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.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Tribute to Me in Innoventions?

On July 3, 1998, I was the first Guest in Innoventions. (I have video proof--I'll share it sometime.) Yesterday I visited Innoventions and found these books among those on display:

I am employed by the National Archives and Records Administration. The sheer unlikelihood of finding the 1980s Abrams coffee table book on display convinces me that this must be a tribute to me, the first Guest in Innoventions. Thank you, Imagineers!

I'll post more/better photos from my visit this week. And Tim, I have some photos of fences.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 at Disneyland

September 11, 2001 was the only day that week which I wasn't scheduled to work. September 9 I worked a closing GCS City Hall shift. GCS stands for Guest Comment System, or what's used (was used?) to track compliments and concerns from Guests. I was always pretty quick with the data entry, and so I was able to finagle some extra time to go over and tape the final Country Bear show. Well, one of the two final shows--they split up the crowd into two theaters and started the shows simultaneously.

I was more than happy to pick up a sixth day closing the Information Board on Main Street for September 10. Get paid overtime to work my favorite location? Sold! I was happy for the money, too, after a brief but expensive trip to the Tokyo Disney Resort the previous week for the opening of Tokyo DisneySea. Actually, September 11 was my first day free from work or travel and I was looking forward to sleeping in. I was a little disturbed, then, when my sister called me around 6:50 AM, and more disturbed when I was awake enough to comprehend what was going on. (My family was on a California road trip and were that day traveling from Monterey to San Francisco.) I first turned on CNN just after the South Tower collapsed, and the anchors said they didn't know if it was still standing. I remember thinking, "How could you not know if the tower is there?"

But this is about September 11 at Disneyland. My roommate, who also worked in Guest Relations, was scheduled either on a VIP Tour or in the Disney Special Activities office, helping to coordinate tours for the day. Although the vast majority of Park Cast Members were paid to stay home that day, he was requested to come in to help with possible chaos at the Resort Hotels. As I watched the news all day, I heard a few times from my friend and co-worker David, who showed up at work before management decided on the closure, and worked there all day. A skeleton Guest Relations crew staffed the Phone Room. Mid-afternoon he called me up and said they desperately needed something to eat, and asked if I wanted to accompany him to get some food and then return to Disneyland.

I jumped at the chance. I had been watching news coverage alone in my apartment for probably eight hours, and I could use the break. The possibility of seeing an empty Disneyland also intrigued me. Based on David's advice about the day's security, I dressed up. He picked me up and we went to Sav-on to pick up some snacks, and then went to the Park. We didn't have much of a problem getting past Security to the Main Entry Plaza, but we did have to call one of our Leads to open up a gate for us to get into the Park. There weren't too many Guest Relations people working--perhaps between ten and twelve. The most memorable part of the visit was when our manager said she had borrowed a golf cart and needed me and David to drop it off somewhere--anywhere--else in the Park. We took this opportunity to drive completely around the Park On Stage.

I apologize for the quality of the photos. We only had a disposable camera to work with. David had already taken a couple photos earlier in the day, including the somber image above. I look at it and wonder if that day there were fewer people at the Park than at any other time since before its opening. On the regular winter closure days, there would have been a whole slew of maintenance and craftspeople on the clock; on September 11, there were very few people to be found anywhere.

This is another photograph shot earlier in the day... I'll never get used to seeing Disneyland so empty.

We only had a limited number of photos available with the disposable camera, but I just had to get this really sad-looking closure announcement. (Sad because of how non-Disney it looks!) It reads:

The Country Bear Playhouse has closed permanently, and our Bears have gone into permanent hibernation.

We invite you to visit Splash Mountain or the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes! Thank you.

MARCH 24, 1972 - SEPTEMBER 9, 2001
Did I mention how few people there were around anywhere? I don't remember seeing a single person on our golf cart jaunt until we got to Fantasyland.

These four shots are impossible to get empty under any normal circumstances.

David and I thought the Anaheim PD vehicle to be very interesting; neither of us had seen it before. The officers were doing the same thing we were doing--out taking pictures of an empty Park!

As much as I love photos of Disneyland without Guests, it's impossible to look at these photos and not think about how important Guests are to the Park. This is literally all I remember of September 11. I don't remember what happened after I left the Park. I had closing GCS shifts Wednesday through Saturday, and I remember how moving it was to go out to the Flag Retreat Ceremony each evening with other Guest Relations Cast Members. On Friday, a large contingent of Cast Members gathered, as can be seen in the following photo I downloaded from at the time:

I'll certainly never forget my time at Disneyland on or following September 11.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Nixon and Disneyland, Part 5

Disneyland Line, October 9, 1970:
DR. HENRY KISSINGER, one of President Nixon's chief advisors, recently visited Disneyland. A CBS-TV camera crew accompanied Kissinger during his visit, and the film they shot will be shown on CBS' "60 Minutes," October 13, channel 2 at 10 p.m.

This is for VintageDisneylandTickets...

Disneyland Line, October 9, 1970:
ENTERTAINMENT DIVISION'S VIC GUDER is the Mr. Guder The Carpenters sing about on their first album, Close to You.

The album is selling very fast and it is predicted to sell over a million copies.

Mr. Guder premiered last summer during the Burt Bacharach Concert at the Greek Theatre.

1970 Disneyland Doesn't Know Disney History

Man, can you believe how Blogger kept eating my posts every day for three weeks straight!? You believe that, right?

I'll have something for you on September 11, but until then, can somebody tell me what's going on here? Source: Disneyland Line, October 2, 1970:
MICKEY MOUSE WAS 42 years old on September 18. TV coverage of the event (guests singing "Happy Birthday" to him on Main Street) was aired on KABC, Channel 7 in Los Angeles. KPIX (CBS-TV in San Francisco), covered the event also. CBS aired their film coverage nationally. It showed Mickey greeting guests and just being his good, "old" self. Happy Birthday Mickey!