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April 2015 Archives

April 12, 2015

Mousecars and Ducksters

Gary Cruise banner

Until about six months ago I had no idea that the most coveted awards handed out by Walt Disney were small statues of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. "Mousecars" and "Ducksters"

Last October Carol and I had the good fortunate to be at Walt Disney World in October when the final D23 Fanniversary session was held there, at the Atlantic Dance Hall. Although she has been a D23 member for several years, this was our first event. Our hosts, Billy from Burbank CA and Kevin from Syracuse NY, shared plenty of pictures and "insider" information during their two-hour presentation.

D23 Fanniversary

They talked about the many Disney anniversaries happening during the year, starting with four attractions from the 1964 New York World's Fair (Carousel of Progress, Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, It's A Small World and The Magic Skyway) and worked their way through to the most recent events, such as the previous day's announcement that the big Sorcerer's Hat would be leaving Disney's Hollywood Studios.

D23 Fanniversary

They used slide shows, music and video to illustrate the "insider" stories they told us, and we were shown some video clips that have never before been publicly aired. There were some funny bloopers by Walt Disney as he recorded segments for the Disneyland Show in the late 1950's and a very touching interview with Julie Andrews when she described working with Walt on the Mary Poppins movie.

For me, the highlight of the day was the Duckster they brought with them. Billy donned white cotton gloves and carefully cradled the rare artefact while we took pictures of it.

A Duckster

This small statuette of Donald Duck was presented by Walt and the Disney Corporation to those who gave exemplary service. It must have been a true honor to be awarded a Duckster!

The other award, the original, is the Mousecar. The name, as you have probably figured out, is a play-on-words, a combination of the words Mouse and Oscar. The first Mousecar was presented in 1947 by Walt Disney to his brother Roy.

Bernie Cobb's Mousecar

Here's how Disney Historian and Archivist Dave Smith explained it in the Summer 2004 Issue of Disney Magazine.

Disney Magazine Summer 2004

As Dave said, there are no accurate records of how many Mousecars have been awarded and who received them, but here is a list I was able to compile with a quick internet search. I cannot guarantee its accuracy!

Mousecar recipients: Louis Armstrong, Bernie Cobb, Marc Davis, Roy P. Disney, Amanda Fogelberg, Kathie Lee Gifford, Manuel Gonzales, Floyd Gottfredson, Dick Huemer, Lucille Ogle, Dean Palacios, Zack Schaja, The Sherman Brothers, Riley Thomson and Elmo Williams.

Here is a picture of Dick Huemer as he proudly received his Mousecar.

Dick Huemer Mousecar

Very few Disney "outsiders" have ever received a Mousecar, but here's an example that dates back to the mid 1960's when Walt awarded one of the prestigious statuettes to Louis Armstrong. As you read the details in the article from the Summer 2001 Issue of Disney Magazine below, pay close attention to the picture of Walt and "Satchmo". Is Mickey holding a trumpet?

Click on the image of the article to see a larger version that's easier to read.

Disney News Summer 2001

Sadly, a few of these historic relics have found their way to auction houses; in 2005 Riley Thomson's Mousecar was auctioned for $5,358.

The Duckster was designed a few years after the Mousecar and, as near as anyone can tell, Walt Disney first awarded it in 1952, to Martha Torge.

Mouscar and Duckster

Once again, records are sketchy but it seems that recipients of the Duckster included: Carl Barks, Marvin Goldfarb, Susan Henning, Bob Karp, Clarence Nash, Jennifer Sleeper, Al Taliaferro, Martha Torge and Max Westebbe.

How appropriate that Carl Barks and Clarence Nash were awarded Ducksters! Carl Barks wrote and drew nearly five hundred "Duck Stories" for Disney Comic Books and Clarence Nash was the voice of Donald Duck for over 50 years! Do you suppose Walt had them in mind when he designed the second statuette?

Susan Henning's Duckster was engraved "Best Unseen Performance by an Actress". Susan acted in The Parent Trap where she performed as a body double for Hayley Mills. Susan's face never appeared on screen, hence the reference to "unseen".

1963 Disney Awards

There is no indication that Walt Disney ever received a Mousecar or Duckster but in the photo below, from about 1965, he has one of each proudly displayed on his desk.

Walts Desk Items

Do you suppose a dedicated Disney fan and occasional blogger like me could ever earn one of these wonderful awards?

You're right, it's highly unlikely . . . but in September 2009 a Duckster was awarded at the D23 Expo to contest winner Jennifer Sleeper, a Financial Analyst, who created the official portrait of Donald Duck for his 75th birthday.

I won't give up hope!

April 20, 2015

Disney on a VERY Limited Budget

By Guest Blogger: Kay Belin

Summer is coming and it is time to plan vacations so it is a good time to discuss a trip to Walt Disney World. Recently, I was asked by a family with very limited means to see if there was a way they could bring their two children to the parks for a long wished for vacation. They were willing to do anything but their budget was extreme. It had been a dream for them for many years to surprise their two children.

After hearing their story I knew I had to do some deep research and figure out what they could do as I wanted to make magic and tell them this trip was indeed possible. So here is one way you can do a Walt Disney World trip on a VERY limited budget. Each day and month prices and deals do change so this is planned on the general prices. Always check to see what is being offered during the time you wish to vacation as you might be able to save even more.

One of the best times to come is September when the summer crowds have gone home. Prices at resorts are generally at their lowest during this time as well. For this limited budget for a family of four (2 children over age of 12) I chose this month and attempted to not exceed $2000. Impossible you say? Well not really but you have to be adventurous and willing to try something new perhaps. For this family I was helping they were willing to do almost anything to be able to bring their children.

Camping.........this is a great way to enjoy family time together and save money versus paying for more expensive hotel rooms. With modern technology you are not longer sleeping on hard ground or fighting off flying friends at night. At Disney camping is almost called "glamping" which means glamorous camping. The sites at the Fort Wilderness campgrounds come complete with grills, picnic tables, water, electricity, and cable hookup right at your own site.


The comfort stations are pristine with wonderful restrooms, individual shower rooms, laundry facilities, telephones, and ice machines. There are multiple trash pickups each day so you don't worry about critters coming to visit to see what you have left over. The pads are level and half of each one is concrete with the other half a dense sand making staking out tents very easy.

Disney has thought of everything you might require when it comes to camping so even if you have never done this it is a great place to start. Each site will have trees for some shade so you are not baking in the Florida sun. Bus transportation is within feet if you choose to leave your car at the site for the day. You can boat to the Magic Kingdom and take the Disney bus transportation to all of the other parks.

The beauty of camping at Disney is the simple fact that you can save money on your food. Driving will generally be the best option when traveling down to Walt Disney World so it allows you to bring coolers of food with you. Because you will not have a freezer it is recommended that you bring food staples for breakfast and a lunch that are not highly perishable and then find a nice spot in the parks or on property to have one bigger meal each day.

Character dining and shows will be more expensive but you can find great quick service locations offering good meals for the lowest prices. Fort Wilderness also has a wonderful restaurant, Trails End, which is open for breakfast and dinner buffets and menu lunch service. Breakfasts average $18-$20 per person, lunch around $25, and dinner about $26.

Fort Wilderness is almost a secret park in its own right. You will have two pools to choose from for swimming pleasure, fishing in the canals, hiking and walking trails, canoe and bike rentals, and a free Chip and Dale campfire Singalong each night followed by a Disney movie under the stars. You are likely to see many deer and turkey in the area and there is a peacefulness in the campgrounds that is a refreshing change from the hectic crowded atmosphere of the parks.


For a family of four (two children over the age of ten) staying at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds in the tent sites for three nights and purchasing four day park tickets for each family member, they can enjoy a Disney vacation for $1473.64. This is the package price when booking and purchasing at the same time with Disney via phone or at www.disneyworld.com. If you opt to reserve your tent site only that cost is $168.75. To add four day park tickets for each comes to $1299.32 showing a difference of only about $5 from the package price. All of these prices include tax and can change at any time. If you budget about $30 a day per person for one meal in the parks or resorts for three days you will need to add $360 which still keeps you below the $2000 number. If that still is above what a family can afford you can drop one day of park tickets and save about $127.80 from the vacation price above.

You can find rental tents at many sports retail stores and if you want to simply rent one from Disney they will have it set up for you on your site at your arrival. Rental of a Disney tent will add to the cost as they are $30 a night. The convenience might be worth it so all you need to bring are coolers, air mattresses, and sleeping bags. During almost any month of the year I would also suggest you bring a fan.

If you are not adventurous then your next best budget bet is to head to the All Star resorts. Staying at the same time in September at All Star Sports will cost you almost an additional $300 and for those on an VERY limited budget this is a lot of money.


So can a family of four do Disney for four days and three nights with park tickets under $2000? Absolutely yes, with a dose of adventure and fun mixed in! A Disney vacation can come in all budgets and experiences but no matter how your family wishes or needs to travel I can guarantee it will be filled with pixie dust all along the way.

What are your ideas for spending time at Walt Disney World with your family while on a very limited budget?

April 21, 2015

Jim's Attic: The Birth of Walt Disney World Golfing

Jim's Attic: The Birth of Walt Disney World Golfing By Jim Korkis

When Walt Disney World opened October 1971, the Disney company had to educate the general public that the new entertainment venue was not just like another Disneyland, but was an entire "vacation destination" featuring a wide variety of leisure activity from boating to horseback riding to dining, and, of course, golf.

Beautiful golf courses were always part of the original Florida Project plan as conceived by Walt Disney himself. Walt had briefly taken up golfing as a hobby to alleviate stress. However, like other beginning golfers, he often found more stress on his early hours on the course before going to the Disney Studio and quit.

In 1971, both the Magnolia and Palm golf courses, designed by Joseph L. Lee, opened. In 1993, Lee renovated the Magnolia.


Sandy Quinn was head of marketing for WDW in Florida through construction, the opening and several early years of operation.

"You have to credit two people [with opening Walt Disney World on time]. Joe Fowler, the Admiral, created all the levels of contractors and suppliers. He planned the invasion. Dick Nunis took them across the channel. They made a great team," Quinn recalled.

With a few weeks to go before the opening of Walt Disney World, Quinn was given the task of setting up a PGA golf tournament before the end of the year. Quinn knew nothing about arranging golf tournaments, but he did know that famed golfer Arnold Palmer was in town at his new Bay Hill development.

"I sent somebody over to see if he would come by and at least talk to us about it," Quinn said. "Well, he came over and we're starting to talk and all of a sudden he looks off in the distance, curious about something. I walk over and see he's watching the train engineers put the new cars on the monorail. Right away he gets interested and wants to know if he can take a ride.

"Well as luck would have it, the engineers were running a full scale test on the whole system that day -- and they were delighted to have Arnie as their first passenger. But not nearly as delighted as Arnie. He jumped in one of the cars and that's where he stayed for about four hours. He was just like a kid, going 'round and 'round, waving and laughing, having a wonderful time.

"We said a small prayer, hoping the thing wouldn't fall down or something while he was in it. When he was through, we started talking a little about a golf tournament. 'No problem,' he says, 'Sign me up. I'll call a few friends.' And that was it. In no time at all, we had a full-fledged PGA golf tournament."

The Walt Disney World Open $150,000 Golf Championship was scheduled November 29 through December 5, 1971. A $5,000 Pro-Am Tournament would take place December 1, 1971. Golfer Jack Nicklaus won that year, and the following year (1972), and the year after that (1973). Golfer Tiger Woods has won twice at Disney, including his rookie year on tour in 1996.

Jack Nicklaus

In 1973, the Walt Disney Open Invitational changed its name to the Walt Disney World Golf Classic. Golfing at Walt Disney World was so popular that the 125-room Golf Resort opened December 15, 1973, adjacent to the golf courses and near the Magic Kingdom.

In 1986, the Golf Resort became the Disney Inn, shifting the golf theme to a Snow White theme. It became the Shades of Green Resort, an Armed Forces Recreation Center resort, when the U.S. Department of Defense leased the hotel from Disney in 1994 (and purchased it outright in 1996). It now has almost 600 rooms.

While many Disney guests have enjoyed the professional golf courses over the decades, few realize how it all began thanks to golfer Arnold Palmer loving the WDW monorail.

Disney Historian Jim Korkis goes up into his imaginary attic to rummage around his archives and often stumbles across an unusual story about Walt Disney World. Those who have met me know that I take real joy in talking about Walt Disney.

Check out Jim's other "From the Attic" Blogs

Full features from the Walt Disney World Chronicles series by Jim Korkis can be found in the AllEars® Archives: http://allears.net/ae/archives.htm

Jim Korkis


Jim Korkis is an internationally respected Disney Historian who has written hundreds of articles about all things Disney for more than three decades. As a former Walt Disney World cast member, his skills and historical knowledge were utilized by Disney Entertainment, Imagineering, Disney Design Group, Yellow Shoes Marketing, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Feature Animation Florida, Disney Institute, WDW Travel Company, Disney Vacation Club and many other departments.

He is the author of three new books, available in both paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon.com:
The Book of Mouse: A Celebration of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse
Who's Afraid of the Song of the South AND

"The REVISED Vault of Walt":

Mid-Month Mousy Mindboggler - April 2015



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® Bits and Bites issue, our friend James Dezern (known as "dzneynut" around several Disney discussion forums) supplies us with a puzzle of his own design.

Around the middle of each month, James 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's the answer key to the March Mid-Month Mousy Mindboggler:


There were 50 correct responses to the word search puzzle on Extinct Future World attractions.

The first ten unused letters in the puzzle were DWEYNWWENX.

The winner of a Mickey pin was Jodie S. of Williamsburg, VA (heh, neighbor!). Thanks to everyone for playing!

This month we are going to continue looking at extinct attractions at the various Disney Parks. The third park we will take a look at will be Epcot's World Showcase.

There have not been as many changes in the World Showcase section of Epcot as there have been with Future World, so I'm including a few questions on what might have been.

Here's the link to the new puzzle:


The object is, as always, to have fun, but if you'd like a chance to win a Disney collectible pin: There's no need to send me the completed puzzle, just list the first 10 unused letters, starting with the first row, IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF AN EMAIL addressed to dzneynut.puzzle@gmail.com.

Send your entries no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on May 16, 2015. 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, along with a new puzzle, in mid-May.

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

Thanks! Until next month...

April 26, 2015

From the Tickle Trunk - Disney Comic Books

Gary Cruise banner

Let's dip into the Tickle Trunk again and take a look at some old Disney comic books.

1979 January Mickey Mouse Comic

All of them date from the late 1970's and early 1980's when Rob was at exactly the right age for comic books. I think Rob probably outgrew them, but his mother didn't! I wonder if he knows that she hid them all away in the bottom of that old Tickle Trunk?

Comic Collage

Comic Collage

Many of the Disney characters are represented, Mickey, Goofy, Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Chip and Dale. There are even a few lesser known stars like Gyro Gearloose.

Comic Collage

Comic Collage

There was a terrific article about Disney comic books in the Summer 2003 issue of Disney Magazine and it's full of some very interesting facts. I've included scans of that article below, click on the images to see a larger, more readable version of each page.

Disney Magazine Summer 2003 pg 50

Disney Magazine Summer 2003 pg 51

One of the most astounding facts, in my opinion, is how popular Mickey Mouse became in a very short period of time. I'm sure we're all familiar with the story of Walt Disney and his early character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Walt didn't own the rights to Oswald, Charles Mintz did. When the two men had a falling out in the spring of 1928 Walt was left with no character.

It sounds like an injustice, but if it hadn't happened that way Walt may have never dreamed up his most significant creation! Enter Mickey Mouse, who made his first public appearance in Steamboat Willie which debuted in New York City on November 18, 1928.

Disney Magazine Summer 2003 pg 52

Disney Magazine Summer 2003 pg 53

The first Mickey Mouse comic appeared January 13, 1931 in daily newspapers as a syndicated comic strip. Only two years later, in 1933, Mickey Mouse Magazine was born. It was initially given away free at movie theatres and department stores but it must have been a huge hit, because by 1935 it had been reborn as a monthly "paid" magazine and by the end of that year it had a circulation of over 130,000. Think of that . . . Mickey was only seven years old!

The magazine was translated and foreign editions were published in many countries around the world. Mickey really was an overnight success!

Disney Magazine Summer 2003 pg 54

Disney Magazine Summer 2003 pg 55

The first Disney comic book, Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, was launched in 1940 and within two years boasted a circulation of over 1,000,000 copies per month. The world's favourite mouse was barely a teenager at the time!

Volume 1 Issue 1

Most of the comics in those early years began with a 10-page story, drawn by Carl Barks, starring Donald Duck and ended with a story starring Mickey.

By the mid 1950's Mickey had a very popular daily television show, a theme park and the best selling comic book in America. Walt Disney's Comics and Stories was selling over three million copies each month.

Walt Disney Comics and Stories No 516

Like all comics of that age, the back page featured advertisements urging young readers to sell greeting cards and select fabulous rewards from a catalogue! Another ad urged kids to buy plenty of Kellogg's cereal and enter a "stick-up for breakfast" contest to win a stone-age video game. How about those sea-monkeys? Did you ever own a bowl full of happiness?

Comic Collage Ads

Unfortunately, Disney comic book sales went into decline in the late 1970's and on into the 1980's. Many of the titles disappeared from the shelf altogether. On a recent visit to a huge bookstore and a specialty store catering to comic book collectors I could find no trace of a new Disney comic book.

In the mid 1950's they were selling over three million copies a month and just 60 years later they have gone the way of the dinosaurs!

But there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel; Time Magazine published an announcement January 22, 2015 that IDW Publishing will begin reprinting translated versions of classic Disney comics that were originally published in foreign languages overseas. The first to be reprinted will be Uncle Scrooge No. 1, expected to be in stores in April 2015, followed by reprints of titles Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Walt Disney Comics and Stories which should arrive in stores before July.

Uncle Scrooge No 1

Guess who has registered at our local comic book store to reserve a copy of the new Uncle Scrooge No. 1 . . . Carol just has to have one to add to the Tickle Trunk!

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About April 2015

This page contains all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in April 2015. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2015 is the previous archive.

May 2015 is the next archive.

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