland Line:

  1. Backstage banking facilities are now in operation
  2. Part time employees will now receive annual passes after working at Disneyland for one year.
  3. Magic Kingdom Club ticket books can now be obtained at a 20% discount.
  4. Construction of a new clockhouse is currently underway.
  5. A new Communications Center will be constructed behind the Ad building. It will contain en employee lounge, headquarters for the Disneyland Recreation Club, and will have offices for the DISNEYLAND LINE, "Backstage Disneyland," and "Dial 100," a fast news service for employees.
  6. The Mr. Lincoln ticket in the junior and children's ticket books is the same color as the "E" coupon in these books. The ticket color will be changed when the ticket books are printed this winter.
  7. Stock purchase plan through payroll deductions - - - this is being looked into and will be presented to employees once a plan has been decided upon.
  8. An employee questionnaire is being prepared to find out "Where Do We Go From Here?"
  9. More "Forums" will be held at all levels in the organization on a consistent basis.
  10. All questions submitted for "A Disneyland Report" will be answered in the LINE or by a personal letter. The LINE will also carry a series of articles about Disneyland's and Walt Disney Production's chain of command and organization.
I was particularly disappointed that that "series of articles" never appeared!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thesaurus Statistics: November 18, 2008

As part of a continuing series (see my first post on this from July), I present an updated table of thesaurus statistics:

The explanations again, with slight modification:
  • Total number of terms: Every term in the thesaurus (obviously). This includes 20,809 dates (e.g., 2008-07-27). Since these have relationships and notes just like other terms, I have no problem including them in the count.
  • Non-postable terms: These are what is known as the lead-in vocabulary. Disneyland Omnibus would lead one to the postable term Omnibus.
  • Top terms: A key part of the thesaurus is the hierarchy, and this is the number of terms at the top. Now, with the structure I'm using it shouldn't be as high as it is. I'd like to have only 10-15 top terms. A large number of the top terms, then, are terms I've picked up while going through sources that I still need to fit into the conceptual structure.
  • Orphan terms: These are a subset of the top terms that don't have relations to other terms. This number should be 0.
  • Subject categories: This is another means of classification outside of the hierarchy. For instance, for people and organizations in the thesaurus I have a "Role" classification. The Roles include Atmosphere Talent, Cast Member, lessee personnel, and Retlaw personnel.
  • Hierarchical relationships: Hierarchy is used for structure and to facilitate searching. Fantasy on Parade has broader terms events, promotions, and programs by names (a term which then functions something like an authority list) and parades.
  • Equivalence relationships: The Omnibus example above is an equivalent relationship--where I've defined that one term can be used for two terms. This needn't be confined to nomenclature issues. If I wanted lower specificity, I could have Omnibus (along with Fire Engine, Horseless Carriage (Red), etc.) point to Main Street Vehicles. But with this project I've been much more inclined to address distinctions than to lump things together.
  • Associative relationships: These types of relations call attention to other terms that might be of interest. In the Library of Congress Subject Headings, these are just RT--related terms. While I do denote some relations this way, I've also defined a fair number of more specific relationships. For example, Dominguez, Ron PFMD [performed as/in] Davy Crockett (walk-around character). Fantasia Gardens PRED [had predecessor] Motor Boat Cruise. (In time I might get more specific and create a Motor Boat Cruise Dock term.)
As you can see from the numbers, I've been quite busy over the past few months!

Happy Birthday, Mickey

You may recall my sort-of indignation that Disney did not always celebrate Mickey's birthday on November 18 in my "1970 Disneyland Doesn't Know Disney History" post. Like there are arguments for celebrating Disneyland's birthday on July 17th or 18th, there are a number of criteria one could use to say one date should be used over another. Below are my two personal stakes in celebrating Mickey's birthday on November 18.

The first is a little souvenir I was given way back:

This heavy canvas bag was apparently produced for a small birthday cavalcade given for Mickey on that day. As I attended school that day, I do not know any of the details--how many there were, how they were used, etc. I think it was meant to be a mailbag, filled with letters or birthday greetings to The Mouse. (I can tell you that it's now used to store my towels before laundry day.) If anybody has any information, I'd love to have it--and would definitely love to see photographs of it in use!

The other stake I have in November 18th is that it was also my hire date at Disneyland. Now, while I'm far more interested in the Disney parks and Disneyland than I am in Disney more generally, I am happy that my hire date fell on a noteworthy date. Some of my co-workers would later ask me if I had planned that, but I had no hand in it. It just happened to fall on the Saturday on which I had my Orientation! This opening date for the Disneyland chapter of my work life helped me to hold out for my final date of July 17, 2003, despite the fact that I was ready to leave several weeks earlier.

Today also marks the 15th anniversary of the dedication of the Partners Statue in the Central Plaza, seen here in May 2000:

Unrelated to November 18, I know I'm woefully behind with my promised Circle-Vision follow-up. I'm completing the graduate school experience, so posts will continue to be infrequent for a little while. But know that I am still working on the thesaurus behind the scenes, for your future enjoyment.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Holiday Season 1955

The photo is dated January 1956 and must be from the Park's first holiday season, which lasted from November 24, 1955 through January 8, 1956. (Don't get me started on Disneyland's nomenclature for the holiday periods through the years!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thesaurusing Live Entertainment

Perhaps some of you spent Bonus Sunday over at Vintage Disneyland Tickets. I did my "processing" of the Summer 1967 Vacationland for the thesaurus and will give you a behind-the-scenes look at my processing work. (Yawn!) If you have the magazine, take a look at the article entitled "Disneyland's Summer Extravaganza." Thesaurusing live entertainment terms can be time-consuming because of all the relationships to enter, and in this case we also have additional Park events to deal with.

I like to begin at the broadest level. Almost all of the information in the article pertains to summer 1967, so the discussions will be about the information that is in this field and how everything links back to this. I have terms for other summers, like summer 2008, linked back to summer, and also have other seasons, like holiday season 2008 (which is linked to the generic holiday season). Although this article names the promotion as Summer '67, the Park hasn't regularly, consistently named its summer season like this (that I have yet found). I thus have summer 1967 as the preferred term for standardization. So, right off the bat we have:
UF [use for]: Summer '67
BT [broader term]: summer
We learn that summer 1967 began at the Park on June 24. The article mentions several pre-summer events, including Big Band Festival (1967), Grad Nite (1967), and Date Nite (6/3/1967), Date Nite (6/10/1967), and Date Nite (6/17/1967). I've put these in the thesaurus in their own right, but they applied outside of the Park's summer season, so they are not linked to this term. We now have two more bits of information in the term record:
DN [date note]: 6/24/1967 - ?
DEB [debut]: 1967-06-24
The DN field is a free text field. While I expect to eventually come across the summer end date (perhaps from a guidemap or in a newspaper article or advertisement), I don't have it now and didn't feel the need to search it out at this time. The DEB field is an actual relationship within the thesaurus, and is linked to the date term 1967-06-24. The date term has additional information like the day of the week (Saturday), Park hours (9 AM - 1 AM), and any other useful information about the Park.

The various entertainment promotions from the summer are linked to summer 1967 hierarchically:
NTP [narrow term, partitive]: Country Music Jubilee (1967)
NTP: Hootenanny (1967)
NTP: Humdinger (1967)
NTP: Vaudeville '67
Why am I going to the trouble of disambiguating the terms by putting years in parentheses? Because these events also happened in other years, besides, and I want to use the information from this article at the right level of specificity. That is, I could just use Country Music Jubilee, but as an event with that name happened many times into the 1970s, I feel I would muddy the waters by doing so. We'll just take a look at one of these terms, Humdinger (1967). Linked terms are in bold:
DFOT [definition, other]: Vacationland (Summer 1967): Each week's special entertainment line-up will include a Disneyland Humdinger each Monday night featuring top rock n' roll recording artists.
Stars already signed for the Monday night Humdinger include, The Young Rascals, Neil Diamond, Tammi Terrell, Joey Paige, Lesley Gore, the Mustangs and Humdinger Dancers.
Humdinger will be staged at a new 1,500 seat Tomorrowland show area.

SRC [source for the term]: Vacationland (Summer 1967)

UF [use for]: Disneyland Humdinger (1967)

BT [broader term]: events, promotions, and programs by names

BTI [broader term, instance]: Humdinger

BTP: summer 1967

PFMR [performer]: Diamond, Neil
PFMR: Gore, Lesley
PFMR: Humdinger Dancers
PFMR: Mustangs
PFMR: Paige, Joey
PFMR: Terrell, Tammi
PFMR: Young Rascals, The
events, promotions, and programs by names is something like an authority file. (I have a similarly named people and organizations by names term.) The Humdinger term will eventually relate to all instances of Humdinger through the years, such as that held in 1965. (More information on the summer 1965 entertainment can be found in my June 5 post.) As it stands now, I have all of the above performers linked to the Humdinger (1967) term, but depending on the information I have, may create separate terms for each Monday night Humdinger of the summer. For example, I know Lesley Gore performed at the Humdinger of July 31, 1967, so when I go through to refine the thesaurus, she may be linked to Humdinger (7/31/1967). These same sorts of relationships hold true for the other entertainment events of the summer.

Linked to the broader summer 1967 term are also the regular atmosphere talent and guest talent not specifically brought in for an event:
PFMR: Bill Elliott's Orchestra
PFMR: Dapper Dans, The
PFMR: Disneyland Band
PFMR: Dobie Gray and his Rock Band
PFMR: Establishment
PFMR: Mustangs
PFMR: Regents
PFMR: Royal Tahitians, The
PFMR: Seven Souls
PFMR: Spats
PFMR: Ward Singers, The
One problem I frequently run into with performing groups is the nomenclature. Rarely is there consistency between sources on terms for the guest talent! But Disneyland's own atmosphere talent is not exempt. What I have referred to above as Bill Elliott's Orchestra seemingly has a new name in each source. I don't know enough yet to say if the terms represent actual different entities, or if Disneyland's marketing people just used whatever popped into their heads. Other terms related to Bill Elliott's Orchestra collected through the years:
Bill Elliott and his Orchestra
Bill Elliott with his Disneyland Date Niters
Date Niters Orchestra
Elliott Bros.
Elliott Bros. & the Dixie Dandies, The
Elliott Brothers
Elliott Brothers and the Dixie Dandies, The
Elliott Brothers Band
Elliott Brothers Band, The
Elliott Brothers Orchestra
Elliott Brothers Orchestra, The
Elliott Brothers, The
Lloyd and Bill Elliott and the Disneyland Dateniters
I'm sure there are more I haven't yet discovered! Through hierarchical inheritance, it might be redundant to say that some of these groups performed in summer 1967. The Mustangs, after all, performed in the Humdinger (1967), so by definition they performed during the summer. But these relationships are on a more general level, meaning they performed at the Park all summer long--and not just at special events. But I have inconsistency here: The article also mentions special guest bands, like Seven Souls. They are linked to summer 1967 not because they performed all summer long, but because I don't have a specific date for their performance. (I don't have a specific date from this source, anyway.) That's something that will need to be cleaned up later.

Live entertainment can take a long time to get through, because I have to consider the season, event, performers, and at what level of specificity I want to store the information. Creating new terms for performing groups--and trying to figure out when two entities are actually the same thing--can certainly take a long time! But, the whole point of this thesaurus "exercise" is to document the details of Disneyland as specifically and accurately as possible, and live entertainment has been tremendously important to Disneyland through the years.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

1970s Imagineers Tour Disneyland

I won't even ask who wants to see some photos of Imagineers touring Fantasyland in 1974, because I know it's all of you! I've attached scans from the December 25, 1974 Disneyland Line, but here's the text so Google can find it.
WED Designers And "Imagineers" Tour The Park

Last Thursday, December 12th, a talented group of WED designers and "Imagineers" toured Fantasyland and Tomorrowland with Ron Dominguez, John Cora, Craig Smith and Jim Coutu. This was one of future monthly visits by the WED personnel. Every four weeks they will tour and inspect different areas in The Park, concentrating on the attractions, food facilities, design and overall appearance of the themed Land. Any changes or improvements, no matter how small, are noted and the appropriate work is scheduled soon after.

This policy of regularly visiting the Park is not only refreshing and encouraging, but reaffirms the fact that the "Show" aspect of Disneyland is just as important as ever. The WED personnel on Thursday's tour included:

MARTY SKLAR - Vice-President of Concepts & Planning
ORLANDO FERRANTE - Vice-President of Administration
X. ATENCIO - Designer & Writer
ERNIE PRINZHORN - Head of Graphics Department
ERIC WESTIN - Director of Interior Design
SCOTT MACKIE - Coordinator
TONY BAXTER - Assistant Designer

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Minor Milestone...

Congratulations, Matterhorn1959! Your comment on Chucko the Clown on Davelandblog's first post is the first blog material to be entered into the thesaurus. The main citation in the source database looks like this:

Davelandblog (6/4/2006 0843)

Since there can be several posts on a specific day, this helps to disambiguate without having to incorporate the title in this short form. In the notes for the individual entries, when a comment is the source of information (such as with Matterhorn's), the citation looks like this:

Davelandblog (6/4/2006 0843; Matterhorn1959 comment)

Fellow bloggers, can you take a few years off so I can catch up? Thanks!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Nomenclature Narrative History of Circle-Vision

Every so often in this thesaurus business, I take a breather and survey all the terms I've assembled about a various topic to see if I've been blurring definitions, need to create new terms, and/or need to do some additional research. This is one such evaluation, of all the terms I've collected so far for Circle-Vision. Hopefully we can get this straight. The following encompasses terms related to physical locations, processes, films, lessees/participants, and the nomenclature of the attraction itself. I believe the whole Circle-Vision ball of wax to be one of the most confusing in Disneyland's history because of the attraction's very complicated story.

What follows is a glimpse into what I go through. The usual caveat applies that I still have a veritable mountain of sources to examine, so this is very much a work-in-progress. Below is a behind-the-scenes look at piecing together a history; in the next few days I'll have a more definite, easier to digest history--made possible by laying all of this out today and hopefully getting some knowledgeable comments!

We'll start at the broadest level--the process. I began this post by talking about "Circle-Vision"--that is, a generic term to group all of this together. Eliding all but the grossest technical details, we could actually speak of two processes: the Circarama process and the Circle-Vision process. (Somewhat confusingly, Disney A-Z says the process was "later renamed Circle-Vision 360 in 1967 and in 1984 World Premiere Circle-Vision," when it actually means the attraction was renamed.) The Circarama process, using eleven 16mm projectors, immersed the Guest by presenting the action in-the-round. It was inspired by, and its name a play off of, the Cinerama process which used three 35mm projectors. Disneyland: The Nickel Tour relates that Walt saw this process at work in the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, and then inquired of his technical staff if they could put the full circle together. For filming, the Circarama cameras were mounted on the roof of an American Motors (more on them shortly) car and were dashboard controlled. To further cement the car connection, the "car" letters within Circarama were red-lettered on the attraction's marquee, as seen on this June 1956 photo from Gorillas Don't Blog:

In the 1960s, Disney improved its process and subsequently needed nine 35mm cameras. It is not clear to me at this point if that change coincided precisely with the change to Circle-Vision 360. From the listing of Circle-Vision films in Disney A-Z, it would seem that it did not. Italia '61 (1961) is listed as the first film requiring nine cameras, while Magic of the Rails (1965) indicates the name was changed to Circle-Vision 360. For the Disneyland films (more on them below), the date change makes no practical difference, and for my own sanity's sake I will be using the Circarama process to refer to producing eleven-screen films, and the Circle-Vision process to refer to producing nine-screen films. The Nickel Tour renders Circle-Vision as CircleVision, something I haven't come across elsewhere.

It's probably easiest to next go to the films. The Opening Day film was A Tour of the West, which showed scenes from around Southern California, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley. It was an eleven-screen film (Circarama process) and ran from July 17, 1955 until ca. 1960. (It probably stopped playing in the early part of 1960.) The next film to be shown at Disneyland was the first of three instances of America the Beautiful. This Circarama process film debuted at the Brussels World's Fair in 1958 and opened at Disneyland in June 1960. This version of the film ran until September, 1966, when the attraction closed to make way for the New Tomorrowland. A nine-screen (Circle-Vision process), re-shot version of America the Beautiful opened June 25,1967. It ran until approximately 1975, when Disney revised the film to include scenes of Philadelphia for the Bicentennial. This revised version of America the Beautiful closed on January 3, 1984. Beginning July 4, 1984, the attraction alternated two Circle-Vision process films: Wonders of China (in the morning) and American Journeys (in the afternoon and evening). July 7, 1996, marked the end of the line for these two films. In preparation for the attraction's permanent closing for the New Tomorrowland of 1998, the 1975 version of America the Beautiful returned, running from July 11, 1996 through September 7, 1997.

The attraction's name has changed several times, and is one of those attractions surrounded by a cloud of nomenclatural uncertainty. It opened in 1955 as Circarama, U.S.A. At least, according to Disney A-Z. Plain ol' Circarama seems a more likely name, however, given its use in some 1955 newspaper articles, the November 1957 Disneylander, and the 1958 souvenir wall map (A), and the attraction marquee (as seen above). If you want to bring the sponsors into this, the 1955-1960 attraction was also called American Motors Circarama Exhibit and American Motors Exhibit in a couple Disneylanders, and the signage could be interpreted as American Motors presents Circarama. 1960 brought a new film, a new sponsor, and a new name for the attraction--but I'm still up in the air over what that name is! The first signage might indicate that it should be America the Beautiful, as can be seen in this December 1960 photo courtesy of Stuff from the Park:

By May 1964, the signage had changed and now seems to indicate the name as Bell System Presents "America the Beautiful" (at the Circarama Theatre), as seen in this photo courtesy of Daveland:

In print, I have also seen Bell System "America the Beautiful," Bell Telephone's "America the Beautiful," Bell Telephone System America the Beautiful, and Bell Telephone System Exhibit.

In 1967, the attraction reopened as part of New Tomorrowland as Circle-Vision 360--perhaps. Disneyland Guide Summer 1972 and Disneyland Guide Fall 1973 provide this name, as does Disney A-Z. Signage indicates that it might be called America the Beautiful Presented by AT&T, as seen in this August 1976 photo from Daveland:

I have also seen America the Beautiful Circle-Vision 360 (Disneyland Guide Spring 1976), Bell System's America the Beautiful (Disneyland Guide Fall/Winter 1970-1971, Disneyland Line (6/19/1980)), Bell Telephone Circle-Vision 360 (Disneyland Guide Summer 1970, Disneyland Guide Fall/Winter 1970-1971), Bell Telephone Exhibit (Disneyland Line (6/26/1974)) The Bell Telephone Exhibit (Disneyland Line (2/17/1977)), and Bell System exhibit (in the October 1967 p.t.m. magazine for Bell employees). These terms refer to the attraction between June 25, 1967 and January 3, 1984.

On July 4, 1984, the attraction re-opened as World Premiere Circle-Vision. This is the name given by Disney A-Z and Disneyland: Your Souvenir Guide for 1984 (4/1984), and shown on the signage, as on this photo courtesy of Bearride at Videblog:

Finally, some certainty! This name persisted through April 1989, with the attraction shown below in another photo from Bearride:

In 2001, I found WORLD PREMIERE CIRCLEVISION on the Cast Member podium in the theater:

Disney A-Z says the attraction at some point changed to simply Circle-Vision. The Disneyland 1993 Souvenir Guidebook (1/1993) uses this designation. This perhaps happened when the attraction got a new marquee. By the time America the Beautiful returned for its final engagement, the attraction's name was assuredly simply Circle-Vision:

The lessees and sponsors of Circle-Vision through the years only add another layer of complexity. We could possibly say that these were American Motors, Bell Telephone, PSA and Delta Air Lines--and leave it at that. Of course, that would be a gross simplification.

We'll start with American Motors. According to Wikipedia, "American Motors Corporation (AMC) was an American automobile company formed on January 14, 1954 by the merger of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and the Hudson Motor Car Company." I make note of this merger because the exhibit area within Circarama, below the screens, displayed Kelvinator refrigerators and American Motors automobiles. The attraction's marquee indicates that American Motors "presented" Circarama. In today's Disney parlance, this would mean that American Motors was a participant, paying to have its name in lights. I believe, but have not confirmed, that American Motors was actually a lessee, additionally providing its own personnel to staff the attraction.

This supposition is drawn from two Disneylander snippets that imply the employees mentioned worked for American Motors. The first is from September 1957:
LOU CURRAN and RAY KOMARA, both of our Disneyland Security Force, are now working part-time at the American Motors Circarama Exhibit.
And from December 1957:
Cliff Grundy and Mel Phillips (formerly with the American Motors Exhibit) are now with the Monsanto Chemical Co. in Disneyland, and are working at the Monsanto "House of the Future."
The American Motors association with the attraction lasted as long as A Tour of the West. When the attraction reopened in 1960, now playing the eleven-screen America the Beautiful, it was presented by the Bell System (which I've also seen as The Bell System). This association continued with the New Tomorrowland of 1967, though now signage indicated the attraction's sponsor (still a lessee) was AT&T, with the "host company" being Pacific Telephone. (I'll readily admit to not understanding how the telephone monopoly has manifested itself throughout the years! It's all basically the same entity, however.) Bell System Hostesses from Southern California staffed the attraction exclusively until some male hosts began in March 1973. (In 1973 the "Bell Girls" also won the canoe races!) I assume that the Bell sponsorship and staffing continued until the run of America the Beautiful ended January 3, 1984.

When the attraction re-opened as World Premiere Circle-Vision, playing Wonders of China and American Journeys, PSA [Pacific Southwest Airlines] was the sponsor. Although PSA had its last flight in 1988, its sponsorship apparently continued until 1989, at which point Delta Air Lines stepped in. I do not know when Delta ended its sponsorship; it was still the sponsor in March 1995. The attraction had no sponsor when it closed.

We're down to the last piece of the puzzle: the physical make-up of the attraction through the years. From 1955 to 1966, the attraction was crammed into the westernmost part of Tomorrowland's north exhibit pavilion. There seems to have been some sort of a pre-show area, as the Summer 1960 Vacationland says:
Entering visitors are given a demonstration of cross-country Direct Distance Dialing by Bell System representatives, then invited to view the wide-ranging story of communications, told through a dimensional, curving mural that carries out the theme "...from sea to shining sea."
It goes on to say that America the Beautiful is shown in the "adjacent" Circarama Theater. In 1964, the attraction also featured a demonstration of Bell's Picturephone, linked to the company's pavilion at the New York World's Fair. At any rate, the 1955-1966 incarnation of the attraction was small compared to its later version.

From 1967 to 1997, the attraction had three-parts: a pre-show, the Circle-Vision Theater, and a post-show (although much of the post show disappeared sometime in the 1980s). Aside from showing different films, I do not believe the central Circle-Vision Theater (replacing what had originally been Space Station X-1 and then The Art of Animation) experienced much change over the years. The pre- and post-show areas, did, however. I am not an expert on those, but I know they're fondly remembered by some of you out there, so chime in (if you're still reading!).

Let's first address the pre-show area. The 1967 pre-show featured the Bell Hostesses telling the story of the Bell System. It's not clear if this was still the case in 1974, as this June 26, 1974 Disneyland Line article is awfully vague about what's going on in there!:
The pre-show area at the Bell Exhibit has proven extremely popular with our guests as it gives them a chance to participate while waiting for the next show. Asked about how the banners were created for the pre-show area, Mary [Hanson, Exhibit Manager] explained, "Our company engaged a couple in the New York area to do the abstract banners. The intent was to get something that would welcome guests to the area and would give them something entertaining while waiting the 18 minutes for the next show."
When PSA took over in 1984, the pre-show was changed to a show called All Because Man Wanted to Fly, which Disney A-Z describes as "a lighthearted look at early human efforts to fly." Was this a film shown in the pre-show area? It lasted as long as PSA's sponsorship, until 1989. At that time Delta Air Lines became the sponsor, and the Circle-Vision SOP describes Delta's "Magic Wall":
The Preshow area of the attraction offers guests an opportunity to learn more about Delta with a 4½-minute film hosted by “Dusty,” the Delta Air Lion, Delta’s “Magic Wall,” and a 28-foot route map depicting the many Delta destinations. The film not only introduces “Dusty,” but explains what a Circle-Vision theatre is and how 360° filming is done. At the conclusion of the film, Dusty presents Delta’s “Magic Wall.” This wall graphically displays Delta destinations with the aid of over 30 animated cut-outs on the walls surrounding the Preshow area.
When Delta ended its sponsorship (1995 or 1996), I believe this pre-show was just covered up. In its final year state flags hung upon the walls, and that was the gateway for Cast Members to engage the audience. And, we can't leave the pre-show without emphasizing the magnificence of its air conditioning and cushioned seats!

In 1967, the post-show offered Guests the opportunity to use some "advanced communications equipment." The October 1967 p.m.t. article referenced earlier lists the following devices:
  • "voice mirrors" to see and hear your voice
  • Picturephone, linked to EXPO '67, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, or "booth-to-booth"
  • "Weather Station" to phone for the weather in eight major cities
  • "Family Booths" to utilize speakerphone functionality
  • "Kiddie Phones" (also known as Character Phones), to talk with Disney characters who relay phone etiquette tips
I don't have information immediately available about how the post-show changed, but I do rememeber the "Family Booths" being there much later. Were those available until the very end? I know that voting for the Epcot Center Poll Person of the Century also occurred at the Circle-Vision exit.

The post-show area shrank considerably after Bell's sponsorship ended. That happened in early 1984, while The Premiere Shop opened December 18, 1985. The timing is too coincidental for me to believe that the store wasn't designed to fill that space, but I don't know if it was vacant or had something else temporarily there. At least some elements of the post-show remained, such as the "Family Booths."

And with that, we wave goodbye to Circle-Vision... at least for a day or two! Thanks again to the following blogs for allowing use of their images: Gorillas Don't Blog, Stuff from the Park, Davelandblog, and Videblog.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Carousel Theater Railing

For those interested in the details, a close-up of the 41-year-old railing from a Carousel Theater emergency exit staircase seen in my September 21 trip report:

Get Out Your Wallet

From the June 11, 1971 Disneyland Line. I know one of the Tomorrowland benches is already spoken for!

Monday, October 6, 2008

What Guests Want in the Guest Relations Lobby, February 2, 2002

On February 2, 2002, I kept a tally of why Guests were coming into the Guest Relations Lobby at Disney's California Adventure, much like I had tallied Lost & Found Guests on April 8, 2001. They are listed below in the order that I recorded the Guest need.
  • Birthday: 19
  • Special Assistance Passes: 38
  • Dining Reservations: 3
  • General Information: 11
  • Foreign Language Guidemaps: 10
  • English Guidemaps: 5
  • Blast! Tickets: 8
  • Disney's Electrical Parade Reservations: 2
  • Purchase Tickets: 6
  • Concerns: 5
  • Entered Wrong Park: 5
  • Assistance with Lockers: 4

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Forgot This One

I accidentally omitted this image from my previous trip report:

As Kevin and I wandered into the far reaches of Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom, we noticed that Chip 'n Dale's Treehouse looked a little bare. Getting ready for winter, perhaps? Upon closer examination, it looks like the tree's leaves are literally falling off (or have mostly fallen off)! Unfortunately, no broken leaves lay scattered on the ground for interested souvenir hunters.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September 21 Disneyland Trip Report

As promised, photos and observations from my Sunday, September 21 visit:

This facade, next to the entrance to the Main Street Lockers on E. Center Street, is rather interesting. Stuff from the Park shared a photo of it during Park construction sitting outside the current New Century Jewelry. Go ahead and take a look at my large image here. Note that the side closest to the locker entrance has smooth bricks, and the other side has rough, textured bricks. I had this pointed out to me several months back, but didn't have a good photograph of it. It certainly seems that this little facade may have been moved around Main Street and used as a template for brick design. In any event, it's clearly the architectural piece in Matterhorn's post!

I didn't know about the Wish Lounge. Its location is what used to be Lost Children. Lost Children shifts were usually covered by ladies who also worked at the Baby Center, but occasionally other Guest Relations Cast Members could be pulled in to cover. My first shift there wasn't too long after I started at the Park. I don't have a lot of experience with kids, so I was expecting a nightmare scenario of hungry, screaming kids and frantic parents, but the day was pretty calm. By my second shift, I had come to appreciate the refuge Lost Children provided. I was pulled there for a few hours on a busy December day, but my stint there was all-too-short and I soon had to return to the disgruntled Guests awaiting me at City Hall.

Kevin Yee and I got FASTPASSes to the Indiana Jones Adventure. It broke down as we neared the film room. We got more FASTPASSes. It remained broken down.

Think what this would look like with some water animation in the background! The abandoned Nature's Wonderland Mine Train is pretty sad. I posted some photos of it from back in June, but a trip on the Mark Twain provided a new perspective on how tattered the engine is.

The first ore car looks particularly sad.

Defying gravity, the rocks piled up in the car don't fall through the hole in the far side.

Have you ever stopped to examine the underside of the sidewalk roof outside the Westward Ho Trading Co.? Now you don't need to.

I thought it was interesting that the Wishing Star store in Fantasyland made use of the old Geppetto's Toys & Gifts sign. The first image is the current sign; the second is what it looked like in 1999.

There sure is a lot of junk on top of the Matterhorn! And what's with the camera pointed at the Submarine Lagoon? Or maybe it's pointed at Cash Control Backstage?

Old Fence #1: Wheelhouse fence in the New Orleans Street area of Frontierland.

As I sat there with Kevin, I thought the fence looked rather old. I was able to visually confirm the age via a photo over at Daveland:

I took a few close-ups of the fence:

We also took time to look at the old Space Place area (now Space Mountain FASTPASS). The boards overhead used to display the restaurant's menu; the blue wall covers up the serving windows. Some day I'll find and scan in my photos of the restaurant area at the end of its days--it was very dusty!

This, um, thing protrudes from the wall behind the FASTPASS machines. It obviously serves no purpose now, but I'm hoping somebody can shed some light on what its former purpose was. (Westcot?)

I don't want to alarm anyone, but... there's nobody in the Moonliner cabin! Is Disneyland really going to shoot off an uncontrolled rocket?

Old Fence #2: Carousel Theater emergency exit.

I remembered that this stairway had not changed when the building was renovated for the 1998 New Tomorrowland. I don't know why that's the case--probably money, and the fact that at that time they didn't change anything over by the Submarine Voyage or Tomorrowland Autopia. This is what the stairs looked like in 1998:

The Imagineers did, however, change the stairs on the southern side of the building, as seen in this 1997 photo:

I wasn't sure if the railing panels dated from the Carousel of Progress or America Sings days, but this photo from Daveland makes me believe they are 1967 New Tomorrowland originals:

On W. Center Street, I noticed these windows advertising "Fine Chinese Food Restaurant." Now, Chinatown had been proposed for E. Center Street in the 1960s. Does anybody know if these are directly related to that? I'm kind of doubting it, myself, and think its sort of a coincidence. That is, the windows might have been put up in 1955 for the same reason that they would later consider a Chinatown attraction on Main Street. But I'd be interested if anybody has concrete knowledge on the subject!

Finally, a photo from Disney's California Adventure. (Yes, DCA!) Despite the fact that I worked right there at the main entrance, I never took time to study the entrance murals. I had a chance to do so a little bit on Sunday evening, and saw the LAX Theme Building integrated in the design:

Architect William Pereira contributed to its design, part of an overall renovation of the airport in the late 1950s. Pereira also designed the original Disneyland Hotel. He wanted to design Disneyland, and became so enamored of the "Hub" concept that he integrated it into his designs for the University of California, Irvine, and Newport Center. Pereira also designed what became the Chet Holifield Federal Building in Laguna Niguel, which houses a regional branch of the National Archives, so you can see how Pereira has affected my life!

So, that's all I've got. I have a thesis defense in about two months, so my postings between now and the beginning of the year will probably remain on an infrequent basis. In scattered free time I hope to continue doing my Disneyland research, and may post small bits of strange, arcane, totally irrelevant information for your consumption.