Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Festival of Good Times in the 41st Year: Disneyland 1996

          Okay, so granted, I may not have picked the most exciting year to write about for the 60 Days to 60 Years of Disneyland, but I had fun searching for some nuggets of history that hid in this important year.  Well, important year to me anyway.  I picked 1996 because it was the year I graduated from high school and my Disney dreams were growing rapidly that year.  I so badly wanted to dance some day at the Happiest Place on Earth, and I knew it would happen eventually.  Now hindsight has told me that I should have taken a more “Walt” historical year considering when I was a tour guide and one of my favorite tours to give was the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour, and I was a part of the first group to change the tour to include a lunch at the end (it has since changed again).  Or maybe I should have picked one of the years that I worked there and shared some of the “backstage destroy the magic” shenanigans that I witnessed firsthand.  Even better yet, I could have picked last year when I was running through Disneyland on a regular basis participating in all of the runDisney events like many of my pals.  No, I chose 1996.  A year that I thought I was there, but then realized no that I hadn’t actually gone to Disneyland then, but that I went September of 1997.  Oops!  Well, I guess that story of my last time parking in the old lot now Disney California Adventure Park will just have to wait.  Either way, here is my account as to what was up with the Happiest Place on Earth in 1996…

          Timeline of Notable Activities/Events:
  • ·         January 27th Toy Story Fun House opened as a temporary stage show that gave guests an experience with the popular 1995 movie characters, well from what I understand anyway.  How many of you saw the show?

  • ·         March 21st marked the renovation plans for another new Tomorrowland to come in 1998 (yes, I actually got to ride Rocket Rods, in the front seat too!  However I still say bring back the peoplemover).   
  • ·         Big Thunder Ranch welcomed an interactive live stage show called the Festival of Fools starring characters from the animated movie, the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  To this day I am not sure why I didn’t see this show when I was there in 1997.  I so badly wanted to dance on a Disney stage and I’ve always enjoyed the theatrical performances envisioning what parts I would have played (especially loved Animazement and Steps in Time), but maybe I just didn’t know to look for it as I was so focused on hitting the mountain range.  I’ve seen pieces of the show on YouTube and it looked to be very exciting.  

  • ·         The Mike Fink Keel Boats made a brief yearlong return and then disappeared again in 1997.  

  • ·         Cruisin’ The Kingdom Parade, one of the shortest parades in Disney history graced 1996 with its presence and then left in 1997 as well.  It was a series of non-regular Disney characters, vintage cars, and roller-bladers (remember that was a thing).  Think rainy day cavalcade but with more wheels.
  • ·         A mysterious chandelier clock showed up in the foyer of Sleeping Beauty Castle, and it doesn’t seem that anyone still to this day knows where it came from and why it was added.  It is beautiful though.  

  • ·         Two new windows graced Main Street USA honoring Disney Legends Frank Wells and Sam McKim.  Wells became chief operating officer in 1984 and worked a partnership with Michael Eisner to give the Walt Disney Company some of its most amazing years of financial growth.  While McKim designed souvenir maps from 1958-1964 that were sold in Disneyland as well as storyboards for several Disney films.  Can anyone tell me where these windows are on Main Street?

  • ·         Perhaps the biggest most notable piece of Disneyland history that came out of 1996 is that it was the farewell season for the Main Street Electrical Parade.  We all know now that the parade became Disney’s Electrical Parade and traveled to other Disney parks and then made it back to Disney’s California Adventure in the summer of 2001 (I auditioned to be a performer in the spring before the return and made it through several rounds, but was cut in the end.  However, I did get the privilege of working guest control a couple of times for it…  Not the same.), but it was hard for many Disney lovers to say goodbye to this nostalgic parade.  The music is like no other!  Other parades have tried to match up but they are just not the same.  Spectromagic in Walt Disney World comes close, but for me it has a creepy weirdness factor that I can’t get over.  Now the Paint the Night Parade does look to be interesting, so I’m excited to see it someday.

Now while 1996 may have marked a year that I was not personally at the park, but it sure wasn’t a year that went by without my dreams of being there on a regular basis someday.  I didn’t know that in just five shorts years the 24 hour military time of the Disneyland Resort would be my life, but the desire was building.  Because of this magical place I have met some of the most amazing visionaries, dreamers, historians, fellow believers, and most importantly, friends that no matter how the park changes it will always be home to me.  No matter how sparse people thought Tomorrowland was or how upset people were that the Main Street Electrical Parade was leaving, at least our castle never looked like this.

I know, a jab at Walt Disney World 25th Celebration in 1996.  I love them both, but Disneyland will always have my heart.  I can’t wait to see her in all of her beautiful sparkling diamonds. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

So many Disney thoughts...

Okay, so one of the worst parts about not doing runDisney events this year is not going to the parks.  Booo!!!  I am not missing Walt Disney World as much as I'm missing my home, Disneyland.  Recently I have made the mistake of telling my two year old all about Disneyland; going so far as to show her books of it that I have.  One of our favorites is One Day at Disney as it shows a 24 hour period of time for Tokyo, Paris, WDW, and Disneyland.  Katie sees the characters and children hugging them and says, "mama, I could meet them at Disneyland" and I melt.  I talk about the attractions I think she would like and the ones her grandpa and I love to ride together.  She is now asking me to go to Disneyland and I just want to take her so bad!!!  Especially this summer.  I was there for the 50th celebration on July 17 exactly!  I was part of the commercial in front of the castle where we flipped over signs.  It's my heart it's my home, and yet, I may miss the Diamond Celebration!  No, this can't be!  Reading the Disney Parks Blog and following the information that is coming out, from the fireworks to the adornments on Sleeping Beauty Castle, it's all going to be incredible!  Not to mention, I want all of the merchandise.  What an amazing year to see it through Katie's eyes too.  Alas, I must find a way...  I'll work on it.  In the meantime I should maybe not continue to torture myself with music from the park and listening to Walt's opening day speech.

It would have been so easy had I been running in the 10th anniversary of the Disneyland half, and how much does that kill me that I'm not a part of that!  DL Half weekend was my all time favorite.  I stayed in the Disneyland Hotel and played and visited with so many friends it was phenomenal.  I just cannot imagine not being there this year.  Coinciding with the 60th of the park is just awesome.  Again, alas, I am injured from all of the running last year.  I ended up running almost 900 miles in 2014, and my foot and knee can tell you all about how they feel about that.  Unfortunately taking a break from running is a necessity not a choice.  However, it won't stop me.  I will be back for other Disneyland Halfs, Wine & Dines, and hopefully Dopey (if it stays).  What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment and can't stay away from the magic!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Update

Okay, so no the book is not done yet.  I think my goal was a little nutty thinking I would have it done by Christmas 2014 along with 3 jobs and family.  Katie is a very fun two year old, but she also wipes me out!  However I will say this...  The new goal is by this summer!  It should be enough time for people to get some ideas and tips for next runDisney season.  Although truth be told it really is a biography of my experience.  I make no promises that what worked for me will work for anyone else, but I will discuss it all.  From eating to staying on or off property, whirlwind trips to extended stays, it's all in there.  I can't wait for you all to read it!

I will say it was a rough start to 2015.  Watching all of my friends and fellow Team runDisney mates run Goofy and Dopey was so hard!  I wanted to be there so badly.  But I felt better about the next weekend since I wasn't excited about Star Wars Weekend (never been a big fan).  I was jealous again of the Frozen theme at Princess and I had wished it had been that cold for me last year!  I am not a hot weather runner and the humidity killed me last year for Princess weekend, but again you will read about that in the book.  I don't even know what I am going to do Disneyland Half Weekend this year, I may have to hide under a rock!  I have some amazing friends who will be there and I will be cheering them on from afar.

Last thought for the day...  I need to check in with you all more.  I just applied for the Disney Social Media Moms Traveling Conference here in Portland, but I have realized with writing the book I haven't been writing enough on the blog.  I promise to try to check in more, and keep you updated.  Hopefully I will get into the conference and they will teach me a bit about balance!  I can use all the help I can get!!!

Take care friends!