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July 9, 2018

A Disney collection filled with one-of-a-kind items and unlimited memories

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The Disney Summer Magic program from 1985 given out to Radio City Music Hall guests on hand to see the film "Return to Oz" and the stage production The Magical World of Disney. [Chuck Schmidt]


Most Disney fans invariably end up becoming Disney collectors.

If you've been enamored of the Disney brand since the mid-1950s like me, you've probably amassed some pretty interesting items in your collection. Hats, T-shirts, knick-knacks, pins, jewelry and the like.

For me, it probably started when I was about 6 years old and my parents bought me the most sought-after item of the day ... a Davy Crockett coonskin hat, complete with matching pants and jacket. Although the outfit was tossed decades ago, the memories [thanks in large part to the accompanying photo] linger.

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AllEars.net blogger Chuck Schmidt poses in his Davy Crockett outfit in 1956. [Chuck Schmidt]

My Disney collection is far from ordinary, to say the least, because it contains mostly unique items that are either one-of-a-kind or limited edition ... but all featuring limitless memories at no extra cost.

The fact that I've written about Disney for almost 40 years in both print and online has enabled me acquire items not available to the general public, such as programs, brochures and trinkets from a variety of press events I've attended since 1986. My association with Disney also includes working relationships and friendships I've forged with several Disney Legends. Out of those came a number of cherished personal letters and communiques.

In 1986, Walt Disney World celebrated its 15th anniversary and 10,000 journalists from around the world were invited to join in the festivities. I saved just about everything they handed out during the three-day event, including the commemorative program.

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This personalized scroll was given to members of the press who were guests at Walt Disney World's 15th anniversary celebration. [Chuck Schmidt]

On the final night of the event, we were given a wonderful keepsake: An elaborate, personalized scroll proclaiming each invited guest as "An Honorary Citizen of Walt Disney World." It hangs proudly in my house.

I've also found that when people learn about your affinity for Disney, they're more than happy to donate to your collection. For instance, a former co-worker approached me one day about 10 years ago with a copy of the famous LIFE Magazine edition from October, 1971, covering the opening of Walt Disney World. He said he was cleaning house and knew I'd appreciate the magazine. To be sure, it is among my most cherished keepsakes, for obvious reasons, but also because of the association I had with the man who was responsible for setting up that classic cover photo: Charlie Ridgway.

Charlie was Walt Disney World's first public relations director and was so instrumental in getting the word out about Walt's fabled Florida Project. I interviewed Charlie on several occasions and even had the pleasure of sharing lunch with him at the Yacht Club Resort in 1992. Among the most memorable items in my collection is a personal letter from Charlie after I did a story on WDW, as well as a photo of Charlie and I together during lunch.

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The cover of the "Song of the South" program given to moviegoers in 1946. [Chuck Schmidt]

While rummaging through my mother's house after her passing in 2016, I came across two programs for the Disney films Fantasia and Song of the South, which were available to theater patrons during the movies' runs in New York City in the 1940s. I ended up giving the Fantasia program to Disney Legend Marty Sklar during lunch he and I shared with Disney Files editor Ryan March in November of that year. Marty seemed truly touched by my gift.

I still have the Song of the South program, which includes many interesting segments. There's a note from Walt himself: "No folk tales are better loved than Joel Chandler Harris' 'Uncle Remus,' stories in which the southern negroes [sic] brought the warmth of their humble firesides into the hearts of people everywhere. And if, now, in Song of the South, we have succeeded in a measure to help perpetuate a priceless literary treasure -- my co-workers and I shall, indeed, be very happy."

In the credits, many of the finest Disney artistic talents are listed, including Ken Anderson, Claude Coats, Mary Blair, Eric Larsen, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Don Lusk, Harvey Toombs, Blaine Gibson and Ub Iwerks.

Speaking of movie programs, in 1985 Disney released the long-anticipated sequel to The Wizard of Oz, called Return to Oz. The film enjoyed an exclusive run at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, which may well have portended Disney's initiative to begin producing shows on Broadway. Tied into the Return to Oz screening was a full stage production, The Magical World of Disney, which also was featured in the program.

"The Magical World of Disney takes Mickey Mouse and three children on an enchanted journey through unforgettable scenes inspired by beloved Disney films," the program reads. "A cast of 82 performers, including Radio City's famed Rockettes, a full orchestra and lavish special effects add up to a musical extravaganza."

Easily the most unique item in my collection is a poster I created and brought to the D23 event tied to Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary in 2011. Among the highlights of the weekend was an autograph session with 12 of the Disney Legends who were on hand.

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This one-of-a-kind poster contains the autographs of 12 Disney Legends who attended the 2011 D23 event celebrating Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary. Starting from the upper left corner and going clockwise, the autographs are from Bob Gurr, Bob Foster, Marty Sklar, Bob Matheison, Bill Sullivan, Dave Smith, Orlando Ferrante, Charlie Ridgway, Tom Nabbe, Ron Logan, Tony Baxter and Jack Lindquist. [Chuck Schmidt]

Rather than bring a handful of books for them to sign individually, I designed a poster celebrating the event, with as many photos of those in attendance included as I could find. When I couldn't find a photo of a participant, I dug up a photo related to WDW's opening ... such as the LIFE magazine opening day cover or a picture of Roy Disney dedicating the Magic Kingdom. To fill out the poster, I included photos of Walt Disney and Annette Funicello.

I acquired autographs from all 12 Legends: Bob Gurr, Bob Foster, Marty Sklar, Bob Matheison, Bill Sullivan, Dave Smith, Orlando Ferrante, Charlie Ridgway, Tom Nabbe, Ron Logan, Tony Baxter and Jack Lindquist. Chatting with each of the Legends was a treat, particularly renewing acquaintances with several I had previously interacted with.

Like just about everything in my personal Disney collection, the poster is one-of-a-kind and rife with wonderful memories.





June 25, 2018

Progress stood still during a torrential rain storm in the Magic Kingdom

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The exterior of Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

It was a typical mid-June day in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World: Hot and humid, with ominous dark clouds lurking on the horizon.

After riding on the WEDway PeopleMover in Tomorrowland, we decided to escape the heat by ducking into Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, the classic show that debuted at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair and has been playing at WDW ever since the park opened in 1971. There was no wait and we knew there would be plenty of air conditioning inside.

During the third scene of the attraction, the one where the father extols the virtues of electricity in the 1940s, I could hear the distinct sound of thunder outside the Carousel building.

A few minutes later, after witnessing the attraction's final scene, the exit doors swung open and as we walked out, we were greeted by the sites and sounds of a torrential central Florida downpour.

About 30 of us exited the theater, but we were blocked from going any farther than the exit area by the previous audience. As you might expect, they were standing under cover as the rain and wind intensified. Every few minutes, a bolt of terrifyingly close lightning would crackle.

At that point, a 20-something Disney cast member approached us and told us that we had to stand behind a yellow line, which was about five feet from the exit door. That meant that our group and the previous group were now standing pretty much shoulder to shoulder, huddling under the overhang against the wind-blown rain pellets.

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The Carousel of Progress scene that depicts life in the 1940s.

Of course, about five minutes later, the next group of about 30 people exited the attraction and things really got interesting.

The same cast member reappeared and gave the same spiel about being too close to the exit door. It was becoming obvious that unless the attraction was halted, more and more people would be spilling out into the now overcrowded exit area.

My family [three children and four adults] decided to do the only logical thing: We re-entered the Carousel theater, took a seat and waited out the storm in comfort and safety.

That's when things got a little weird.

Several times during our 15-minute stay in the theater, a female cast member tried to make announcements over a loudspeaker, but each time, the broadcast was garbled and indistinguishable. Which begged the question: Had this been a real emergency -- like, say, a fire -- would we have gotten vital information or just more garble?

During our time in the theater, the exit doors would open every few minutes and we could see that the rain was falling unabated. And every so often, our 20-something cast member friend would pop her head in to tell us something we already knew: That the ride had been halted due to the inclement weather. Progress, for that short period time, stood still.

The thing is, we made up our minds that we weren't going to move out of theater even if they told us we had to.

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Following our visit to Carousel of Progress, we spotted a double rainbow over Space Mountain. [Chuck Schmidt]

At long last, the rain subsided and we made our way out of the theater into Tomorrowland, where there were puddles everywhere. A few small branches had been dislodged from nearby trees. We found our sopping-wet child strollers, dried them off, and continued our day.

As we headed over to Fantasyland, we spotted a beautiful double rainbow hovering over Space Mountain.

A typical afternoon in central Florida during the rainy season.






June 11, 2018

Disney's Interest in World's Fairs Beyond the 1964-1965 New York Event

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Walt Disney stands with a model of the "it's a small world" pavilion, one of the stars of the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. [The Walt Disney Company]


Walt Disney never did anything half-way. He always seemed to take a damn-the-torpedoes, full-speed-ahead approach when his fertile imagination dreamed up a seemingly impossible project.

And so it was when he conjured the idea of building the world's first theme park, Disneyland. Even though there was stiff opposition to his idea, Walt plowed ahead anyway.

For years prior to Disneyland's opening in 1955, Walt did his homework, spending countless hours researching fairs, circuses, amusement parks and carnivals -- any place where large groups of people congregated to be entertained. He'd look, listen and learn from each multi-venued entertainment enterprise he visited. Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark, was a favorite of his, in large part because the park was clean and well-lit.

He had a keen interest in international expositions, a.k.a. world's fairs. His father, Elias Disney, worked as a carpenter at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. And as a young lad, Walt attended the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.

When the 1939-40 New York World's Fair was held in Queens, Walt was an established and successful movie producer. He decided to participate in that Fair, producing a five-minute Technicolor animated short called Mickey's Surprise Party, which featured the big stars of his studio: Mickey Mouse, and his dog Pluto, as well as Minnie Mouse, and her dog, Fifi.

The film was sponsored by the National Biscuit Company [Nabisco] and was shown at the World's Fair in [can you believe it?] a comfortably air-conditioned theater.

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Mickey Mouse in a scene from "Mickey's Surprise Party," which played at the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair. [The Walt Disney Company]

Mickey's Surprise Party, for all intents and purposes, was a five-minute advertisement for Nabisco's products, including Milk-Bone dog biscuits. The cartoon also was notable because it featured Mickey and Minnie in their more humanized, less rodent, designs.

In the late 1950s, just a few years after Disneyland opened, plans were set in motion for a sequel to the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. The 1964-65 New York World's Fair would be held on the same site as its pre-World War II predecessor, on Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the borough of Queens.

Walt Disney was approached by several American companies to produce shows for the Fair, which he would do, but he also had more far-reaching thoughts in mind when he made the commitments. To achieve his ultimate goal, though, he needed to do more research.

"Walt was always thinking ahead of things," Disney Legend and former Imagineer Bob Gurr said. "That's why he went to the Brussels World's Fair in 1958. He sent a lot of the guys over there to sort of case the joint to see what was involved. And then he sent a bunch of us, in 1962, to the Seattle World's Fair for the same reason."

The idea, Gurr added, was for Walt to gain as much knowledge as he could in advance of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair "because that would give him a leg ahead with two years of experience [in New York] leading to the second Disneyland." Walt's idea all along was to take all that he had learned over the years and set up shop in central Florida.

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The United States pavilion at Expo 58 in Brussels, Belgium. The circular building showcased the Disney-produced Circarama film "America the Beautiful."

The Brussels World's Fair, also known as Expo 58, saw the very first Disney attraction to be shown outside of Disneyland, a Circarama film called America the Beautiful. The 16-minute film was shot with the use of 11 cameras arranged in a circle and gave Europeans a 360-degree panoramic tour of the United States. It was a big hit at the Brussels Fair.

Disney originally debuted the Circarama technique at Disneyland in 1955. Following its Brussels showing, America the Beautiful was brought back to Disneyland and opened in 1960. Then, as part of the expansion of Tomorrowland in 1967, the film was re-recorded, using the advanced Circle-Vision 360 projection process.

According to the Disney Archives, Walt Disney visited Expo 58. He traveled from Berlin to Brussels on July 2, 1958. The archives indicate that he went to Zermatt [for the filming of Third Man on the Mountain, the movie that inspired the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction at Disneyland] on July 6, via Geneva, Lausanne and Montreux, Switzerland. So Walt likely visited the Fair between July 2 and July 6.

The Seattle World's Fair, which ran from April 21 through Oct. 21 in 1962 and also was known as the Century 21 Exposition, didn't have a Disney presence. But it did give us the Space Needle and also featured a very Disney-style attraction: A monorail.

Seattle's monorail, like Disneyland's, was built in conjunction with the German company Alweg. The original Disneyland-Alweg monorail, which opened on June 14, 1959, gave guests a scenic tour of Tomorrowland. In 1961, the line was expanded and connected to the Disneyland Hotel, which made it the first monorail in the United States to cross over a public street [what is now Disneyland Drive].

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The Century 21 Exposition in Seattle featured a monorail system that was very similar to the Disneyland-Alweg monorail in Disneyland.

The Seattle-Alweg monorail system fit perfectly into the Fair's mission of celebrating the burgeoning space age. Indeed, the Century 21 Exposition was dubbed "a giant science fair" because of all its scientific exhibits.

The Seattle monorail looked very much like Disneyland's version, right down to the beams, support columns and sleek monorail design, which was first conceptualized by Bob Gurr. Needless to say, when Gurr visited the Seattle fair, he made a beeline to the monorail.

While Seattle enjoyed a successful run in 1962, the Walt Disney Company was working diligently in advance of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, which featured four Disney-created attractions. When the New York World's Fair closed in October 1965, all of the attractions were trucked back to Disneyland, where they took up residence as "new" shows in the park.

But Disney wasn't done with its participation in worldwide expositions.

At the Montreal International and Universal Exposition in 1967 [known as Expo 67], the Walt Disney Company produced a travelogue-type film titled Canada 67.

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The Telephone Pavilion at Expo 67 featured the CircleVision 360 film "Canada 67," a Walt Disney production. The interior of the venue was designed by former WED Enterprises cast member Tania Norris.

The 22-minute film was presented in the circular Telephone Pavilion. Although the film was screened every half hour and the theater held up to 1,200 guests, there was usually an hours-long wait outside to see it.

Canada 67, which was directed by Robert Barclay, took nine months to film, using Disney's innovative CircleVision 360 filming technique. During filming, nine synchronized 35mm cameras were arranged in a circle and mounted at the nose of an airplane. In the theater, the film was projected onto nine large screens for a 360° surround effect.

According to the Expo 67 Information Manual: "A 15-speaker stereophonic sound system and nine projectors, each covering a 40° arc of the circular screen, are used for the presentation of Circle-Vision 360. The screen itself is 23 feet high and 273 feet in circumference. With the bottom edge of the screen only seven feet from the floor, the audience has the thrilling experience of being caught in the action."

Tania Norris, a former member of WED Enterprises who helped design many of the interior settings in Disneyland's New Orleans Square, was a key interior designer for the Telephone Pavilion at Expo 67.

"Even though I was hired to work on New Orleans Square, if anything else came up, I'd work on that, too," Ms. Norris said. "My title was interior designer, so that involved all the Disney projects apart from the films. I worked on the Expo in Montreal. I worked on some of the original concepts in Florida." Her work in Montreal centered around the interior design of the building.

Once guests had viewed the Canada 67 film, they entered the pavilion's exhibition hall, where the history of Canadian telecommunications was on display. Included in the display was a demonstration of future telephone technology, things like call-waiting, a videophone and banking by telephone. Guests could also pick up a phone and listen as Disney characters "talked" to them.

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A scene from Expo 67 in Montreal, which includes a monorail that looked more like a PeopleMover and a geodesic dome similar in appearance to Spaceship Earth at Epcot.

The success of Canada 67 served as the impetus for the O Canada! CircleVision 360 film, which debuted in the Canada pavilion at Epcot in 1982.

Expo 67 had a number of familiar attractions: There was a monorail system, although it looked more like Disney's PeopleMover than one of its more familiar monorail trains, and there was a geodesic dome, which from a distance looked very much like Epcot's Spaceship Earth.

Both dome designs, in fact, were inspired by Buckminster Fuller, the noted 20th century architect, designer and inventor.

When Epcot opened in 1982, many pundits compared the World Showcase section of the park to a permanent world's fair, which Walt Disney, considering his years-long association with fairs, might have considered a compliment.





June 9, 2018

Mandara Spa Review

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by Elizabeth Brown
AllEars.Net Guest Blogger

I visited the Mandara Spa at the Walt Disney World Dolphin on Wednesday, May 16. I called in advance to book the appointment, and I advised them that I would be redeeming a Groupon certificate for a hot stone massage and facial with an upgrade of paraffin hand and foot treatment and scalp massage.

I arrived about 15 minutes prior to my appointment to check in. I was greeted at the desk and given a form to fill out to let the technicians know of any specific concerns. I gave the receptionist my Groupon certificate and she confirmed the services I had scheduled. From there I was escorted to the locker room and given a robe and sandals to change into. The lockers are standard size and each has a programmable digital lock so you don’t need to keep track of a key. A separate area has restrooms and showers. There are plenty of toiletries for guests to use including deodorant, hairspray, toothbrushes, shower caps, lotion, etc.

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The relaxation room has cushioned benches with magazines to read. Refreshments consisted of apples, hot tea, and ice water. The treatment rooms are around the perimeter. A second, larger area with more comfortable chairs overlooking the pool area is down a short side hallway. I was unaware of the second area during my first visit last year, so I was pleased to learn about it this time.

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My massage was wonderful and relaxing, with the hot stones and paraffin upgrades enhancing the experience. My facial was also terrific! They use a special instrument for extracting congestion from pores that I found more comfortable than the manual extractions performed at many facials. They do have the facial products for sale at the spa, but there was no pressure to purchase them.

At the conclusion of my services I returned to the desk and paid the gratuity (a 20% charge calculated on the full price of the services).

Mandara Spa offers discounts for DVC members, and sporadically offers deals on Groupon and TravelZoo. Call to schedule appointments in advance.






June 6, 2018

Undiscovered Future World Tour

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by Elizabeth Brown
AllEars.Net Guest Blogger

I took the Undiscovered Future World Tour in Epcot on Tuesday, May 15. Tour check-in was at 8:15 a.m. at the desk on the front side of the pin shop near Mouse Gear. This is a location change from last year when tour check-in was located inside the building between Club Cool and Starbucks. Just one other person was signed up for the tour, so we had a VERY small group. Our guide, Yifae, was originally a cultural representative from China in 2009. She loved Disney so much that she returned after her program and is now in Guest Relations. Her enthusiasm was evident as she greeted us and encouraged us to ask questions during the tour.

We started off at Guest Relations, where there are some photos of Walt Disney. We learned about Walt's original vision for Epcot as a place where people would live and work. There would be direct transportation to the airport, a large hotel, and many other conveniences for the residents. One of the photos shows Walt with a map of his plans for the community. He passed away before his vision could become reality, and the plans were never implemented exactly as he had imagined, but Imagineers did return to his plans for inspiration on what would eventually become Epcot.

Our next stop was Spaceship Earth, where we learned some interesting facts about the construction of the geodesic sphere. A system of gutters is built into the surface so the water doesn't cascade down on guests in the Florida downpours. The attraction inside has changed and evolved over the years, currently narrated by Dame Judi Dench. We rode Spaceship Earth, paying special attention to the faces of the animatronics -- some of them are rather familiar!

The Innoventions buildings were formerly home to different sponsored exhibits, but are currently used mainly for storage.

From there we continued over to The Seas, where we had a behind-the-scenes look at the former sponsor lounge. That space is now used for employee training sessions and special events, such as weddings. We learned about the features that make the aquarium unique, and how the pavilion has changed over the years.

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Next up -- The Land pavilion. This building has so many fascinating details! The building itself is modeled to resemble a volcano. The pavement in front is red and black, to represent both hot and cooled lava. In front of the building a tree grows up through a circle, representing the growth of plant life. Inside, guests see the beautiful yellow and orange banners around the ceiling, representing the rays of the sun. A globe is suspended from the middle of the ceiling, with four hot air balloons around it.

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Each balloon is themed to a season. The seating areas in the Sunshine Seasons restaurant also each correspond to a season. The silver structures represent flowers, and the green pillars around the perimeter represent grass. This pavilion is home to Soarin' Around the World, which highlights the diversity of lands around the globe. Our visit here included a 15-minute snack and restroom break.

The Imagination pavilion has a base of rainbow colors topped by a prism. When light refracts through a prism, it make a rainbow! The only color missing is purple. Where did it go? It is Figment, of course! The ambassador of Imagination! This pavilion also features the exterior "leapfrog" fountains and the "upside down" fountain. The second floor of the pavilion houses a DVC member lounge, while the ground floor hosts the Journey Into Imagination ride.

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The building that houses the Epcot Character Spot is also home to a photo timeline with highlights from the park's opening to the present. Stop in and enjoy the air conditioning while looking at these moments in Epcot history.

The large fountain between Future World and World Showcase is called the Fountain of Nations. When the park opened, a ceremony was held with cultural representatives from around the world. They each brought a jar of water from their home country, and all of the jars were poured into the fountain as a symbol of unity and peace. The fountain is a favorite spot for photos.

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From there we headed over to the Universe of Energy, which is currently being reimagined as a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. The exterior of this pavilion features solar panels on the roof and a mirrored facade to reflect the sun and keep the interior of the building cooler.

The former Wonders of Life pavilion is currently empty. They were doing a bit of exterior work on it the day of our tour. It originally held attractions such as Body Wars, but in recent years the space has been utilized for festivals such as Food & Wine and Flower & Garden.

Mission Space was home to the Horizons pavilion, intended to be a sort of continuation of the Carousel of Progress at Magic Kingdom. Currently sponsored by Hewlett-Packard, the attraction features a simulator that takes guests in a rocket. Developed with consultants from NASA, the ride is quite intense. It is now divided into two experiences so guests wishing for a gentler ride have that option. We were able to peek into the HP Employee lounge here as well!

Test Track features a lounge for General Motors employees, as well as the popular ride that simulates the tests that new cars undergo as part of their development for the consumer market. The cars hit speeds of approximately 65 mph on the exterior track. Imagineers had originally hoped the cars would go faster, but the GM consultants were concerned that higher speeds would compromise guest safety so that idea was shelved.

Want to see what goes on backstage? The next stop on our tour took us to the Cast Member hub! The building has a variety of services such as a small shop, a snack bar, lockers, and tons of resources and information. The buses for Disney College Program Housing drop off and pick up at this location. It is also home to Costuming, where Cast Members check out and turn in every piece they need for any role in the park. Each costume has a detailed graphic so cast members know exactly what pieces are needed. Once the costume pieces are selected, the cast member simply walks through a scanner where the bar codes are automatically read and they are on their way.

The Odyssey building was originally home to a quick service restaurant, but the location proved to be an issue since it is so close to the Electric Umbrella and the many choices in World Showcase. It is currently used for festivals, most recently the Festival of the Arts. This was the final stop on the tour. We each received a pin to commemorate the tour.

I really enjoyed this experience, and I am amazed at the thought and consideration that go into each and every aspect of the parks. The tour is available on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday for a cost of $69 per person. Discounts are available for Passholders, Chase Disney Visa cardholders and DVC members. Guests must be age 16+.







May 30, 2018

Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs Resort

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By Guest Blogger Elizabeth Brown


I visited the spa on Mother's Day, Sunday May 13. This was not my first visit, but I LOVE this spa so I try to return on every trip, even if we are not staying at Saratoga Springs. This time we were staying at Saratoga, so I just walked over about 30 minutes prior to my appointment. I checked in at the desk and the attendant verified the services I had scheduled and the times for each. I booked an 80 minute massage, followed by a manicure.

Another attendant came to escort me downstairs to the women's changing area. She asked what size sandals I would like, gave me a blue DVC Member robe to change into (other guests have a taupe robe), and helped me find an available locker. Since I had been to the spa before I didn't need a tour of the facilities, but she did offer in case I needed a refresher.

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The locker rooms are separated by gender, and that includes the whirlpool, steam room and showers. The relaxation area upstairs is co-ed.

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Once I was settled in my robe I was free to use all of the spa amenities. If you are using the whirlpool or steam room a swimsuit is required. The heated lounge chairs in the whirlpool area are amazing - SO comfortable.

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Upstairs in the relaxation room you will find chairs with ottomans, zero gravity loungers (which are the most comfortable thing EVER!), and light snacks such as trail mix, dried fruit and nuts, etc.

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They also have an assortment of hot tea and chilled water, usually with citrus or cucumber. There are individual book lights at the lounge chairs if you would like to read while you relax, and there are magazines on the tables. The lighting is low and there is relaxing music.

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The different technicians come to the relaxation room to escort you in for each service, and you return to the relaxation room in between.

I decided to go with an 80-minute massage this time because my previous 60 minute massages were so lovely. It was absolutely worth it! Susan did a wonderful job getting the knots out of my shoulders. They offer multiple options, so be sure to check out the spa service listing before you book your appointment.

You will have about 10 minutes between services if you are booked for multiple things back to back, which allows enough time for a cup of tea or a restroom break.

I had booked a regular manicure, but decided to change to a gel polish after we got started. Jenifer did not miss a beat and switched over the service for me. My nails still look beautiful a week later!

Once your services are complete you are welcome to stay and enjoy the spa amenities. When you are ready to leave, the spa has everything you might need to get ready to go! In the showers you will find shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. There are combs, hairdryers, and hairspray. Deodorant, body lotion and perfume are also available for guests to use. In the restroom you will find mouthwash. With all of this, you won't need to go back to your hotel to get on with your day.

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Check out is back at the desk, where you also have the option of booking your next spa appointment. They go over each charge and make sure to apply any applicable discounts, then provide a detailed receipt for your records.

The spa is open seven days a week, and they offer discounts for DVC members. They also offer a nice selection of products for sale, but there is absolutely no pressure to purchase anything! I would absolutely recommend a morning or afternoon at Senses!





May 28, 2018

The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair: A watershed moment in Disney history

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Walt Disney stands in front of two World's Fair posters in a publicity photo taken in 1964. [The Walt Disney Company]


To many long-time Disney followers, the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair was a watershed moment for the Walt Disney Company.

Disney's participation in the Fair saw the introduction of a radically new form of theme park entertainment, as well as the debut of innovative ride systems that had the ability to handle large audiences in an efficient manner.

And unknown to the millions of visitors during the Fair's two-year run, Disney's participation at the Fair was a proving ground ... a dry run for Walt's planned move east to central Florida. At the time, Walt had very real concerns that his brand of theme park entertainment, a big hit on the West Coast, might not be accepted by East Coast audiences. The success of all four Disney shows quelled those doubts and ultimately paved the way for Walt Disney World.

The marriage of Disney and the World's Fair began several years before the Fair opened, when the entertainment company was commissioned to create and build three attractions: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln for the Illinois state pavilion; Carousel of Progress for General Electric's Progressland, and Ford Motor Company's Magic Skyway. Then, just 11 months before the Fair's April 1964 opening, Pepsi-Cola convinced Walt to commit to a fourth show, a salute to children around the world that was known as it's a small world.

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The Unisphere, built by U.S. Steel, was centrally located and served as the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair's icon. [Russell Yuen]

"In 1959, Disneyland added Matterhorn Mountain, the submarine voyage and the monorail," former head of Walt Disney Imagineering Marty Sklar said. "Disneyland was now set for a few years. Walt was able to turn all of his attention to the World's Fair."

Committing to the four shows put Disney's creative staff to the test, pushing them to accomplish more than what was thought possible, all under the caldron of intense deadline pressure. In addition, everything was designed and built at Disney facilities in California, meaning that once the attractions were completed, they needed to be packed up, shipped East and set up at their respective pavilions on the Fair grounds in the New York City borough of Queens. As a result, Disney's creative team would spend months at a time assembling the attractions in the four Fair pavilions.

While Disney's four World's Fair shows were unique and featured vastly different story lines, there was a common thread running through each one ... specifically, the first-ever widespread use of Audio-Animatronics figures.

Disney designer Bob Gurr, a self-described "car guy," and Roger Broggie were tasked with bringing Audio-Animatronics from the drawing board to believable working figures by Walt Disney himself. "Bobby," Walt would often say to Gurr, "I need you to ..." which was followed by a request to pretty much make the impossible not only possible, but a reality.

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Disney Legend Bob Gurr, shown here offering his expertise during an upgrade of the Autopia attraction at Disneyland, was one of the key people in the development of Audio-Animatronics technology. [Walt Disney Imagineering]

While working on the ride system for the Ford Magic Skyway, which was a monumental task in its own right, Gurr got his first taste of the new-fangled robots to be featured in Disney's Fair attractions.

"I was asked to look at the GE animated figures [to be used in General Electric's Carousel of Progress show] and so that was kind of a shock because I had only done vehicles," Gurr said. "I had never done any animated humans or animals. I was tasked with gathering up three or four guys and figuring it out."

As they sank their teeth into the project, Gurr asked a logical question: "How could we do animated figures in a wholesale method?" since the Carousel of Progress would contain 32 figures, both human and canine.

"We tried several different types of animation," Gurr said. "A couple of the techniques didn't work, but we came very quickly to learn how we could do it, so I started a whole system of parts numbering, how we would do the engineering, drawing and working with the shops."

Then, in October of 1963, just seven months before the Fair was to open, Walt dropped another bombshell on Gurr.

"Oh, by the way, Bobby," the boss said, "I want you to do the Lincoln figure."

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The exterior of the Illinois state pavilion, which featured the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln show.

At the time, Gurr was working full-bore on the Ford Magic Skyway ride system, the forerunner of Disney's PeopleMover, where actual Ford cars would be pushed along a continuous track by motors with wheels embedded in the ground, and was just getting his feet wet on all the Carousel of Progress figures when Lincoln was added to his already full plate.

"Actually, the Lincoln figure was kind of easy," Gurr says now, more than five decades later. "I had just enough experience with what we had to do with the GE figures. But Lincoln was gonna have to do a lot more animation and do really quite a trick thing." That "trick thing" was having Lincoln stand up from a chair at the beginning of the show.

"But we got it all done in 90 days ... concept, making the sketches of all the parts, passing out the parts to all the drafters, then taking out the parts drawings every day over from Glendale to Burbank at the studio where we were building it.

"It turned out, in hindsight, to be a radical machine, the first time the world was ever going to see a really believable animated figure and then a president of the United States, to boot. Not only that, but he was a tall, skinny guy who didn't have any body to put parts inside!

"If we'd done Grover Cleveland, I would have had a much easier time ... I would have had a lot more room in there!" Gurr joked.

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This display, featuring the actual upper body structure of the Lincoln figure from the Fair, as well as detailed drawings of the machine, are showcased at the Walt Disney Family Museum. [Courtesy of Bob Gurr/Ape Pen Publishing]

Several problems did surface with the Lincoln figure, most dealing with the amount of electrical current flowing into the Illinois pavilion. No one ever found out exactly why Lincoln would occasionally "spasm" during testing, although the lights at nearby Shea Stadium were the chief suspect.

According to Gurr, "it was a marvel the machine worked as well as it did from the get-go. It combined the sculpting, the skin, the detailed facial animation [done by Disney Legend Blaine Gibson], animated hands, plus the body, plus getting him up and out of the chair and all the electronics to do with that ... it was a big effort by so many people working on that machine.

"But within a year, we found with the basic concept of the Lincoln figure, we could actually engineer what we would call production parts. In other words, instead of making a part one at a time, we could make a whole group of parts by investing in the tooling to make parts."

The development of what Gurr called "standard AA figure parts" enabled Disney to manufacture a wide range of human and animal figures.

"And all of that started with the basic configuration of Abraham Lincoln," Gurr said.

To play it safe, there actually were two Lincoln figures, with chairs, in the Illinois pavilion. One was positioned on stage, while the other was located below the stage. If there was a problem with the Honest Abe on stage, his stand-in could be brought up in an elevator to take his place. "As it turned out, Lincoln No. 1 ran almost flawlessly through the 1964 and 1965 seasons," Gurr said.

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The exterior of the it's a small world attraction, sponsored by Pepsi-Cola. [Associated Press]
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Some of the iconic it's a small world dolls seen during the attraction's New York World's Fair run. [Alice Schmidt]

Gurr also made significant contributions to it's a small world, devising spinning turntables for several of the animated dolls and working with Arrow Development on the trough and water jet system which gently propelled the boats through the attraction. The boat ride concept worked so well that the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, which was originally planned to be a walk-through, was changed to its now familiar water-based adventure.

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Some of the dinosaurs featured during the Ford Magic Skyway attraction at the World's Fair. To this day, some of the original Fair dinos are showcased during the train ride at Disneyland. [Associated Press]
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The closing scene during the Ford Magic Skyway attraction showed Walt Disney's vision for the future and gave guests a hint at his plans for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT. [Associated Press]

Gurr's system of developing standardized parts aided in the production of the dinosaurs and cavemen and women featured in Ford's Magic Skyway, a journey through time from the dawn of man on to the distant future. Some of those original dinos can be seen today in diorama scenes during the train ride at Disneyland.

General Electric's Progressland pavilion, which was in the shape of a giant dome, was perhaps the most diverse of the four Disney-created World's Fair shows. In addition to the Carousel show, which featured seating areas that rotated around fixed stages, there was a giant area devoted to General Electric product displays, including a look at what a house might look like with all electric appliances. There also was The Toucan and Parrot Electric Utility Show, which proved to be the bane of Marty Sklar's World's Fair experience, even though he wrote the script for the show. "Oh, god, I hated it!" he proclaimed years later.

And there was the Skydome Spectacular, which utilized a new projection technique inside the massive dome to showcase natural sources of energy, such as electrical storms, fire, the blazing sun and the show's climax: The first-ever public demonstration of controlled thermo-nuclear fusion. "Don't worry," a hostess calmly announced to the audience, "this demonstration is completely safe."

During the winter of 1964-1965, between the Fair's two seasons, Disney addressed a problem that had popped up outside the Progressland pavilion during the opening season. It seems the planners didn't figure on so many people visiting the attraction, and long lines often backed up outside the entrance and snaked haphazardly in and around an open lot next door ... this, despite the fact that about 240 guests entered the attraction every four minutes.

A covered waiting area was erected on that lot between seasons, which kept guests out of the sun during the summer months. And the now-familiar switch-back line system also was installed to keep things far more orderly.

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Walt Disney stands with a model of the General Electric Progressland pavilion. [The Walt Disney Company]


In addition, the GE Progressland pavilion became the first Disney attraction to use a wait time sign, which gave guests an idea of how long their wait would be; similar signs are now employed at the entrances of just about every Disney attraction worldwide.

After guests experienced the Carousel of Progress, they could take a look at Medallion City, Walt Disney's vision for the future of America's cities.

"You went into the General Electric exhibit and there were a whole bunch of things there regarding community development," Sklar said.

There was one final element inside the GE pavilion that impacted Disney's plans: A VIP Lounge, where GE execs would entertain their guests. Walt Disney was so impressed with this concept, that he decided to create a VIP lounge of his own at Disneyland ... which was the impetus for the exclusive Club 33 in New Orleans Square.

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The exterior of the General Electric Progressland pavilion. Note the wait time sign, upper left center, and an early attempt at parking infant strollers, lower right.

When Carousel of Progress was moved to Disneyland after the Fair, a model, called Progress City, was put on display. "The audiences moved up a moving ramp to the second floor in Tomorrowland at Disneyland," Sklar said, "and there was Act 5, the so-called Progress City model. It was developed from the Herb Ryman illustration of Epcot that we used for many of the publications we did about Walt's Epcot. That model fascinated Disneyland guests for five years.

"It was basically a depiction of the Epcot community that is represented in Walt's Epcot Film," Marty added. Part of that model can be seen today along the PeopleMover route in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.

As part of the sponsorship agreement Disney had with all four Disney Fair show sponsors, GE's Carousel of Progress was transported back to California and opened in Disneyland in 1967. The show debuted in Walt Disney World in 1975, where it still plays to appreciative audiences to this day. The Lincoln show took up residence at the Main Street Opera House in Disneyland in 1965, while it's a small world found its permanent home in Fantasyland in 1966.

"Walt had written into the contracts that Disney owned each show," Sklar said. "Basically, all these new attractions for Disneyland were paid for. Everything was transported back to California in trucks, even the troughs for small world."

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The monorail station at the World's Fair is shown during construction. [Staten Island Advance]
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The World's Fair monorail, sponsored by AMF, in operation during the World's Fair's 1964-1965 run. [Staten Island Advance]

There was another element at the Fair that seemed very Disney-esque, but wasn't: A monorail system.

The Fair's monorails were built by American Machine and Foundry Co. [AMF]. Unlike Disney's monorails, which glide on rubber tires atop elevated beams, AMF's version rode below the beam, connected to overhead power units.

The Fair's massive monorail station was built from structural steel and Fiberglass panels and you needed to take an escalator to and from the loading platform, which was 40 feet above ground.

Unlike the still-operating monorails at Disneyland, which debuted in 1959, or at Walt Disney World, which began service along with the park in 1971, the World's Fair monorail system was demolished with the rest of the Fair's buildings and infrastructure after the second season concluded in October of 1965.

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Demolition of the World's Fair is in full swing just a few weeks after the international exposition closed in October of 1965. [Staten Island Advance]

May 23, 2018

Royal Tea Garden Tour at Epcot

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By Guest Blogger Elizabeth Brown


We attended the Royal Tea Garden Tour at Epcot on Monday, May 13. We checked in at the Rose & Crown podium at 9:30 AM. It was raining heavily, but they were prepared to talk about the tea in the covered patio area if necessary. Luckily, the rain let up by the 9:45 start time so we were able to walk across to the garden just behind the Tea Caddy shop in the UK pavilion. Our guides were Owen and David, cultural representatives from the UK. One small change they made this year was the addition of a headset microphone for the guide, which was a huge improvement over last year.

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We started off with a bit of history about Twinings, the tea company. They are the longest running tea company in the world, and still being managed by members of the Twinings family. Both black tea and green tea come from the same plant, but the way the leaves are processed produces the different teas. Black tea has more caffeine, and if steeped too long can produce a bitter taste. Herbal teas do not contain any actual tea leaves, but instead are comprised of herbs or blends of herbs. There are also some cold brew teas that are designed to be steeped in cool water. Owen suggested making ice cubes from brewed tea to prevent the tea from being too watered down. He also gave us a tip for an alternate use for tea bags. Placing dry tea bags in your shoes overnight will absorb odors! (Just be sure to throw the tea bags away afterwards.)

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After learning about the different varieties of tea and the way they are processed, we returned to the Rose & Crown patio for tea and scones. This was another improvement over last year, when the only seating area was the uncovered patio (it rained on our tour last year as well, and it was tricky to stay out of the rain and still enjoy the tea and scones). There were 2 scones in each box - one sweet, one savory. They were accompanied by an Earl Grey infused butter and clotted cream with jam. Tea was arranged on 3 tables - 2 for hot tea and 1 for cold brew. We were encouraged to try as many varieties as we liked, as there were many different flavors to choose from such as Lady Grey, Orange with Cinnamon, Peppermint and cold brew Peach. Owen and David were on hand to answer any questions, and they presented each guest with some tea bags to take home.

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The tour is $18 per person and lasts approximately 30 minutes. We really enjoyed this experience, and would definitely recommend it.


May 14, 2018

Eleanor Audley gets a full-throated endorsement for her vocal work for Disney

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Actress Eleanor Audley strikes a menacing pose, left. To the right is Maleficent, the character based on Ms. Audley's distinctive look.

Do the names Tom Hanks, James Earl Jones, Irene Bedard and Jodi Benson ring a bell? Of course they do. How about Eleanor Audley? Not so well known, right?

All of the above mentioned actors have lent their vocal talents to some of the most recognizable characters in Disney animated history.

Doing voice work on animated feature films has been a time-honored tradition among actors and actresses since the very first talking cartoon shorts. Walt Disney, in fact, got into the vocal side of animation by supplying the voice of Mickey Mouse for several decades.

These days, doing voice work on films can be a relatively easy payday for actors.

To be sure, it's considered a win-win situation for just about everyone involved. When movie producers lure top-tier talent to lend their voices to an animated feature film, the name recognition usually spurs increased ticket sales; for those actors and actresses who sign up to do character voices, they can take a more laid-back approach. Wardrobe, hair and makeup are not a concern when all the director cares about is the sound emanating from their vocal cords. And the voices are recorded in a climate-controlled studio instead of some remote location halfway around the world.

Many big-name stars have taken on voice roles, creating truly memorable characters.

There's Tom Hanks' unforgettable voice work as Woody in the Toy Story franchise; James Earl Jones as Mufasa in The Lion King; Irene Bedard as the title character in Pocahontas and Jodi Benson's interpretation of Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

In the early days of animated film voice work, though, the actors and actresses who supplied their vocal talents were truly anonymous. And rarely did they receive credit for their important work.

In fact, during the search for an actress to voice Snow White, Walt Disney took the then-unprecedented step of not watching the candidates during their auditions: He secretly listened to them from his office.

"I didn't want to be thrown by looking at the person, because I only wanted their voice," he said. "The sound stage was right next to my office. We had a microphone there, and in my office, I had a big speaker. The person who was coming in to audition didn't know that I was listening."

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Ms. Audley during one of her many TV roles.

Eleanor Audley was one of those actresses who first auditioned for the attentive ears of Walt Disney when she tried out for the part of Lady Tremaine in Cinderella. Nearly a decade later, both her voice and her facial features helped her secure perhaps the most important role of her Disney career.

Ms. Audley was a relatively busy actress in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly once television gained a strong foothold in households across America.

She received a steady paycheck working on dozens of popular TV shows, including the Disney-produced show The Swamp Fox, which starred Leslie Nielsen as the lead character, Francis Marion. Her other television credits included I Love Lucy, Perry Mason, Dennis the Menace, The Twilight Zone, My Three Sons, Mister Ed, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres and The Dick Van Dyke Show. She also appeared in more than a dozen movies.

Her work on Disney films was where she received a full-throated endorsement from fans and colleagues alike.

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The villainous Lady Tremaine, voiced by Eleanor Audley.

She began by voicing the devilish Lady Tremaine in the animated classic Cinderella, which was released in 1950. "It was challenging, a bit grueling, but overall most satisfying," Ms. Audley said of her vocal assignments with Disney.

But perhaps her most recognizable role came during her work on Sleeping Beauty, which was released in 1959, enabling her to stretch the limits of what an evil animated character could be.

Ms. Audley not only voiced the film's chief protagonist, Maleficent, she also served as a live-action model for Marc Davis' interpretation of what he later called "the mistress of all evil." Indeed, when you look at side-by-side photos of Ms. Audley and Maleficent, there's a striking resemblance.

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Ms. Audley in character as Maleficent during the creation of "Sleeping Beauty."

"Working with her was great," Davis said of Ms. Audley. "There's a lot of the facial look that I have put into Maleficent that really is Eleanor Audley. Her look was just right. She was a wonderful, wonderful lady, and a very fine actress."

For her part, "I tried to do a lot of contrasting to be both sweet and nasty at the same time," Ms. Audley said.

Aside from her Disney movie credits, she supplied her voice to one of the most interesting characters on one of the most beloved Disney theme park attractions of all time: The disembodied head of Madame Leota inside the crystal ball seen during the Haunted Mansion attractions at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

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Veteran singer and voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft.

The narrator during your trip on those fabled doom buggies in the Haunted Mansion is another legendary voice actor named Thurl Ravenscroft. His voice can be heard during the finale's "Grim Grinning Ghosts" song.

In addition to his contributions in the Haunted Mansion, Ravenscroft's Disney attraction credits include vocal work in the Country Bear Jamboree as the bison named Buff, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Enchanted Tiki Room, where he plays Fritz. Mein goodness!

Perhaps his most well-known and certainly longest-running TV character was as the voice of Tony Tiger in Kellogg's Frosted Flakes commercials.

You know, the ads that proclaim "They're ... G.R.R.R.R.E.A.T!"

His distinctive voice can be heard on at least a dozen Disney films, among them Dumbo, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Lady and the Tramp, The Jungle Book and Mary Poppins.

Not too coincidentally, Ravenscroft also worked on Sleeping Beauty, but unlike Ms. Audley, whose likeness inspired the look of one of the film's main characters, he was relegated to the role of backup singer.

April 30, 2018

During its four-year run, Holidayland gave guests a Disneyland experience right outside the fabled berm

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An aerial view shows Holidayland during its heyday, right outside the berm at Disneyland.

Much has been written about the berm at Disneyland ... those large mounds of dirt, cleverly placed foliage and other inconspicuous obstacles which keep Disney guests from seeing the outside world, effectively insulating them from reality.

As Disney Legend John Hench once said: "When you go to the park, there is no horizon. Just Disneyland. The park achieved its own kind of reality, like the virtual reality games the kids are playing with. I told them we were doing this years ago. Disneyland is virtual reality."

For several years in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was an area just outside the park that was an extremely popular Disneyland attraction, even if it wasn't part of that virtual reality world inside the berm.

It was called Holidayland.

Milt Albright, a member of Disneyland's first public relations team, is credited with coming up with the idea for Holidayland. Albright began his Disney career in 1947 as a junior accountant at the Disney Studios. In the spring of 1954, he became manager of accounting at Disneyland.

"I got to come down here [to Disneyland] because they wanted somebody they could trust," Albright said. "Didn't have to be very smart — just honest."

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Milt Albright was a key member of the Disneyland PR department during the park's early days.

After transferring to the park's publicity staff right after Disneyland opened, Albright was tasked with creating ways to increase park attendance during slower times of the year. One of his ideas was to entice employees of local businesses and their families to come to an area where they could enjoy each other's company outside the office.

Of course, that concept reinforced Walt Disney's belief that Disneyland should be a place where parents and children could have fun together.

"Holidayland was outside the berm about where the show buildings for Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion are located today," said Disney Legend Tom Nabbe, who first made a name for himself in Disney circles as the original Tom Sawyer on the island named for the Mark Twain character. "Corporations would rent it out for company picnics.

"Holidayland had a softball field, a kids' playground, and a big tent covering an area with picnic tables," Nabbe added. "The tent was left over from The Mickey Mouse Club Circus, [a Disneyland attraction featuring the Mouseketeers] which closed late '55 or early '56."

Holidayland was about nine acres and could hold as many as 7,000 guests. Food was available, as well as beer, which wasn't sold inside the gates of Disneyland. By around 4 in the afternoon, Holidayland guests were permitted to enter Disneyland.

"The picnic party guests would have access to the Magic Kingdom via a roadway by the Frontierland train station," Nabbe said.

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A rendering of Holidayland.

Holidayland was fenced in and had its own separate entrance at the edge of what was then Disneyland's main parking lot. In addition to the red and white circus big top, there was a variety of playground equipment, such swings, a jungle gym and see-saws, as well as a horseshoe pit for the adults.

Charlie Ridgway, a veteran newspaperman who joined Disneyland's PR department in the early 1960s before transferring to Walt Disney World to head up the PR team in Florida, remembered with fondness a yearly event held in Holidayland for members of the press and their families.

"Walt had a picnic at the beginning of the summer when he was announcing what he was adding in the way of entertainment and new attractions," Ridgway said. "Those picnics — in an area of the park called Holidayland — became a very favorite place for news people to go.

"They handed out pink woven picnic baskets filled with sandwiches and so forth for the family. The baskets became something of a prize.

"It was very much a family affair. Newsmen were not used to having their families invited to come with them."

Jack Lindquist, who worked in the same department as Albright and would go on to become president of Disneyland, also remembered Holidayland and its creator.

"There were five or six undeveloped acres adjourning the park where corporations could have picnics," Lindquist said. "Their CEOs could make speeches and there were all kinds of activities for everyone to enjoy. Then, around 4 in the afternoon, they could go into Disneyland."

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Four of the Mouseketeers pose for a photo on one of Holidayland's kiddy rides.

The Holidayland events were usually held during the slow times of the year in the fall, winter and spring, which fed into Albright's mission of bringing more guests into the park when attendance was down.

"Milt was a very interesting guy," Lindquist added. "He was an accountant at the Studios ... a finance guy. Along the way, [Disneyland PR boss] Ed Ettinger got to know Milt and I guess he asked him if he'd like to come work in the PR division at Disneyland in group sales. He was one of the first people sent to Anaheim to work at Disneyland. Milt became part of Ed's public relations team when the park opened."

And Milt took to his new job like Donald Duck to water.

He decided to make better use of an unused area of the property within earshot of Adventureland, aiming it at the corporate market in Southern California. And much like everything else Albright conceived, Holidayland was a big success during its brief, but legendary run.

Holidayland opened on June 16, 1957, and ran through September of 1961. Guests had to purchase a separate ticket for Holidayland, but that ticket also served as your admission into Disneyland.

There were several reasons for Holidayland's demise, among them a lack of shade, no restrooms on the site and no lighting once the sun went down.

But according to Albright, "It wasn't any one thing that killed Holidayland. It was just the combined effect of a whole lot of things." The fact that Disneyland's attendance began to skyrocket following the introduction of the Matterhorn Mountain bobsleds, the submarine voyage and the monorail in 1959 also played into Holidayland's demise.

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A junior ticket to Holidayland.

Albright followed up his Holidayland success by helping to create the Magic Kingdom Club, which was geared to companies and organizations. Magic Kingdom Club memberships could be purchased by company employees, who would receive perks, such as park discounts.

As for Holidayland, some of the land that once housed the area is now part of the entrance way to the Downtown Disney complex. In addition, there's a pickup and drop-off area for trams that take guests to and from a Disneyland parking structure on the former Holidayland property.

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Another aerial photo shows how close Holidayland was to what would become New Orleans Square.
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A full lineup of Mouseketeers poses for a photo in Holidayland. That's Annette Funicello, left, who doesn't seem all that thrilled to be perched atop the bars.

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