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The Tickle Trunk – Memories of Disney

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Carol has a Tickle Trunk. It's filled with wonderful Disney memories!

Most Canadian readers will remember Mr. Dressup, Casey, Finnigan and the Tickle Trunk . . . but for others, I will explain. Mr. Dressup was the star of a children's show which ran on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation network from 1967 to 1996. His sidekicks were two hand puppets, Casey and Finnegan, a child and a dog who lived in a treehouse in Mr. Dressup's back yard.


In most episodes Mr. Dressup would get a costume from a big, brightly painted steamer trunk which he called his Tickle Trunk. The costume might be for an animal, policeman or fireman. Donning the costume (after all, he was Mr. Dressup), he would play the role suggested by the outfit. The Tickle Trunk appeared to be charmed - it always had the right costumes, in the right sizes, neatly folded at the top. That simple steamer trunk really was magical; it transported Canadian children to some very imaginative places for three decades!


Mr. Rogers Neighborhood aired in Canada too, but if you ask any Canadian kid of that era they will assure you, "Mr. Dressup was waay more fun!"

I've mentioned before that Carol saves every piece of paper from each Disney trip, tickets, park maps, resort check-in packages, brochures, flyers, napkins . . . you name it, she probably has it! When she gets home all of that material finds a permanent spot in a big wooden trunk - for years now we've called it Carol's Tickle Trunk!


Of course, Carol's Tickle Trunk is magical too. Whenever she opens the lid we are instantly transported to our happy place! The best of memories come floating out!


As you might expect, the trunk has been full for years. It takes some management! When we get home from a trip some new treasures go in and some older treasures get culled and placed in new homes.

When Carol started collecting pins in earnest in 2001 she scoured the Tickle Trunk and pulled out some classic old pins. They now have a special place of honor in her pin collection.

Her collection of Disney buttons, acquired over the decades, now live in a button bucket!

The resort registration packages from each Disney trip, along with park maps, timetables, and plenty of other paper now fill a filing cabinet drawer. Each trip is in its own folder.

But there's still plenty of treasure in that magical wooden trunk!

Just a week or two ago I was writing a blog about Disney park tickets, so naturally we had to go to the Tickle Trunk to find a few old ones. On the way to the bottom of that trunk, where those tickets from 1977 live, we uncovered some buried treasure!

What did we find? Here's a small sampling:

Ten old copies of the "Walt Disney World News"
This four-page newsletter was produced by Disney, a fresh copy each month in the early years, and included in check-in packages at all Disney resorts. The tabloid sized papers are full of fascinating information!



Magic Kingdom Club/Disney Club Membership packages
Who knew Disney had so many clubs . . . The Magic Kingdom Club, the Magic Years Club and the Disney Club. Carol has old membership cards, brochures and magazines for all of them!




Dinner á la Disney & Breakfast á la Disney Tickets
Before there were character meals there was Dinner á la Disney! Dinner was served in the Trophy Room at the Golf Resort, now known as Shades of Green. Breakfast á la Disney was served aboard the Empress Lily, now known as Fulton's Crab House. There were no character meals in the Magic Kingdom in the early years!


River Country / Discovery Island Tickets
River Country was the original Disney water park, located beside Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Two slides dropped guests into a man-made pool. The rest of the slides and water adventures took place in the natural waters of Bay Lake.



Just across the water from River Country was Discovery Island, a tropical paradise filled with exotic birds and blossoms.


Disney Matchbook covers
In days of yore cigarette smoking was allowed in most areas at Walt Disney World and most resorts and restaurants had matches available for guests. Carol's collection lives in a pretty metal box in the Tickle Trunk.


Children's "Wonders of Walt Disney World" Books
This program of day-long seminars was offered by Disney for children from 10 to 15 years of age. Son Rob went on two of the four seminars they offered in the mid 80's and Carol has the proof!



Disney Post Cards
Yes, there are postcards. Lots and lots of postcards.




But there's something all those things have in common. All of that stuff, all those oddities and curios which remain in that trunk; they are all filled with fond memories of happy days. Sweet recollections from magical Disney trips!

Stay tuned, once in a while I'll pull something out of the Tickle Trunk and tell you a little bit more about it in a new blog.

The previous post in this blog was Jim’s Attic: Theater of the Stars Handprints Part Two.

The next post in this blog is Discover a "Place of Delight" at Yak and Yeti Restaurant.

Comments (12)

Al Boeck:

What a great fun idea. Very good way to remember those special times at Disney

Linda Ranatza:

Hi Gary,

I wish I had a Tickle Trunk! What wonderful memories are stored there. Thanks for sharing. Can hardly wait until the next visit.


Almost every item in your trunk deserves a written story. Your article was so enjoyable, but it just made me want more stories!

[Gary writes: Thanks Sharon, I'm glad you enjoyed it. There are lots of stories on the way . . . stay tuned!]

Gary Cruise:

Here's an interesting little tidbit about Fred Rogers who starred in Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and Ernie Coombs who starred as Mr. Dressup.

Rogers was from Pennsylvania and Coombs was from Maine. They worked together on a US Public Television station, WQED, and in 1963 both moved to Toronto to work on children's programming for CBC.

In 1966 Rogers moved back to WQED in Pittsburg and developed the Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood show while Coombs stayed in Toronto and created Mr. Dressup. They remained lifelong friends.

Megan K:

I love seeing vintage Disney items people have.
It made me laugh alittle because I have the same tin (that has Snow White on it).

Tonda Wilson:

Thanks so much for the trip down memory lane! Mr. Dressup and Disney World share equal billing in my heart! Both fascinate me and transport me to childhood instantly!

charissa :

I remember going to see Mr. Dress Up do a magic show when I was in public school. Love Carol's tickle trunk.

Your blog posts are always an interesting read. Thanks.

Tracey A:

Not only did I get to see Mr. Dressup at his magic show, I was chosen from the audience to participate in one of his tricks.

He had a white handkerchief that he put in an envelope, and I had to sit on it. I had the magic power to turn the handkerchief blue because of my blue dress. My mom and dad recently sold their house, and when cleaning out, she found that envelope with Mr. Dressup's logo on it.

What an amazing treasure I now have to add to my memory trunk!

[Gary writes: Great story Tracey. My children, Michelle & Steve, saw him live as well - in our local library. They were 4 and 3 at the time, they were thrilled!]

Jeff Blank:

Hi Gary -
Loved the blog. Seems like Carol and I are kindred spirits when it comes to saving all the scraps of paper, check in packages, etc. I save them too, but the only organization I have is that each trip is stored in the plastic bag you get when buying anything in one of the World's stores for that particular trip.

I stayed outside WDW the first five trips there, so I even saved the tourist books you found everywhere along Irlo Bronson Hwy. They're interesting to look at and seeing some of the non-Disney activities available in the mid-1990's - at one you could go up in an airplane and have a pretend "Dogfight" with another plane! Even if you never flew a plane before (there was a trained pilot on board each plane)! Wild stuff.

Looking forward to the further adventures you share with us as you dig through Carol's Tickle Trunk.

- Jeff


Thank you for the trip down memory lane. I grew up in Buffalo, NY so we got stations from both sides of the border. Seeing Mr Dressup made me smile.

I do hope that Carol will be at the pin event again this year, we will look forward to saying hello.

[Gary writes: Hi Tricia, glad I was able to give you a smile. Carol will definitely be at the EPCOT Trade Celebration in September. She's looking forward to seeing you and Erik again.]

jackie purcell:

I loved Mr.Dressup as a child, living close enough to the Canadian border in Michigan I grew up on all things Canadian TV.

I also have my own trunk of all things I collected on trips including the Do Not Disturb signs from rooms and an old childrens Blue Bayou menu from the 80s. Except for my trunk is a Tupperware container.

[Gary writes: Hi Jackie. I grew up near the border too, on the north shore of Lake Erie, 50 miles due north of Erie PA. We watched all the Canadian networks and everything from Erie and Buffalo as well. Best of both worlds!

A Tupperware Tickle Trunk? That's just fine! It's not the container that counts, it's all about the memories!]

Lisa Zitek:

Greetings Gary, I have enjoyed all your articles.

You have inspired me to organize my own "tickle trunk" filled with the Disney stuff I bring home each trip.

I look forward to more of your "tickle trunk" show and tells.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 27, 2014 5:23 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Jim’s Attic: Theater of the Stars Handprints Part Two.

The next post in this blog is Discover a "Place of Delight" at Yak and Yeti Restaurant.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.