Friday, December 11, 2009

The Princess and the Frog Hits Theatres Nationwide

Today is the day Disney returns to traditionaly 2D animation, after a five year hiatus, with its 49th animated feature, The Princess and the Frog. In 2004, Disney bid farewell to its bread and butter 2D animation with the less than spectacular release of Home on the Range in favor of the new flavor of animation, CGI.

This will also be the first African-American princess for Disney named Tiana voiced by Anik Noni Rose, whom I did a post on a few weeks ago. Some of the other notable voices are Keith David (Goliath from Gargoyles), John Goodman (Sully from Monsters, Inc.), and the ubiquitous Oprah Winfrey. It is directed by John Musker and Ron Clements. This duo has directed several Disney features together over the past 20 years including The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, and Treasure Planet. Likewise, they have been involved in many others.

Ever since I heard about this new animated feature about two years ago, I have been excited for the return of hand drawn Disney. I hope like me, you are planning to take the family to see this show. Remember, if this show is successful, then more hand drawn features will surely follow. If not, then, the future might get a little murky. So, here's hoping to a big weekend and big holiday season for Disney's The Princess and the Frog.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guide to WDW Pages 26 - 30

Well, I'm going to go ahead and put up the last five pages of the 1979 Walt Disney World guide. I think I've beaten this topic to death. And, I think I've learned my lesson too. For future guides that I post on here, I'll do the entire guide in one day. If it is a guide like this, maybe I'll just hit some highlights, but post the entire guide. Anyway, on to the last five pages.

Pages 26 and 27 showcase the Lake Buena Vista resort area focusing on the WDW Village, LBV Club, WD Travel Co, LBV Office Plaza, and LBV Hotel Plaza.

Page 28 is the last page featuring activities at the WDW Resort. The Vacation, Treehouse, and Fairway Villas get the last page. Page 29 is the inside of the back cover and is a simple advertisement for three Disney movies hitting theatres in the summer. They include the re-release of 101 Dalmations, as well as a sequel in The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, and finally the Unidentified Flying Oddball.

And, finally, page 30, which is the back cover. Of course, it is an advertisement for Polaroid, the sponsor of the guide. But, this is actually a pretty cool add for guests. Polaroid is letting you borrow their camera at WDW for free. All you have to do is pay for the film. What a great marketing idea--let guests try out your state of the art camera for free while they are making memories they will cherish for a lifetime.

Well, this concludes the 1979 Walt Disney World guide. I hope you enjoyed browsing the guide and catching a glimpse of how Walt Disney World looked at the end of its first decade of operation.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Walt Disney

Today is Walt Disney's 108th birthday. The image above, which I found somewhere on the Internet, is how I most remember him, granted, I wasn't alive when he was, but, this is how I always picture him, with a giant, warm, inviting smile on his face. I'm not going to write a long entry of all his accomplishments because I'm sure there will be many on the blogosphere today. He was a big part of my childhood, my adulthood, and now my families life. We love the animation and theme parks and everything in between. So, with a giant THANK YOU Walt, I wish you a very Happy Birthday!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Guide to WDW Pages 24 & 25

We are now in the downstretch of looking through the Walt Disney World guide from 1979. Two more resorts are on pages 24 and 25. The first is a resort geared towards sports and relaxation--Golf Resort Hotel. Two courses are available for guests to play, the Palm and the Magnolia.

The following page has you staying out in the wilderness with deer, opossums, armadillos, and other creatures at the Fort Wilderness Resort. This place is ideal for kids to run around and explore the outdoors. There is River Country, canoeing, campfires, and the Wilderness Line steam train. The activities continue at night with the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue and Disney movies outside around the campfire while roasting marshmallows. Yum! I must admit, this place is still my favorite resort, even without the railroad.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages 22 & 23

What other activities are there to do around Walt Disney World in 1979 you ask? Well, the Walt Disney World guide answers that question on the remaining pages of the guide. Starting with pages 22 and 23, you can find the two resort staples that are still around three decades later with the Contemporary Resort Hotel and Polynesian Village Resort Hotel, respectively. Both have short descriptions for guests to get an idea of the atmosphere of each resort including the activities available for them to enjoy.

Both pages features pictures of the actual resort. It is interesting to look at and compare the impact that plants have on the visual aesthetics of these two resorts in just 30 short years. Although the buildings might look the same, the greenery is much different.

In addition to the customary resort pictures are those of the various activities that can be found at the resorts. The one that sticks out to me is the picture of the Luau girl doing her hula dance. A picture like that makes me want to go put on a lei, eat some Polynesian feast, and enjoy the nighttime fire-lit entertainment. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages 20 & 21

Pages 20 & 21 of the Walt Disney World guide from 1979 is filled with words. And, lots of them especially when you are talking about a park guide. The only picture on this page is an image of Pinocchio. The first page deals with some more tips, specifically tips aimed at your visit to help you save time and maximize your enjoyment at the park. The second page gives some details of what else you must see on your visit to Walt Disney World outside of the Magic Kingdom.

Well, there is a lot of reading to do, so, click on the image and get reading. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages 18 & 19

On to pages 18 & 19 of the Walt Disney World guide from 1979. These are Polaroid's tips for taking better pictures and better movies at Walt Disney World. It is broken into two sections, you guessed it, pictures and movies.

I actually found these pages kind of interesting. Many of these tips still apply today. It is funny to see things like the movies tip #2 where the cassettes only held about 3 minutes of video. My how times have changed. Page 19 has some examples of pictures along with some tips on how to take interesting pictures. And, if you can't get enough help from the guide, you can always head to the Polaroid Camera Center down on Main Street, U.S.A. Enjoy the tips.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages 16 & 17

Pages 16 and 17 of the Walt Disney World guide from 1979 feature yet another map, one that is just as cool as the one on the previous pages. But, instead of a map of the Magic Kingdom, this is a full spread map of the entire Walt Disney World resort as it looked in 1979. This very colorful map is wonderfully drawn and properly labeled. It is great seeing forgotten resorts such as River Country, Discovery Island, and WDW Village prominent on the map. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages 14 & 15

We are now half way through the Walt Disney World guide from 1979. On pages 14 and 15, we have a two page full map of the Magic Kingdom. This is a very cool map. It is color coded by attractions, shops, and restaurants. Just like with the descriptions of the attractions on the earlier pages, many of the attractions on the map are also accompanied by a sketch. It really is cool to see attractions like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea featured on the map. Take a few minutes to look at the map and see what all has changed in 30 years to this iconic park.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages 12 & 13

Now we move into the future of Tomorrowland with pages 12 and 13 of the Guide to Walt Disney World from 1979. I love these vintage images, especially the Star Jets. There are several attractions I miss from Tomorrowland, with the most obvious for me being Mission to Mars. Ok, I also miss the Skyway, "If You Had Wings", and of course, I wish the TTA were still called the WEDway People Mover. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages 10 & 11

Fantasyland. The epitome of all the places in Walt Disney World. When most people think of Walt Disney World, they think of the Magic Kingdom. When they think of The Magic Kingdom, one of two things immediately come to mind...Cinderella Castle and Fantasyland. No land in any of the Disney parks captivates the hearts and minds of children, and even adults, more than the land that brings to life all the fabulous characters from the Disney animated features that generations of children have loved starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

With pages 10 & 11 of the Walt Disney World guide from 1979, we are thrown into this imaginary land. We are treated with several pictures on these pages, including the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea on page 10 and Pinocchio Village Haus and Dumbo, the Flying Elephant on page 11.

On page 10, all Fantasyland attractions are listed. Several of these iconic rides still exist today. Sadly, three of the more exiting rides have been replaced or dismantled. First, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1999. In fact, there is a picture of Mr. Toad handing the deed over to Owl as you first enter the ride. One of my favorites, known as 20K to cast members, was filled in toward the end of 1994. It is now the home to Pooh's Playful Spot and the backdrop for Ariel's Grotto. The Skyway saw its last passengers flying overhead in 1999. And, finally, who could forget The Mickey Mouse Revue? Here, you could see ALL of your favorite Disney characters performing a wonderful musical fantasy. One last note...I just really love the sketches on this Fantasyland page, more so than any other land. How about the scary, and controversial, witch from Snow White. Wonder what parents thought when they saw that?

On page 11, you will find the restaurants and shops. I have a soft spot for all the Fantasyland food restaurants since I did my WDW College Program work experience here back in 1990. The staple of the restaurants is still found today, and that is Pinocchio Village Haus. All of the other restaurants have gone through various name changes. The same holds true for the shops as well. Except, none of these original ones exist today. And, after the D23 Expo, we know that many, many, many more changes are in store for this most wonderful land.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages 8 & 9

Here we find Frontierland and Liberty Square on pages 8 & 9 of the Walt Disney World guide from 1979, respectively. A couple of items to note on Frontierland are the Diamond Horseshoe Revue and the Mile Long Bar. Check out the picture of the ladies from the Revue.

Likewise, in Liberty Square, you can find the Mike Fink Keelboats, as well as several wayback shops including the Tricornered Hat Shoppe. Also, check out the Fife and Drum picture. Long before they entertained and inspired at the American Adventure in EPCOT Center, they tugged at your heartstrings and made you well up with patriotism in Liberty Square daily.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages 6 & 7

We move on to pages 6 and 7 of the Walt Disney World guide from 1979. Page 6 finishes up the description of Main Street, U.S.A. If there is one drawback with this early guide, it is putting Main Street on back to back pages, if you can really call that a drawback. The first section has an Information & Services you can find in this land. Since this is the entryway to the hub of the Magic Kingdom, it is appropriate that you'd find all the services in this turn of the century bustling town. The next two sections list all the shops and restaurants to be found on Main Street along with a brief description of each.

We move on to Adventureland, the first "land" of the Magic Kingdom, on page 7. The attractions are listed first. The one that particularly stands out here is the Caribbean Arcade. I don't recall anything about that. I have seen it mentioned on the Walt Dated World web site, but, not much more information that what is provided in the guide. The next two sections are the restaurants & snack centers followed by the shops that can be found in Adventureland. It is really interesting to look at the names and descriptions of these places and see how the land has changed. I like the description of the Adventureland Veranda...Polynesian entrees. Ok, that tells me everything I want to know about the food. What is a Polynesian entree? Like I said, these descriptions are very brief and occassionally, not all that helpful.

Well, enjoy looking over these two pages. There is a lot of information from 1970s Walt Disney World on them.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Disney Movie Rewards Double Points Day

If you are a member of Disney Movie Rewards, today, November 5, is the day for you. DMR will be holding its firt Doubt Points Day in what they are calling A Season Wrapped In Wishes. For every DVD or Blu-Ray code you enter, you get DOUBLE POINTS! If you are not a member, well, this is the perfect time to join! Get all your codes together and start entering them. There are some great gifts in there, and, if you are like me, you can build up your points to get some really nice items. Go check it out at!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages 4 & 5

Continuing on with our look at the 1979 Guide to Walt Disney World, we have one last "help" page from Disney. This one is aimed specifically to those guests in wheelchairs. The first part of page 4 informs guests in wheelchairs what transportation is available for them. What I find interesting is they can ride the monorail, but, they cannot board or unboard the monorail at the Contemporary Resort. I haven't looked at the law, but, this must have been before all the court cases and laws that require businesses to be wheelchair accessible.

The next section is broken down by each land with a list of all the attractions in each land. Then, each attraction is designated whether or not it is wheelchair accessible. The final section, highlighted in a blue box, is general helpful information for guests in wheelchairs.

Finally, on page 5, we get to our first land. And, what better land to start with than the first one you encounter upon entering the park--Main Street, U.S.A. There is a nice picture of Main Street, U.S.A. leading right up to Cinderella Castle. You can see a couple of horse-drawn trolleys, known as Horse Cars, transporting guests up and down the street to take in all the excitement. If you look closely, I think that is the Tobaccanist sign you can see on the left.

Each attraction and mode of transportation found on Main Street is listed with a short description of each. Now, I mentioned on my original post for this 1979 guide that one of my favorite things was the little sketches you could find to the left of each description. Well, here is where they begin. I just love this little touch.

As for the shops and restaurants to be found on Main Street? Well, I'm only doing two pages a day, and, unfortunately, they are on the next page, which will be tomorrow. But, this is the only land where this will happen.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Walt Disney Treasures Wave 9 - Zorro Seasons 1 & 2

Today, Wave 9 of Walt Disney Treasures hits stores with the release of Zorro Seasons 1 & 2. I took my lunch break running over to Best Buy and purchasing both sets. I can't wait to start watching these tonight with my kids. The last time I saw these were back in the 80s or 90s when they ran syndicated on The Disney Channel. You can find some reviews on Imaginerding and Ultimate Disney.
The Walt Disney Treasures series is by far my favorite DVD series. This series, spear-headed by the highly respected movie critic and Disney aficionado Leonard Maltin, delves deep into the Disney vaults to restore, organize, and present classic Disney programs to Disney fans. The packaging is classic on these as they come in limited edition tins. The norm is a standard silver tin, with the exception of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit which came in a gold tin. But, now, guess what color Zorro comes? Yep, black! And, it pops out when you look at it.

The WDT releases come in "waves" and usually include 3 to 4 different program anthologies. Just like with the color of the tins, this wave breaks the norm by only including the two Zorro seasons. Now, the first wave came out in December 2001 and included Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Silly Symphonies, Disneyland USA, and Davy Crockett. Unfortunately, I was on Disney hiatus at this time and wasn't aware of this series until Wave 4 which came out in December of 2004. Since then, I have been faithfully buying each new wave on the day it hits the stores.

As for the missed waves? Well, I have been asking relatives to buy them for me for Christmas each year. This year, I know I am getting The Complete Goofy from my parents since I recently purchased it on eBay "for them" to give me. You can find a nice list of all the waves and reviews at Ultimate Disney.

Now, don't make the mistake I made in the past by not buying these as soon as they come out. They are limited, and this wave is extremely limited. There are only 30,000 copies available. So, if you want it and don't want to pay double or triple for the DVD, you better head over to Amazon, Best Buy, or Target as soon as you can to pick these up and add to your Disney collection.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages 2 & 3

Here are pages 2 and 3 of the 1979 Guide to Walt Disney World. This is the first picture in the guide and is so cute. It has a cute little boy apparently showing a Security Cast Member something. And, what makes it more special is the Cast Member is down on the child's level. Such a warm and welcome site for parents when they open the guide.

Now, these two pages are the Helpful Information for guests from ticket information, reservations, first aid, lost and found, cameras, and other needs to help guests enjoy their visit. If you forgot to pack your camera, no problem, you can rent one. Didn't want to pack your kid's stroller? No problem. Rentals are available. Oh no, you forgot the formula for your baby! Not a problem there either. Wait, your baby wants WARM milk. Hey, covered again. You can also find all the important Disney phone numbers. Can there be any more helpful information? Well, apparently there is more on page 4, which is tomorrow. And, we also will get to our first land.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Princess and the Frog Article (USA Weekend - Nov. 1, 2009)

Here's a nice little Sunday surprise I'd share with everyone. This Sunday's USA Weekend edition in the (Louisville) Courier-Journal has a nice article about Anika Noni Rose who voices Tiana in Disney's The Princess and the Frog. I always love when I open up the paper and find something Disney related. Enjoy the read.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Disney Twenty-Three Magazine Winter 2009 Issue

I just received my Winter 2009 issue of the Disney Twenty-Three Magazine. WOW! These never cease to amaze me. Just looking at the cover itself makes you want to have it. I can't wait to start reading the articles, especially The Princess and the Frog. Of course, since I am watching college football and tonight I have to take the kids Trick -or- Treating, looks like I'll have to wait on that. But, hey, what better way to spend Sunday afternoon than reading about Disney.

And, what has become common place with the Disney Twenty-Three Magazine is a little gift. This issue doesn't disappoint. Included with the package is a replica of Walt Disney's 1932 holiday greeting card, wishing recipients "Season Greetings". And, to coincide with Halloween, which does happen to be today, the envelope is a burnt orange. Pretty cool.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Guide to WDW 1979 Pages (i) & 1

The first page, or page (i) rather, is the Table of Contents. The guide is broken up into three sections as can be seen in the TOC--Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resorts, Lake Buena Vista. At the bottom of this first page is a little interesting Disney PSA reminding you that if you brought your pet to WDW, then, make sure you protect it by taking it to the Walt Disney World Kennel Club. This reminds me of when I went through Seminars on the College Program. We were told that guests are so excited to get to the park that they forget things, such as locking there keys in the car with the ignition running, leaving their kids behind, and leaving their pets behind. So, this little PSA might just serve as a reminder to guests who were just a little rambunctious getting to the park and neglected their poor little critters.

The next page, which is actually page 1, has a detailed explanation of the WDW Transportation Schedule. At the top of the page is a cool sketch map of the entire WDW resort showing the transporataion available for guests. Below the map is a detailed description of each mode of WDW transportation which are motor coaches, monorail, ferryboats, and motor launches. The descriptions include everything from route, to times, to durations, to prices. It also includes the colors of the routes. Go ahead and click on the image to read the routes. It is pretty interesting to see all the different hotels and resorts listed.

As you can see, even the first couple of pages have a lot of information for guests to absorb and immediately throws them into the World of Disney.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Guide to Walt Disney World 1979

I love getting brochures, pamphlets, and guide maps when I go to Walt Disney World. The ones we get today in the parks are nice and colorful, but, the ones from the late 1970s and early 1980s were special. This particular one I got from a vacation back in 1979. Now, I said these were special, and being 28 pages, plus the front and back covers, both inside and out, I think qualifies this as special.

The cover tells you what is to come inside this guide, starting with the title of "Your complete guide to the Walt Disney World Vacation Kingdom". There is a nice, offset picture of Cinderella Castle at an angle making it look even larger and more regal with some pink and yellow flowers in the foreground. And, seeing that this guide is "Compliments of Polaroid", it immediately makes you believe there will be a lot of color and picutres inside.

And, of course, you are not disappointed. The brochure, which would more aptly be called a small magazine, is loaded with colorful pictures from all over the resorts and Magic Kingdom. There really is no comparison with today's guides.

Now, besides the pictures, what I really enjoy about this guide, are the little sketches on the left of each attraction description. They just add that little Disney touch to the guide. During this time, the A-E ticket books were being used. So, on the right of each attraction is a color coded letter denoting which ticket is required to experience that particular attraction.

So, I hope you look forward to walking through this Walt Disney World guide with me the next couple weeks to see how the World existed in 1979.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

WDW Cast Member Map 1990

Here is a pocket-sized Walt Disney World Cast Member Map we each received on the College Program back in 1990. This was a nice little handy map. The front is pretty cool. It has a size profile of Mickey Mouse with a road map of the WDW property and its proximity to Orlando.

When you open it up, you see two different keys for the map. The first key consists of some of the more notable WDW infrastructure sites. There are six of these sites represented as A through F. Each location includes its name and a brief description. They are The Center, North Service Area, Transportation & Ticket Center, Vista-United Telecommunications, Crossroads Shopping Center, and Community Waste Research Facility and Walt Disney World Nursery.

As you open up this tri-fold map, the 17 resorts and parks are revealed, each as a side profile of Mickey. Again, each number specifies the name of the location as well as a brief description. The locations, from 1 to 17, are Magic Kingdom Park, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Mediterranean Resort, Disney's Polynesian esort, The Disney Inn, Disney's Grand Floridian Beach Resort, Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground Resort, Disney's Dixie Landings & Port Orleans, Disney's Village Resort, Disney's Village Marketplace, Pleasure Island, Typhoon Lagoon, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Epcot Center, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin,
Disney's Yacht and Beach Club, and Disney/MGM Studios Theme Park. Go ahead and click on the image to read the descriptions.

Now, for the best part. When you open the brochure all the way, you have a nice, yet simple, map of the entire Walt Disney World property with all 23 locations neatly labeled. Not only are the numbers and letters on the map, but, again, the actual name of each location is on the map as well. This makes it for easy reading. This makes a very handy tool for cast members when showing guests directions to various locations on property.

Also, on the map are the various map roads in and around WDW. And, another neat little touch, the monorail route is also on the map. It is kinda neat to look at this map and see how the layout of WDW looked just a mere 20 years ago.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Nighttime Walt Disney World Ticket Brochure 1973

The other day, we took a quick look at a Walt Disney World ticket prices brochure from 1972. Today, we have a similar brochure, but from 1973. This brochure is from June 11 thru September 1. It is promoting the extended nighttime hours running through the summer. The offseason hours, as seen in the previous brochure, were 9am - 7pm. But, these extended hours are 8am - 1am. So, guests can really get their money's worth now.

I also like the color of this brochure. It is a nighttime blue to help draw the guest's attention to the atmosphere of The Magic Kingdom. The ticket packages are still in the pink and gold style as the previous brochure, but, prices have increased. Also, a Guided Tour package has been added.

The back of the brochure has added a few new items which include the Polynesian Luau and the Kal Kan Kennel Club. Also, at the top are three new attractions listed--Walt Disney Story, Plaza Swan Boats, and Tom Sawyer Island.

Now, one other small observation...there is a horse-drawn trolley graphic on the front of the brochure with Brer Bear and a family. This cartoon family appears to be the same cartoon family in the steamboat from the 1972 brochure. Just a little interesting observation. So, it appears to be the same artist, which would be interesting to find out who that artist is. So, what do you think? You know how Disney is with story continuity and detail. Does it look like the same cartoon family?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Walt Disney World Ticket Brochure 1972

Here is an old Walt Disney World ticket prices brochure from 1972 with a nice picture of Mickey Mouse and the old WDW logo with the Mickey globe. I just love the simple colors used on the brochure as well--pink, black, white, and yellow. Ok, red too if you count Mickey's shorts.

The prices were broken down by Child (3-11), Junior (12-17), and Adult. There were three different packages--8-Adventure, 12-Adventure, and General Admission. Looking at the Adult prices, to get into the Magic Kingdom, at a minimum, you needed to purchase the General Admission tickets which cost $3.75. Sounds pretty good to me. This gave you entrance into the Magic Kingdom, admission to all free entertainment, and one day's use of all the transporation at Walt Disney World which would include boats, monorail, and buses. Not too shabby.

But, for $1.65 more, you could essentially upgrade your GA to an 8-Adventure ticket book where you could have access to 8 attractions of your choice. Now, you got all the benefits of the General Admission ticket, plus, you got to experience any 8 attractions...of your choice!

But, wait, it gets better. For a mere 90 cents more, you could upgrade your 8-Adventure to a 12-Adventure. Now, you had the 8-Adventure package, plus, you could pick 4 more attractions to experience for under $1 more.

Oh yeah, one other thing, if you are staying at a Disney resort, ask for the special ticket prices. WOW! Could you imagine going to WDW for under $10? Ah, the good old days!

On the back, you could find some brief information about The Magic Kingdom, including its hour of operation, as well as information about some other entertainment at WDW. Also, on the back is a cool picture of a steamboat and Goofy waterskiing. I really miss these nostalgic looking brochures.

Monday, October 19, 2009

WDW Parking Pass 1982

Here is a parking pass for Walt Disney World from our 1982 vacation. Ah, the good old days when parking was just $1. Of course, my parents probably griped about that at the time. But, looking back almost 30 years ago, parking looks rather inexpensive back then. Notice the graphic on the front. It only has The Magic Kingdom, Contemporary, and a sailboat. This was during the summer of 1982, just a few months before EPCOT Center opened. This graphic changed just a few months later to reflect the new park at WDW.

The back is has a layout of the parking lot with the various sections labeled by their Disney character names. There is also an 'AISLE NUMBER' line for you to fill in. Through all the anxiety and excitement as guests arrive at the park, the parking location is easily forgotten. The size of the these parking passes, which are slightly larger than a baseball card at 5" x 2.5", made it quite convenient for guests to put in their wallet or purse so at the end of the day at the Magic Kingdom, they know exactly where they parked.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sorcery in the Sky 1990

The Sorcery in the Sky fireworks show was the original nighttime spectacular at the Disney-MGM Studios. It was narrated by Vincent Price, the horror film icon whose legendary career in the genre spanned from the late 1930s all the way through the 1980s. He also voiced the Professor Ratigan, the villianous vermin from Disney's 1986 animated release The Great Mouse Detective. But, what my generation primarily remembers him for is his narration of Michael Jackson's 1983 hit, Thriller. Unfortunately, Price died in October 1993. I believe the narration for the firewords show was changed shortly after his passing.

Now, what made this fireworks extravaganza so memorable was toward the end, a giant inflatable Sorcerer Mickey Mouse would appear looking over the Chinese Theater (Mann's/Graumann's, which is it?) and would shoot fireworks out of his pointed finger. Fortunately, I did take a few pictures of Sorcerer Mickey when I was on the WDW College Program. These are from July 1990. As mentioned in other posts, this used to be my favorite park. And, this fireworks show was definitely my favorite. The show ran until 1998 when Fantasmic, the current Disney-MGM Studios, um, Disney's Hollywood Studios, nighttime event premiered. And, yes, I do like Fantasmic better than Sorcery in the Sky.

So, did you ever have the opportunity to see Sorcery in the Sky? And, what were your thoughts of it?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here Come the Muppets 1990

The Disney-MGM Studios was my favorite park when I was on the WDW College Program back in the Summer of 1990. The place was barely a year old. From the Animation Tour (my favorite), to the Backlot Tour, to the Monster Sound Stage, to the Great Movie Ride, to the various live shows...everything was awesome at the park.

Jim Henson's Muppets were already beginning to have a presence in the park with the ongoing construction and production of Muppet*Vision 3D. However, Disney wanted to make sure guests were already aware of the Muppets in their new park. So, to accomplish this, a live action show featuring the Muppets premiered on May 25, 1990. Appropriately titled Here Come the Muppets, guests got a glimpse for the first time of Jim Henson's Muppets in a Disney theme park. Sadly and unexpectedly, Jim Henson passed away in May of that summer right as we were all arriving at WDW.

The entry in the Disney-MGM guide maps at the time describe Here Come the Muppets as:
This live, mini-Broadway musical stars Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal and a host of your favoriteMupets. Rolf entertains in the pre-show area.

It was hoped that this show would not only introduce the Muppets to the Disney parks, but, that it would keep guests pacified until Muppet*Vision 3D premiered at the park. Finally, it did premiere a year later on May 16, 1991. But, oddly enough, Here Come the Muppets continued to play for a few more months until its final perforance on September 2, 1991. The location later made its premiere as The Voyage of the Little Mermaid on January 7, 1992.

Now, I vaguely remember this show except for the pictures I have. What I do remember about it is probably from the videos I have watched on YouTube. So, who of you remember this live action show?

True Life Adventures Comics November 23, 24, 26, & 28, 1955

This week's True Life Tuesday features a couple of primates, some pumas, and a real turkey. These True Life Adventures comic panels are from November 23, 24, 26, and 28, 1955. Enjoy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Gurgi's Munchies and Crunchies 1990

When I was on the WDW College Program in the Summer of 1990, I worked in Fantasyland Foods (FF). The flagship restaurant was Pinocchio's Village Haus, known
as Pinoch's in Dinsey lingo. The other restaurants that fell under FF were Troubadour Tavern (Troubs), Round Table, Tournament Tent (Tent), the Pretzel wagon, and the place I spent most of my time, Gurgi's Munchies and Crunchies (Gurgi's).

In July 1985, Disney released its 25th animated feature, The Black Cauldron, based off a series of books by Lloyd Alexander called Chronicles of Prydain. Probably the most recognizable and lovable characters from that film was Gurgi, a dog-like creature that not only talked, but had quite an appetite and provided comic relief to this rather dark picture by Disney standards. Ok, maybe he wasn't a dog-like creature, but, he was furry and he was funny and he always said, "munchings and crunchings", which, made him the appropriate character for the naming of this restaurant. Unfortunately, this film was a far cry from a box office hit. But, like Disney does for all of its animated films, it incorporates them into the parks in some fashion. The Black Cauldron was no different.

On October 26, 1986, Gurgi's Munchies & Crunchies opened, taking place of Lancer's Inn. A question I received frequently from guests while I worked at Gurgi's was, "what movie is this place based off of"? More often than not, when I'd tell people it was based off of The Black Cauldron, their response was, "I've never heard of that one". And, unfortunately, at that time, The Black Cauldron had not been released on video, so, guests really had no way to go view it. But, this provided me an opportunity to talk to guests, so, I'd give them a quick synopsis of the movie.

Now, if you aren't familiar with this restaurant's location, it is across from Dumbo and Pooh's Playful Spot. This was a walk-up counter service restaurant with five registers, two queues per register. Out front were maybe half a dozen umbrella covered tables for guests to relax and dine. The design of the restaurant was the same style as Pinoch's except themed to the lighter side of The Black Cauldron. The sign out front was very similar to the Lumiere's Kitchen sign, except it had a picture of Gurgi and had Gurgi's Munchies and Crunchies scrolled on it. I have scoured the Internet and have yet to find any photos of this extinct restaurant. And, I've said it many times in previous posts, but, unfortunately, we didn't have digital cameras back then. And, as a college student, I didn't "waste" my photos on restaurants, to my regret.

But, while looking through my photos from my 1990 experience, I did come across a couple of pictures that show this very small location. In the first picture, to the far right, you can see a door which led backstage to the ice machine. Judging from the locaction, I believe this cast member was on the middle register. You can catch a partial glimpse of the drink menu right above his head in the background. Of course, you can see the Fair Folk, including the Santa looking King Eidilleg flying with a cup cake. In the window, you can see some of the food items ready to be delivered.

Here are the drink items sold at Gurgi's that I can see on the menu and can recall from my memories:
Soft Drinks: Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta Orange, and Fanta Root Beer (I think they were Fanta)
Orange Juice and Apple Juice boxes (Minute Maid I believe)
Hot Tea and Hot Chocolate
100% Colombian Coffee
Decaffeinated Coffee
Whole or Chocolate Milk
Lowfat Milk

As for the food items, what I can recall and can see in the window are the following:
Kids meal: Grilled Cheese or Chicken Nuggets (4 I think)
Chili Cheese Dog (yellow styrofoam container)
Chicken Sandwich (blue-green styrofoam container)
French Fries
Chocolate Chip Cookie

The kids meal came with a cookie, chips, and a Disney PVC figure. Of course, I do recall us also using those Mickey Mouse straws on occassion when we ran out of the figures. The summer of 1990 had those yellow boxes as seen in the pictures. I believe that was supposed to be Mickey's house. I remember that Mickey's nephews, Ferdy and Morty, were on the box. I wish I had saved one of those.

The next summer, 1991, the kids meal boxes were Disney Afternoon boxes. I actually did save an unused one of these. This is yet another example of Disney promoting one of its properties in the Disney parks as the Disney Afternoon was just taking off. The box has the Gummi Bears, Tailspin, DuckTales, and Rescue Rangers on it.

The second picture is basically the same as the first, but, just a little more to the right. In the background, you can see where we put all the condiments which included ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, bar-b-que sauce, and honey mustard sauce. Although these pictures don't show a whole lot of this tiny establishment, it is currently the only pictures I've seen in the past 18 years. I'm hoping that some of my former cast members have them. I've contacted some of them and if they do, hopefully, they will send them to me. If you have any, I'd love to see them.

Now, I've got many funny stories from working there, but, a couple of specifically food related tales. First, almost every day, we would have Germans come and ask for beer. I'd tell them that there was no beer sold in the Magic Kingdom. Then they'd point at the sign behind me and said, "beer". For the first few weeks this went on, I'd spend a few seconds trying to explain to them that this wasn't beer. Then, I learned. As soon as they'd point to the sign, I'd grab a little cup, put some root beer in it, and hand to them. Without flaw, they'd make a grimacing face and say, "MEDICINE"! That never got old to me and I got quite a chuckle, as did the guests.

Another common occurrence dealt with the kids meals. And, when I say common, I mean about every fourth kids meal order. Parents would come up and say, "I'd like a Chicken McNuggets kids meal". I'd reply, "I'm sorry, we don't have Chicken McNuggets", with an emphasis put on the "Mc" part. They'd look at me with a blank
stare, and then after a couple seconds, they'd get their gaffe and start laughing. Just goes to show the brand identity McDonald's has on chicken nuggets in our culture.

Gurgi's finally closed February 13, 1993, and then re-opened as Lumiere's Kitchen, followed by The Village Frye. To Disney's credit, it is amazing that a location based off of such a little known picture lasted about 6 1/2 years. And, to my knowledge, this was the only attraction, show, shop, or restaurant based off The Black Cauldron. In my opinion, it really is too bad that more attractions aren't based off of some of the lesser known animated features.

As for the stories of my time as a cast member at Fantasyland Foods...I think I'll save those for future posts.