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October 1, 2012

A History of Dinoland U.S.A. and Restaurantosaurus - Part One

Jack Spence Header


When I started writing this article, my intent was to review and describe Restaurantosaurus, the counter service eatery located in Dinoland U.S.A at the Animal Kingdom. However, the more I got into the piece, the more I realized you can't write about the restaurant without discussing the backstory of Dinoland. You see, the two are united in a pseudo-history that Disney created to add realism to the area. It would be difficult to tell the story of one without telling the story of the other. So what you will receive over the next two days is a linear account of both Dinoland and Restaurantosaurus and how they grew together over time. I also might take a side trip or two in order to cover other bits of Disney history semi-related to the area.

In 1946, a rustic fishing lodge could be found along U.S. Highway 498 in Diggs County, somewhere in the heartland of America. Nestled in a grove of trees, this spot provided local and visiting anglers a place to relax and tell tall tales about the one that got away. Nearby, a gas station own by an elderly couple, Chester and Hester, provided the basic necessities of travel.


Highway Sign

Fishing Lodge

Gas Station


In 1947, an amateur fossil-hunter found a few old bones near the lodge. He took them to some of his paleontologist friends who verified their authenticity. Realizing the importance of the find, the group banded together and purchased the lodge and much of the surrounding land. This was the humble beginnings of what would eventually become the Dino Institute.

Professors and grad students soon took up residence here and created a makeshift dormitory. Needing a place to eat, a cafeteria was added within the old lodge. Since research programs are always looking for funding and grants are hard to come by, the students decided to open their cafeteria to the public and make a few additional bucks to help subsidize their various digs. Not being too particular about what to call their eatery, they simply erected a large sign on the roof that said "RESTAURANT."


Restaurant Sign


At the same time, the students also opened up a small, walk-up counter where motorists could purchase an ice-cream cone, cookies, and a refreshing beverage. They called this location Dino-Bite.


Dino Bites


College students being college students, monkeyshines and mischief began to ensue shortly after their arrival. It soon became the fad to add the suffix "osaurus" to signs throughout the lodge.


osaruus suffix

osaruus suffix

osaruus suffix

osaruus suffix


Of course, pranks must be "topped" and one particularly mischievous young man decided to add a huge "osaurus" to the "RESTAURANT" sign to the delight of his classmates - and the name stuck.


Restaurantosaurus Sign


As word of the dinosaur find spread, tourists began to stop by to see what all of the hubbub was about. They would visit the dig site, known as the Boneyard, then head over to the lodge to see what else they could learn.


The Boneyard

The Boneyard

The Boneyard

The Boneyard


Since money was tight, it was not possible to build a proper tourist information center, so the professors and grad students opened their home and created a makeshift visitor's center within the lodge. Now the travelers could stop by and receive a proper education as to what was going on in Diggs County.

As more and more relics were unearthed, the paleontologists displayed them on the walls and shelves of the lodge. Eventually, the visitor's center was transformed into a mini-museum. Many of these early artifacts can still be seen today.


Lodge Museum

Lodge Museum

Lodge Museum


When the lodge grew too small to house all of the dinosaur bones, a tent was erected on Chester and Hester's land and some of the larger creature's skeletons were displayed fully assembled. This exhibit was called Dinosaur Jubilee. Nearby was the Fossil Preparation Lab where one of the paleontologists could be seen cleaning debris and dirt from recent finds. The map (below) shows the various sites.


Dinosaur Jubilee

Dinosaur Jubilee

Dinoland U.S.A. Map


On the walls of the lodge-museum are numerous pictures of team members, unearthing new discoveries.


Museum Photographs

Museum Photographs

Museum Photographs


Also found on a wall in the lodge's main room is a portrait of Clarence P. Wilkerson. This gentleman believed in the project and was a major benefactor.


Clarence P. Wilkerson


As the needs of the dig site grew, so did the needs of the support facility. First to be added was a Quonset hut. Erected adjacent to the lodge, this structure would serve as the maintenance bay for the various field vehicles.


Quonset hut

Quonset hut

Quonset hut


Inside the Quonset hut you can still see engine parts, tools, hubcaps, and other automobile paraphernalia. Also, take a look at the walls. The imaginative mechanics have used their greasy hands to create some rather creative dinosaurs.


Car Engine

Auto Tools

Hubcaps

Grease Dinosaur

Grease Dinosaur


It seems our mechanic is also a sculptor. He created this dinosaur out of wrenches, nuts, bolts, and other metal odds and ends found in the garage.


Metal Dinosaur


Our artistic mechanic also has a sense of humor as can be seen on this wall sketch. In case you can't read the small print the dinosaur says "Hey Harry, Have you got somethin' for my U-joints"."


Dinosaur Cartoon


Notice the cans of oil on one of the shelves. The brand is Sinclair. This is the same brand of gasoline that Chester and Hester sell at their service station.


Sinclair Oil

Chester & Hester Gas Station


Sinclair is a real oil and refining company that was established in 1916 by Harry F. Sinclair. Its distinctive green dinosaur silhouette (brontosaurus) logo was a fixture on U.S. highways for many years.


Sinclair Advertisement


Sinclair sponsored a dinosaur exhibit at the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair. The exhibit pointed out the supposed relationship of petroleum deposits and dinosaurs. The display included a two-ton animated model of a brontosaurus - an early and crude AudioAnimatronics.

At the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, Sinclair sponsored another dinosaur exhibit. "Dinoland" featured life-size reproductions of nine different dinosaurs.


Sinclair at the Fair

Sinclair at the Fair


Of course Walt Disney was also at the New York World's Fair with his own dinosaur attraction. On "Magic Skyway," guests road in Ford convertibles (the humble beginnings of the PeopleMover) and progressed in time from the day of the dinosaur to the modern era. After the fair, the AudioAnimatronics dinosaurs were moved to Disneyland and installed along the route of the Disneyland-Santa Fe Railroad.


Magic Skyway

Magic Skyway


The names "Sinclair" and "Disney" were united in 1991 with a joint venture by Michael Jacobs Productions, Jim Henson Productions, and Walt Disney Television. A TV show titled "Dinosaurs" premiered and ran for four seasons. The comedy revolved around a group of anthropomorphic dinosaurs whose last name just happened to be Sinclair.


Sinclair TV Show


Back at Restaurantosaurus, we find a tribute to Walt and his dinosaurs. First, there are several sketches from "The Rite of Spring" section of his movie Fantasia. Put to the music of Igor Stravinsky, this piece chronicles the rise and fall of dinosaurs. If you'll notice, the title "Concert Feature" can be seen on the two sketches. This was the working title for Fantasia.


Concert Feature

Concert Feature


Nearby, a photograph of Walt, surrounded by his AudioAnimatronics dinosaurs, can be seen.


Photo of Walt Disney


With more and more finds being discovered every day, the research facility continued to grow. However, money was still in short supply. To expand the facility again, semi-permanent tents were constructed next to the Quonset hut. The lower walls of these structures are built of wood while the upper sections are made of canvas.


Tents


This latest addition was used for auxiliary storage. Inside you'll find provisions and camping gear as well as bones and other fossils excavated at the nearby Boneyard.


Tent Interior

Tent Interior

Tent Interior

Tent Interior


You will also find another student prank in this room - a classic. Over one of the doors is a bucket of water just waiting to find a target. Some poor, unsuspecting sole is going to get drenched.


Bucket of Water over the Door


As time marched on, the lodge became the first home of the Dino Institute which was formed to help promote this site and encourage a better understanding of paleontologists and dinosaurs. In addition, classroom studies became available to students for the first time. A sign of this can be seen on a flag hanging on one of the walls.


Dino Institute Flag


Hoping to generate cash for the struggling Institute, the trustees hired Dr. Helen Marsh sometime in the early 70's. Dr. Marsh had a reputation of rescuing cash-strapped museums and bringing them back from the brink of disaster. Within days of her arrival at the Dino Institute, she purchased Chrono-Teck Inc which had recently lost its government grant. Six months later, she announced to a stunned scientific community that her company had invented the "Time Rover," a vehicle that could travel back in time.


Dr. Marsh

Dr. Marsh


Things changed dramatically for the Dino Institute after this invention was announced. Now scientists could visit the prehistoric world for themselves. In addition, it brought the Institute prestige and funding to build a state-of-the-art facility to assist in research and house classrooms. The "new" Dino Institute was dedicated on April 22, 1978.


Dino Institute

Dino Institute

Dino Institute

Dino Institute


Dr. Marsh, calls the skeletal remains of dinosaurs, "quaint exhibits." She also claims that this "bare bones" approach is about to become extinct. Capitalizing on this ideology, she insists that tours to the Cretaceous period be offered to non-professionals to help subsidize the costs of the new facility.


Tme Travel


However, her announcement did not set well with the World Paleontological Society. Its president, Dr. Vladimur Borontsky, cautioned that thorough testing be conducted before the general public be allowed to ride. Dr. Marsh brushed these comments aside and stated, "Our staff has taken the 'rover' through an extensive 'test-and-adjust' phase and they all say the same thing. 'It's fast, it's a blast, and it's in the past.'"

Dr. Marsh's superior attitude has become contagious and most of the others working in the main building are intent on maintaining a "dignified" decorum. On the other hand, the professors and grad students of the lodge realize that the unearthing of fossils will continue to be a wonderful source of knowledge and they've retained their down-home sense of humor. This is evident by the many pranks and shenanigans perpetrated in the lodge and around town. Their carefree attitude greatly distresses Dr. Marsh and the Institute leaders, but there is little they can do about it.

Meanwhile, Chester and Hester could see others getting rich while their profits had only risen mildly with the influx of tourists. Determined to cash in on the area's new found wealth, they started selling souvenirs as well as gas. It wasn't long before their tacky merchandise was raking in more money than the gas they sold, so they converted the entire service station into a large shop called "Chester and Hester's Dinosaur Treasures."


Dinosaur Treasures


As profits started to grow, Chester and Hester decided to build a small amusement park across the street from their souvenir shop. Since their land bordered the main highway, this would be the perfect spot to attract passing tourist aiming for the Boneyard and the Dino Institute. However, this expansion would also require the removal of the Dinosaur Jubilee and the Fossil Preparation Lab which had been erected to showcase full-sized dinosaurs.


Chester & Hester's Dino-Rama


Fortunately, no hard feelings ensued with the forced removal of the exhibit. In fact, the students even paid homage to this entrepreneurial couple by hanging their photograph in the lodge.


Photo of Chester and Hester


That's it for Part One of my Dinoland/Restaurantosaurus article. Check back tomorrow for the conclusion.


October 2, 2012

A History of Dinoland U.S.A. and Restaurantosaurus - Part Two

jack-spence%27s-masthead4.jpg


Yesterday I discussed the humble beginnings of both Dinoland and Restaurantosaurus and how the discovery of dinosaur bones forever changed Diggs County. Today I'll continue that story.

After a long day in the hot sun, the students needed a way to unwind in the evening. To that end, one section of the lodge was transformed into a recreation room to be called "The Hip Joint."


The Hip Joint

The Hip Joint


The room abounds with games such as a badminton net, a carrom board, a basketball hoop, croquet set, a Frisbee, and an assortment of other sports equipment and board games.


Games and Sports Equipment

Games and Sports Equipment


This room is also home to a number of traditions that began in the early years. One of these asks each student to bring a rock from their home town. At the conclusion of their internship, they are to paint a message on the stone and it is displayed with honor.


Rocks

Rocks

Rocks

Rocks


There are also a number of tributes that are bestowed on the students. One of these is the Zip Award. This dubious honor is received by the individual who works the hardest all summer and finds nothing - zip - for the entire season.


Zip Award

Zip Award


On the other end of the scale, the Golden Trowel Award is given to the student that achieves the greatest number of discoveries during the year.


Golden Trowel Award

Golden Trowel Award

Golden Trowel Award


The Golden Boot Award is given to the student who has walked the most miles in search of dinosaur bones. Of course, this tired soul must give up one of their boots in order to be immortalized.


Golden Boot Award

Golden Boot Award


An Airstream trailer used by one of the early paleontologist has been incorporated into The Hip Joint. In it are two booths and a jukebox. When visiting, be sure to read some of the musical selections the students have to choose from. Here are just a few:

End of the World by Skeeter Davis
Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis
All Dug Up by Elvis Presley
I am a Rock by Simon & Garfunkel
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2
All Those Years Ago by George Harrison


Airstream

Airstream

Airstream Booth

Airstream Juke Box


On the outside of the Airstream, one prankish student has left his mark.


Airstream Hijinx


The professors and students also have a large selection of reading material to choose from for research and pleasure. Shelves in almost every room are crammed full of books and National Geographic magazines. Here are a few of the titles:

Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
Touch the Earth by David Luban
Stone Deep by Davie Wiltse
The Last One Left by John MacDonald


Books

National Geographic


Of course, the student's entertainment isn't confined to The Hip Joint. Fun can also be had outdoors with a little imagination.

On the backside of the water tower is a crudely painted target.


Water Tower

Water Tower


Across the way, on the porch roof, we find two lawn chairs, a cooler, and other paraphernalia. Attached to the wall is a rack full of plunger-type arrows and a couple of bows. Also, connected to the eves is a pulley and rope.


Arrow Game

Arrow Game


If you follow the rope, it stretches all the way to the water tower and has a bucket full of arrows attached to it.


Arrow Game


It appears our ingenious students have devised a unique game to play in their off hours and have come up with an interesting way to retrieve their arrows.

Also seen in a porch window sill is a bucket of golf balls and a club. I feel sorry for the people driving by on U.S. Highway 498.


Golf Balls


Nearby on Pterodactyl Pterrace, a basketball hoop has been set up for a little one-on-one play.


Pterodactyl Pterrace

Pterodactyl Pterrace


Back inside the lodge, more touches of the student's sense of humor can be found. For example, this French poster for the Japanese movie Godzilla is displayed proudly. Although not a real dinosaur, Godzilla does have the characteristics of several prehistoric creatures. He has the head and lower body of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the neck and forearms of Iguanodon, a triple row of dorsal plates reminiscent of a Stegosaurus, and the tail and skin texture of an alligator. Godzilla's monstrous size and destructive powers were similar in scope to other films of the day that featured dinosaurs terrorizing the hero and his helpless heroine.


Godzilla Poster


How about this message that one dimwitted student left for Animal? Poor Jenny.


Surprise Birthday Party


We've all heard that if you dig a hole deep enough, you'll end up in China. Well one student has marked a map with instructions. On a Post-it note placed over the Central United States he has written, "Start digging here." On another Post-it note over China he states, "End up here."


Start Digging Here


Here are few more signs found around the lodge.


Various Signs

Various Signs

Various Signs

Various Signs

Various Signs


Apparently, Hawaiian Shirt Day is a big event at the lodge. You can even see a few shirts drying above the porch roof.


Hawaiian Shirts


I especially like this pterodactyl with a sign around his neck which reads, "I (heart) Flying."


I (heart) Flying


The students are masters at pranks, but the professors try to pull a few tricks of their own - enough so that a scoreboard was created to keep track of who was getting the better of whom. Here are the latest standings.


Prank Score Board


Pay phones were a fact of life in the early days of the Institute. When a call was received and the recipient was absent, a message was taken and thumbtacked to the wall. When The Hip Joint was created years later, a second, more modern pay phone was installed in this room.


Old Pay Phone

New Pay Phone


Dr. Bernard Dunn is the Chairman of the Dino Institute Internship Program and oversees the selection process of new candidates. He is also the senior paleontologist and his name can be found on several bulletin boards in and out of the lodge. His caricature can also be seen in The Hip Joint in a drawing titled "Over Dunn."


Over Dunn


In the early years, the commissary supply room was continually being broken into by hungry students. Try as they might to secure the doors to this storage facility, the locks were repeatedly damaged. Finally, management gave up and made snacks and soft drinks available throughout the day in a cooler to be located on the porch. The mangled padlocks can be seen hanging against the signs and the broken latches can be seen lining the supply room door jam.


Commissary Sign and Locks

Commissary Sign and Locks

Commissary Sign and Locks


By the way, if you go looking for the cooler, it can be found on the porch roof with the plunger/arrow players.


Cooler


For a number of years, McDonalds was a major sponsor of the Dino Institute and helped run the cafeteria. But like so many other philanthropic organizations, they pulled their funding in search of other charitable causes. While present here, a McDonald's French fries carton could be seen in one of the dinosaur's mouth.


McDonalds


During the McDonalds years, two interesting signs could be seen around Dinoland. The first was located along the exit route from the attraction "Countdown to Extinction," later "Dinosaur." Playing with their slogan of the time, "Have you had your break today?" a sign was erected that said, "Have you had a Crocodilian today?"


Have you had a Crocodilian today?


Another sign was mocked up to look like a monster-movie poster with a number of clever catch phrases that captured the horror of a beast attacking with the catchphrases of McDonalds.


Movie Poster


Tourists visiting Restaurantosaurus today no longer select food from a cafeteria line but rather an overhead menu. Selections include hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, nuggets, a salad, and a few other offerings.


Ordering Area

Ordering Area


Dining rooms are located on both sides of the ordering area. Condiment and fill-your-own drink stations are found in both areas. In addition, fixin's stations allow guests to complete their burgers with a variety of toppings.


Condiment Bar

Condiment Bar

Topping Station


The seating at Restaurantosaurus is spread out among seven rooms. This helps alleviate the noise level somewhat and provides a slightly more intimate atmosphere. Note, some of the dining rooms are dark. Take this into account when selecting a place to eat. Also available are outside tables. These can be found on the porch out front and beyond the tent rooms.


Restaurant Seating

Restaurant Seating

Restaurant Seating

Restaurant Seating

Restaurant Seating


Restaurantosaurus is a busy establishment as it is the only counter service location in the Animal Kingdom that sells hamburgers. The restaurant opens daily at 11am and lines begin to form before this time. Closing time is determined by park closing. To see the complete menu, click here.

Here is a picture of a hamburger, chicken nuggets, a chocolate mousse, and cheese cake a friend and I enjoyed while researching this article.


Chicken Nuggets

Hamburger

Desserts


To be honest, I don't eat here often. The main reason, I prefer the selections at Flame Tree BBQ and Pizzafari. But that doesn't mean that I don't like Restaurantosaurus. The food they offer is good if you're in the mood for "standard" theme park fare.

I also love the theming at Restaurantosaurus. A person could spend hours examining all the details and reading the materials posted on the walls. The Imagineers outdid themselves when designing this establishment. I've only offered you a small smattering of the stories available here. I highly recommend giving this place a try if for no other reason, it will give you an excuse to be immersed in a fantastic world.

Now I'd like to break the fourth wall and provide you with an interesting detail about Dinoland U.S.A. But before I do, I must travel back in time to Disneyland, 1955. (I'll borrow a Time Rover from the Dino Institute for the trip.)

As we all know, the financing for Disneyland was an uphill battle. Because of this, Walt and his team were constantly looking for ways to cut costs. One decision to save money dictated the use of less expensive asphalt instead of concrete for many of the streets and thoroughfares. This would generate a significant savings. Unfortunately, asphalt becomes soft on hot days. When Disneyland opened, Southern California was undergoing a heat wave. Many women's high heeled shoes sank into the soft surfaces and they literally walked out of their shoes.

In order to be as authentic as possible, the Imagineers wanted Dinoland U.S.A. to be covered in asphalt. After all, this was how the roadways of the 1940's were manufactured. However, they didn't want to make the same mistake as their predecessors at Disneyland. So they used concrete and artistically made it appear as asphalt. This was achieved by pouring a carefully prepared mixture of colored concrete over chicken wire. Then, at just the right moment, the chicken wire was removed, leaving a rough surface that resembled an old highway. Additional cracks and potholes where then carved into the surface.


Concrete - Asphalt


Three years ago, I wrote an article about Chester & Hester's Dino-Rama. Although some of the information is a repeat of what you've read here, there is additional material about the mini-amusement park they created. To read this blog, click here.


When planning a land or attraction, the Imagineers come up with a complete backstory first. Then they design the attraction using this backstory and staying within its given parameters. When the attraction (or land) is debuted, this story is usually reported in press releases. After that, it's rarely mentioned again. But the backstory is there if you take the time to look for it. The Imagineers aren't trying to hide it from you. In fact, if the story were too obvious, the ambiance would seem fake. If you want to know the backstory of almost any attraction, it is there if you take the time to look. I gathered the vast majority of the information I provided you with today by taking the time to explore this facility and being observant.

In real life, no one tells you the backstory when visiting an area unless you're touring a historical monument. When you stop at a mom and pop roadside stand in Florida to buy a bag of oranges, no one tells you the history of the citrus crops or how these people came to operate this humble stand. If you're really curious, you need to investigate and ask questions.

Well that's it for Dinoland and Restaurantosaurus. I hope you've enjoy this journey through time and I've inspired you to check out this eatery on some future visit. Now that I've forced you to slow down and smell the roses and provided you with the backstory, I hope you'll find this restaurant as intriguing as I do.

I'd like to end this article with a small clipping I found on one of the Restaurantosaurus bulletin boards.


Everything I Know



D23’s Epcot Anniversary Celebration

Jack Spence Masthead


On September 30th, 2012, the day before Epcot's 30th anniversary, D23 held a celebration in honor of Disney's third theme park. The event ran from 9am until 6pm and recounted the history of Walt's last great dream, Epcot. Throughout the day, the audience was introduced to the men and women who planned and built this park. These "heroes" of the Disney world regaled the enthusiasts with stories and anecdotes of the planning and hard work that when into turning forest and swampland into a technological wonder. Deb Wills and I were there to enjoy the many stories that were shared that day and learn as much as we could about a park we both hold near and dear.


Epcot Anniversary


Fittingly, the event was held at Epcot in the World Showplace Pavilion located between the United Kingdom and Canada Pavilions. This venue was packed with eager fans, many of which would proudly call themselves "Disney Geeks." Some people were like Deb and me who already possessed a fair amount of Disney knowledge. Others were newbies who were taking their first steps into the passion of Disney. Many were from out-of-state who had made the trip specifically to be present the following day and celebrate Epcot's 30th birthday. The excitement in the room before the event began was electric as old and new friends shared their Disney memories and recollections with one another. Many wore their past Disney experiences like badges of honor as they remembered Epcot in the early years. This was an eager crowd anticipating a day full of information and memories.


D23 Logo


The presentation began promptly at 9am with introductory remarks by Steven Clark, the Head of D23. Knowing we wanted to get right to the "good stuff,"� his comments were brief.


Steven Clark


It would be impossible for me to share with you the excitement of being in the same room with so many Disney greats - so I'm not even going to try. Instead, I plan on briefly introducing you to the Imagineers who spent the day with us and the various themes they discussed. The bulk of my article will present you with a smattering of the many wonderful bits of Disney trivia we were made privy to. Since the story of Epcot was not told in a linear fashion, I will be jumping from topic to topic so try and keep with me. In some cases, photography was not allowed so bear with me when I have no accompanying pictures. I have used my own photographs to try and fill in the blanks.

The first topic of the day was "Epcot: The Dawn of a New Disney Era."� This event was hosted by Disney Legend Marty Sklar. Unfortunately, his schedule did not allow him to attend in person, but he did take the time to create a video especially for the event.


Disney Legend Marty Sklar


Story 1: Marty spent his time providing us with some of the early concepts for Epcot. One design was to be located just south of the TTC and would feature multiple pavilions arranged in two semicircles. One semicircle would house exhibits from various nations while the other showcase industry. Each would have an identical sized opening onto the promenade so all nations and companies would appear equal. However, each pavilion could be extended outward indefinitely depending on the needs of the country or company.


Early Epcot Concept Art


The next segment of the event was titled "We Can Do It."� Here we were presented with the overwhelming challenges faced by the early teams to create, build, and staff a theme park twice the size of the Magic Kingdom. This panel discussion was made up of Disney Legends and EPCOT Center creators and included: Duncan Dickson, Bob Matheison, Jim McCaskill, Tom Nabbe, Charlie Ridgway, Howard Roland, Bill Sullivan, and host Jason Surrell.


We Can Do It

Panel Discussion


Story 2: When the Land Pavilion was being developed, Disney looked to outside experts for advice and counsel. With planning almost complete for the "Listen to the Land"� attraction (now "Living with the Land"�), one of the botanists asked "When will you be adding the bees?"� "What do you mean, bees,"� the Imagineers asked. "You can't have thousands of bees flying around in a room full of tourists."�

Well it seems that the necessity of pollination was never discussed at any of the planning sessions; however, this would be a requirement if the farmlands of The Land Pavilion were to prosper. Today cast members hand-pollinate the fruits and vegetables seen on this attraction.


Listen to the Land


Story 3: Ray Bradbury was one of the consultants brought in to write the script for Spaceship Earth. His first draft was over 28 pages in length for a story that needed to be told in roughly nine minutes. Even though his scrip was pared down considerably, it contained many of the key elements we experience today.


Spaceship Earth


Story 4: The location for Epcot was chosen because it is the geographical center of the Florida property. It sits approximately where the theme hotel would have been located had a city been built rather than a theme park.


Epcot Centerpiece Hotel


Story 5: Have you ever wondered why there is so much room between Future World and World Showcase? Well it seems that after construction was well underway, a giant sinkhole was discovered in the area separating these two sections of the park. In excavating this land, they never did find the bottom. This meant that no building could be constructed in this area. In the end, a lake was created here for aesthetic purposes. Several of the monorail pylons had to be anchored to concrete pads beneath the surface to provide adequate support.


Monorail and Sinkhole


Story 6: Much of the muck and debris that was excavated from this sinkhole and Seven Seas Lagoon was hauled to another part of the Florida property and simply dumped. It would later have to be dealt with and disposed of properly when construction began on the Caribbean Beach Resort.


Caribbean Beach Resort


Story 7: For the groundbreaking ceremonies, a 180 foot tall representation of Spaceship Earth was created out of wire and Christmas garland and suspended from two giant cranes.


groundbreaking ceremonies


Story 8: Many of the Epcot Imagineers were "assigned"� to the ambassadors of the many nations that were being courted to be included in World Showcase. The Imagineers were expected to visit the dignitaries in Washington DC and play host to them when they visited the Florida site. These "social"� gatherings would include the Imagineer's entire household to promote the fact that Epcot was to be a family park. The Imagineers were also required to attend classes in protocol to ensure that no breaches in etiquette occurred.

Story 9: To promote the opening of Epcot and the recently completed Orlando International Airport, two Concord aircraft landed at OIA. It is believed that this is the only time in history that a British Airways and an Air France Concord landed simultaneously side by side.


Concord Jets


Story 10: Dick Nunis was head of Disney Parks when Epcot was being built. Dick was a task master and insisted on getting things done HIS way and on time. One day while visiting the Epcot site, he spotted a large hill of trash in an area where it didn't belong. He told one of the Imagineers to get rid of it ASAP. The following week, the trash was still there. Dick called the Imagineer over and said, "I told you to get rid of this trash."� The Imagineer, in an effort to escape Dick's wrath, proclaimed that this was new trash. Dick said, "Oh really?"� and walked over to the trash heap, reached in, and pulled out one of his business cards that he had placed there the week before. The trash was soon disposed of properly.

Story 11: When designing the Epcot parking lot, it was discovered that an endangered species of woodpecker was living in a strand of pine trees smack dab in the middle of the planned lot. Of course, this called for a redesign. Today the woodpeckers are gone, but Disney did name a backstage road, Woodpecker Lane, in honor of this little bird.


Epcot Parking Lot


The next presentation featured archivists Steven Vagnini and Michael Crawford. Their topic was "Looking Back at Tomorrow."� These two shared stories of some of our favorite Epcot attractions.

Story 12: Even though the Imagineers did not plan on featuring Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the Disney gang at Epcot, they still wanted charismatic characters for guests to interact with. As Mickey Mouse was the Magic Kingdom's mascot, Smart 1 was to be Epcot's icon.

Presented by Sperry, this cute little robot was designed to showcase the "intelligence"� of computers. Smart 1 spoke in an electronic voice and by asking guests a series of yes or no questions, he could answer all sorts of inquiries. Today, our smart phones are vastly more "intelligent,"� but in his day, Smart 1 amazed guests.


Smart 1


Story 13: Disney often says that no good story ever goes unused. To bring this point home, we were shown how several scenes originally planned for the never built Western River Expedition in the Magic Kingdom were used in the World of Motion.


World of Motion

World of Motion


Story 14: One of the original concepts for the Land Pavilion was to have guests ride in "hot air"� balloons and soar above the land, seeing the seasons of the year unfold below them. Of course, this idea never came to fruition. However, this is the reason we see hot air balloons hanging in the pavilion's central room.


Land Pavilion Balloons


Story 15: When Kitchen Kaberet was being planned, Bonnie Appetite was to have a cohost named Juicy Lucy. This idea was quickly dropped.

As the attraction neared its final stages of construction, it was decided to paint a wedding ring on Bonnie's finger. After all, this was a "family"� show.

Story 16: When United Technologies was considering sponsoring the Living Seas Pavilion, they were given extensive tours of the rest of Epcot. One of the delights they discovered was Figment and Dreamfinder. They could easily see how these two characters were tied to the Imagination Pavilion and how people identified with the characters and the product (Kodak). So the United Technologies people asked the Imagineers to come up with something similar for the Living Seas Pavilion. What the Imagineers sketched out was a crusty ol' seafarer to be named Captain Saltyfinder and his sidekick Mackerel which he would carry around beneath one arm. In reality, these characters were simply a rip-off of our friends over at the Imagination Pavilion. Needless to say, the idea never made it off the drawing board.

The "Makin' Memories: Epcot on Film"� part of the presentation was hosted by Imagineer Bob Garner and Disney author and historian Tim O'Day. This segment treated the audience to a number of film clips rarely seen by the public.


Panel


Story 17: Bob Garner was the gentleman responsible for filming Mickey standing on top of Spaceship Earth. Soon after the film's completion, Bob was reprimanded for creating this clip as no traditional Disney characters were to be included in Epcot. However, his superiors decided the clip was worthwhile and his footage was used in early advertisements. By the way, Mickey's only safety restraint was a rope tied around his feet.


Mickey on Spaceship Earth


"Imagineering Epcot: An Extra Perspective Close-up of Things"� was hosted by Jason Grandt, Jason Surrell, and Alex Wright.


Panel


Story 18: Before Norway was added to the roster of World Showcase nations, restrooms could be found in this spot. Rather than tear this structure down, it was kept and the pavilion was built around this existing building.


Norway Restrooms


Story 19: The Imagineers wanted to create the first completely circular geosphere. However, engineers told them that this was impossible. At the very best, only 75% of a sphere could be created. Not accepting this answer, the Imagineers came up with a way to build that 75% on a platform above the ground and suspend the other 25% beneath this platform. Original plans for Spaceship Earth also called for the structure to be gold rather than silver.


Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth


Story 20: The "friendliest"� building in Epcot can be found in the Norway Pavilion. For some unknown reason, the Imagineers decided that two buildings would "share"� one door between them.


Norway Pavilion


Story 21: In the Germany Pavilion, Oktoberfest is celebrated year-round. To make sure the season is always "correct,"� the trees within the Biergarten are covered in autumn leaves.


Biergarten


Story 22: Disney Legend Blaine Gibson is responsible for the creation of the statues that grace the American Adventure Theater. He used his father's face for the Spirit of Self-Reliance. When Blaine first presented a sample of this bust to the Imagineers, they told him he looked too serious, perhaps even angry. Blaine countered with, "But that's how my father always looked."� Since a more upbeat theme was required for the show, Blaine recrafted the face and in doing so, gained a better understanding of his father.


American Adventue Statue


Story 23: During the Civil War segment of the American Adventure, the Imagineers wanted to depict a real location out of history. Yet they didn't want to photograph a real place in fear that Disney fans would soon discover this location and flock to it in droves. So they used the freight depot found at the Disneyland train station in Frontierland. The name Muller's Landing (a real place name) was added to the structure for filming. So tight was the shot that if the camera had moved as much as an inch to the right, the Haunted Mansion would have been visible.


Muller's Landing


"We've Just Begun to Dream"� featured another panel discussion. This time Ron Logan, Carol Campbell, Gene Columbus, Gary Paben, Tony Peluso, Bob Radock, and Steve Skorijo. These folk from the entertainment field told stories about the grand opening ceremonies of Epcot, the most elaborate in Disney history.


Panel


Story 24: The Entertainment Department knew they needed to have inspirational music to represent Epcot. To that end, they searched for the first instance of music being written down on paper. They discovered that this took place in ancient Greece with a tune containing only 37 notes. The Imagineers then took the first eleven notes from this piece to form the beginning of the Epcot fanfare.

Story 25: The very first Disney All American College Band was created for the opening festivities. For one celebration, all five hundred members lined the roof tops of CommuniCore and entertained the guests below.


Disney All American College Band


Story 26: The Fountain of Nations was not complete on opening day. The geysers had yet to be connected to an electronic control board and had to be operated manually. However, much of the park's opening day ceremonies revolved around this centerpiece as children from around the world were invited to pour waters from their homeland into the fountain. To make sure the fountain erupted and subsided at just the correct moment, plumbers were stationed backstage and took cues from others as to when to turn the water on and off.


Fountain of Nations


Daniel Joseph hosted "EPCOT Illusioneering and Beyond."� His segment discussed the many groundbreaking technologies that Disney has created to bring us state-of-the-art illusions in the attractions and shows we enjoy.


Daniel Joseph


Story 27: Disney Legend Yale Gracey was a master at illusions and was responsible for many of the effects we enjoy in the Haunted Mansion and other attractions. He stated that an effect must be simple so it can be created somewhat easily. It must be elegant to as to impress the guests. And it must be repeatable as it would have to repeated hundreds or thousands of times each day.


Simple, Elegant, Repeatable


Story 28: Here is a partial list of some of the inventions to come out of Epcot:

Large scale coherent fiber optic displays
Largest hologram made to date
Smellitzer - Scent effects
Realistic lava effects
First polarized 3D movie (Magic Journeys)
State-of-the-art Laser lab and imaging facility
Some of the first video projectors ever used
One of the first users of laser disk digital playback
Polarized mural displays
In-house Disney (MAPO) manufactured projectors, lenses, fog machines, strobe lights, and mirror assembles.


Inventions of Epcot


One of the highlights of the event was "Journey Into Imagination" with Tony Baxter. This Disney great shared a number of interesting details about this much-missed attraction.


Tony Baxter


Story 29: Originally, Figment was to be green. When presented to Kodak they said "No way"� as their biggest competitor was Fuji Film who used green for the color of their film boxes. Kodak wanted Figment to be yellow and red to match their corporate colors. The Imagineers did not feel these colors were right and they went back to the drawing board. Eventually, everyone settled on "royal purple pigment."� However, yellow and red can occasionally be seen on a sweater Figment wears.


Figment


Story 30: The Imagineers were having trouble coming up with a name for our purple friend until one night when Tony was watching an episode of "Magnum PI."� In one scene, Higgins drones on and on about a "figment"� of his imagination. Hearing this, Tony instantly knew he had the perfect name for his dragon.

Story 31: In the original Imagination ride, there were three small "drops"� in the track. Early plans called for the cars to cascade over these in a mini-roller coaster fashion. However, the complicated ride technology would not support this effect.

The final segment of the event was titled "The Music of Epcot Center."� Hosts Russell Brower, Greg Ehrbar, Tim O'Day, and Steven Vagnini discussed the importance of a Disney score and how music adds life to an attraction.


Panel


Story 32: As much of this segment was audio rather than visual, it is more difficult to share with you some of the discussions presented. But I can assure you, a number of Epcot standards were shared with us in ways we have never heard before. For example, we heard Joe Rohde perform a scratch track for Dreamfinder and Golden Horseshoe star Betty Taylor sang the Bonnie Appetite part in the Kitchen Kaberet attraction.

I have presented you with 32 "stories."� I can assure you, this was only a small fraction of the information shared with us. The audience gave the presenters rapt attention and were disappointed when each segment ended. When six o'clock rolled around, everyone was saddened that the event had ended so quickly. As people strolled out of World Showplace, they were mostly talking about the interesting bits of Disney trivia they had learned that day.

Below is a short video featuring conversations with some of the Imagineers who helped build Epcot. It also contains some great footage of the opening day ceremonies.




October 8, 2012

Disney Common Bonds 2 - Questions

Jack Spence Header


I've created a second "Common Bonds" quiz. Here is a reminder of how the game is played. I will be giving you three words or phrases that have something in common. It will be your job to figure out where at the four Walt Disney World theme parks these words would all be applicable. For example, if I were to say City Hall, Emporium, and Horse-drawn Trolley, the common bond would be Main Street. Some of these common bonds are easy. Some are fairly difficult. However, the answers to many of them can be found in my blogs and articles.

As always, this quiz is just for fun. No winners will be announced and no prizes awarded.

The answers will appear in tomorrow's column. Best of luck!



Common Bonds 1


Lucifer
Birds with ribbons
The letter "C"



Common Bonds 2


Tea
Bells
Forbidden



Common Bonds 3


Signal
Pluto's Palace
Rotating globe



Common Bonds 4


Hot air balloon
Ms. Liberty
Banana cream pie



Common Bonds 5


Crawdad Shoals
Grinding Corn
Beacon Joe



Common Bonds 6


John Michael Higgins
Heat Chamber
Thermal Imaging



Common Bonds 7


Castle
Candy maker
Drums



Common Bonds 8


Dragon
Fishing
Hiking



Common Bonds 9


Termite mound
Suspension bridge
Stone turtle



Common Bonds 10


Grumman Gulfstream
Oil pump
PT boat



Common Bonds 11


Vegetable garden
Bees and hives
Undertakers



Common Bonds 12


Tile mosaic
Timon and Pumbaa
Hot air balloons



Common Bonds 13


Winged lion
Donkey
Masks



Common Bonds 14


Water tower
Airstream
Quonset hut



Common Bonds 15


Agrabah
London
Africa



Common Bonds 16


Wallace Beery & Marie Dressler
Charles Foster Kane, Xanadu Compound
DROP ANCHOR FOR A SNACK



Common Bonds 17


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Figureheads
Model Ships



Common Bonds 18


Lifeguard shack
Bruce
Mine! Mine! Mine!



Common Bonds 19


MRS. WITHERSPOON (BEFORE THE INCIDENT)
TINKERBELLS PRISON
GEPPETTO'S CANDLE FOUND IN MONSTRO



Common Bonds 20


Dragon
Sarcophagus
Birdhouses



Common Bonds 21


Upside-down Room
Camouflage Room
Nocturnal Room



Common Bonds 22


Canoes
Chevrolet Woody
Wood carver



Common Bonds 23


Don Quixote & Sancho Panza
Hippopotamus
Ferris Wheel



Common Bonds 24


Victory with Vegetables
Rosie the Riveter
Anaheim Produce



Common Bonds 25


Boulangerie de L'ami
Café Olé
Produits de la Mer




October 9, 2012

Disney Common Bonds 2 - Answers

Jack Spence Header


I've created a second "Common Bonds" quiz. Here is a reminder of how the game is played. I will be giving you three words or phrases that have something in common. It will be your job to figure out where at the four Walt Disney World theme parks these words would all be applicable. For example, if I were to say City Hall, Emporium, and Horse-drawn Trolley, the common bond would be Main Street. Some of these common bonds are easy. Some are fairly difficult. However, the answers to many of them can be found in my blogs and articles.

As always, this quiz is just for fun. No winners will be announced and no prizes awarded.

Here are the answers for yesterdays questions. Best of luck!



Common Bonds 1


Lucifer
Birds with ribbons
The letter "C"


These three identifiers can be found at Cinderella's Wishing Well in the Magic Kingdom.

To read my blog about this mini-attraction, click here.


Cinderella's Wishing Well

Cinderella's Wishing Well

Cinderella's Wishing Well

Cinderella's Wishing Well



Common Bonds 2


Tea
Bells
Forbidden


Although most people call the ride "Everest" or "Expedition Everest," the full name for the attraction is "Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain." Located at the Animal Kingdom, portions of the queue for this attraction wander through a tea plantation. In addition, we see a sign for the Royal Anandapur Tea Company in the Yeti Museum. Also in the queue are numerous bells which are irresistible to guests.

To see my blog about Expedition Everest, click here.


Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest



Common Bonds 3


Signal
Pluto's Palace
Rotating globe


There are several traffic signals along Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Pluto's Palace is one of the shops found on this thoroughfare. A rotating globe can be found atop the Crossroads building at the end of the street.


Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard



Common Bonds 4


Hot air balloon
Ms. Liberty
Banana cream pie


A hot air balloon can be seen high above the Muppet*Vision 3D attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Out front is a fountain with Miss Piggy playing the part of Ms. Liberty. And during the show, Fozzie Bear tries to throw a cream pie into the audience.


Muppet*Vision 3D

Muppet*Vision 3D

Muppet*Vision 3D

Muppet*Vision 3D



Common Bonds 5


Crawdad Shoals
Grinding Corn
Beacon Joe


Crawdad Shoals is one of the markers along Rivers of America in the Magic Kingdom. Along the shores we can see a Native America woman grinding corn and Beacon Joe smoking a pipe.


Rivers of America

Rivers of America

Rivers of America

Rivers of America



Common Bonds 6


John Michael Higgins
Heat Chamber
Thermal Imaging


John Michael Higgins is the actor who portrays the part of the Test Coordinator on the old Test Track attraction at Epcot. During the course of the ride we enter a Heat Chamber and undergo Thermal Imaging.


Test Track

Test Track

Test Track

Test Track



Common Bonds 7


Castle
Candy maker
Drums


The castle at the Japan Pavilion at Epcot is modeled after the Himeji Castle. The Matsuriza drumming group performs at the base of the pagoda several times each day. And Miyuki amazes audiences as she takes heated rice dough and transforms this putty-like substance into amazing creatures. Flamingos, dragons, flowers, scorpions, and more come to life before your eyes.

To see my blog about the Japan Pavilion, click here.


Japan Pavilion

Japan Pavilion

Japan Pavilion

Japan Pavilion



Common Bonds 8


Dragon
Fishing
Hiking


Camp Minnie-Mickey at the Animal Kingdom was a placeholder until Beastly Kingdom could be built. This land was to be the home of mythical creatures. An indication of this future land can be seen from the bridge leading into Camp Minnie-Mickey. Along the banks of Discovery River is a stone dragon. Further along we see Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louis hiking along a wilderness trail. And later we discover Mickey and Goofy fishing as Pluto keeps a watchful eye.


Camp Minnie-Mickey</

Camp Minnie-Mickey</

Camp Minnie-Mickey</

Camp Minnie-Mickey</



Common Bonds 9


Termite mound
Suspension bridge
Stone turtle


Along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in the Animal Kingdom we encounter a decaying termite mound. To enter the gorilla habitat, we cross a suspension bridge. To exit this area we walk beneath a rock formation that resembles a turtle.

To read my Pangani Forest Exploration Trail blog, click here.


Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail



Common Bonds 10


Grumman Gulfstream
Oil pump
PT boat


On the Studio Backlot Tour at Disney's Hollywood Studios we see Walt's private airplane. Dubbed "The Mouse," this Grumman Gulfstream flew Walt over the Florida property during the purchasing phase of "Project X." At Catastrophe Canyon we see an oil pump. In another part of the tour we see a naval war battle in which a PT boat is torpedoed.


Studio Backlot Tour

Studio Backlot Tour

Studio Backlot Tour

Studio Backlot Tour



Common Bonds 11


Vegetable garden
Bees and hives
Undertakers


When riding Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom, we pass by a vegetable garden planted by one of the critters. When searching for Brer Rabbit's laughing place, Brer Fox and Brer Bear encounter a number of bees. And just before ascending Chickapin Hill, two vulture undertakers warn us of impending doom.

To see my blog about Splash Mountain, click here.


Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain



Common Bonds 12


Tile mosaic
Timon and Pumbaa
Hot air balloons


Flanking both sides of The Land Pavilion entrance at Epcot are two tile murals. These murals are mirror images to one another with the exception of one tile. Within the lobby of this pavilion are five hot air balloons. Timon and Pumbaa host an attraction here titled "Circle of Life - An Environmental Fable.


The Land Pavilion

The Land Pavilion

The Land Pavilion

The Land Pavilion



Common Bonds 13


Winged lion
Donkey
Masks


The entrance to the Italy Pavilion at Epcot is marked by two massive columns. Atop one is a winged lion. Another sight found here is a donkey pulling a cart. And in the La Gemma Elegante shop you can find a large selection of Venetian masks.

To read my blog about the Italy Pavilion, click here.


Italy Pavilion

Italy Pavilion

Italy Pavilion

Italy Pavilion



Common Bonds 14


Water tower
Airstream
Quonset hut


Out front of Restaurantosaurus at the Animal Kingdom is a water tower. Two of the dining rooms of this eatery are located inside an Airstream trailer and a Quonset hut.


Restaurantosaurus

Restaurantosaurus

Restaurantosaurus

Restaurantosaurus



Common Bonds 15


Agrabah
London
Africa


These locations are three of the places Donald Duck visits while under the spell of Mickey's sorcerer's hat at Mickey's PhilharMagic in the Magic Kingdom.


Mickey's PhilharMagic

Mickey's PhilharMagic

Mickey's PhilharMagic

Mickey's PhilharMagic



Common Bonds 16


Wallace Beery & Marie Dressler
Charles Foster Kane, Xanadu Compound
DROP ANCHOR FOR A SNACK


"Min & Bill" was a hit MGM movie that starred Wallace Beery & Marie Dressler. Min & Bill's Dockside Diner at Disney's Hollywood Studios recreates the waterfront theme of this movie. There are a number of crates waiting to be loaded onto the ship. One of them is addressed to Charles Foster Kane (from the movie Citizen Kane). On the side of the ship are the words, "DROP ANCHOR FOR A SNACK."

To read more about this spot, click here.


Min & Bill's Dockside Diner

Min & Bill's Dockside Diner

Min & Bill's Dockside Diner

Min & Bill's Dockside Diner



Common Bonds 17


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Figureheads
Model Ships


On the second floor of the Columbia Harbour House at the Magic Kingdom, is a picture of San Francisco in 1866. This matt painting was taken directly from the Disney movie, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." Throughout the restaurant are a number of ship figureheads and model ships.

To read my blog about the Columbia Harbour House, click here.


Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House



Common Bonds 18


Lifeguard shack
Bruce
Mine! Mine! Mine!


Out front of the attraction The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot we see three seagulls squawking "Mine! Mine! Mine!" In the queue we discover a lifeguard shack with the sounds of the pounding surf in the background. And inside the pavilion we find everyone's favorite shark, Bruce.


The Seas with Nemo and Friends

The Seas with Nemo and Friends

The Seas with Nemo and Friends

The Seas with Nemo and Friends



Common Bonds 19


MRS. WITHERSPOON (BEFORE THE INCIDENT)
TINKERBELLS PRISON
GEPPETTO'S CANDLE FOUND IN MONSTRO


In the waiting room just outside the Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Disney's Hollywood Studios are a number of off-the-wall artifacts. I've only listed three here, but there are many more. I strongly suggest you explore this area thoroughly the next time you're waiting to see this show.


Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Voyage of the Little Mermaid



Common Bonds 20


Dragon
Sarcophagus
Birdhouses


The first animal you encounter on the Maharajah Jungle Trek at the Animal Kingdom is the Komodo dragon. Later you encounter a sarcophagus containing the remains of Ananta, the founder of the Kingdom of Anandapur. In the aviary we discover a number of elaborate birdcages.

To read my blog about the Maharajah Jungle Trek, click here.


Maharajah Jungle Trek

Maharajah Jungle Trek

Maharajah Jungle Trek

Maharajah Jungle Trek



Common Bonds 21


Upside-down Room
Camouflage Room
Nocturnal Room


Each of the dining rooms at Pizzafari at the Animal Kingdom is themed for a particular group of animals. For example, the Upside-down Room is filled with humorous paintings of animals that live the majority of their lives hanging from tree limbs or other objects. The Camouflage Room depicts animals that use their coats to blend into the environment. And the Nocturnal Room showcases animals that sleep by day and hunt by night.


Pizzafari

Pizzafari

Pizzafari

Pizzafari



Common Bonds 22


Canoes
Chevrolet Woody
Wood carver


At the "African" Outpost at Epcot, we find three canoes berthed on the beach. Nearby, a vintage Chevrolet Woody is loaded with Coca-Cola, ready to make deliveries. And master carver Andrew Mutiso transforms wood and soapstone into beautiful works of art.

To see my blog about the Outpost, click here.


Outpost

Outpost

Outpost

Outpost



Common Bonds 23


Don Quixote & Sancho Panza
Hippopotamus
Ferris Wheel


All three of these diverse sights can be found on "it's a small world" in the Magic Kingdom.

To read the feature article I wrote about this attraction, click here.


it's a small world

it's a small world

it's a small world

it's a small world



Common Bonds 24


Victory with Vegetables
Rosie the Riveter
Anaheim Produce


At the Sunset Ranch Market at Disney's Hollywood Studios we find a victory garden next to Catalina Eddie's. A nearby restaurant pays homage to Rosie the Riveter with Rosie's All American Café. And fruits and other assorted snacks can be purchased at Anaheim Produce.


To see the piece I wrote about the Sunset Ranch Market, click here.


Sunset Ranch Market

Sunset Ranch Market

Sunset Ranch Market

Sunset Ranch Market



Common Bonds 25


Boulangerie de L'ami
Café Olé
Produits de la Mer


If you guessed the France Pavilion at Epcot, you're not even in the right park. These names all refer to facades and props used in the Lights, Motors, Action! - Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Lights, Motors, Action! - Extreme Stunt Show

Lights, Motors, Action! - Extreme Stunt Show

Lights, Motors, Action! - Extreme Stunt Show

Lights, Motors, Action! - Extreme Stunt Show




October 15, 2012

Rump Humor

Jack Spence Masthead


Occasionally on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I'll pull out a Disney animated movie and pop it into the DVD player. Then I settle in for an hour and a half of enjoyment with an "old friend." Recently, I decided to watch Mulan as it had been a while since I had seen this movie about a young Chinese girl determined to bring honor to her family.

Early in the film, Mulan is presented to the Matchmaker. At this meeting, she has only a few minutes to demonstrate the necessary lady-like charms required to be a good wife.


Mulan and Matchmaker


Of course, things don't go well and calamity ensues. At one point, a pot of hot coals is knocked over and the Matchmaker accidentally sits on them. After an appropriate comedic pause, the Matchmaker realizes that her rear end is on fire, jumps up, and races around the room fanning her rather large behind. This is a funny scene.


Matchmaker


But what if the Matchmaker's legs had caught fire rather than her butt? Would this scene have been comical? Maybe. Maybe not. It would have depended on how the situation was presented. Even then, it would be dicey. Overall, legs, and other body parts, aren't funny. But igniting her bottom was a surefire laugh. There is no gambling with a butt joke. You know it's going to be funny.

The buttocks, when presented correctly, are a way of being wholesomely risqué. Walt Disney knew this. Rump humor can be seen again and again in his animated short and full-length features. And children really love butt jokes. When watching a movie in the theater and a fanny is brought into the mix, kids laugh the loudest.

To give you an idea of how often rump humor is used in Disney movies, I'm going to bring you just a few of the many examples found in his full-length animated classics. Let's start with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

When the dwarfs are singing "The Silly Song," Grumpy works the organ bellows by shifting his weight from one butt cheek to the other in an exaggerated manner.


Grumpy


After the merriment dies down, it's time for bed. Snow White takes over the dwarf's bedroom, leaving the men to find other places to sleep. Dopey settles in immediately, but it takes Sleepy a little longer to find a spot. Eventually, Sleepy curls up against Dopey and uses his butt as a pillow. After a few moments of Dopey tossing and turning, Sleepy rises and "fluffs" Dopey's cheeks to make it more comfortable.


Sleepy and Dopey


At the beginning of the movie "Pinocchio," Jiminy Cricket narrates the story. In an early scene, he hops over to the fireplace and uses his umbrella to pull a piece of coal out of the fire to warm himself. He then turns his butt toward the ember. His narration continues with, "As I stood there warming my (pause) myself."

Disney knew there was no word he could use to describe Jiminy's rear, but the joke works better leaving the term out completely.


Jiminy Cricket


In another scene, Jiminy is watching Geppetto and Pinocchio dance. Lost in the moment, he rests upon the bustle of a carved wooden figure of an elegant lady. Eventually, he realizes what he's done and becomes embarrassed. Look at the expression on the lady's face.


Jiminy Cricket and Carved Lady


In 2002, the Walt Disney Classic Collection came out with a piece called Geppetto's Workbench. It was a "Signature" piece and quite elaborate. One portion of the sculpture recreates the above mentioned scene with Jiminy leaning on the young lady's bustle.


Walt Disney Classic Collection

Walt Disney Classic Collection


As bedtime approaches, all of Geppetto's cuckoo clocks begin to chime. One clock features a mother spanking the bare cheeks of her son.


Spanking Cuckoo Clock


In "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad," Toad's loyal horse is named Cyril Proudbottom. Disney and his storytellers gave the horse this name, not the "Wind and the Willows" author Kenneth Grahame. Cyril Proudbottom also appeared in "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."


Mr. Toad & Cyril Proudbottom


In "Lady and the Tramp" we see Scamp tugging on the pajamas of the son of Jim Dear and Darling.


Scamp


In a scene from "Peter Pan," Mr. Smee prepares to give Captain Hook a shave. As he turns to pick up the shaving mug and brush, a seagull lands on the Captain's head. Not noticing, Smee lathers the bird's rear end and proceeds to remove a few tail feathers.


Mr. Smee and Seagull

Seagull


In "Song of the South," Brer Fox is building a tar-baby to catch Brer Rabbit. Eventually, it is discovered that the tar-baby doesn't have any hair on his head. To remedy this, Brer Fox snatches some hair off of Brer Bear's behind and places it on the tar-baby.


Brer Bear


One of the most famous rump scenes can be found in "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh." After eating too much hunny in Rabbit's house, Pooh becomes too large to leave through the hole and becomes stuck. Rabbit, horrified by the sight of Pooh's behind, does his best to decorate the eyesore.


Winnie the Pooh and Rabbit


Near the end of the movie "Dumbo," our flying pachyderm exacts his revenge on the other circus performers. While swooping over the clowns, he pulls an elephant mask off of one of them and deposits it on the behind of the Ringmaster.


Ringmaster


One of the segments in the movie "Melody Time" is "Pecos Bill." In this story, Bill falls in love with Slue-Foot Sue. To prepare for her wedding, Sue buys the most expensive bustle she can find. Later, she is thrown from Bill's horse Widow-Maker and lands on her bustle which acts like a spring. With each bounce on her butt, Sue rises higher and higher until she eventually lands on the moon.


Slue-Foot Sue

Slue-Foot Sue


In "Pocahontas," Meeko and Flit fall into a river. As Meeko is climbing out, the rings on his tail create a bull's-eye when viewed from behind. Flit seizes this opportunity and aims for the target.


Meeko

Flit


When we're first introduced to the character Pain in the movie "Hercules," he's running down a long stairway. He trips and flies through the air, only to land on the prongs of one of Hades' torches. He eventually frees himself. Moments later, his companion Panic also trips while running down the staircase. He too flies through the air. However, Panic does not land on the same torch. In his case, he lands head first, embedding his horns into Pain's hind quarters.


Pain

Pain & Panic


Later in the movie we find ourselves in Thebes where one of the townspeople is taunting the half-human, half-goat Philoctetes. Losing his temper over the insults, Philoctetes attacks the individual. Soon, his baser, goat-like nature emerges and he bites his tormentor in the rear. After the fight, we see the townsperson, crawling away with a large hole in his pants, exposing his polka dot underwear.


Philoctetes and Townsperson

Townsperson


When Pongo and Perdita are rescuing the puppies in "101 Dalmatians" they are attacked by Horace and Jasper. As Jasper swings a fireplace poker at Pongo, our quick thinking hero scurries beneath his legs, turns around and bites him hard on the buttocks. In another scene, Perdita pulls the rug out from beneath Horace, tossing him into the fireplace, butt first. Moments later, Horace emerges, pants ablaze.


Pongo and Jasper

Horace


As the chase continues, Horace and Jasper follow the puppies into an old barn. Here, the Captain gives them the one-two kick in the rear.


Captain, Horace, and Jasper


In the battle scene from "Beauty and the Beast," Cogsworth comes to Lumière's aid who is in imminent danger. Dressed as a swashbuckler, Cogsworth slides down a long bannister and aims his pair of scissors directly at Le Fou's behind.


Cogsworth

Le Fou


When Aladdin arrives at the palace as Prince Ali, the Sultan requests a ride on the magic carpet. Having no flying experience, the Sultan haphazardly rockets around the room and directly into the rear end of Abu (who has been turned into an elephant). The scene cuts from a zoom-in of Abu's backside to a close-up of his shocked face - eyes all bugged out.


Aladdin

Aladdin


Although not rump humor, this next ongoing joke is certainly related. Donald Duck does not wear any pants. Yet every time he loses his top, which is often, he becomes self-conscious and covers his entire body. This seems kind of pointless to me, but it is funny as we can all relate to his embarrassment. Here is an example from "Fantasia 2000."


Donald Duck


I won't tell you that every Disney animated film contains rump humor. That would take me untold hours to verify. But most of them do - some, multiple times. Be sure to look for this slapstick humor next time you watch a Disney movie.

In case you're wondering, rump humor is not confined only to the movies. It can also be found in the theme parks. The very first debuted at Disneyland and then later at the Magic Kingdom. On the Jungle Cruise we discover a lost safari has been trapped by an angry rhinoceros. As we venture closer, our skipper tells us, "That rhino seems to be getting his point across, and I'm sure that guy on the bottom will get it in the end."


Lost Safari


To add to the humor of this scene, the low man on the totem pole has ripped pants, exposing his polka dot underwear. The missing material can be found on the rhinos' horn.


Low Man on the Totum Pole


At the Elephant Bathing Pool we see two calves playing near their mother. The skipper says, "Hey look (pointing at the elephant facing away from the boat). There's a full moon in the jungle tonight."


Full Moon


At the New York World's Fair, Disney presented the "Magic Skyway" ride. This attraction took us back to the time of the dinosaurs. In one scene we see a proud triceratops mother and father watching their brood hatch. The egg closest to the audience features a young dino having a little trouble emerging from his previous home. His rear sways back and forth as he struggles to escape.


Triceratops Hatching

Triceratops Hatching


In the old Mickey Mouse Review attraction, Grumpy's bellow pumping cheeks were recreated in 3D.


Grumpy Pumping an Organ


Even today, we can still see Grumpy's talented bottom in an Emporium window on Main Street.


Grumpy Pumping an Organ


On Splash Mountain, Brer Bears big ol' behind is prominently featured in a number of scenes. The first is when we discover him caught in a trap that Brer Fox set to ensnare Brer Rabbit.


Brer Bear and Brer Fox


Next we come face-to-rump when Brer Bear is looking for Brer Rabbit's Laughing Place and sticks his head into a hollow tree full of bees.


Brer Bear and Brer Fox


Toward the end of the attraction, Brer Bear is looking for Brer Rabbit in the briar patch as Brer Fox stands on his behind.


Brer Bear and Brer Fox


In the Carousel of Progress, mother (Sarah) can be seen remodeling their basement into a rumpus room. Father (John) has set up her food mixer to stir paint. All of a sudden the mixer comes to life and switches into high gear. A moment later we hear Sarah scream and say, "Oh you and your progress. That paint mixer of yours just sloshed paint across my rump - umm - rumpus - a -- room."


Mother Sarah


At the ending of Mickey's PhilharMagic we see Donald expelled from a tuba, fly across the audience, and crash through a brick wall. For several moments, we're treated to the sight of his backside as he struggles to free himself. Disney even sold a pin featuring Donald's hind quarters.


Mickey's PhilharMagic

Mickey's PhilharMagic Pin


The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review also has its share of rump humor. While dancing the Holky Polky, Six Bits Slocum must throw his backside in and his backside out. To his embarrassment, the other cast members make numerous jokes regarding his derrière.


Six Bits Slocum


At the BoardWalk Resort, the swimming pool slide is known as Keister Coaster. For those of you who don't know, "keister" is slang for a person's rear end. So Keister Coaster is a fitting name for this slide as you ride it on your keister.


Keister Coaster


Well that brings an "end" to this article. My source of material on this subject has "bottomed" out. I hope a few of these Disney jokes have "cracked" you up. "Butt" if they didn't, that's okay. Maybe before too many "moons" the humor will "rear" its amusing head and bring a smile to your "cheeks." Remember, my blogs are posted once a week. Don't get "behind" in your reading.



October 22, 2012

The Emporium - Magic Kingdom

Jack Spence Masthead


In ancient Greece, the term "emporion" (plural "emporia") represented a portion of land set up by one nation, within the borders of another, to sell and trade their goods. The Greeks established numerous emporia in Egypt and other North African locales.

In medieval Europe, the term "emporium" (plural "emporia") referred to trading settlements usually found on the shores of North-Western European seas and the Atlantic Ocean. These settlements lacked any real infrastructure or government. This marketplace arrangement lasted until about the year 1000 when structured towns and cities took their place.

In both cases, a large variety of goods and merchandise were traded at the emporia. The word "emporium" survived over the centuries and had a resurgence during the Victorian era. The term was used to describe a large retail store that offered a vast selection of commodities and goods.

On Main Street U.S.A., Osium "Osh" Popham built one of the first structures along this thoroughfare and opened his Arcade in 1863. The store wasn't particularly large, but it exuded elegance and charm. He also believed that the recently installed tracks and horse-drawn trolley would bring customers directly to his doorsteps.


Osium

Horse-drawn Trolley


Osh was correct and both country and townsfolk soon found their way to his establishment. Entering the store, his patrons encountered an octagonal room. Stained glass and elaborate molding lined the ceiling. A gas chandelier hung above the center of the room.


Gas Chandelier


Although Osh insisted that his workers call him by his nickname, he still ran a tight ship and required that his employees offer first-class service. To drive this point home, each morning, Osh asked his workers to line Main Street and greet shoppers with a friendly wave and hello.


Emporium Employees Waving


This attitude was not lost on his customers. In the years that followed, Osh's store grew and expanded on both sides of the original building. Eventually, his Emporium took up an entire city block


The Emporium Grows

The Emporium Grows

The Emporium Grows

The Emporium Grows

The Emporium Grows


Osh Popham's name can be seen near the main entrance of the store painted in gold leaf at the bottom of the two display windows. He also commissioned a beautiful medallion to greet customers as they entered a side door.


Emporium Main Entrance

Gold Leaf Osh Popham

Emporium Medallion


With this expanded space, Osh could now offer a wide variety of goods to his customers. He also insisted that only quality merchandise be offered.


Emporium Sign

Emporium Floor Space

Emporium Sign


Always being one to keep up with the times, Osh had his later buildings wired for electricity. However, this new power source was unreliable and he couldn't afford to have his store shrouded in darkness should the lights go out. So he had his chandeliers hand crafted in Italy to support both this newfangled energy and the reliable gas. On this combination fixture, the electric lamps point downwards and the gas fixtures up.


Gas-Electric Chandeliers


Osh never got around to updating his original shop and the gas-only lamp still hangs there today.

In an effort to offer his customers the finest shopping experience available, Osh decorated his store with all the elegance and charm that Victorian architecture would allow. Stained glass signs, wood carvings, ornate ceilings and cornices all added to the effect. Even the tile flooring was carefully crafted to dazzle his customers.


Stained Glass

Stained Glass

Ceiling and Light Fixture

Porch Overhang

Cornices

Wood Carving

Tile Floor


Osh also expected his employees arrive each day on time, pressed and dressed in proper attire.


Emporium Employees


With his new-found wealth, Osh decided to travel and booked passage to Europe. While there, his horizons were broadened and he became acquainted with the new Edwardian style of design that was becoming in vogue. Upon his return, he found that business had been brisk during his absence. Once again, he decided to expand his shop; however, there was no place else to grow as he had already purchased and built on all of the available land. Not to be deterred, he made arrangements with the city and bought a portion of Center Street to enlarge is beloved Emporium. His latest expansion debuted in 1901 and was called the Emporium Gallery.


Emporium Gallery

Emporium Gallery

Emporium Gallery


With this new floor space, Osh was able to offer even more goods to his eager customers. As the gold lettering on a window announces, the following items were now available to better people's lives.

Electric Lamps
Gramophone Talking Machines.
Edison Kinetoscopes
Imported Glassware
Ladies' Wearing Apparel
Finest House Furnishings
Children's Toys and Novelties


Emporium Gallery Window


Inside the Emporium Gallery, the Edwardian design is obvious. Lighter woods and a pastel color scheme replaced the heavier and darker Victorian tones found in his adjacent shop. The feeling was bright and airy.

When arriving through the Gallery entrance, customers found themselves beneath a massive dome of intricate design. Perched high on a display table, two stately mannequins stand guard. Beyond, a stained-glass ceiling and four massive chandeliers light the floor space.


Emporium Gallery Dome

Mannequins

Emporium Gallery Stained Glass Ceiling

Emporium Gallery Chandelier


Tucked away at ceiling level on the two side walls are display niches, showcasing the latest fashions and goods from home and abroad.


Niche with Products and Goods

Niche with Products and Goods

Niche with Products and Goods


On the back wall, a large mural displays Osh's happy customers and employees enjoying their shopping experience at the Emporium Gallery. In the background, a rendering of his new addition can be seen. The following words are printed on the flowing ribbon of the mural: Shopping in the Grand Style - Personal Luxuries - Finest Fashions.


Emporium Gallery Mural


Osh Popham is no longer with us, but his store continues to delight and entertain. The Emporium greets literally millions of people each year and takes in millions of dollars each month. So now it's time to pull back the curtain and take a look at the realities of this fixture that anchors Main Street.


Emporium Main Entrance


Let's start with the question, "Who is Osh Popham?" He was a character in the 1963 Disney movie "Summer Magic." Played by Burl Ives, Osh Popham was the local postman who also ran the general store in the town of Beulah, Maine. Although Disney has created other "citizens" of Main Street to mix and mingle with the guests, Osh Popham has never been one of them. I guess he's too busy running his store and doesn't have time to lollygag with the street people.


Summer Magic Movie Poster

Burl Ives


Two of the songs from the movie were "Summer Magic" and "Flitterin'." Both of these can be heard in the background music loop played up and down Main Street.

A tradition that started years ago at Disneyland's Emporium was carried on at the Magic Kingdom Emporium for a time. With the opening of each new animated movie, a number of 3D tableaus were created, depicting scenes from the story and displayed in the store windows. With each new movie came new tableaus. Guests would delight at these simple, but oh so intriguing displays and looked forward to new characters on subsequent trips. It was a great way to advertise Disney's latest films.

Unfortunately, this tradition is no longer observed in the Magic Kingdom. Instead, six classic movies are on permanent display. Each movie receives one window. Beneath the tableau is a brief description of the story. Viewing them from left to right we have "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Cinderella," "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin," and "Pocahontas."


Tableau Window

Story Plaque

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Cinderella

The Little Mermaid

Beauty and the Beast

Aladdin

Pocahontas


Even though these scenes do not change from year to year, they are still worth your attention. I realize that when you arrive at the Magic Kingdom, your intent is to race down Main Street to your favorite attraction. But later in the day, when you need a breather, be sure to venture back to the Emporium and check them out. You and your kids will get a kick out of them.

You might also want to do some shopping during this time of day. One thing to keep in mind, the worst time to shop at the Emporium is right after a parade and at closing. Everyone puts off this activity until they're ready to leave as they don't want to carry bags. Remember, if you're staying at a Disney resort, they will deliver your purchases to your hotel. And if you're staying off property, there are lockers located at the entrance to the park.

As we know, theming is everything to Disney. But sometimes modern inventions can ruin the atmosphere. Such is the case with today's electronic cash registers. As quaint as the old fashioned hand-cranked machines were, they would never do in 2012. So Disney has had to cleverly mix the old with the new. In order to make these modern wonders less conspicuous, the Imagineers have built partitions around the machines to hide them from the public's view.


Hidden Cash Registers


Disney has also incorporated another modern shopping technique into the Emporium that I'm sure Osh would have approved of. They have created a "single line" for multiple registers. If you're like me, you always pick the "wrong" line and are stuck behind the individual with a hundred questions and the inability to make up their mind. The single line eliminates this problem. However, beware! The Disney team is genius at marketing. They have placed numerous impulse items along the line to seduce you into one more purchase. Maybe you will be able to resist the temptation, but your children will bug you until you give in.


Single Line

Single Line


While talking with a cast member about this new line arrangement I was told that the new system isn't foolproof. Many guests do not realize there is a single line and will walk up to a register ahead of those waiting. If this happens to you, politely inform the naïve shopper that you were ahead of them.

For the most part, this article is not about the merchandise sold at the Emporium. However, I do want to make you aware of some items not out on display. "Behind the counter" merchandise includes aspirin (and other pain relievers), Pepto Bismol, sun screen, bug repellant, feminine products, deodorant, Band-Aids, and more. If you need something special, don't assume it's not available. You'd be surprised at all the specialty items Disney stocks to take care of their guests. Always ask. The counter where these items are sold is located just to the left of the main entrance off of Town Square. Note, tobacco products are not sold anywhere within the Magic Kingdom.


Special Merchandise Counter


The Emporium Gallery was a controversial addition to Main Street. Although I recounted the romantic, Disney version above, many were not happy with this change. Disney claimed they were answering guest needs by adding more shopping opportunities, but most saw this expansion as another way to make a buck. It was argued that the same merchandise was already available in store after store and many saw no reason to destroy Center Street just to add additional merchandising floor space.

Personally, I miss the flower carts that were once located on West Center Street. And at Christmas time, Donald's Tree Farm was a wonderful holiday treat. Yes, I know, Disney has moved Donald's Tree Farm to other areas since then, but it's just not the same. This dead-end street offered a simple, uncomplicated spot that added realism to the area.


West Center Street


Controversy aside, The Emporium Gallery still offers some interesting details. Let's start with the date this addition was established, 1901. It's no accident that this is also the year Walt Disney was born (December 5). But there is more to it than just that. This is also the year Queen Victoria of England died (January 22).

With her death, the Victorian Era ended and the Edwardian Era (in honor of King Edward VII) began. Most of the buildings on Main Street reflect the decorating styles of this earlier time whereas the Disney Gallery sports the less ornate style of the Edwardian Era.

The Emporium Gallery mural I mentioned earlier actually depicts a number of Imagineers, not happy customers and employees. These Imagineers were responsible for the design, story, and execution of this addition. Although I could list their names, the information would be tedious and soon forgotten. However, there is one portrait here that demands your attention, Joyce Carlton. Her likeness can be found in the lower left corner of the painting.

Joyce is credited with creating the attraction "it's a small world" for the 1964 New York World's Fair. She also worked on the animated movies "Cinderella," "Peter Pan," "Sleeping Beauty," and "Lady and the Tramp." In 1982, Joyce moved to Central Florida where she could concentrate her efforts on Disney World as a Senior Show Production Designer. She is also the first female Disney cast member to reach the 50 and 55 years of employment milestone.

Joyce officially retired in 2000, but continued working part-time through 2006/7. Most of these "retirement" years were spent mentoring other Imagineers. She was honored as a Disney Legend in 2000. She also has a window on Main Street that reads: "Dolls by Miss Joyce, Dollmaker for the World"


Emporium Gallery Mural

Painting of Joyce Carlton

Photograph of Joyce Carlton


Is it the Emporium or not?

Disney really tries to confuse guests when it comes to the Emporium. Technically, the Emporium ends with the Emporium Gallery. However, with this latest addition, it is now possible to walk from Town Square all the way to Casey's Corner through a maze of merchandise without ever venturing outdoors. In reality, the west side of Main Street is one humongous shop. Throughout the "stores" are a number of signs entitled "Emporium Store Guide." Included on this guide are Disney Clothiers, Main Street Fashion & Apparel, and Hall of Champions. Nevertheless, these stores are not listed by name on the map and fall under the general term of "Emporium." Yet outside, their names beckon proudly to the passing throngs. So are these, or are these not, a part of the Emporium?


Emporium Map

Disney Clothiers

Main Street Fashion & Apparel

Hall of Champions


I asked a supervisor about this incongruity and I was told that the west side of Main Street is known as the Emporium "complex." I guess ol' Osh purchased a few more stores when nobody was looking.

Since I personally don't consider anything past the Emporium Gallery to be part of the Emporium, I won't be covering these other shops at this time. Besides, if I did, I would start lamenting the passing of the Penny Arcade and the House of Magic. So it's better I stop here. We don't want to get me started on this hot topic. LOL.

If you're in search of a Disney souvenir, either useful or impractical, the Emporium is a good place to start. Good ol' Osh Popham would be proud of the current proprietors and how much merchandise they've offered for sale here. For a diehard shopper, the Emporium is paradise. For the adamant non-shopper, the Emporium can still be a great place to visit if you slow down and smell the roses. Try looking at the details rather than the Mickey Mouse plush.



October 29, 2012

Studio Statues

jack-spence%27s-masthead4.jpg


Disney's Hollywood Studios is full of statues, but I suspect that most of you have only given these a cursory glance at most. And that's understandable. How can a statue compare to an AudioAnimatronics figure or a real person? But there is some value to examining these sculptures and I hope to offer a little more information than the plaques that accompany some of them provide. Let's start with the first one we encounter when entering the park, Mickey Mouse.

High above the Crossroads of the World building found on Hollywood Boulevard we find our intrepid leader of the club. Posed in a walking stance, Mickey welcomes everyone to Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Mickey Statue


I could bore you with a lot of "Mickey" facts - like Mickey popped into Walt's head while returning from New York on the train after losing his rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. How Ub Iwerks took Walt's ideas and turned them into reality in 1928. And how Walt wanted to name his new creation Mortimer but his wife Lillian nixed the idea and suggested Mickey. But you already know all that. So instead, I'm going to talk about the building Mickey uses as a base.


Crossroads of the World

Crossroads of the World


Most of the structures on Hollywood Boulevard are modeled after real buildings found in and around Los Angeles. (Technically, Hollywood is a district of LA, not its own city.) Some of the buildings at the Studio are almost carbon copies of the original, but you will always find differences as buildings can be copyrighted. Such is the case with the Crossroads of the World building.


Crossroads of the World


The original Crossroads of the World building is located at 6671 Sunset Boulevard. It opened to the public on October 29, 1936 and was typical of the imaginative architecture of the time.

Designed to resemble a ship, the Crossroads of the World building anchored LA's first outdoor shopping mall. Behind it was a "village" of buildings, each with a distinct international architectural style. Some of these included French, Italian, Spanish, Moorish, California Mediterranean, and Cape Cod/Early American. The first floor of this village housed retail shops while the second story was rented out as office space.

Today the mall houses mostly offices for the entertainment industry. The Crossroads of the World building was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1980.

Although I said I wouldn't be discussing this Mickey Mouse statue, I did want to add, the reproduction of him atop the Crossroads of the World building represents how he appeared in the 1930's, the era of Disney's Hollywood Boulevard.

Our second statue of an early movie director is accompanied by the Studio Dedication Plaque. It can be found at the end of Hollywood Boulevard. Let's start with the plaque.


Director's Statue


If you'll notice, a frame was placed around the plaque in January 2008 to reflect the park's new name (Disney's Hollywood Studios). However, the old name (Disney-MGM Studios) is still visible on the plaque itself. This is probably one of the very few places left where guests can still see the park's old logo.


Studio Dedication Plaque

Studio Dedication Plaque

Studio Dedication Plaque

Studio Dedication Plaque


Next to the dedication plaque is a statue of a 1930's movie director checking out his next scene through the viewing scope on his camera.


Movie Director


The camera depicted here is an early Technicolor 3-color machine first used in 1934. This camera used mirrors and a prism located behind the lens to reflect light onto three monochrome strips of film. Each strip was sensitive to one of the primary colors, red, green, and blue. Later, these exposed strips were merged to create a vibrant array of colors.


Statue of Camera

Technicolor Camera


In 1929, Walt Disney started producing his Silly Symphony series of animated short subjects. These stories did not usually feature a continuing character (like Mickey Mouse) from one story to the next. Instead, a new group of characters were introduced with each consecutive film and the weak plot revolved around a musical score. However, the Silly Symphonies did not achieve the success of the Mickey Mouse series of cartoons.

In 1932, Walt was introduced to the new Technicolor "three-strip" process. He was so impressed that he negotiated an exclusive contract with Technicolor as the only animation company who could use the process until 1935. This forced competitors like Ub Iwerks (who had left Disney) and Fleischer Studios to continue using the older 2-color process until 1935 and they could not release any 3-color films until 1936.

"Flowers and Trees" was already 60% complete as a black & white short when Walt halted production and had it reanimated in color. This did the trick and breathed new life into the Silly Symphonies series. The series even eclipsed the Mickey Mouse cartoons for a while. A total of 75 Silly Symphony shorts were produced between 1929 and 1939.


Flowers and Trees Poster


If you pay attention to Disney credits, the name "Technicolor" was always prominently displayed on older shorts and features.


Technicolor Credit


This next statue was always one of my Studio favorites. Not because it had any real significance, but because I would play "Where in the World" with this photo. When I would ask friends where at Walt Disney World this statue could be found, they invariably guessed the Italy Pavilion at Epcot.


Studio Statue


In reality, this statue is wedged in between the 50's Prime Time Café and the Hollywood & Vine Restaurant in the Echo Lake section of the park.

When I visited the Studio recently to take pictures for this article, I found my lovely lady was missing. Let's hope she's just backstage getting a facelift.


Missing Studio Statue


I will also use the statue to shamelessly plug another feature of AllEars.net. Each Sunday in the Photo Blog section, Erin Blackwell features a "Where in the World" photograph. I challenge you to try and figure out some of her brain teasers. I know the "World" pretty well and only get about 50% correct.

On the other side of Echo Lake is perhaps the largest collection of busts this side of the Haunted Mansion. Here we find the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza.


Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza

Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza


Each year the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences selects individuals to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. These industry leaders are recognized for their outstanding contributions to the arts, sciences, and management of television. The first awards were presented in 1984 and celebrated the careers of Lucille Ball, Milton Berle, Paddy Chayefsky, Norman Lear, Edward R. Murrow, William S. Paley, and David Sarnoff.

Disney has chosen to pay tribute to a number of the winners with bronze busts. These include:

Desi Arnaz
Bea Arthur
Diahann Carroll
Dick Clark
Bill Cosby
Walt Disney
Andy Griffith
Angela Lansbury
Mary Tyler Moore
Bob Newhart
Mike Wallace
Barbara Walters
Betty White
Oprah Winfrey


Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza

Walt Disney

Oprah Winfrey

Bill Cosby

Bea Arthur


Along the back wall of the plaza, plaques displaying a complete list of each year's winners can be found. Unfortunately, Disney has neglected to stay current and only presents the first 13 of the 20 award ceremonies conducted to date.


List of Winners

List of Winners

List of Winners


The centerpiece of this awards plaza is a statuette of the Emmy Award.


Emmy Award


The Television Academy rejected 47 proposals for the Emmy statuette before selecting a design by television engineer Louis McManus in 1948. McManus used his wife as a model. The wings represent the muse of art; the atom the electron of science.

Academy founder Syd Cassyd suggested the name "Ike" for the statuette. This was a term used by television insiders for an iconoscope tube. However, this name was rejected as most people associated "Ike" with General Eisenhower. Eventually, the third academy president, Harry Lubcke proposed the name "Immy." This was the term used for the image orthicon tube utilized in early television cameras. This name was selected, but later changed to "Emmy" to reflect the feminine nature of the statuette.

Each Primetime Emmy statuette weighs 6 pounds, 12½ ounces, and is made of nickel, silver, copper, and gold. Each takes 5½ hours to make and is handled with white gloves to prevent fingerprints.

Walt personally won 7 Emmy Awards.


Walt and an Emmy


To learn more about the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, click here.


Our next statue can be found in Animation Courtyard. Once again we find the leader of the club, only this time, he's posing as his most famous character, the Sorcerer's Apprentice from the movie "Fantasia." You can almost see the water splashing around him and hear Paul Dukas' music in your head.


Sorcerer Mickey

Sorcerer Mickey


Again, I could provide you with all sorts of facts about the movie Fantasia - like it was the first commercial film to be shown in stereophonic sound. How it was meant to be re-released every few years with several segments removed and new ones taking their place. And how the movie received mixed reviews and failed to make a profit during its initial release. But you already know all that. So instead, I'm going to talk about the passageway Mickey stands above and where this path led guests in the early years of the park.

What is now the entrance to the Animation Tour was once the walkway that brought guests to the loading area for the Backstage Studio Tour. This was where you boarded the trams for a lengthy sightseeing trip behind the scenes of a "real" working movie studio. The statue of Sorcerer Mickey was nowhere to be found in those early years.


Backstage Studio Tour Entrance

Backstage Studio Tour Tram Loading


The Imagineers were far from innovative or original when envisioning a tram tour for the Disney-MGM Studios. Universal Studios in Hollywood (actually, Universal City), had been giving tram tours since July 15, 1964. Guests would begin the tour at Universal by visiting a few of the dressing rooms used by actual movie stars before boarding the tram. Then they would proceed to the Universal backlot and travel through a multitude of real movie sets that had actually been used in hundreds of movies. After disembarking, guests could purchase a bite to eat and leave. Universal Studios Hollywood never set out to be a theme park with rides and attractions. This evolved over time.

The trams used by Disney were extremely similar to those used by Universal - as was the concept for the tour. In the early years of the Disney-MGM Studios, guests would visit Residential Street and see the Golden Girls house, the Empty Nest house, and Herbie the Love Bug before proceeding on to Catastrophe Canyon.


Golden Girls House

Empty Nest House

Love Bug


It's interesting to note, the Golden Girls premiered on September 14, 1985. The Disney-MGM Studios didn't open until May 1, 1989. Although Disney may have filmed one or two exterior shots of the house in Florida for the TV series, the home used in the vast majority of exterior shots was located in Brentwood, California and filmed in mass at the beginning of the series. The tram tour conveniently left this fact out and insinuated that this was THE Golden Girls house.

Another difference in the tram tour of the early years was New York Street (now Streets of America). This area of the park was not open to the public and the tram actually drove up and down this section of the back-lot.


Tram on New York Street

Studio-Statues-038.jpg


When Universal Studios Florida opened, they did not feature a tram tour. However, guests expected one as its sister park in California had a tram tour as did its Disney neighbor. So management threw together a tram tour that took guests up and down the same streets that were already open to the public. It was a lame attraction and didn't last long.

For you aficionados of Universal Studios Florida, I would like to make a recommendation. If you're ever in California to visit Disneyland, put aside a day to visit Universal Studios Hollywood. Although the Florida and Hollywood studios share a few attractions, the experience is entirely different. For one thing, it is a REAL working studio chalked full of REAL movie history.

When the Disney-MGM Studios was being planned and built, Disney truly intended that it too would be a real, working studio where movies and television shows could be filmed and taped. One small aspect of this can be seen on a building found on the Streets of America. The structure currently labeled "Public Library" is a very official looking edifice that could pass for any public, local, state, or federal building.


Public Library


When examining the two statues found on the upper story of this building, we see they have a very formal and dignified look. However, they lack any real topic or theme. This lack of purpose was created intentionally. This would allow set designers to alter the function of the building simply by changing the lettering on the structure. This "Public Library" could just as easily pass as a City Hall or University. But if the statues were given a real persona, like Lady Justice, the building would be locked into the function of law.


Building Statues

Building Statues


Probably everyone's favorite statue at Disney's Hollywood Studios can be found in front of Muppet*Vision 3D.


Muppet Statue


There really isn't a lot to say about this fountain/statue. It's pretty self-explanatory. In the center we have Miss Piggy in all her illustrious glory, recreating her role as Miss Liberty as seen in the nearby theater. To one side of the fountain we have Gonzo the Great directing the shot. On the other side we find Fozzie Bear as the cameraman. And finally, Animal working the plumbing. All of them are surrounded by spouting fish.


Miss Piggy

Gonzo the Great

Fozzie Bear

Animal

Spouting Fish


The Walt Disney Company bought the bulk of the Muppet characters and the Bear in the Big Blue House in 2004 for an undisclosed price. However, Disney does not own the characters appearing on Sesame Street or the Fraggles of Fraggle Rock.

The Muppet fountain is a fantastic photo op. During busier times, people must take turns capturing their friends and family posing with everyone's favorite swine.

The last statue I'll be discussing today can be found near the Studio Catering Co.


Studio Catering Co.

Mermaid Fountain


This sculpture was used in the movie "Splash" (1984) starring Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah and directed by Ron Howard. This Mermaid Fountain was Madison's gift to Allen. Although it appears to be made of brass and stone, it was fabricated entirely out of fiberglass at the Walt Disney Studios Scenic Shop. The molds used to produce the mermaid and dolphins were originally created for ice sculptures seen in the Disney movie, "Herbie Goes Bananas."


Mermaid Fountain


"Splash" contained language and brief nudity which was deemed inappropriate for a Disney movie at the time. This prompted the creation of Touchstone Pictures, a film label geared to a more mature audience. "Splash" also marked a milestone for Tom Hanks as this was the first movie in which he received top billing.

That's it for Studio Statues. I hope you enjoyed this look at these many sculptures and the side trips I took along the way.



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About October 2012

This page contains all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in October 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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