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June 24, 2016

The Mousy Mindboggler - June 2016



If you subscribe to the AllEars® Weekly Newsletter, you'll know that we run a little game called the Mousy Mindboggler. Sometimes it's a word game, sometimes it's a riddle, sometimes it's some other brain-teasing challenge -- but it's always fun!

Once each month, in the AllEars® newsletter, our friend James Dezern (known as "dzneynut" around several Disney discussion forums) supplies us with a puzzle of his own design.

Every month, James also Shares the Magic in another way -- by posting an all-new puzzle here in this AllEars.Net Guest Blog. The subject of the puzzle will vary, and James will award the winner of the challenge a collectible Disney pin!

This month, James writes:

Here is the solution to the last crossword puzzle:

We received 41 correct responses; all of you knew that Donald Duck’s middle name, according to his draft card seen in the short “Donald Gets Drafted,” was indeed Fauntleroy. Someone asked me if there was any significance to this name in Disney lore, and this was what I found on

"Donald Duck’s middle name, as revealed by a close-up of his draft card in the 1942 wartime cartoon ‘Donald Gets Drafted’, is Fauntleroy. His full name really is Donald Fauntleroy Duck, which is unique because he is the only Disney character to have an official middle name.

"Why Fauntleroy? Well, although we don’t know for sure one way or the other, there is a clue in the meaning of the name. Fauntleroy means ‘an excessively well-mannered or elaborately dressed young boy.’ Combined with what we know of Donald’s smart little sailor suit and notorious bad temper, the name is likely a Disney joke. Donald’s parents were apparently into peculiar names though, as they named his sister Dumbella."

The winner of a Donald Duck pin, randomly drawn from the correct responses, was Thomas H. of Absecon, NJ.

If you missed it, that’s OK, because here’s another chance!

This month we continue with the special crossword puzzle series concentrating on Disney History. The subject of this month’s puzzle is “This Month in Disney History, June.” All of these events happened sometime during the month of June. Please note, for this puzzle ALL of the clues are used.

The object is, as always, to have fun, but if you'd like a chance to win a Disney collectible pin, send me the answer IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF AN EMAIL addressed to

Send your entries no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on July 22, 2016. All correct answers will be entered into a random drawing, and the winner will be awarded a Disney pin. The answers and drawing winner will be posted in this Guest Blog in mid- to late July.

As always, any feedback on the puzzle format or topics would be appreciated! Drop me a line at


June 20, 2016

Disney fan clubs have captured people's imaginations, and fueled their passion, for years

The Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet planning committee. That's founder Don Morin, second from the right. [Courtesy of the Northwest Pacific Mouse Meet]

CHUCK SCHMIDT / Still Goofy about Disney
AllEars.Net Guest Blogger

During the weekend of May 14-15, 2011, I attended my first Disney fan convention. I walked through the doors of the Contemporary Resort's Convention Center at Walt Disney World at 8 on that Saturday morning and stepped into a different version of Disney's world ... a world populated by people wearing Mickey Mouse ears and Figment T-shirts, Disney-themed leather jackets and multi-colored vests adorned with the faces of Disney characters ... a world where nostalgia and memories were about to be rekindled and celebrated, with the help of many of the people who played such an integral role in generating all those warm memories in the first place.

I was walking into D23's Destination D: Walt Disney World's 40th. Even though I was a first-time fan event attendee, I felt a kinship with all those in attendance and anxiously looked forward to drinking in everything the two-day experience had to offer.

It turned out I was late on this very important date. Even though the first of the speakers and presenters wouldn't take the stage for another hour and a half, the queue stretched farther than the eye could see, from one side of the massive entrance lobby to the other, then around a corner and beyond. I walked to the end of the line, official event lanyard dangling from my neck, and joined the others, who didn't seem to mind the long line at all.

After the doors opened and everyone filed into the massive auditorium, I began to understand what all the excitement was about: What followed was a weekend worthy of an E Ticket park attraction: Exciting, thrilling, fun and entertaining, with memories that will truly last a lifetime.

D23, of course, is the official fan club of The Walt Disney Company. It was formed in 2009 as a way to keep Disney fans "in the middle of the magic." The group has its own website, throws a huge biennial Expo in California and even publishes its own magazine four times a year.

At each D23 Expo, the past, the present and the future all share the spotlight during the always jammed-to-the-rafters event in Anaheim, Calif. Disney Legends reminisce about their glory days, product displays give attendees an idea of what's hot on the market now, while Disney's top executives take the opportunity to introduce new theme park attractions or upcoming blockbuster movies to appreciative audiences.

In addition to its Expo, D23 offers a variety of events around the country for its members, including behind-the-scenes tours and exclusive movie screenings. On Nov. 19-20, they'll be hosting a major event at Walt Disney World. It's called Destination D: Amazing Adventures, to be held in the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. Presenters and panelists will include Disney Legends Marty Sklar and Tony Baxter; Walt Disney Imagineers Joe Rohde, Chris Merritt, Jason Grandt and Wyatt Winter; producer Don Hahn (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast); and Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline. A selection of exclusive Imagineering merchandise as well as limited-edition pins, T-shirts and collectibles themed to the event will be available for purchase by eager fans.

Disney Legend Marty Sklar signs a copy of his first book, "Dream It! Do It!", during an appearance at a Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet. [Courtesy of the Northwest Pacific Mouse Meet]

But D23 is far from the only Disney fan club out there. Regular gatherings, whether they are once a year, every other year or every few months, are the hallmarks of these groups ... as is their affection for all things Disney. They get together to share that mutual love, reveling in the past while keeping a watchful eye on what's planned for the future.

One of the most popular fan gatherings, the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet, is held in Lynnwood, Wash., outside of Seattle, each year [it'll run from July 9-10]. Guest speakers this year include Disney Legends Bob Gurr and Marty Sklar, as well as Disney artist and historian Stacia Martin. In addition to its main event, the group also hosts smaller 'mini-Meet Ups' throughout the year both locally, in the parks and at other select locations, including at the D23 Expo.

Founded in 2009 by Don Morin, the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet strives to capture the essence of what it means to be a Disney devotee. Morin is proud to say his Mouse Meet is "by Disney fans, for Disney fans."

Morin's love of Disney began in 1974 when his grammar school class was asked to write a report on a famous person from the 1900s. He chose Walt Disney. The experience "had a profound affect on me, for sure," he said. From that point on, with his Disney switch flipped, "I had a desire to learn who was creating all this magic."

Stacia Martin, an artist and Disney historian, will be featured during this year's Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet. [Courtesy of the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet]

The Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet grew out of that quest to take a deep dive into Disney history and culture. Morin says he devotes hundreds of hours into giving guests as rewarding an experience as possible; he has many hard-working volunteers helping him to achieve that goal. The work includes "prep on so many levels. Contacting vendors and guest celebrity speakers; working with the convention center and the volunteer team; updating the website; planning, building displays and securing photo ops; writing, producing and recording videos, scripts, travel, set-up and so much more. It's definitely a love and a passion for what I do for Disney fans."

This year's event is already sold out, with a crowd of about 500 fellow Disney fanatics expected to be on hand for presentations, product displays, memorabilia sales and, as an added treat, Dole Whips.

Marty Sklar, the former creative leader of Walt Disney Imagineering, has high praise for the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet and Don Morin.

"It's the second time for me, and I know it is for Bob [Gurr]. Don Morin runs such a great show and is a grand host. He's had Tony Baxter, Don Hahn, Kevin Rafferty and many other Disney and Pixar people participate in the past."

Getting Disney's blessing is a major coup for Morin. In 2015, D23 participated in the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet by supplying guest speakers. This year, D23 will be a sponsor. [The Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet has a number of sponsors, including AllEars.Net].

"Earning the respect and partnership of so many people over the years has been key to longevity, growth and building of the PNW Mouse Meet brand," Morin said. "From early on, guest celebrities have been so impressed with the event, how it is run, what it represents and what it offers the guests, that these guest celebrities go back home and talk to others about the event and even recommend them being a part of the event in the future.

"One Disney Legend has been noted as stating several times, 'The Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet is by far the best fan run Disney fan event in the country.'"

During the 2013 event, Morin presented a donation to Marty Sklar earmarked for Ryman Arts, a cause near and dear to Marty's heart [he and his wife Leah, as well as Lucille Ryman Carroll, Sharon Disney Lund and Harrison and Anne Shaw Price founded the arts education group in 1990 in honor of Disney Legend Herb Ryman].

A poster advertises the upcoming Disneyana Fan Club event where proceeds will benefit Ryman Arts. [Courtesy of Disneyana Fan Club]

Another well-known Disney fan group, the Disneyana Fan Club, will be holding a dinner and fundraising event of its own on July 13 in Garden Grove, Calif., with proceeds also going to Ryman Arts. "This event is our 'big' fundraiser for Ryman Arts," said Dennis Ritchey, Ryman Arts Fund Raising Event Coordinator for the Disneyana Fan Club. "This will be our 10th year doing this and currently we are about $4,000 away from having donated $10,000 to Ryman Arts over the past 10 years." The club also holds fundraisers throughout the year for other worthy causes.

The Disneyana Fan Club is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich legacy of Walt Disney. Its common goal is to provide Disneyana enthusiasts of all ages from around the world with news, information and events that enhance their experience with, and love of, all things Disney. The group also publishes a member newsletter, called the Disneyana Dispatch.

The Disneyana Fan Club holds an annual gathering, called DisneyanaMania Convention, July 13-16, while staging other events at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

"In addition to our annual convention in July, we usually have several special events," Ritchey noted. "Last year, we had an event at the Smoke Tree Ranch, and a great afternoon at the Jim Henson Studios in Hollywood, where Lisa Henson accepted our Legends Award posthumously for her father."

Cathy Perrone, a Disneyana Fan Club board member in charge of special events, adds that the group "hosts events that showcase some of the finest talent the Disney brand has to offer. ... A recent outing was a weekend at Walt's 'happy place,' Smoke Tree Ranch in Palm Springs. Our group was able to see Walt and Lillian's two homes, learning why they were so special to them."

Ms. Perrone added that Disneyana Fan Club prides itself "in bringing 'intimate' experiences so our members and their guests are able to speak to, shake hands with and, yes, get autographs and pose for pictures" with some of Disney's most prominent Legends.

"One of our personal favorites was a magnificent luncheon in the Magic Kingdom Ballroom at the Disneyland Hotel. There, we were treated to a rare opportunity with eight of the original Mouseketeers. They surprised us with interviews, live music and dance. To top off that special day, Tommy Cole sang 'Annette,' which was written by Disney Legend Jimmy Dodd."

At its DisneyanaMania Convention, "we have an annual Luncheon with a Disney Legend. This is an opportunity for our organization to honor and salute those individuals who have helped make so many of our dreams come true through their talents, skills and artistry.

"We began this tradition in 1993 and to date have bestowed this honor to 137 individuals," Ms.Perrone added. "While a few have been presented posthumously, I'd say 98 percent of all those honored were able to attend in person and were very moved by this honor. It is a highlight of our club and one that makes it very special."

According to Ritchey, "there are Disneyana Fan Club chapters throughout the country and we have members worldwide."

There are other clubs out there, as well ... smaller, less well-known, perhaps, but drawing devoted Disney fans to the fold. Many are popular online sites, some are tied to the Disney Vacation Club, like Mouseowners. But all have one thing in common: A desire by its participants to spread the word about Disney and share their thoughts, ideas and opinions about their passion.

June 12, 2016

Pin Trading in New Jersey

Gary Cruise banner

Carol’s pin trading career started about fifteen years ago when she read online about a new series of cloisonné pins being sold through The Disney Stores. It was 2001 and the “100 Years of Magic” series was being sold in small batches every Saturday morning. Since there was a Disney Store only 18 miles from our home just west of Toronto, off she went . . . and as the fishermen say, ‘the hook was set!’

How could we have guessed that fifteen years later her collection would include more than 4,000 different Disney pins? How could we have imagined back then how many wonderful people we would meet through her new hobby?

One of the highlights each year is Carol’s annual trip to Somerset New Jersey for an immersive pin trading weekend!

Back in May 2003 John Rick from New Jersey organized the first “Trade ‘Til You Fade” event, a weekend long affair. It was such a resounding success that he followed it up in October 2003 with another weekend event called “Swap ‘Til You Drop”! The two events have been repeated every year since 2003, one in the spring and one in the fall. John is now supported by an experienced team; his wife Sheila, Travel Planner Janis Lavender and her husband David, who help him plan and deliver a wonderful experience for pin traders from a very wide area.

The CJDPT Team
John, Sheila, Janis, David

Carol first attended the “Swap ‘Til You Drop” event in 2007 and enjoyed it so much that she has been back to at least one of the Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders events at Somerset each year.

It’s a six-hour drive for us, about 375 miles from our home in Canada to Somerset - but it’s a trek Carol looks forward to. She knows most of the “regulars” there and of course there are always new faces too!

Comfort Inn Sign

Since we live in Canada you might think that we traveled the furthest to get to the event . . . but you would be wrong. The distance honors for April 2016 go to the pin traders who traveled about 475 miles from Ohio. In previous years there have been traders from as far away as Illinois, Florida and even California.

The weekend itinerary is always full . . .

Event Brochure Pages 1 and 2
Click on the image to see a larger, easier to read version.

Brochure Page 3

Carol is an avid pin trader; I am not. They really don’t interest me much and I know very little about them, but I travel to the pin events with her whenever I can. Over the years we’ve developed a bit of a routine. We make the south-easterly drive on Thursday in order to have a “touristy” day on Friday. That means sightseeing and shopping. Over the years we have taken several trips into nearby Manhattan. We’ve taken the train to Penn Station, the Staten Island Ferry to Battery Park, ridden the NYC Subway to Times Square, enjoyed lunch at Carnegie’s Deli on 7th Avenue, taken a horse-drawn carriage ride around Central Park . . . there’s always plenty to do in the area.

But we always have to be back to the hotel by 5:00 p.m. on Friday . . . that’s when the event kicks off! On a typical Friday night we connect with some of our pin trading friends and enjoy dinner at the Ruby Tuesday’s Restaurant across the street; then Carol grabs her pin bags and heads to one of the trading rooms. The hotel makes three rooms available to traders, the Breakfast Room, the Board Room and a Meeting Room. Before you can say “Swap” the tables are covered with pin books, pin binders, boxes and bins full of pins. It’s a Pin-A-Palooza!

Friday Night Trading

Friday Night Trading

Carol always does some of her best trading on Friday nights. Everyone is fresh and eager; everyone is looking to complete their collections! The traders, at least those I see in New Jersey, are an interesting group. They don’t seem to be competitive; they seem genuinely interested in helping other collectors complete the sets of pins they’re trying to acquire. It’s amazing how well things can work out when people are cooperative rather than competitive!

When Carol returned to the room at about 11:00 p.m. Friday night she was thrilled with the 24 new pins she was able to trade for. Most of them had been on her “Wants List” for quite some time so she had filled plenty of gaps in her collection.

Saturday was all about pins! Nothing but pins!

We enjoyed our first cup of coffee in the room and then headed down to the breakfast room where I enjoyed a fresh Belgian waffle and orange juice while Carol had a bowl of hot oatmeal.

The hotel treats the pin traders very well. Not only do they give very attractive group rates for the guest rooms and provide a complimentary hot breakfast, but they allow the group to bring in their own snacks and beverages. All the traders bring along cans of soda or bottles of water, chips, cookies or some other snack to add to the communal stock of food and drink. There is always a frosty drink of soda or water and a tasty bite available. Just help yourself!

By 9:30 Carol was all set up in the back conference room. I spent much of the day babysitting her three pin bags while she scoured the three rooms filled with traders, looking for the pins she has on her “wants list”.

Saturday Trading

Saturday Trading

As I sat there people would come by, flip through the three bags full of trader pins and then say, “Tell Carol there are three pins in there that I’d like to trade for. My pins are right over there; she can have a look when she gets back.”

Saturday Trading

The traders come from all over; in the parking lot there were plenty of cars with Disney stickers, decals or vanity plates. Those cars came from Ontario, Ohio, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and of course New Jersey. There were probably other states represented there that I missed.

Saturday Trading

On Saturdays the organizers order lunch and put out a small basket where folks can contribute toward the cost.


At noon that lunch arrived, a six-foot turkey sub, a six-foot Italian sub, two salads and some potato chips. Yummy!


During the day the organizers staged a number of games for everyone. There were Crossword and Word-Search puzzles, Pingo, Name That Toon, Disney Trivia; there was even a 50/50 Pin Game and a raffle for some terrific Disney prizes!


The Raffle table.

By the time the dinner break rolled around at 5:00 p.m. Carol had traded another 32 pins and 2 Vinylmations. That’s a pretty successful day!

We have some good friends who live in New Jersey, about an hour away. They arrived just as we broke for dinner. We relaxed with them in our room and had a few laughs as we spent an hour catching up with each others busy lives. At 6:00 we walked across the road to Ruby Tuesday’s and carried on our visit over a leisurely dinner.

After dinner we spent another few hours in the hotel, laughing and reminiscing about our many adventures together before saying our goodbyes at 10:00.

We missed the “Let’s Make A Steal” gift exchange which always takes place Saturday nights. Everyone contributes a wrapped Disney themed gift (about $20 value) to the gift table then names are drawn in random order. Those who’s names are drawn can pick a new wrapped gift or “steal” a previously opened gift. It’s always a hilarious time as people try to pick up, and hold onto a gift!

After our friends left Carol went back down for some more trading while I relaxed in the room. (Snore!) She was back home at 11:30 to rest up for a day of travel the next morning! Some of the other traders kept right on going until 1:00 a.m.

Carol surprised me; we were both up and enjoying our first cup of coffee at about 7:15 Sunday morning when I asked, “Are you going to do some more trading this morning?”

“Nope,” she replied, “I’m all done and I miss my dogs. Take me home.”

So I did!

We were all packed up by 8:00 a.m. and stopped in the breakfast room for another coffee and a quick bite to eat before we pulled away. We chatted with the organizers and thanked then for a wonderful weekend before we pulled away to begin our 375 mile trek at 8:30.

We made a brief shopping stop near Syracuse New York to pick up a few grocery items that aren’t available in Canada and quickly carried on northbound. We were back in Canada by 3:30, picked up our two dogs at Carol’s mother’s house and were home unpacking by 4:30.


What a great weekend! A total of 93 traders registered for the event. That number included 51 people who live close enough to pop in for a few hours or a full day as well as the 42 of us who stayed in the hotel for the weekend. We had a chance to reconnect with friends and Carol was delighted with the pins she was able to add to her collection!

If you are a pin trader and the New Jersey events sound like something you might enjoy, be sure to check out the Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders web site by clicking HERE. You can find them on Facebook HERE.

If you plan to attend, be sure to book your hotel through CJDPT to ensure that you get the group rates.

Maybe we’ll see you there!

Carol’s next pin trading excursion will be in August when she heads south for the annual Pin Celebration at EPCOT. She’s sure to write a blog about that trip, so stay tuned!

June 6, 2016

Waxing nostalgic about Disney memorabilia

The cover of a long-playing Mickey Mouse Club record. The album features 21 hit Mouseketunes. [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

CHUCK SCHMIDT / Still Goofy About Disney
AllEars.Net Guest Blogger

What do you think of when you think of Disney?

World-class theme parks, with so many iconic rides and attractions, to be sure. And all those classic animated feature films, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Frozen, and live-action epics like Star Wars and the Marvel franchises ... beloved characters ... a respected cruise line ... a popular time share enterprise ... numerous retail outlets in the theme parks, in malls and online ... a leading television network ...

And let's not forget nostalgia.

"Makin' memories," as they used to say at the Imagination pavilion at Epcot, is a key component to Disney's unparalleled long-term success. A few years back, Disney Parks initiated a year-long campaign called "Let the Memories Begin," because they have long recognized how important memorable experiences are to the fabric of most families.

As a natural extension, memorabilia and collectibles are an integral part of the world of Disney. Just ask anyone who has ever attended a Disneyana or D23 event and you'll get an idea of how great the appeal is for Disney's storied past [more on that in a future blog].

Like most hard-core Disney fans, I love Disney of old. Which goes a long way in explaining why, every time I visit a Disney theme park, I grab several guide maps ... one for use that day in the park, the others to be filed away for future reference. Thankfully, I've done this ever since our first visit to Walt Disney World in 1972. To me, these seemingly innocent maps serve as a window back in time, a glimpse at the way things used to be, a barometer of how things have changed.

Marty Sklar wrote this in the author's copy of "Walt Disney's Disneyland." [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

Over the years, I've managed to put together a collection of Disney memorabilia that I'm quite proud of. Some of these items I've secured on my own [usually with the help of my wife Janet], others were given to me by family and friends who know of my love of all things Disney.

One of my first "finds" was securing a copy of Walt Disney's Disneyland, a wonderfully detailed book written by none other than my friend Marty Sklar. The books were sold at Disneyland in the late 1960s into the early 1970s as a souvenir of your visit. In truth, the book is a remarkably well-done work, rich in detail about the Happiest Place on Earth.

I found my first copy [Janet and I now have three] of the book at a yard sale in Colts Neck, N.J., in the 1990s.

Years later, in 2011, I had Marty sign the book for me during "a dinner and a conversation" fund-raising event that he headlined in Orlando the night before the D23 event celebrating Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary. It's a cherished keepsake, on many levels.

The cover of Life Magazine in October, 1971, featuring a "mob-scene" photo of the cast in front of Cinderella Castle. [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

A colleague at the Staten Island Advance, Steve Zaffarano, was cleaning house one day in 2010 when he came across a copy of the iconic Life Magazine edition, dated October 15, 1971, featuring the Walt Disney World cast posed in front of Cinderella Castle.

He brought it to work the next day and asked me if I'd like to have it. A no-brainer, on many levels. A few years after Steve's generous gift, I was fortunate to speak to the man who was chiefly responsible for setting up that classic photo, as well as several other pre-opening magazine features ... Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway.

After making significant contributions to the success of Disneyland, Charlie and his family moved to Florida in 1969 following him being named Walt Disney World's first director of press and publicity.

"The first trip I made when I took the job at the end of 1969 was to go to New York," he told me in 2014. "I went to Time, Life and Look magazines and all the major papers and I also went to Washington to National Geographic.

"The managing editor of Look Magazine (Pat Carbine) said: 'We want to be the first ones with a cover story' [on Walt Disney World]. They wanted to have their reporter come down in April [of 1971; the Magic Kingdom wouldn't open until October], which was way too early. There wasn't that much really finished. But we were able to gerrymander things and produce pictures that looked like it was really done.

"We laid some artificial grass on Town Square so we could shoot City Hall. I think there was a ladder still up on the balcony when we shot it. Look had a very good layout."

As for the Life Magazine cover photo and story: "The idea of going to Life was Sandy Quinn's, who came down in 1967 and was the first Disney guy on the ground ... he became very friendly with a lot of the local news media," Charlie said.

"At the time we were getting ready to plan for the opening, I suggested we do a mob-scene picture and we carried forward from that point. We went to Life with the idea and they liked it and they sent down one of their very best photographers, a guy named Yale Joel. He got up on a stand with an 8x10 view camera to shoot the picture. Of course, that one we shot in front of the castle.

"We assembled as many cast members as we could get there. We actually had 5,000 employees, of which we were able to gather 3,000 at one time for the photo." The magazine is a wonderful keepsake, made even more special after getting input from the man involved in bringing it to Life [pun intended].

Disney memorabilia comes in all shapes and sizes, from Mickey Mouse watches to character figurines to Davy Crockett coonskin caps to vintage stuffed animals ... a.k.a., plush. Vinyl records — you remember them, don't you? — also fall into this nostalgic category.

Our son's mother-in-law, Cindy, came across several Disney recording gems at a flea market a few years ago and gave them to me. All three records — one is a 12-inch long-playing record, the other two are smaller 6- and 7-inch discs — feature the Mickey Mouse Club and The Merry Mouseketeers, as they were sometimes referred to during the show's prime in the 1950s.

One of the smaller records is a Disneyland Record and Book titled "Mickey Mouse, Brave Little Tailor," while the other is titled "Songs from the Mickey Mouse Club" and was part of a series of official Mickey Mouse Club Records.

"The Mickey Mouse Club March" was featured on this vintage record. [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

The liner notes on the cover of that record are priceless: "Exclusively on these low-priced official Mickey Mouse Club Records are the voices, songs and games from Walt Disney's wonderful daily one-hour TV show. Here are Mickey, Donald and Jiminy Cricket — Jimmie Dodd and The Merry Mouseketeers for your child's enjoyment, participation and education."

The LP — "Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Club, Mousekedances and Other Mouseketeer Favorites," on Disneyland Records — features a colorful cover, with drawings of Mickey, Donald Duck and Goofy sharing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse stage with likenesses of club leader Jimmie and Mouseketeers Karen, Cubby, Bobby and, of course, Annette Funicello. The songs on the album run the gamut of what was played during a typical "Mickey Mouse Club" television show, which was broadcast on ABC in glorious black-and-white Monday through Friday in the mid- to late-1950s.

This letter, from Walt Disney to then-Gov. Goodwin J. Knight, was up for auction several years ago. [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

Several years ago, an auction house sent me photos of several Disney-related items that they were about to put up for bidding. One of the items was a letter from Walt Disney to California Gov. Goodwin J. Knight, sent in December of 1958. It's fascinating, on many levels.

The point of the letter, on official Disneyland stationary no less, was to alert Gov. Knight that he was receiving his Disneyland Gold Pass for the 1959 season. In reading the letter, it's obvious that Walt is quite proud of the fact that many new attractions would be opening at Disneyland during the year, including the Matterhorn bobsleds, a monorail system and a submarine voyage.

If need be, according to the letter, Gov. Knight could contact Walt's secretary, Tommy Walker, by calling her at VIctoria 9-3411. If you manage to get your hands on a time-traveling device, make sure to give Walt a call when you go back to the 1950s. Gov. Knight was among the many honored guests on hand during Disneyland's opening day on July 17, 1955.

A newspaper article, circa 1939-1940, and in French, dealing with Walt Disney's new film, "Fantasia." [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

Mike Virgintino, my Friendly Freedomland pal, occasionally stumbles on Disney-related gems and he generously sends them to me to add to my collection. "I know they'll get a good home with you," he says.

One such item is quite interesting. It's a newspaper clipping, circa 1939-1940, of a story on Disney's upcoming new film, Fantasia. The article features a photo of one of the film's segments, Beethoven's "The Pastoral Symphony."

The only problem is: The article is in French [any French students out there?].

The clipping adds to my Fantasia collection: I have [on loan from my mother] an original program movie-goers received when they saw the movie during its long-running engagement at the Broadway Theatre in Manhattan. The booklet features a wealth of information about the ground-breaking cinematic achievement, including portraits of Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor and the making of the classic.

There's also one critic's succinct take on the movie: "Fantasia will Amasia." ... as will most items from the Disney vault.

June 1, 2016

The Mousy Mindboggler - May 2016



If you subscribe to the AllEars® Weekly Newsletter, you'll know that we run a little game called the Mousy Mindboggler. Sometimes it's a word game, sometimes it's a riddle, sometimes it's some other brain-teasing challenge -- but it's always fun!

Once each month, in the AllEars® newsletter, our friend James Dezern (known as "dzneynut" around several Disney discussion forums) supplies us with a puzzle of his own design.

Every month, James also Shares the Magic in another way -- by posting an all-new puzzle here in this AllEars.Net Guest Blog. The subject of the puzzle will vary, and James will award the winner of the challenge a collectible Disney pin!

This month, James writes:

Very late this month! So, so sorry! But better late than never, here is the solution to last month’s crossword puzzle:

We received 35 correct responses; all of you knowing that the only Walt Disney Feature Animation film to be released during the month of April was “Home on the Range.” Prior to that the most popular month for animated feature releases was by far the month of November.

The winner of a Mickey pin, randomly drawn from the correct responses, was Al S. of Newark, DE.

If you missed it, that’s OK, because here’s another chance!

This month we continue with the special crossword puzzle series concentrating on Disney History. The subject of this month’s puzzle will be, “This Month in Disney History: May.” All of these events happened sometime during the month of May. Please note, for this puzzle ALL of the clues are used.

The object is, as always, to have fun, but if you'd like a chance to win a Disney collectible pin, send me the answer IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF AN EMAIL addressed to

Send your entries no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on June 17, 2016. All correct answers will be entered into a random drawing, and the winner will be awarded a Disney pin. The answers and drawing winner will be posted in this Guest Blog in mid- to late June.

As always, any feedback on the puzzle format or topics would be appreciated! Drop me a line at


May 29, 2016

Disney’s Halloween Golf Cart Parade

Gary Cruise banner

One of the highlights of the Halloween celebration at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground is the amazing golf cart parade.

Imagine a slow moving procession of golf carts festooned with bunting, streamers, signs, banners, cobwebs, ghosts, skeletons, lights and all sorts of seasonal décor.

Last year there were about 140 carts in the parade which stepped off at 5:00 p.m. on Halloween day. Some of those carts were absolutely astounding. Many Disney campers display unbelievable creativity!

Woody and Jessie led the parade in 2014!

Woody and Jessie

Disney bus

No . . . that's not a Disney bus, it's a golf cart!

Fort Wilderness cabin

No . . . that's not a Fort Wilderness cabin, it's a golf cart!

Hitchhiking ghost

Is that a hitchhiking ghost driving a spooky golf cart?

Many carts are Disney themed!



Toy Story

Tow Mater

Haunted Mansion

Evil Queen

Some have non-Disney characters.

Hulk, Wonder Woman and Superman



Some are just cute!

Dunkin Donuts

Happy Halloweiner

Seven Dwarfs

Green Bay Packers fan

It takes imagination, ingenuity, money and time to convert a golf cart into a space ship or a hearse!

Star Wars ship

Haunted Mansion Hearse

Horse Drawn hearse

Horse Drawn hearse

You might think that all these fabulously decorated golf carts are privately owned by campers who bring them from home. Some of them are . . . but that is not always the case. Many of them, probably the majority of the decorated carts, are rentals! Yes, folks vacationing in Disney cabins, travel trailers and tents really enjoy renting golf carts from Disney and entering them in the parade. They use their wild imaginations together with materials they have brought along with them to convert the rental carts into rolling pieces of art!

It's just astounding what people can do with cardboard, duct tape, PVC pipe and paint!

There are usually a few pirate ships!

Pirate Ship

Pirate Ship

Here are a couple of Kilimanjaro Safari trucks.

Kilimanjaro Safari

Kilimanjaro Safari

These enterprising campers hooked two rented golf carts together to make the Slinky Dog from Toy Story. What a great idea!

Slinky Dog

Disney judges parade entrants and provides prizes for the best decorated ones. What does it take to win the top prize?

The house from Up

The house from Up

The winning cart in 2012 was a replica of Carl and Ellie's house from the movie Up!

Millennium Falcon

The winning cart in 2015 was a replica of Han Solo's Millennium Falcon.

If you want to see plenty more of those fabulous golf carts click on the white arrow below to watch a 22 minute video of the 2015 parade produced by our good friends at

If you find yourself at Walt Disney World on October 31st and you're looking for something really different . . . the Halloween Golf Cart Parade might be just what you're looking for. The last few years it has started at 5:00 p.m. but be sure to call the Bike Barn at Fort Wilderness (407-824-2742) to confirm the time.

Maybe Carol and I will see you there!

Note: Parking is very limited at Fort Wilderness. If you plan to come see the golf cart parade you should plan on using Disney transportation. Come by Disney bus, or catch a boat from the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort or Wilderness Lodge.

May 23, 2016

Tom Nabbe, Disneyland's Tom Sawyer, had a big hand in bringing Walt Disney World's monorail system to life

Tom Nabbe poses for a photo in 1957 on Tom Sawyer Island. [Courtesy of Tom Nabbe]

CHUCK SCHMIDT / Still Goofy about Disney
AllEars.Net Guest Blogger

To many people, riding the monorail at Walt Disney World is one of those must-do experiences when they make it down to the Vacation Kingdom of the World.

For one thing, the monorails are free. For another, they're air-conditioned [a true blessing during the scorching summer months]. They offer panoramic views of the property, and let's face it: What tops actually riding through a hotel's Grand Concourse the way the monorails glide in and out of the Contemporary Resort? And, when compared to most of the popular attractions inside the four parks, there's usually not much of a wait.

When monorails were first introduced at Disneyland in 1959, they were truly a futuristic mode of transportation ... a glimpse at what moving large quantities of people in an efficient, timely manner might look like in the not-too-distant future.

Although they've never really caught on as was hoped, they remain an iconic presence at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Tom Nabbe, who was hired by Walt Disney in 1955 to play the roles of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn on Tom Sawyer Island, remembers seeing the monorails when they debuted in 1959, wanting very much to pilot one of those Buck Rogers-inspired vehicles.

By 1959, he had outgrown his role as Mark Twain's mischievous youngsters and had transitioned into a ride operator, primarily for the Jungle Cruise and Submarine Voyage attractions. But the monorails seemed to be calling his name. "At the time, the steam trains and monorails were run by Retlaw [a division in the Walt Disney Company which was owned by heirs within the Disney family; Retlaw is Walter spelled backwards] and you had to be at least six feet tall to operate them."

The vertically challenged Nabbe refused to let that stop him, however. He was persistent, to say the least. When he didn't have an assigned shift at the park, he'd show up anyway. "I'd sit in the operations office and hope for people to call in sick or that the park would get real busy. If that happened, the supervisor knew I was there, so he didn't have to call around to get somebody else to come in." If he wasn't needed on a particular day, "I'd head off to the beach and go surfing."

In the mid-1960s, when word began filtering through the Disney cast member ranks that the company was looking for experienced operators to help open a new Disney theme park in central Florida, Tom was well-positioned for the big career shift. "I couldn't think of many people more qualified than me, since I had been at Disneyland since opening day and it was Walt himself who hired me."

The Disneyland monorail, with just three cars, pulls into the station near Tomorrowland. [The Walt Disney Company]

He also had the respect of his immediate boss, Pete Crimmings, who encouraged him to take on more of a supervisory role at Disneyland, all with an eye to making the big move to Walt Disney World. After several years learning the management ropes under friend and mentor Crimmings, Tom was ready to head east and take on new challenges.

Tom and his wife Janice were part of a small army of Disneyland cast members who relocated from southern California to central Florida to help bring Walt's "latest and greatest dream" to life. The Nabbes moved in January of 1971.

Once they arrived and settled in the Orlando area, Tom finally got his chance to work on the monorails, overseeing the construction of the stations and the beamways that would service the Magic Kingdom and the two resorts [Contemporary and Polynesian] that bordered on the Seven Seas Lagoon.

"We built the whole system on swampland," he told me. "I was involved in the layout of the stations, as well as major decisions involving the beams for the monorails. The beams were built in Tacoma, Washington, and shipped here to Florida by rail."

Tom recounts how, as the beam-laden train was making its way through Georgia, it rounded a sharp curve. "Two 110-foot beams rolled off the train," he said. Those two beams were scheduled to be placed right outside the Contemporary Resort. Two new beams were quickly re-manufactured and sent to Florida, but "they never quite matched up with the originals. You can feel it today ... a little transition right as you roll over those two beams."

Tom became an expert on those monorail beams while helping to get the entire system up and running. "The beams are made up of stainless steel tubes and cables welded together, all pulled tight under stress."

He would routinely walk on the beams as a way to "check the loop, foot by foot," to get a "feel" for each of them. He'd walk from the Transportation and Ticket Center station up the gradual incline to the Contemporary, check the station there, then walk the beam down to the Magic Kingdom station. Then he'd make the long walk, over marshland and the Seven Seas Lagoon, to the Polynesian [the Grand Floridian was still years away from being built].

The monorail exits the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. Yes, Tom Nabbe actually walked along those beams during the construction phase of the system. [The Walt Disney Company]

The beam is 60 feet off the ground at its highest point at the Contemporary. It also is about 30 inches wide, which didn't leave much room for error as Tom went on his regular jaunts. "It was the only way I could move through all the stations during times of heavy construction," he said. "It wasn't that bad being up there, as long as it wasn't windy."

There are several differences between the monorails in Disneyland and those in operation at Walt Disney World. For one, passengers on board a Disneyland monorails can cool off by opening a window. For another, the Disneyland monorails only operate in one direction, making their way through Disneyland Park, California Adventure and the Downtown Disney District in one continuous loop.

"To reverse the Disneyland monorails, you can only go 2 or 3 miles per hour," Tom said. "If they backed up any faster, connection shoes that operated off a bus bar would derail. The monorails at Disney World were designed to go in both directions."

During WDW's early days, the monorails went in both directions on a daily basis. "I learned real quick that everyone wanted to go through the Contemporary," he said. "If guests arrived in the morning, and didn't go through the Contemporary, they'd stay on the monorail for an extra trip. As soon as we figured this out, we adjusted. At about 4 in the afternoon, we'd switch the direction of the train" [so guests leaving the park would get to experience the trip through the Contemporary's still-spectacular Grand Concourse].

In the beginning, the WDW monorails consisted of five cars per train. The capacity was about 120 guests. "Improvements were made over the years with six-car trains, standing room and additional doors ... 22 doors on each side of the train," Tom said. "You'd push a button to open all 22 doors simultaneously. All the doors had to be closed together. Inevitably, we would pinch somebody's hand or arm." Disneyland's monorail doors only open on one side, while at WDW [at least at the Magic Kingdom station] guests board and exit using both sides of the cars.

The Magic Kingdom station at Walt Disney World, easily the busiest station on property, needed the most "tweaking" in the months after the park opened.

"It was because of the Florida rains," Tom said. "When it started to rain there was only enough room to unload maybe one train load of guests under cover on the outside of the Magic Kingdom station platform. Then we would have to shut down the operation until we could clear the station platform of guests. Sometimes we would just park a train in the station and let the guests sit there until the rain would let up.

"But we could unload five to six trains of guests onto the center of the station platform. We set up temporary holding areas and gates until the station could be redesigned and modified to fit the new S.O.P. [standard operating procedure]. The down ramps needed to be covered and all of the direction signage for the local and express monorails needed to be relocated to the bottom of the new entrance ramps.

"Every day was a new learning curve for us!"

I asked Tom if there ever was any thought given to expanding the monorail system beyond the Magic Kingdom/Epcot lines.

Tom Nabbe as he appeared on the cover of Parade Magazine in 1957. [Courtesy of Tom Nabbe]

"If you go back to the original drawings, the monorail system went to an industrial park off Route 192, then Epcot, then the Magic Kingdom and, finally, the hotels," Tom said. "Actually, there were three destinations, if you look at the original map that Walt is standing in front of [when he first introduced the world to Walt Disney World in the Florida Project film]. The Transportation and Ticket Center was in the north end of loop.

"The original monorail was very expensive, about two to three million dollars to build a mile of track" ... which goes a long way in explaining why the monorail system hasn't been expanded to, say, Animal Kingdom.

Once the monorails were up and running efficiently, Tom's career segued into more behind-the-scenes challenges: He took on supervisory roles in WDW's massive logistical warehouses, assisting in the openings of Epcot and Disneyland Paris. For a guy who was very much in the spotlight at a very early age, playing the roles of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn at Disneyland [he even had his photo on the cover of Parade Magazine in 1957], he made a smooth transition into those less visible, yet vitally important backstage roles.

For all of his efforts throughout his 48-year career with Disney, he received a window on Main Street in Walt Disney World in his honor [it's behind the Main Street Cinema marquee], as well as recognition as a Disney Legend.

For more on Tom Nabbe's fascinating career, get your hands on a copy of his book, From Disneyland's Tom Sawyer to Disney Legend: The Adventures of Tom Nabbe.

May 15, 2016

Disney’s Halloween Pet Parade

Gary Cruise banner

Every year our dogs Blue and Jake look forward to the costumed pet parade held at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground just before Halloween. It’s the high point on their social calendar!

Back in 2012 our boys Zak and Blue took third place honours with their costumes, Zak as the Headless Horseman and Blue as a canine aviator.

2012 Third Place Winners

The last few years the event has been held on October 30th, in the afternoon, and it always takes place in the off-leash dog park beside the 300 loop of campsites.

Dogs from across the continent . . . and the occasional very wary cat . . . put on their finest Halloween costumes and parade past the panel of judges from the nearby Best Friends Kennel. The nice folks at Best Friends provide all the prizes for the contest winners!

There is always a wide diversity of costumes . . .

Some are purchased.


Some are home made.

Home made costume

Some are formal.

Dog in a tuxedo

Some are just way cool!

Cool shades

Many are Disney themed.

Snow White


Toy Story

There are cute little pets.

A Maltese named Preston

A cute pair of dogs

There are giant beasts who outweigh their humans.

Great Danes

Some costumes are whimsical.

Tooth Fairy

Cowboy dog

A Packers fan

Some costumes are lavish.

Wicked Witch of the Weird

Here's one of those wary cats I mentioned earlier! Is that Cheshire Cat masquerading as White Rabbit?

Wary cat

Once everyone has paraded past the judging area . . .

Contestants on parade

. . . everyone waits, filled with anticipation . . .

Awaiting the results

. . . while the judges tally the scores!

The judges

Then the results are announced!

The winners in 2010 . . . Jack, Sally and Zero.

Jack, Sally and Zero

In 2015 it was a Star Wars family. The two dogs were dressed as R2D2 and C3PO.

Star Wars family

Our puppies have been shut out since that third place finish in 2012, but they're determined to get back into the limelight. They will parade in their brand new costumes in just under six months and they're already getting excited!

If you're looking for a change of pace at Walt Disney World you might want to drop by for the annual Halloween pet parade. Call the Bike Barn at Fort Wilderness (407-824-2742) to confirm the date and time.

If you can't wait until October, click on the white arrow in the image below to enjoy a ten-minute video of the 2015 event provided by our good friends at

Note: Parking is very limited at Fort Wilderness. If you plan to come see the pet parade you should plan on using Disney transportation. Come by Disney bus, or catch a boat from the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort or Wilderness Lodge.

Blue, Jake, Carol and I will be there to say hello!

May 12, 2016

MAKO - A New Species of Coaster!

By Guest Blogger Jeremiah Good
MAKO Shark - Isurus oxyrinchus
Found all over the world
Weighing up to 1000 pounds
Length ranging from 6 to 12 feet
Fastest shark with speeds up to 60 mph
MAKO™- B&W Hyper Coaster
Found only at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fl.
Highest point 200 feet
More than a mile in length
Top speed of 73 mph

Early morning May 10, a month prior to official opening date, a handful of brave souls gathered to take a first look behind the walls of SeaWorld Orlando's newest coaster - MAKO™.


With still a lot of work left to be done we were given a look at MAKO™ Plaza and our first glimpse of the queue entrance.


Once we all gathered, Brian Morrow - VP of Theme Park Experience and Design gave a short presentation of the work he and his team did on bringing MAKO™ to life.


Brian also gave us our first look at MAKO™ in action. As someone who loves coasters, this was very thrilling.

Now that you've had a chance to watch the coaster in action, I urge you to go back and take note of two things as it flew past us.

First, it is silent. For a ride of this size and speed, that is amazing. Second, listen to the music change in the plaza. As Brian pointed out to us, there are different lighting and music changes each time the car flies past to give those guests walking by a taste of the attraction.


Walking into the queue we experienced something that SeaWorld has become great at doing -- we felt almost as if we ourselves were a creature of the sea exploring a new environment. Even though the line is not complete and there was work still going on all around us, it was evident this area was not going to be just a lot of switchbacks, but a rich storytelling element for the attraction.


After a short climb we were at the load station, which continues that feeling created by the queue -- it puts you in the role of the MAKO™ shark.


Brian, showing his passion for the theme and story of the attraction, gave a short presentation on how technologically advanced the loading area will be. He claimed that no matter whether you are in the first row of the vehicle or the seventh, you will get a part of the story.

We were unable to ride MAKO™, but we did get to follow its path from the station out to the back area where we really got the sense of how massive this attraction is.


Standing in the shadow of the extreme 200-foot drop and right at the point where each car will achieve the maximum speed of 73 mph , Mike Denninger - VP Theme Park Development gave us a chance to lean more about MAKO™ standing just a few feet away from the track.

Not only is MAKO™ the tallest, fastest, and longest coaster in all Orlando, it also has a very unique feature -- 92 percent of the ride takes place over water, again adding to the theme that you are living the part of the Mako shark.

MAKO™ opens to the public on June 10, 2016, only at SeaWorld Orlando. I can guarantee this will be the attraction everyone will race to at park opening for a long time to come!

Official Press Release "MAKO Surfacing at SeaWorld Orlando June 10th"

About Jeremiah:

Born and raised in Southern California, Disneyland was always Jeremiah's home park. Walt Disney World was just a dream. After he relocated to Florida, the theme park capital of the world, his dream came true. With the opportunity to enjoy a different theme park every day of the week you never know where he will be.

Disclaimer: AllEars.Net was invited by SeaWorld Orlando to attend this media preview. Jeremiah's views are his own.

May 9, 2016

Jack Lindquist: A rich legacy and a fun-filled career with the Walt Disney Company

Jack Lindquist and Mickey Mouse appear at a function held at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., where Jack was a trustee. [Courtesy of Chapman University]

CHUCK SCHMIDT / Still Goofy About Disney
AllEars.Net Guest Blogger

In May of 2011, at Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary celebration, Jack Lindquist had this to say about fellow Disney Legend Marty Sklar:

"Marty was always a big troublemaker. He'd bring water guns to work and, right there in our offices above City Hall in Disneyland, we'd have shootouts! Either that, or he was always throwing footballs around the place."

Turns out, The Master of Fun was just getting started.

There followed another story, this one about Jack's used Cadillac, a series of blown head gaskets, an engine fire and Marty laughing so hard that he had to relieve himself in a nearby orange grove adjacent to Disneyland.

Long-time friends can do that -- poke fun at one another in a good-natured way and tell hilarious stories about each other without hesitation -- because they've experienced so much together and their bond is that strong, that enduring.

The friendship between Jack Lindquist and Marty Sklar began in 1955 when the two were members of Disneyland's first publicity department, and it lasted more than 60 years. Although the two followed different paths during their decades-long careers with the Walt Disney Company -- after first making his mark dreaming up unique ways to market Disneyland, Jack would go on to become the first president of the park, while Marty would head up Walt Disney Imagineering -- they remained close through it all.

"It's always fun to spend time with Marty," Jack told me last summer during a phone interview that Marty helped set up. "We've been good friends for 60 years. We had offices right next to each other above City Hall at Disneyland." It was in those offices where some of their most creative marketing strategies took root ... and where the two often engaged in those spirited water-gun battles.

"He was a Bruin [Marty graduated from UCLA] and I was a Trojan [that would be bitter rival USC], but despite that, we've remained the best of friends."

Disneyland's public relations team posed for this photo in 1957. Pictured are, front row, seated, left to right: Phil Bauer, graphic artist; Dorothy Manes, in charge of group sales and children's groups; Marty Sklar, in his early 20s; Eleanor Heldt, group sales manager, and Milt Albright, promotions. Second row, standing, left to right: Charlie Nichols, head photographer; Jack Lindquist; Eddie Meck, publicity; Ed Ettinger, Division Director; Carl Frith, photographer; Lee Cake, publicity writer, Frank Forsyth, Vacationland Magazine distributor. [The Walt Disney Company]

Indeed, having fun while still keeping his eye on the prize made Jack Lindquist such a special person among his colleagues. "Jack really was one-of-a-kind," Marty said recently.

When Marty Sklar retired in 2009, he was given a window in his honor in Disneyland. It was placed on City Hall, appropriately, on the opposite side of the building where Jack Lindquist's window was placed. Marty's window lauds him as "Dean, Main Street College of Arts and Sciences," while Jack's proclaims him "Honorary Mayor of Disneyland" and calls him "The Master of Fun."

"Jack and I worked together when he was advertising manager at Disneyland," Marty said. "He's got the only other window on City Hall, so the two of us are kind of bracketed" ... which is appropriate on so many levels. At Marty's window dedication on July 17, 2009, Jack kept the audience in stitches with several wonderful stories about experiences they both shared.

The placement of their windows insured that they will remain together, forever, at a place that was near and dear to both men.

Jack Lindquist passed away on Feb. 28 at the age of 88, leaving behind a legacy of accomplishments that few, if any, will match ... as well as a loving family, many dear friends and former colleagues, and countless people who were influenced by his innovative marketing strategies.

In those early days at Disneyland, the success of the park "wasn't a slam dunk," Marty recalled. That's why the work of the marketing department -- and Jack Lindquist in particular -- was so crucial.

Jack was an outsider looking in when Disneyland was under construction in 1954. He was working in marketing for Kelvinator, one of Disneyland's many corporate sponsors, and was given access to the park during construction. He was in attendance when the park opened on July 17, 1955, and was witness to the chaos of that first day. Still, he was quickly enamored with The Happiest Place on Earth.

Jack Lindquist, who topped off his long and distinguished career by being named Disneyland's first president, was honored as a Disney Legend in 1994. [The Walt Disney Company]

A few weeks after the park opened, Jack was approached by a Disneyland representative and was asked if he could recommend someone for the position of marketing manager at Disneyland. "The job looked pretty good, so I recommended myself," he said. "Since there was no one else in marketing at the time, I was the manager of nothing. So I guess I did an excellent job!"

All kidding aside, he did do an excellent job. Out of that fledgling department came ideas like The Magic Kingdom Club, Disney Dollars, Grad Nites and the Disneyland Ambassador Program. The department would quickly grow and add many key people, all of whom played important roles in the long-term success of Disneyland.

Jack was a proponent of celebrating anniversaries and turning them into huge park promotions. His first -- Disneyland's Tencennial -- helped spur highly successful marketing promos at the other Disney properties over the years. He also dreamed up the now-iconic "I'm going to Disney World!" post-Super Bowl promotion.

In early 1957, members of the department gathered for a group photo. I was given a copy of that photo by the folks at Walt Disney Imagineering and both Marty and Jack helped supply the IDs for "the cast of characters," as Marty called them, in the picture, which was taken in Frontierland.

They were Phil Bauer, a graphic artist; Dorothy Manes, who was in charge of group sales and children's groups; Marty Sklar; Eleanor Heldt, group sales manager; Milt Albright, promotions; Charlie Nichols, head photographer; Jack Lindquist; Eddie Meck, publicity; Ed Ettinger, public relations Division Director; Carl Frith, photographer; Lee Cake, publicity writer, and Frank Forsyth, magazine distributor.

In addition to Marty and Jack, Eddie Meck and Milt Albright would go on to achieve Disney's highest accolade -- Disney Legend status. Meck was a well-known figure in the movie industry before he came to work for Disneyland, while Albright worked in finance before being transferred to the PR department, where he made many significant contributions.

According to Marty, the people in the photo "were my close colleagues until 1961, when Walt moved me to WED [the forerunner of Walt Disney Imagineering] to work on the New York World's Fair. This was the group I worked with in the summer of 1955 and when I returned to Disneyland in September of 1956 after graduation from UCLA."

Although Marty was able to identify most of the people in the photo, it was Jack who provided me with the IDs of the two women seated to Marty's left and right. "Glad to help," Jack wrote in an email. "The women in the picture are Eleanor Heldt, group sales manager, and Dorothy Manes, group sales staff for youth programs. As for the other things you want to talk about, there's too much to write. Call me and we can talk."

I called Jack bright and early a week later and we chatted for about 45 minutes. He was an absolute pleasure to speak to, sharing warm memories and intricate details from his storied career.

During my interview with Jack, he expanded on women's roles in Disneyland. "Group sales probably had more women working in non-secretarial positions than any other jobs in the park," he said. "In the 1950s, that was rather unusual."

He went on the say that Dorothy Manes "worked at a kids' amusement park up in the Bay Area and Walt somehow happened to go to this park and met her and ended up hiring her to do youth programs at Disneyland."

Jack's accomplishments are legendary, not only within Disney's ranks, but in corporate America, as well.

Jack Lindquist rides with Walt Disney during a Christmas parade in Disneyland. [The Walt Disney Company]

It was Jack Lindquist who came up with the idea of selling tickets for special events in advance. In 1957, Disneyland decided to hold its first New Year's Eve celebration. Jack thought it would be a great idea to make the night a special ticketed event, but 5,000 tickets needed to be sold just to break even. Since there were no guarantees 5,000 people would show up that night, Jack directed that tickets be sold weeks ahead of time at a variety of businesses in Hollywood, Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The night was a big success and the idea of advance-sale tickets caught on throughout the entertainment industry. "In those days, nobody sold advanced tickets," Jack said. "If you wanted a ticket, you went to the venue the day of the event."

Vacationland Magazine was another of Jack's promotional gems that helped generate tremendous interest in Disneyland and, in turn, solidify the park's long-term success.

"When Marty and I created Vacationland Magazine, we wanted to use the theory of reaching people with something different," Jack said. "Most of the hotels and motels throughout California [in the mid- to late 1950s] used to have racks in their lobbies. On these racks, all of the attractions throughout the state were featured in pamphlets. We didn't want to do the same old thing. So Marty and I developed the magazine concept; Marty was the editor and I did the marketing."

Originally, the magazine was called Disneyland Holiday. "But the people at Holiday Magazine were not happy with us using that name," Jack said. Still, "the magazine was a tremendous tool for Disney, very unique. It had all the information on the park, but it also had all the things happening in the area, not just Disneyland ... Knott's Berry Farm, Catalina Island and so on. At its height, in California, Nevada and Arizona, I think we distributed 300,000 magazines, four times a year."

As far as getting the product to the public, "we hired two guys [Bill Schwenn and Frank Forsyth] who delivered all the magazines," Jack said. "They were on the road most of the time and they built a tremendous rapport throughout the area. Everyone got to know them and like them.

"It was one of those ideas that worked beyond our wildest dreams."

Ideas that worked. That was the hallmark of Jack Lindquist's distinguished career. "We were willing to try anything, because there were no precedents," he said.

It didn't matter how or why he came up with those ideas ... just as long as they got the desired result: Promoting Disney in a fun and imaginative way.

Case in point: The giant Mickey Mouse head crop circle carved out of cornfields in Iowa to celebrate Mickey's 60th birthday in 1988, visible to any and all aircraft flying overhead. His colleagues believed that Jack probably got the idea while flying cross-country in Walt's company plane.

Jack Lindquist proudly wears a pair of Mickey Mouse ears during Disneyland's 50th birthday celebration in 2005. [The Walt Disney Company]

Jack also played a key role in setting up the marketing strategies for Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. He had a hand in signing up several countries' companies to join the World Showcase lineup at Epcot. During those endeavors, Jack was reunited with his old buddy from their Disneyland PR days, Marty Sklar.

"When Jack autographed a copy of his memoir, In Service to the Mouse, for me he wrote: 'It's been quite a ride!' We were great friends and colleagues for almost 60 years – we both 'grew up' in marketing and publicity in the early days of Disneyland, when [as Jack liked to say], 'we didn't know what wouldn't work, so we tried anything!'

"Jack pioneered marketing in the theme park industry around the world. One of my proudest accomplishments, together with a few others in the industry, was finally getting Jack inducted last November into the Hall of Fame of IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions). He deserved it for many years!

"Jack was a mentor to countless marketing people in the theme park industry. Beyond that: other than Walt Disney himself, I think Jack Lindquist was 'Mr. Disneyland' in Orange County. He represented the values and highest standards that Walt Disney wanted Disneyland to stand for, and he did it with such dedication that it never felt as though he was selling – he believed 100 percent in the product."

After his retirement from Disney in 1993, Jack formed The Lindquist Group, a distinguished marketing consulting firm. He also became a trustee at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. Chapman's president, Jim Doti, spoke in glowing terms at a memorial service for Jack.

"Jack and I frequently had breakfast together, usually at Rockwells in Villa Park," Doti said. "He was my marketing guru, and I learned so much from him. Jack was also my friend, my mentor and my hero.

"In addition to becoming a Chapman trustee, Jack provided dedicated and exemplary leadership through his involvement with Orange County's professional sports teams and convention and visitor bureaus as well as organizations like the Boy Scouts and Bowers Museum."

Fittingly, Marty Sklar was a speaker at another memorial celebration held in Jack's honor. "A great event that Disney staged," Marty said. "I'm using what I said as the core of my column for the Disney Vacation Club's Fall Disney Files magazine."

To be sure, it's going to be a fun-filled tribute, chock-full of many great stories ... and plenty of love, from one dear friend to another.

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