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January 6, 2014

Pirates of the Caribbean Guest Bedroom - Part One

Jack Spence Masthead

Hey everyone. I'm back from my extended leave of absence from AllEars. My move into my new home went well and I'm pretty much settled in. I'm enjoying my new surroundings and I especially like the fact that I can easily hear the Walt Disney World Steam Train and the Lilly Belle whistles from my house. These are pleasant sounds to wake up to each morning. I also have a pretty awesome view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks in the evening from my patio.

Since my new house has been the focus of my life for the last nine months, I thought that my first blog after my return should touch on the subject. So today I'm going to talk about my new guest bedroom. For those of you who are regular readers of my column, you might remember that one of my previous blogs focused on the Mickey Mouse Suite in my former home.

Since my Disney career started in the Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland (which is located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction), I have a soft spot in my heart for this quintessential Disney ride. Over the years, I have amassed quite a collection of Pirates memorabilia - and it has been displayed in various rooms of my previous homes. On my latest move, I decided it was time to consolidate all of this swashbuckling merchandise into one location. This ended up being the guest bedroom.

My Mickey Mouse Suite was over the top with bright colors and a very playful atmosphere. But I knew this whimsical approach would not work for a room based on Pirates of the Caribbean (PotC). This room would need to be a little more subdued. I also did not want to create a "children's" room. I wanted this bedroom to be suitable for adults - however, I believe a young child's imagination could get lost in this space.

I started this decorating project with the bedroom floor. But what should I use? I wanted something that suggested a nautical theme. Then I remembered the carpet that Disney uses in their pirate rooms located at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Here, the carpet resembles wood planks. The only problem is, this is custom carpeting and not available to the general public.

Pirate Carpet

The idea of wood planks intrigued me and I knew this was the way to go. But real wood flooring is expensive and requires special care. In addition, all of the other rooms in my house are tile. So I decided to purchase ceramic tile that resembles wood. This would be less expensive and make cleaning day a little easier. Although I am capable of laying tile, I opted to pay a professional to do the job.

Wood Plank Tile

Next, I needed to pick a wall color. For this I went with a medium gray with green undertones.

Ceiling fans are a fact of life in Florida. Almost every room in a new house in the Sunshine State is prewired to accommodate both an overhead light and a fan. Once again, I was looking for something that suggested a nautical theme. Fortunately, I found just what I wanted at Lowes. The light fixture resembles a lantern that might have been found on an old sailing vessel.

Ceiling Fan

Ceiling Fan

Having so many pirate figurines to display necessitated buying a new bed - a bed with a headboard with many nooks and crannies.

Bed and Headboard

Bed and Headboard

The majority of the figurines seen here are from the Walt Disney Classics Collection. When moving, I did NOT trust my fragile items to the movers and packed and transported them myself. All of these items have been out-of-stock for some time and now only available on eBay.

Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection

The Walt Disney Classics Collection was introduced in July 1992. The pieces recreate classic Disney characters from both their movies and theme park attractions. The creation of each hand-painted figurine is supervised by Disney animators and are stamped on the bottom with an insignia designating the year it was released. Many of the pieces are produced in numbered, limited editions that often sell on secondary markets for substantially more than their original asking price.

The sailing ship is a replica of Queen Anne's Revenge, the vessel captained by Blackbeard and featured in Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." This wooden model is readily available online and comes fully assembled. Note, this is not a Disney product.

Queen Anne's Revenge

I purchased this lithograph at the Disney Gallery in Disneyland's New Orleans Square years ago. This piece of art was created for the PotC attraction at Disneyland Paris and can be seen in the Blue Lagoon Restaurant lobby.

Pirate's Lithograph

On the wall opposite the bed are two closets.

Closet Doors

After I finished decorating this room, I felt the white closet doors did not convey the rustic/pirate feel I was going for. (This "feel" will become more obvious as you read further in this blog.) So, I "weathered" them. To achieve this effect, I painted a clear "cracking" solution on the doors (available at Lowes and Home Depot).

Cracking Solution

After this solution dried, I painted the closets with a dark brown color. As this top layer of paint dried, it cracked and separated. This gave the doors an aged look.

Brown Closet Doors

Brown Closet Doors

However, I was not pleased with the stark contrast between the dark doors and the lighter wall color. So I took some of the gray/green wall paint and diluted it greatly with water. Then, working in small areas, I painted this watery mixture on the doors and trim. Next I took paper towels and wiped the majority of the paint off of the wood, leaving just a thin coat of paint. This technique accomplished two goals. First, it toned down the dark color. But more importantly, it helped "age" the wood even more. Now the closet doors look as if they have been exposed to the elements and faded in the sun. Also, by using the wall color to whitewash the wood, there is continuity in color.

Whitewahed Closet Doors

Whitewahed Closet Doors

Above the closets I have mounted a flat-screen TV, surround-sound speakers, and more pirate art. Since I knew in advance that I would be mounting a TV in this location, I had an electrical and cable outlet installed inside one of the closet. Inside this closet you'll find the cable box and DVD player. To simplify viewing, I bought a universal remote control that works on radio frequencies rather than infrared light. This allows the user to control the TV and sound system from the bed without having to open the closet doors as "line of sight" is not needed to operate the equipment.

Inside the other closet is my CD and DVD collection. I wanted to make sure my guests had something to watch when they retire in the evening. Of course, all Disney "Pirate" movies are available.

DVD Collection

To add more interest to the closet doors, I purchased pirate-themed knobs. Although they are not Disney related, they still fit the motif of the room.


The third wall of the room simply contains some Disney art, but some of it is interesting and not often seen today.

Wall of Pictures

In preparation for my move, I was rummaging through my entire Disney collection, trying to decide what to keep and what to sell as I was downsizing. During this ordeal, I came across a poster that I didn't even know I owned or where I had obtained it. Upon closer examination I found that it was a map of the PotC attraction. If you study it carefully, it traces the entire Disneyland Pirate voyage from start to end. Knowing I was creating a pirate room, I took the poster to a framer and had it mounted and laminated.

Pirates of the Caribbean Map

When Disneyland's PotC was in the planning stages, Marc Davis created many sketches of the scenes that would someday delight guests. When PotC opened in 1967, many of the sketches were transferred onto postcards and sold in New Orleans Square. But like all merchandise, they eventually ran their course and were retired. Years later, a Disney cast member was rummaging through a warehouse and stumbled upon several boxes of these unsold postcards. As the fledging Disney Gallery was on the lookout for new and interesting merchandise to sell, these postcards were framed and sold as "art" rather than a throwaway souvenir.

Pirate Postcards

Pirate Postcards

Pirate Postcards

The last picture I'll discuss on this wall is a sericel created by Disney artists to be sold in the various "good stores" at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Here we find Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto taking the place of pirates in the most memorable scene of the attraction.

Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto Sericel

I've saved the best for last"¦

For my fourth wall, I wanted to create something that would command attention and really hammer home the pirate theme. After a lot of thought, I decided on a crumbling wall as seen in the queue of Castillo del Morro and in other locations around Adventureland.

Adventureland Wall

My first thought was wallpaper. But I didn't like how frequently the patterns repeated. The bricks didn't look realistic. Next I looked at murals, but they were expensive and not big enough to cover an entire wall. I also thought about using the trompe-l'Ε"il effect and painting a realistic scene. But alas, my artistic abilities aren't that keen. So I eventually decided to create the real thing - well, sort of. Here's how it turned out.

Feature Wall

Feature Wall

I'm pretty happy with my efforts and will talk about this wall in more detail later in this article. But first, let me discuss the remaining bric-a-brac.

I've never been a fan of overhead lighting in a bedroom. I much prefer lamps. So I went online and found this skeleton-pirate lamp. Once again, it's not "Disney," but it fits the room.

Pirate Lamp

Closer examination of the lamp finds our dead friend is wearing a pirate hat, has a bottle of rum in his boney fingers, and his feet are surrounded by doubloons and gems. The shade depicts a map to secret treasure.

Next to the lamp is another Walt Disney Classics Collection piece. This time we find a drunken pirate sprawled out with pigs.

Walt Disney Classics Collection piece

On the wall is a lithograph depicting the original ending scene in the Magic Kingdom version of PotC. If you remember, before Jack Sparrow arrived, the magistrate was bound and gagged as the pirates looted the treasure room.

Pirate Litho

Next to the litho is a shadow box that uses items from the attraction to spell out Pirates of the Caribbean.

Pirate Shadow Box

Well this ends today's article. If you like my feature wall and are interested in creating something similar in your own home, check back tomorrow when I will provide you with step-by-step instructions.

January 7, 2014

Pirates of the Caribbean Guest Bedroom - Part Two

Jack Spence Masthead

Yesterday I showed you my Pirates of the Caribbean guest bedroom "feature" wall.

Pirate Room Feature Wall

If you would like to recreate a similar wall in your own home, here are the steps I took.

I began buy buying "brick" paneling at Lowes. Each 4'x8' panel cost $25 and features bricks that are slightly raised from the grout. In other words, the paneling is slightly 3D.

As I knew that someday I would need to remove my feature wall in order to sell the house to a non-Disney fan, I used minimal nails and glue to attach each panel to the wall.

Brick Paneling

Since my ceilings are 9'4" high and the paneling is only 8' high, this necessitated some cutting and fitting. Although I attempted to line the bricks up carefully and minimize seams, the nature of the project allowed me to be sloppy in places. More on this later.

Seams in the Paneling

Architecturally, my window needed some sort of a faux header to appear as if it supports the weight of the bricks above. For this I took a simple piece of particle board. Then, using a claw hammer, wood chisels, and a plane, I nicked and gouged the wood to make it look like it had been created using primitive tools and exposed to the elements for years. I then nailed this header over the window and attached two pieces of molding along the sides of the window that run from the header to the sill.

Particle Board

Particle Board

Particle Board

Faux Header

Once in place, I painted the header, molding, and sill a dark brown, careful not to get any paint on the bricks.

Painted Header

Now it was time to decide just how much of the wall would be exposed bricks and how much aging plaster. There is no formula for this; it's simply a matter of taste. I opted for a fair amount of brick to be displayed.

The next step was to protect the brick that I wanted exposed once the project was finished. To do this, I used aluminum foil and painters' tape to cover areas of the wall. But cardboard and masking tape would work just as well.

Protecting the Bricks with Foil

Remember, in the above picture, all of the exposed brick you see will eventually be covered with plaster. The brick under the foil will be what we see as the finished product.

This is also the time to think about the seams found between the panels. Be careful to leave them exposed at this point so they will be covered by plaster - and hidden.

For the plaster I used all-purpose sheetrock joint compound. A bucket costs about $14 and contains ample product for this project. Joint compound can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot.

I used a trowel to apply the plaster to the brick. In some areas I applied it thickly, in other areas, so thin as to see the bricks beneath. In addition, don't try to make a perfectly smooth wall. Remember, the wall you're trying to recreate was made by primitive tools by today's standards.

Plastering the Bricks

Plastering the Bricks

Plastering the Bricks

Plastering the Bricks

While the plaster is still wet, remove the foil and tape.

Removing the Foil

I have to admit, when I got to this stage of the project, I thought, "This looks horrible. What have I done? How much work is it going to be to undo this mess?" But I continued on.

After removing the foil, the edges of the plaster need to be attended to. The high spots should be smoothed out and the straight lines softened into curves. No special tools are needed for this task. I just used my fingers to even things out. With this portion of the project complete, I stopped work for the day as the plaster needed to dry overnight before painting.

Because I wanted the feature wall to blend with the rest of the room, I used the same grayish-green paint that I used on the other walls as the base color for the plaster. However, before I could begin painting in earnest, I needed to "soften" the edges where the plaster meets the bricks. For this I used a sponge. I would lightly dip the sponge into the paint, then gently tap the color onto the plaster and brick.

Softening the Edges

Softening the Edges

Also during this "sponging" phase, I would apply dabs of paint to several of the bricks. Then, using my fingers, I would smear it in. Remember, the bricks need to look as old as the plaster.

Painting the Bricks

After the edges were complete, I started applying a thick coat of the base gray/green paint. I worked in small areas of about 2 foot square. While the paint was still very wet, I applied stripes of a light brown color using a sponge.

Painting the Plaster

Then, using the same sponge, I blended the brown paint into the gray using a random pattern.

Painting the Plaster

Painting the Plaster

This next step is extremely important.

At a craft store (Michael's) I purchased four small bottles of acrylic poster paint, black, dark brown, olive green, and deep orange. I also bought a plastic spray bottle.

Starting with the black color, I mixed 1 part paint with about 30 or 40 parts water in the spray bottle. My goal was to create a very watery solution - or in other words, a very weak stain. Once mixed, I liberally sprayed the entire wall (both brick and plaster) with this solution. Sometimes I would let the mixture run down the wall, finding the various nooks and crannies of the surface. Other times I would dab the wet wall with a cloth to create a more blotchy look. I repeated these steps with both the brown and olive green. I saved the orange paint for later.

Aging the Plaster

Even though the black, brown, and green will only be slightly noticeable on the dark bricks, it's still important to spray them as it will soak into the paint you dabbed onto the bricks earlier.

Next I created a watery solution using my original gray-green wall color. I used this color to liberally spray the bricks. Its lighter hue contrasted with the dark bricks and "aged" them.

Note, in order to demonstrate my effects, I have exaggerated the coloring while photoshopping the pictures.

Now it's time to age the window header, boarder, and sill. For this I used the black, brown, and olive green paints at full strength and dabbed them onto the wood, smearing and blending as appropriate.

Aging the Header

Since my feature wall had a window, I needed to come up with some logical explanation for its existence. So I decided to make this the opening of a jail cell. To convey that story, I would add bars. Of course, real metal bars would be heavy and difficult to work with, so I opted to use Β½ inch PVC pipe. First I made the basic frame.

Creating Bars out of PVC Pipe

Then, to soften the edges of where the pipes meet the joints, I applied spackle. I also applied spackle to non-joint areas of the pipe just to add "blemishes" to the "metal."

Applying Spackle to the Bars

To recreate a decaying metal look, I bought Valspar "stone" spray paint. This paint creates a very rough surface and is perfect for replicating decaying iron. Note, this paint does not go very far and two were necessary. And remember, you must paint both sides of the pipe. In addition, this paint dries slowly so have patience.

Painting the Bars

Painting the Bars

Once the stone paint had dried, I created a water mixture using the dark orange paint I had purchased. I then sprayed the piping with this color to simulate light rust and give the pipe a varied color. I also used the orange paint full strength at every joint to replicate extensive rust. And where the piping "attached" to the wall, I applied orange paint to make it appear that rust was dripping down the plaster and brick.

Adding Rust to the Bars

Adding Rust to the Wall

Note, I used a flash when taking the above pictures so you could see how I created the effect - thus, it looks very unrealistic. But in a room illuminated with incandescent lighting, the effect looks quite real.

Now I know what you're thinking. Bars covering a window, even plastic bars, is not a good idea. What if an emergency arises and someone needs to exit the room via this window. Well, I thought of that.

To attach the bars to the wall, I drilled two Β½ inch holes in the window header. The entire plastic bar assembly hangs from these holes. A child can easily remove this lightweight structure. In addition, all guests staying in this room are given instructions on how to remove the bars.

Attaching the Bars to the Window Header

Attaching the Bars to the Window Header

So there you have it. How to create a feature wall in just three days. All told, this wall cost me less than $200.

Finished Wall

Finished Wall

If I had it to do over again, I would replace the white window blinds with some sort of bamboo curtain to cut down on the sharp contrast. I do plan on doing this sometime in the future, but it will require removing the header and side molding - something I'm not looking forward to as seamlessly reinstalling them will be challenging.

January 13, 2014

If I Had a Time Machine

Jack Spence Masthead

I'm a big fan of science fiction. As a boy, I watched the full-length versions of many of the movies seen inside Sci-Fi Dine-In at Disney's Hollywood Studios. When "Star Trek" premiered in 1966, I was glued to my TV set every Thursday (and later Friday) night. The show was "fascinating." I was also a big fan of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and to a lesser extent, "Lost in Space" (Danger Will Robinson!). Additionally, I spent a fair amount of time in darkened theaters watching movies such as "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Star Wars," and "Planet of the Apes." But through it all, one theme seemed to captivate me more than any other, time travel. Even today, the 1960 movie "The Time Machine" starring Rod Taylor, Alan Young, and Yvette Mimieux holds a special place in my heart.

The Time Machine Poster

Perhaps it's my love of history that makes me ponder the subject of time travel. I've often dreamed of being present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Or standing on the deck of the Titanic on that fateful night (as long as I was guaranteed a seat on a lifeboat). But recently, I've started to direct my time travel fascination toward Disney. What if I could go back in time and visit a Disney park? What park would I visit and what date would I select?

Of course, if I owned a time machine, I could pick many parks and many dates. But for this article, I'm only allowed to use my time machine once and I can only visit for one calendar day.

Of course, the first scenario that comes to my mind is July 17, 1955, opening day at Disneyland. What wonderful bragging rights that would give me. Imagine being at a party with all of my Disneyphile friends and casually saying, "Oh yes. Didn't you know? I was there. If you look at the film clip of Walt dedicating Disneyland, I can be seen in the background, second from the left." This statement would immediately make me the envy of all and the center of attention for the rest of the evening.

But in reality, I don't think I would choose Disneyland's opening day. In terms of "experiencing" the park to its fullest, July 17th was not the day to attend. First off, the park didn't open until 2:30 that afternoon. Half the day was gone already. Then there is the matter of attendance. Roughly 14,000 people were invited to the opening day ceremonies. However, counterfeit tickets doubled this amount. Today, 28,000 guests visiting Disneyland is no big deal. In fact, it would be a rather pleasant day. However, in 1955, this many people would be comparable to sixty or seventy thousand guests crammed into the park today.

But there were other calamities besides counterfeit tickets on Black Sunday, as opening day became known as. There were no working drinking fountains due to a plumber's strike. The park ran out of food. The Emporium was the only shop open on Main Street. There was a gas leak that caused the afternoon closing of Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Frontierland. Not all of the planned opening day rides were working, and those that were, broke down left and right. And the outside temperature reached 101 degrees and most rides were not air conditioned. In addition, the live television broadcast that began at 4:30pm included 21 camera scattered around the park, cordoning off areas to the general public.

No. Opening day would not be the time to visit Disneyland if you wanted to "experience" the park in its infancy. For me, I would wait several weeks for the festivities to die down and more attractions to come on line.

Here is a list of opening day attractions according to "The Story of Disneyland," a 1955, 22-page soft-cover souvenir booklet:

The Story of Disneyland

"’ The Story of Disneyland
"’ 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Exhibit
"’ Autopia
"’ Canal Boats of the World (Later Storybook Land Canal Boats)
"’ Casey Jr. Circus Train
"’ Disneyland Street Railway
"’ Dumbo the Flying Elephant
"’ Explorer's Boat Ride (Later Jungle Cruise)
"’ King Arthur Carrousel
"’ Mad Tea Party
"’ Main Street Cinema
"’ Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
"’ Penny Arcade and Shooting Gallery
"’ Peter Pan Flight
"’ Phantom Boats
"’ Rocket to the Moon
"’ Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad
"’ Snow White's Adventures (Later Snow White's Scary Adventures)
"’ Space Station X-1
"’ Stage Coach through the Painted Desert

Imagine how wonderful it would be to walk through the various lands of yesteryear and experience the original attractions. Picture seeing the Jungle Cruise before it was humorously reimagined by Marc Davis. Driving an Autopia vehicle when there was no track down the middle of the lane and you could bounce off the curbs on each side of the roadway. Or sitting atop a stage coach and riding along dusty trails that will someday become the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland attraction.

Jungle Cruise


Stage Coach

However, another time in Disneyland history also beckons me. It's the time period I personally remember when reminiscing about The Happiest Place on Earth. It's a time when ticket books still existed and you would scour through your junk drawer at home before your day began, looking for unused coupons from previous visits - only to discover there were only "A" and "B" tickets left.

The date is sometime in late 1969. All of the World's Fair attractions ("it's a small world," Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Carousel of Progress, and Primeval World) had been added to the park. The 1966/67 makeover of Tomorrowland had been completed. And Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion were now open. To me, this was Disneyland's turning point. The simple "carnival" rides that opened the park in 1955 had given way to cutting edge technology. Disneyland truly took its place as the leader of theme parks in this era.

it's a small world

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

Carousel of Progress

Primeval World

New Tomorrowland

Pirates of the Caribbean

Haunted Mansion

It would be so pleasing to relive my memories of this fantastic time in Disney history. To be able to ride the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland one more time. To watch Wally Boag, Betty Taylor, Don Novis, and Fulton Burley perform in the Golden Horseshoe Review. To enjoy the original Carousel of Progress and see mother go from a housewife drudge to a yackety modern 1960's woman.

Mine Train Though Nature's Wonderland

Golden Horseshoe Review

Final Scene from the Carousel of Progress

On Main Street, Disney merchandise had not yet permeated every nook and cranny of every shop. Wurlitzer sold piano rolls. A candle shop offered a staggering array of wax wonders. The Upjohn Pharmacy provided guests with free samples of vitamin pills. And the Penny Arcade offered a stunning collection of antique games and mutascopes.

Candle Shop

Upjohn Pharmacy

Even though I visited the Magic Kingdom in Florida three months after it opened, this park does not hold the history or memories for me that Disneyland does, so I would not use my time machine to visit this park. But I might select Epcot sometime in the mid to late 1980's. It would be so wonderful to ride on Horizons and World of Motion one last time. And I would especially enjoy seeing Dreamfinder and Figment in the original Imagination attraction. However, I have many photographs and videos of this era of Epcot so it probably wouldn't make my list.


World of Motion


Of course, any good time machine worth its money can travel forward in time as well as backwards. Maybe I should take a trip to the future. So what park and date would I select?

I probably would not pick Disneyland. For the most part, this park is complete. Yes, there will be new attractions and experiences in the years to come. And hopefully Tomorrowland will get the complete makeover it deserves. But I doubt that I would see significant changes twenty years from now. Sure, Pirates of the Caribbean will have had another makeover to correspond to the tenth sequel to the original movie, but do I really care?

The same logic holds true for the Magic Kingdom. For the most part, this park is complete.

Once again, I might choose Epcot. It's possible that twenty years from now there will be more countries around World Showcase. But judging by the last twenty years, probably not.

Rumors abound that Disney's Hollywood Studios will be getting a major makeover sometime soon. But I'm still young enough to hopefully witness these additions in my lifetime.

So what park and date would I pick in the future?

Shanghai Disneyland, 2035. From the precious little information Disney has released on this park, it looks to be significantly different from the other five Magic Kingdom-type parks around the world. For example, the castle will be interactive and the largest of them all. The Shanghai version of Tomorrowland will be to the left of the Hub rather than to the right. And many new attractions are being designed to please a Chinese audience.

Although I do plan on visiting Shanghai Disneyland in 2016, I know from past experience with other Disney parks that it will be far from complete. So I will use my time machine to visit again in 2035, twenty years after the park's opening. This will allow plenty of time for the park to grow and add additional attractions.

Shanghai Disneyland

So here is the deal. I'm going to loan you my time machine. With it, you can only pick ONE Disney park and visit on ONE date from opening until closing. Send me your answers and tell me why you chose as you did. I'll post them as fast as I can. Then come back to this blog often to see what others have written.

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is very subjective. Just because I wouldn't pick the Magic Kingdom doesn't mean that it's not the perfect park for you. Also, it doesn't have to be simply about experiencing Disney history or future. It can be reliving a park when your kids were at that perfect age to appreciate all that Disney has to offer. Or visiting with a loved one that is no longer with us.

As you know, I'm always telling you to slow down and smell the roses. Today I'm asking you to stop and remember (or look forward). Think about the good times you have had or will have or wish you could have had at a Disney park.

So now it's time for me to choose. Which of the three dates that I presented would I select, Disneyland in late 1955, Disneyland in late 1969, or Shanghai Disneyland in 2035?

I don't know.


Hi everyone,

We're having some technical difficulties with the "Comments Section" for this blog. If you aren't able to add a comment, please check back later tonight or tomorrow to add your Time Machine thoughts.


January 20, 2014

Disney References in Non-Disney Theater, Music, Movies and TV Shows

Jack Spence Masthead

The other day, I was watching an episode of "I Love Lucy" ("The Black Wig" - April 18, 1954). The story opens with Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel returning to the Ricardo's apartment after seeing an Italian movie. Lucy and Ethel were captivated by the film while Ricky and Fred were bewildered by its content. Part of their discussion contains the following lines:

Fred: But I couldn't understand what the picture was all about.
Ethel: If it isn't Donald Duck, it's over his head!

I Love Lucy

Being a Disney fanatic, I immediately picked up on the Donald Duck reference. This fascinated me since Desilu Productions had nothing whatsoever to do with Walt and his studio. Yet, a rival studio made a Disney reference. This got me to thinking just how prevalent Disney culture is in our everyday language and in our media.

We think nothing of Zazu singing "It's a Small World" to Scar in "The Lion King." After all, this is a Disney reference inside a Disney movie. But non-Disney movies and television shows also use Disney references - and do it quite frequently if you pay attention. What follows are just a few of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of Disney references that can be found in the non-Disney media.

I Love Lucy: Sales Resistance - January 26, 1953

This episode opens with Ricky singing "There's a Brand New Baby in Our House" to Fred and Ethel. In the lyrics you here the following rhyme:

"He's the image of my spouse.
He's the tricky Mickey Mouse."

Ricky, Fred, and Ethel

The Manchurian Candidate - October 24, 1962

In a nighttime scene, a longshot captures a taxi racing down a street. The vehicle passes a movie theater. The marquee displays Pinocchio.

The Manchurian Candidate takes place shortly after the end of the Korean War (July 27, 1953). Pinocchio was originally released in 1940. However, this incongruity is easily explained. The Disney Company would rerelease their animated movies to new audiences every seven to eight years. One of Pinocchio's rerelease dates was on February 18, 1954. Although the dates don't exactly match, it's close. I have read that Pinocchio was referenced in this film as he was the little puppet boy that lied, as did the brainwashers manipulating the hero of the story.

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The Manchurian Candidate

Leave It to Beaver: Voodoo Magic - January 3, 1958

Eddie, Wally, and the Beaver are planning a trip to the movies to see either "Massacre at Blood River" or "Voodoo Curse." June forbids Wally from taking Beaver to such a film and suggests Pinocchio, which is supposedly playing at another theater.

Once again, we see that Pinocchio has been rereleased. However, the timing is very inaccurate this time around. The first time Pinocchio was rereleased after its 1954 showing was on January 18, 1962, four years after it is referenced in this 1958 Leave It to Beaver episode. I guess that's why the guys disobeyed their mother and saw "Voodoo Curse." They couldn't have seen Pinocchio even if they had wanted to.

Leave It to Beaver

The Nanny: The In-law Who Came Forever - January 6, 1999

Fran's mother Sylvia explains to her daughter that her bald husband Morty, lost his toupee on Pirates of the Caribbean.

The Nanny

A Christmas Story - November 18, 1983

A Christmas Story has become an iconic holiday classic film, rivaling Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life in popularity. This enduring movie also has a Disney reference.

Before Ralphie can visit Santa Clause at Goldblatt's Department Store, his parents force him to watch the local Christmas parade. One of the parade entries features Mickey being accosted by a Flying Monkey from the Wizard of Oz. Although no specific year is ever given for the unfolding story, director Bob Clark and author Jean Shepherd strived to recreate a time period of the late 1930's to the early 1940's. In the movie, Mickey resembles the same modern characters we see in the theme parks today. But this shouldn't be. When Disneyland opened in 1955 (at least 15 years after the time represented in the movie), the characters were far less sophisticated - and a little creepy.

A Christmas Story

Mickey and Minnie

I suspect this factual error was intentional on the part of Disney. In order to use Mickey in A Christmas Story, MGM needed permission from Disney. I believe Disney did not want the movie-going public to see old, grotesque representations of their characters and opted for the more familiar personas we're familiar with today.

Green Lantern - June 17, 2011

Test pilot Hal Jorden is instructed to recite the Green Lantern oath to activate its powers. Not knowing the words to the oath, he makes up several of his own, including "To infinity and beyond."

What he should have said was:

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power, Green Lantern's light!!!

Green Lantern

Book of Mormon: Broadway musical opening on March 24, 2011

In the song "Two By Two," Elder Price explains that for his mission, he wants to be sent to his favorite spot, Orlando, home of Sea World, Disney, and putt-putt golf. Instead, he is sent to Uganda where a number of "Lion King" references are made.

Book of Mormon

Anything Goes: Broadway musical opening on January 24, 1934

During the first act, two characters (Billy and Reno) sing Cole Porter's famous tune, "You're the Top" in which they take turns complimenting one another. In the song, our friend Mickey is mentioned.

You're the top!
You're the Coliseum.
You're the top!
You're the Louver Museum.
You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss
You're a Bendel bonnet,
A Shakespeare's sonnet,
You're Mickey Mouse.

Anything Goes

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - December 21, 1937

Disney's original animated movie has been spoofed, quoted, and referenced in literally hundreds of movies, television shows, and game shows. However, most of these references can be broken down into four general categories.

Snow White


Everyone knows this song and its lyrics are often quoted or misquoted depending on the circumstances. Here are just a few examples:

M*A*S*H: Good-Bye Radar: Part 1 - October 8, 1979

Hawkeye sings part of the song "Heigh-Ho."

The Big Bang Theory: The Fish Guts Displacement - December 6, 2012

Howard says, "Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to fish we go."

Murphy Brown: He-Ho, He-Ho, It's Off to Lamaze We Go - April 27, 1992

The episode's title is a parody of the song's lyrics.

The Magic Mirror

As vanity is often a topic in storytelling, the evil queen's magic mirror is frequently referenced.

Father Knows Best: Country Cousin - March 5, 1958

"Mirror on the wall" - A line spoken by Jim Anderson

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Invitation to an Accident - June 21, 1959

During Hitchcock's opening monologue he speaks: "Mirror, mirror on the wall."

The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet: A Letter About Harriet - April 1, 1964

Neighbor Clara Randolph says: "Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who's the fairest one of all?" Her husband Joe responds: "Walt Disney."

Bewitched: Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall - November 7, 1968

The episode's title uses this famous line.

The Seven Dwarfs

Even ardent Disney fans have a difficult time remembering the names of all seven dwarfs. This theme can be seen again and again in television shows.

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman: Barbarians at the Planet - May 1, 1994

In a game with Clark, Lois is unable to remember the names of all seven dwarfs, forgetting Bashful.

Just Shoot Me!: Donnie Returns - November 2, 2000

Jack Gallo says to Dennis: "Who's the one I always forget?"
Dennis replies: "Sneezy."

Other times, the dwarfs are mentioned as a familiar reference and comic relief.

McHale's Navy: The Fountain of Youth - November 20, 1964

Referring to McHale's crew, Captain Binghamton says that he's Snow White and he's come to collect his seven dwarfs.

M*A*S*H: Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler - November 7, 1975

In his never-ending desire to leave military service Klinger says, "I'll be anyone to get out - Moses, Matthew, Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy."

Someday My Prince Will Come

Our eternal desire to find love causes many to recite the lyrics from one of Disney's most famous songs. Here are a few examples:

The Munsters: The Sleeping Cutie - December 10, 1964

In an episode revolving around a Snow White plotline, Marilyn accidently drinks a Sleeping Beauty potion. In another segment of the show, Lily laments: "Someday my prince may come."

All in the Family: Archie's Weighty Problem - February 9, 1976

In this episode, absent-minded Edith can be heard singing "Someday My Prince Will Come?"

Cheers: Someday My Prince Will Come - October 17, 1985

The episode title borrows this famous line as the story revolves around Dianne going out on a blind date and summing up her compatibility with her newfound suitor.

Disneyland / WDW

Trips to Disneyland and WDW are often mentioned on sitcoms and in some cases, entire episodes revolve around a trip to the Happiest and Most-Magical places on earth. Here is a partial list of TV shows that either mentioned going to a Disney theme park or actually went. It's interesting to note, those families that actually make the trip have adventures I've never experienced on any of my visits.

Frasier: Shutout in Seattle: Part 2 - May 10, 1999

In a fleeting romance with a waitress named Kit, Niles and she plan a vacation to Euro-Disneyland. Niles tells Frasier, "It's so lame it's hip." Niles and the waitress break up before making the trip.

Blossom: The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men - February 8, 1993

Nick Russo, Blossom's dad, gets a gig at Disneyland as an Elvis impersonator. He vainly tries to keep his friends and family from joining him at the park, but loses the battle.

Big Bang Theory: The Spaghetti Catalyst -- May 3, 2010

Penny and Sheldon return home after a trip (unseen by the audience) to Disneyland. Sheldon is wearing Mickey Mouse Ears and carrying Disney souvenirs. Leonard is upset because Penny allowed Sheldon to eat junk food. Penny informs Leonard that Sheldon threw up his churro on her shoes after riding Space Mountain. We also discover that Sheldon is afraid of Goofy.

Big Bang Theory: The Contractual Obligation Implementation - March 7, 2013

Penny, Amy, and Bernadette play hooky from work and go to Disneyland. After receiving Princess Makeovers, they return home. Leonard and Howard are turned on by their costumes. But much to Amy's chagrin, Sheldon is bored with the idea.

Big Bang Theory

Full House: The House Meets the Mouse May 11, 1993

It begins with Jesse's band being scheduled to perform at Disney World. From there the idea snowballs until the entire family takes a trip in this two-part episode.

Although the next three shows were/are not produced by Disney, they were/are broadcast on ABC after it was purchased by Disney (1995). Draw what conclusions you will.

Boy Meets World: The Happiest Show on Earth - May 10, 1996

Topanga, Corey's ex-girlfriend, wins a trip to Disney World, along with two other classmates.

Rosanne: We're Going to Disney World - February 20, 1996

The Conner family decides to throw caution to the wind by spending Dan's last paycheck from the garage on a vacation to Disney World. For your veterans of WDW, you'll be amused to know that the family leaves their hotel a mere 15 minutes before the Magic Kingdom opens yet are still able to be at the front of the line to get in. Wish I could do that.

Modern Family: Disneyland - May 9, 2012

Simply because they live in Southern California and Disneyland is nearby, all three families visit the park for the day and have a wealth of misadventures.

Modern Family

What I've mentioned above is just a small sampling of Disney references in non-Disney media. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of Walt's creations creeping into our lives when we least expect it. If you pay attention, you'll be surprised by what you see.

January 27, 2014

Collective Disney Animal Names Quiz - Questions

Jack Spence Masthead

One of the craziest oddities of the English language is that there are so many different, collective nouns. For example, a herd of elephants, a crowd of people, a box of crayons, a pad of paper, etc. In addition, many objects and animals have multiple collective terms. For instance, ants can be a colony, army, nest, or swarm.

Today I'm going to test your knowledge of Disney characters and their collective nouns. Mind you, I haven't always selected the most obvious of term, like pack of dogs. I went for the more obscure and humorous collective noun. It is your job to match the Disney characters (A-Z) with their collective noun (1-26). Note, a few of the collective nouns fit more than one group of animals, so you will have to use the process of elimination to make the answers come out right.

The answers will appear in tomorrow's column. As always with my quizzes, no winners will be announced and no prizes awarded.

Good luck.

A. Archimedes and Big Mama
B. Baloo, Humphrey, and Lots-o-Huggin'C. Bambi and Faline
D. Bruce, Anchor, and Chum
E. Cyril Proudbottom, Widowmaker, Bullseye, and Philippe
F. Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie
G. Dumbo, Mrs. Jumbo, Prissy, and Giddy
H. Fifer, Fiddler, and Practical
I. Figaro, Duchess, and Thomas O'Malley
J. Flotsam and Jetsam
K. Goofy, Pluto, Lady, and Tramp
L. Hyacinth and her Fantasia friends
M. Iago and Jose Carioca
N. Jim, Fat, Preacher, Straw Hat, and Glasses
O. Jiminy, Evinrude, and Francis
P. Kaa, Sir Hiss, Jafar (transformed)
Q. Louis, Brutus, and Nero
R. Maggie, Mrs. Calloway, Grace, and Ferdinand
S. Mickey, Minnie, Bernard, and Timothy
T. Nemo, Cleo, and Flounder
U. Oswald, Thumper, and Roger
V. Pascal, Bill, and Frank
W. Remy, Ratigan, and Jake
X. Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Tod
Y. Shenzi, Banzai and Ed
Z Shere Khan, Rajah, and Tigger

1. ambush
2. bloat
3. bury
4. cackle
5. congregation
6. drove
7. fry
8. kennel
9. kine
10. knot
11. lounge
12. memory
13. mischief
14. mob
15. murder
16. nuisance
17. paddling
18. pandemonium
19. parliament
20. plague
21. rabble
22. shiver
23. shoal
24. skulk
25. sleuth
26. stable

While I was creating this quiz, I decided to come up with a few of my own, collective nouns that are specific to Disney. Here is what I came up with. Any ideas of your own?

Geppetto, Tarzan, and Jim Dear - an animation of humans
Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Tiana, and Cinderella - an enchantment of princesses
Charming, Eric, Phillip, and Naveen - a gallant of princes
Tower of Terror, Space Mountain, and Expedition: Everest - a scream of attractions
Jafar, Ursula, Scar, and Maleficent - a nightmare of villains
Aladdin, Simba, Tramp, and Mulan - an adulation of heroes
There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, A Spoonful of Sugar, and The Age of Not Believing - A Sherman of songs
Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian - A lagoon of hotels

If you enjoy collective nouns, may I suggest picking up a copy of James Lipton's "An Exhalation of Larks" through Amazon. It's easy reading and great fun. And yes, this is the same James Lipton that hosts "Inside the Actor's Studio."


January 28, 2014

Collective Disney Animal Names Quiz - Answers

Jack Spence Masthead

Yesterday, I asked you to match the Disney characters on the left with their collective nouns on the right. Here are the answers:

A. Archimedes and Big Mama
19. a parliament of owls

B. Baloo, Humphrey, and Lots-o-Huggin'
25. a sleuth of bears

C. Bambi and Faline
14. a mob of deer

D. Bruce, Anchor, and Chum
22. a shiver of sharks

E. Cyril Proudbottom, Widowmaker, Bullseye, and Philippe
26. a stable of horses

F. Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie
17. a paddling of ducks

G. Dumbo, Mrs. Jumbo, Prissy, and Giddy
12. a memory of elephants

H. Fifer, Fiddler, and Practical
6. a drove of pigs

I. Figaro, Duchess, and Thomas O'Malley
16. a nuisance of cats

J. Flotsam and Jetsam
7. a fry of eels

K. Goofy, Pluto, Lady, and Tramp
8. a kennel of dogs

L. Hyacinth and her Fantasia friends
2. a bloat of hippopotamuses

M. Iago and Jose Carioca
18. a pandemonium of parrots

N. Jim, Fat, Preacher, Straw Hat, and Glasses
15. a murder of crows

O. Jiminy, Evinrude, and Francis
21. a rabble of insects

P. Kaa, Sir Hiss, Jafar (transformed)
10. a knot of snakes

Q. Louis, Brutus, and Nero
5. a congregation of alligators

R. Maggie, Mrs. Calloway, Grace, and Ferdinand
9. a kine of cows or cattle

S. Mickey, Minnie, Bernard, and Timothy
13. a mischief of mice

T. Nemo, Cleo, and Flounder
23. a shoal of fish

U. Oswald, Thumper, and Roger
3. a bury of rabbits

V. Pascal, Bill, and Frank
11. a lounge of lizards

W. Remy, Ratigan, and Jake
20. a plague of rats

X. Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Tod
24. a skulk of foxes

Y. Shenzi, Banzai and Ed
4. a cackle of hyenas

Z. Shere Khan, Rajah, and Tigger
1. an ambush of tigers

If you enjoy collective nouns, may I suggest picking up a copy of James Lipton's "An Exhalation of Larks" through Amazon. It's easy reading and great fun.

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About January 2014

This page contains all entries posted to The β€œWorld” According to Jack in January 2014. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2013 is the previous archive.

February 2014 is the next archive.

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