Monday, August 31, 2009

Walt Disney World Discovery Island Brochure 1989

The third item in the Fort Wilderness welcome packet is another guide map for Discovery Island. This one, however, is dated 1989. The first difference you notice with this one from the previous one is the title. Instead of Disney's DI, it is Walt Disney World DI. I haven't had the chance to research this, but, I'm wondering if maybe DI changed the name in 1989. More on this theory in a second.

The next thing you immediately notice is the addition of more color. You now have various shades of red and pink. Third, the back has a nice illustration of a female cast member with a couple of monkeys on her shoulder presumably for some sort of demonstration for the guests.

Now, back to the date issue. Some more supporting material for believing today's item was used prior to yesterday's is what is missing from this brochure. This has no show times schedule, no Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers Discovery Club, and no Mickey Mouse Recycled Paper icon. If anyone knows when the official name change, if any, of DI occurred, I'd really like to know. What are your theories?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Disney's Discovery Island Brochure Undated

The second item in the Fort Wilderness welcome packet is a brochure for Disney's Discovery Island. I am sorry to say that I only went to Discovery Island one time, I was very young, and I don't remember a thing about it. I always said I would go some day. Unfortunately, it closed before that day came. Lesson learned--don't put off doing something until tomorrow, you might be too late.

Anyway, this particular brochure is undated, but, we know it is from 1988 or 1989 thanks to the packet and the other paper items inside. The front and back form a nice mural of some ducks, a deer, adn a hawk with its prey. On the back is a times schedule for the Feathered Friends and the Birds of Prey shows.

When you first open the guide, you see a nice yet simple map of the entire island for easy navigating. Then, when you open the guide up fully, you get a four panel layout with pictures of some of the various wildlife found on the island as well as some facts about each one.

Lastly, one little item to the bottom right corner on the fourth panel is a small illustration of our favorite chipmunks soaring on an eagle under a banner that says, Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers Discovery Club. Now there's something for the young nature explorers to look into!

Friday, August 28, 2009

WDW Bus Transportation Routes 1989

Yesterday I wrote about the Fort Wilderness welcome packet and mentioned ten brochures were included in this packet. So, lets start looking at those items.

The first item is a card from 1989 displaying the Walt Disney World Bus Transportation Routes. The card, once folded, measures 3.5" x 6" and is on heavy stock paper. The front has a nice black and white sketch of a bus leaving the Magic Kingdom with Cinderella Castle in the background.

The inside and back display the individual routes. Each route informs guests of the properties a particular bus will stop. Then, beside these routes a colorful flag is displayed to distinguish that bus route. Each bus will have this particular flag emblazoned on its side so guests know which bus they need to hop aboard and reach their destination.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fort Wilderness Welcome Packet 1989

Every vacation I have taken to Walt Disney World with my parents, whether the summer of 1973 to the fall of 2008, we have always camped at Fort Wilderness. I have many fond memories of this much under-appreciated and overlooked resort, but, I'll save those stories for future posts. What I want to show here is a Fort Wilderness piece from my Disneyphemera collection. This is a welcome packet from 1989. However, it should be noted that the folder itself is dated 1988. The folder is 6" x 10" which is actually a smaller version than one I also have from a vacations a couple years earlier. This packet came with 10 brochures showcasing the various activities in and around Fort Wilderness. The dates on the brochures are from 1988 and 1989, which means this packet was obviously given to guests in 1989. I'll be posting each one of these individual items over the next couple of weeks.

Now, what I love the most about this packet is the detail in the artwork on the cover. This was back when each resort had its own customized welcome packet as opposed to the generic blue one we've become accustomed the last few years. The artwork appears to be a simple pencil sketch, but very detailed. This single cover tells new guests everything available at this one resort. The background is of the Settlement Trading Post including Pioneer Hall. In the foreground, you see a cowboy mounted on a horse. This image is simple and immediately informs guests that horseback riding can be on the agenda at this resort. Various water activities are displayed including fishing, swimming/tubing, and canoing. Another activity shown is the Petting Farm. And lastly, the night time activities including performers from the Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue and roasting marshmellows and singing around a campfire. Before you even had a chance to open up this packet, your heart was already racing and your mind jumping back and forth on which activity to do first. And, this is just the place you are staying!

On the back of the folder is a map of the entire resort including the bus routes. Back in 1988 & 1989, there were only two bus routes--the Silver Flag Route and the Brown Flag Route. Now, I will admit, the routes on this map are a little hard to follow, as you can see. The map itself doesn't have the actual route, but instead, a little side box has the routes. But, it is just the map. So, you have to use your imagination and overlay the routes onto the actual map.

Disney has definitely lost some of the magic when it comes to the theming of the welcome packets. Here's hoping, or more aptly, wishing, that we'll see these customized packets return in some form in the coming years.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

True Life Adventures Daily Comic Panels

The True Life Adventures series is a collection of short subject documentary films produced by the Walt Disney Company roughly between the years 1948-1960. The series won numerous Academy Awards for the studio including five awards for Best Two Reel Live Action Short. The films were among the earliest production experience for Roy E. Disney. Also, this creative and entertaining documentary series was the launching pad for Disney's new distributor, Buena Vista International.

There was also a comic strip that was inspired by these films called Walt Disney's True Life Adventures. This was a daily comic panel series that ran from March 1955 until 1973. The comic panels were written by 2007 Disney Legend inductee Dick Huemer. He got his start at Barre-Bowers Studios as a tracer on Mutt and Jeff. He eventually became an animator for the studios again working on Mutt and Jeff, but this time the cartoons. In 1923, he joined Fleischer Studios and was one of the top animators there. The most notable project he worked on there was Out of the Inkwell. In 1927, Huemer worked for the infamous Charles Mintz as an animator on Krazy Kat.

Then, in 1933, he got his start with Disney as an animator working on several of the early Silly Symphonies including The Tortoise And The Hare (1934), The Wise Little Hen (1934), and The Band Concert (1935). He later directed some of the Fab Five's cartoon shorts including The Whalers (1938) and Goofy And Wilbur (1939). Next, he wrote several of the stories for Der Fuehrer's Face (1942) and Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (1953). Lastly, he also worked as a story director on several animation features including Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941), Saludos Amigos (1943), Make Mine Music (1946), and Alice in Wonderland (1951). After leaving Disney in 1948 to pursue his own comic strip called Buck O'Rue, he returned to work for Disney a short three years later. In 1955, Dick was tasked to do the writing for the True Life Adventures daily comic panel which he did until he retired in February 1973. This also ended the almost 20 year run of this educational and quite beautiful, not to mention very cool, daily comic.

The illustrations for TLA were done by George Wheeler who was an inbetweener at Disney in the 1950s. He later went on to work for Hanna-Barbera as a layout artist and character designer from 1968 to 1979 on various Saturday morning cartoons such as Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, Superfriends, Dynomutt Dog Wonder, The Harlem Globetrotters, and The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, of which I was a huge fan of all of those growing up. Then, from 1972 to 1974 he worked as a layout artist at Filmation on a handful of projects including Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, and Star Trek. Just like with Huemer, he was the illustrator for the entire run of the TLA series.

Well, about a week ago, I came across a nice collection of these Walt Disney's True Life Adventures one-panel comic strips. The owner had purchased these from an unclaimed storage locker and knew that someone might enjoy these. Ding, ding, ding. I was the lucky recipient. The original owner had clipped these comics out of the Louisville Times newspaper starting in October 1955 through July 1962. Unfortunately, the title was also clipped off of each one and glued into three faux scrapbooks made out of notebooks. The owner used three identical notebooks and numbered each side of the sheet. There are 515 full pages, and by full pages, I mean four comics per page. That comes to 1,060 True Life Adventures comics!

The last sheet has two comics on one side and then an undated one on the last. But, on the page with two comics, the individual also included a "missing" list and a notation of when and where these comics were clipped. So, for the price of $25, I couldn't pass it up. At first, I thought I'd resell them on eBay, but, after I started looking at them and the care the owner put into these albums, not to mention what a gem these comics are, I realized I must keep these in my personal collection. So, for the forseeable future, I'll post four new comics as part of True Life Tuesdays. Enjoy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jonas Brothers Rock Kentucky!!!

Yesterday, August 23, Sunday afternoon, my wife and I took took our oldest daughter and two of her friends to see the Jonas Brothers in concert which is officially called the Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009. The girls started getting in the spirit by watching Camp Rock while we drove to Lexington. We arrived at Rupp Arena about an hour and a half before the show. Parking was not a problem, and for $10, we parked in the arena event parking.

A section of the parking lot in front of the arena was sectioned off for some activities including a JoBros bus sponsored by Verizon where fans could scribe a note to Kevin, Joe, and Nick. It was pretty cool.

We met up with some of our friends inside Rupp and headed to our seats. The place was extremely crowded. The females definitely outnumbered the males by a ratio of at least 15 to 1. Of course, we had to stop and look at the memorabilia for sale. The girls wanted shirts, but, for $40, we passed on that. Instead, we forked over $20 for a program and $10 for JB glow sticks.

There were three opening acts to get the crowd going. The first was Honor Society which was already rocking the place by the time we eventually made it to our seats. Next up was a band from Asia called the Wonder Girls. They were pretty good and I think the boys and men in the audience actually enjoyed them more so than Honor Society. The place was defeaning. Every time a picture of a JB was thrown up on the screen or when someone mentioned one of their names, the noise would increase big time. I'll tell you this, girls scream a lot louder than guys...a whole lot louder. Maybe it is the shrill sound that makes it so deafening.

Next up was Jordan Sparks. She really got the place rocking again and built up the female frenzy for the JoBros. At one point, someone on stage asked who thought Kevin was their favorite JoBros. The place erupted. Next up was Joe. WOW!!! Even louder. I was expecting that. I thought he would get the loudest cheers, no, screams. Then came Nick. OH MY GOODNESS!!! That is all I can say. Was I ever wrong about Joe.

Finally, around 8pm, the lights went out, and a bright orange-red light appeared in the center of the arena. Then, it happened. MY EARS BURST!!! The Jonas Brothers started rising out of the center of the stage. Now, I have been to many sporting events in my life, but the sound I heard was nothing like I had ever heard before. The arena had over 20,000 people, of which I'd say over 70% were girls from the age of 7 to 20. I was laughing so hard. It really was amazing. But, I kid you not, my ears are still ringing today.

I am obviously very familiar with the Jonas Brothers music since I have a crazed JoBro fan for a daughter and I am a Disney fan. They played every single song I knew. I found myself singing right along with all the females in the audience. One of the highlights was when Nick took center stage on a lily white piano. He spent maybe 10 minutes giving his testimony on diabetes. It was pretty moving. I was very impressed with the young man. One of the funniest things appeared at the end of this as the video screen panned to a teenage girl crying. Very reminiscent of Beatles or Elvis footage we have all seen. I really think Nick is the most talented of this very talented fraternal trio. Not only does he sing and play guitar, but, he also plays the piano and drums. The guy has a lot of talent.

Now, I didn't want to embarrass my daughter in front of her friends, so, I didn't make a spectacle of myself by dancing, but, I was doing the dad toe-tapping and slight head-bob. But, the mothers in the crowd, they were rockin'! I am no concert aficionado, but, these guys rocked! I was so glad we went and had an awesome time. Fortunately, I brought my camera and took a lot of pictures. I'll post more in the next couple of days along with more of my thoughts on the concert.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Radio Disney & The JoBros

Radio Disney held a Jonas Brothers event today sponsored by Sam Swope Auto. They were giving away two sets of 2 JoBros tickets and backstage passes to the Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009 tomorrow at Rupp Arena in Lexington. Well, we already have tickets for the concert, but, my daughter wanted to go and try to win those backstage passes. And, hey, I get to go to a Disney event and if she won, I can sell her tickets. She can keep the backstage passes. The event was almost two hours and lots of games for kids were played for prizes. There were maybe 25 - 30 kids there ages 3 - 18. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera. Not sure what I was thinking with that move. Well, it really didn't matter because my daughter didn't win the drawing for the passes. But, we did have a great time. She even won a couple of the games.

The best part were the freebie goodies that were given out to everyone, including the parents. Below are the pictures of the various items we got which include a JoBros poster, postcard, VIP badge, and necklace; DisneyXD bumper sticker; G-Force trading cards and game sheet; and Little Mermaid bookmark/door hanger. Now, I've gotta go sign up for the Radio Disney AM 680 Newswire so I can be informed about future events...and more goodies and Disney fun times with my kids outside of The World.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Member of the Mouseketeer Clubhouse

When I first went to Walt Disney World back in 1973 for the first time, there was only one theme park--The Magic Kingdom. However, there were still a lot of things to do back then. Especially at night. We were staying at Fort Wilderness, so, there were always things to do at that resort. Unfortunately, for my brother and me, we didn't get to experience those activities one night. Instead, our parents decided to take us to a Disney child care service called the Mouseketeer Clubhouse. Now, I can't remember a whole lot about it except that it was in the Contemporary and we played a lot. Then, after about an hour or so, my parents were picking us up. I'm not even sure what they did that night. Guess I should ask them.

I did find a little information about this Mouseketeer Clubhouse in my 1986 edition of the 'Walt Disney World VACATION INFORMATION' pamphlet.

Anyway, as we left, we were given a very cool certificate showing that we were a member of the Walt Disney World Mouseketeer Clubhouse. The certificate came on a nice piece of heavy 8.5" x 11" parchment paper. The hot pink border really sets it off and draws attention to both Mickey Mouse and the friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. (NOTE: This picture doesn't do this item justice. The pink is actually much brighter.) Unfortunately, I wasn't a big collector as a kid, so, I folded mine in half. Then, later we pinned and stapled it to my wall. Argh! And, finally, as you can see on the edges, you shouldn't store in an attic because silverfish really like to hang out there. But, still, this piece is one of my favorite items in my collection, if for no other reason than the memories it brings back from my first visit to Walt's world.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Collecting Disneyphemera

What is Disneyphemera? Well, it is a term I coined (no pun intended), for my Disney collection. In a nutshell, Disney + ephemera = Disneyphemera. Ta Da! I was surprised to learn a few years ago that a lot of people didn't know what ephemera was. Personally, I have always thought of it basically as paper items that were usually discarded after a short time. defines ephemera as "anything short-lived or ephemeral, items designed to be useful or important for only a short time, esp. pamphlets, notices, tickets, etc.". So, I collect Disney items that a lot of people end up throwing away. Great! I collect Disney trash.

Anyway, ephemera is actually a much broader field than just those examples given in that definition. Other paper items included are trading cards, pictures, letters, napkins, matchcovers, maps, cups, plates, books, comic books, newspapers, postcards, magazines, candy wrappers, cereal boxes, and pretty much anything made of paper. By definition, if something is made of paper, it isn't intended to last very long. Ok, maybe that isn't a true definition of paper, but it is my definition.

Now, paper items aren't the only items that are ephemeral. Items made out of plastic, metal, cloth, glass, and other materials can all be lumped into ephemera as well. Some examples include pens, pencils, tokens, coins (remember the 'no pun intended' comment), plastic cups, buttons, caps, t-shirts, and drinking glasses. Obviously, ephemera collecting has a lot of crossover collectibility with other collectors. Comic books, stamps, and baseball cards are the ones that come immediately to mind and are probably the most common and largest collector groups.

For my personal Disneyphemera collection, I mainly focus on items from Walt Disney World. That doesn't mean I pass up on Disneyland items, Disney movie related items, or other general Disneyphemera items I come across. Of course I add them to my collection, or at least save to trade or sell so I can add pieces to my WDW collection. I will be displaying pieces of my collection in my blog, the first of which I posted the other day about my acceptance letter to the WDW College Program.

There are several good Disney blogs and web sites out there that focus on different Disneyphemera. The following are a few of my favorite:

Disneyana World
my Disney collection Blog The Unofficial Walt Disney World Pressed Coin Guide
Theme Park Paper - A History of the Disney Theme Parks
Vintage Disneyland Goodies
Vintage Disneyland Tickets
Walt Disney World A History in Postcards

Also, there is a great ephemera blog that I read daily called ephemera exploring the world of old paper.

If you aren't familiar with these, I hope you check them out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


In early March 1990, the Walt Disney World College Program came to Texas A&M University. A couple hundred students turned out that night to listen to a WDW cast member named Rick Neely pitch working on the college program. We watched a short presentation and then listened to several students from previous semesters talk about their experiences on the WDW College Program. It was very interesting and everyone was very excited.

I remember how up front the recruiters were when asked questions. "If you expect to make money, then the WDWCP is not for you", was the response one of the questions. They were recruting for three different semesters--summer, fall, and spring. They must have been hurting for people in the fall and spring semesters because they talked about how competitive the summer session was. I remember the figure they gave. They said that you had about a one in ten chance of getting onto the summer program. Obviously, the summer is when most students want to work. They told us they would hire about 1,100 college students from around the country for the summer semester, along with about 1,000 international students. Well, I thought, "what the heck, I'll give it a shot". I really didn't think I had a chance. But, after the presentation was over, I went ahead and signed up for an interview the next day.

I went back to my apartment, filled out the application, and read some interviewing tips I had received in one of my college courses. I could barely sleep that night. I was so nervous going into that interview the next morning. I remember thinking that everything was stacked against me. It was my first interview ever! And, it was with Disney! And, to top it off, not only was I the first interview of the day, but, I was the first interview at Texas A&M on this visit. TERRIFIC!

Well, the interviewer was an attractive young lady who was about seven months pregnant. She had a welcoming smile and was very friendly. Unfortunately, I cannot recall her name. And, to tell ya the truth, I can't remember a single question she asked me that day. Of course, I couldn't remember anything she asked me as soon as I walked out of the interview either. Anyway, I do remember that I just tried to relax, be friendly, and, to borrow a cliche, be myself. The interview was very short. It couldn't have been longer than five minutes. When I left the interview, my roommates asked me how it went. I said something to the effect of, "ok, but not great". And, of course, they wanted to know what questions I was asked. But, like I said, I couldn't remember anything specific said in the interview. Ok, that isn't true. I do remember her asking if I had a preference of where I'd like to work. I put down Foods Host since I thought that would offer me the best opportunity. Anyway, not a great interview, first interview of the day, oh well, so much for that.

Now, fast forward a few weeks to the beginning of April. I was going to school at Texas A&M University. I remember this day fairly well. I was a little upset with myself because I had just done poorly on a test. I was walking back to the campus bus stop going over the test questions in my head. When I got to the bus stop, I ran into my two roommates who were waiting there for me with an excited look on their faces. They both started talking real fast, but, all I heard them say was "Disney" and handing me an envelope. I said something to the effect of, "oh great, a rejection letter". Their synchronized response was, "SCOTT, IT IS TOO THICK TO BE A REJECTION LETTER, WE THINK YOU GOT AN OFFER"!!!

My eyes lit up and my heart started racing. They had a point! Without thinking about the collectibility of the envelope, I tore it open as fast as I could. I GOT AN OFFER!!! I was so ecstatic. I could not believe I got an offer. How did that happen? I didn't think my interview went especially well. But, aparently I made an impression on the recruiter. My roommates were so excited for me since the semester had been relatively rough on me from a personal standpoint. They went on to class and I took the bus back to our apartment.

Now, this was before cell phones, email, Facebook, instant messaging, and the Internet, well, at least as we know the Internet today. So, I ran inside and started dialing my parents. I thought my mom was going to cry; she was so excited for me. I think she must have made several dozen calls after we hung up. She told me she called everyone from her co-workers, to our friends, to all our relatives.

Anyway, this 24 hour span was the beginning of what ended up altering my future.