Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WDW 15th Anniversary Prizes

Starting in 1986, Walt Disney World celebrated its 15 year anniversary. As part of the celebration, the park gave a contest ticket to each guest that entered either the Magic Kingdom or EPCOT Center parks. The contest started on October 1, 1986 and lasted until September 30, 1987. I'm not sure if that was the official end date, but, that is what is stated on the back of the tickets. It might have been a few days before or a few days after. You can click on the image of the back of the ticket to read all the rules for the contest.

There were several cool things about this contest. First, the odds of winning a prize were pretty good. A different prize was awarded every 15 seconds, to match the 15th anniversary. This came out to be roughly 1 out of 24 tickets was a winner. So, a family of 4 that went for a full week to the parks probably won 1 or 2 different prizes. Second, the tickets were pretty cool and made a nice little souvenir even if you didn't win.

We actually won a couple of prizes--a button and a sticker. I have no idea what ever happened to the button, but, I still have the 4" x 4" sticker. If you did win, you would take your winning ticket to the Ticket Redemption Center where they would tear off the stub on the right of the ticket, stamp the back of the ticket with the date the ticket was redeemed for a prize, and give you your prize.

There were also a lot of other prizes including the big ones such as complimentary park tickets and a car. I don't recall them doing this at the 20th, 25th, 30th, or 35th anniversaries, but, I really hope they do it again at the 40th anniversary in a couple years.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

True Life Adventures Comics November 5, 8, 10 - 11, 1955

This week's True Life Tuesday is from November 5, 8, 10, and 11, 1955. Here you'll find some unusual lizards, some ice loving fish, a fungus, and some pranks of the weather. I still find these little tidbits about nature fascinating and I hope you do too. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Earning Your Disney Degree

As mentioned in one of my first posts, I was on the Walt Disney World College Program in the Summer of 1990. As part of the WDWCP, student cast members had the opportunity to earn either a Mousters of Business Applications or a Ducktorate Degree. Each degree required you attend the 10 Disney seminars and achieve an average rating at your work experience. To get the Ducktorate, you had to also do a team project and presentation. At the end of the program, you received your degree signed by both Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Take a look at the page from our College Program handbook which gives a more detailed description for earning your Mousters or Ducktorate.

The above image is a scan of my Ducktorate Degree. This scan doesn't do the certificate justice. The border and mouse ears are all in gold. The paper is the same quality paper as a college diploma. And, yes, I proudly list my Duckorate on my resume. Of course, it always strikes up a conversation with recruiters too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Disney Management Communications from February 1990

As I was looking through my WDW College Program items this afternoon, I came across an interesting item we were given during one of our Traditions or Seminars classes. To tell you the truth, I can't recall which. I was on the WDWCP Summer 1990 class, so, a lot of those memories from then have run together. Anyway, this handout we were given was a photocopy of FYI--Corporate News for Disney Management from February 1990. It outlined the new attractions, shows, restaurants, and other happenings taking place in what was coined the "Disney Decade". I vaguely remember talking about a couple of these items in our classes. But, as I read this document this afternoon, it was really interesting to look back and see which of these came to fruition and which ones ended up being discarded or potentially shelved for a future date. Now that the D23 Expo has transpired, it looks like maybe a couple of these might be coming on line, albeit, a decade delayed.

Some of these items I have read about as rumors or "deleted" attractions, but, I've never seen anything in official Disney correspondence to corroborate some of these attractions. Some of the notables that jump out are the Soviet and Swiss pavillions at Epcot's World Showcase. How cool would that have been. The Soviet pavillion was actually one of the attractions I specially recall being mentioned in Seminars class. One item that immediately jumped out at me was a new 3-D movie by George Lucas. I wonder what that was going to be? I see that the fourth theme park, which became Animal Kingdom, is mentioned. Also, a Circle-Vision 360 film combined with Audio-Animatronics depicting Western Civilization was to be placed in the Magic Kingdom. Wonder what that was about?

Staying with the Magic Kingdom, Plectu's Fantastic Galactic Revue was to be a new show in Tomorrowland. A variety show with Audio-Animatronics. Hm, not too sure about that one. Others we have seen materialize such as Alien Encounter, which didn't last too long, and Splash Mountain. Heading over to the resorts, we see that the Wilderness Lodge was a huge hit. But, what was this Buffalo Junction Resort or this Kingdom Suite Hotel supposed to be? A "haunted" hotel is mentioned as well. Is that the Tower of Terror, another attraction we heard about on the WDWCP. I don't know.

Anyway, take a few minutes to look over this document. It is pretty interesting to look back at what might have been, what transpired, and what still may be.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

True Life Adventures Comics October 29 & November 1, 3, & 4, 1955

It is True Life Tuesday again. This week's True Life Adventures comics are from October 29 and November 1, 3, and 4...1955. This edition features a fish that always likes to look up, some big little critters, and a rodent that never drinks water. And, there is an animal that proves that curiosity doesn't only belong to a cat. Enjoy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Torch of The American Adventure

Maybe it is my penchant for the nostalgia of my youth or the pride and patriotism I feel for this country I live, but whatever it is, The American Adventure is definitely my favorite attraction in World Showcase at Epcot. Now, my favorite part of the 29 minute show occurs at the end when Robert Moline's music starts playing "Golden Dream" and Randy Bright's lyrics start tugging at your heart. The visuals make your heart swell even more as a montage of notable Americans from the past sixty to seventy years, fades in and out before your eyes. At the crescendo, the images all fade away to make way for the iconic scene from The American Adventure. That spectacular image is of our hosts, Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain, appearing inside the ring of the torch of the Statue of Liberty. The music is still playing as these two great Americans continue to philosophize about our past and our future. As the show ends, Mr. Franklin leaves us all something to ponder by quoting the novelist Thomas Wolfe,
To all people, regardless of their birth, the right to live to work, to be themselves, and to become whatever their visions can combine to make them. This is the promise of America.
This final scene of Franklin and Twain on the torch of the Statue of Liberty is not only the most remembered scene from the show, but, one of the most utilized images in books, blogs, magazines, and other materials when The American Adventure is described. Anyway, this got me thinking, "hey, the torch doesn't look like that today!" Now, I am not a New Yorker definitely not an aficionado of the Statue of Liberty. I guess I've always taken this scene for granted. But, I wonder how those under maybe 30 years old view this scene? Has this scene seemed a little different to them? Do they even notice? Well, I decided to do some research on the torch and The American Adventure.

The Statue de la Statue de la Liberté, or The Statue of Liberty to Americans, was a momument given by France to the United States in 1886 to celebrate our centennial. The famous French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi was commissioned to design the statue with the year 1876 determined as the completion date. The statue was to be presented to the American people on July 4, 1876. Unfortunately, due to many delays in the development of the statue, along with the 1875 start Bartholdi got, this did not happen.

Bartholdi decided to construct the statue out of copper and indeed finished the right arm and torch in 1876. Therefore, this part of the statue was sent on to the United States where it was put on display in 1876 for the American public at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Later, it would be put on display at New York's Madison Square Garden.

The remainder of the statue was not completed until 1884. Lady Liberty was then broken into 350 individual parts so it could be shipped aboard the French frigate Isère. The statue reached its destination, New York Harbor, on June 17, 1885. Although a decade past its original target date, the statue was unveiled on Liberty Island by President Grover Cleveland and officially dedicated to the United States on October 28, 1886, to commemorate the centennial of the signing of our Declaration of Independence. This enormous gift represented the friendship France and the United States built during the American Revolution.

The statue has always been a warm and welcoming sign to immigrants coming to this young nation to make a new beginning for themselves. But, for about 16 years, from 1886 to 1902, the Statue of Liberty servered a dual role as a lighthouse. It was the first lighthouse in America to use electricity and could be seen by boats about 24 miles out.

Now, lets zero in on the torch. Keep in mind, that statue, including the torch, was made out of copper. This is where it gets interesting. In 1916, approximately $100,000 worth of damage occurred to the statue in the Black Tom explosion. Later that year, the Mount Rushmore sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, modified the copper torch by cutting away most of the copper of the flame and replacing it with glass panels. A light was also placed inside the flame at this time giving it the illusion of a real flame at night. However, because of these modifications, the torch starting leaking rain and melting snow which drastically increased the rate of erosion to the statue.

Fast forward 60 years to July 1976. This is when Disney announced that it would move forward with Walt Disney's plans for Epcot. This second theme park, which would become known as Epcot Center, was broken into two parts--Future World and World Showcase. At first, Disney Imagineers planned to put the American Adventure pavilion in the middle of Future World. Thank goodness that didn't happen. Instead, it became the focal point, or weinie, of World Showcase and flanked by other nations' pavilions to each side around the lagoon.

The architect Imagineers wanted this pavilion to have a sense of grandeur and be inviting to guests, and above all, be America's mansion. The show Imagineers also wanted to create this same type of emotion with The American Adventure attraction by making it America's show. The unifying theme of the show would be that America, as Richard R. Beard states in his book, Walt Disney's Epcot Center Creating the New World of Tomorrow, is a "nation of pioneers, dreamers and doers, driven by the kind of venturesome and restless spirit that feeds on challenges, revels in milestones, thrives on innovations." So, it is no wonder that the Disney Imagineers chose to use the torch, which signifies enlightenment, in the closing scene of The American Adventure which is the most recognizable feature of the Statue of Liberty.

The American Adventure was one of the original attractions that made its debut on October 1, 1982 when Epcot Center became opened. Now, keep in mind that this final scene of The American Adventure is supposed to be set in the present day where Mr. Franklin and Mr. Twain are pondering America's past and future. Well, the torch at the time the attraction was designed was the retrofitted one by Borglum. It wasn't until 1984 renovation of the Statue of Liberty that the torch was replaced by a solid copper torch, the same as the original. It was then given a gold leaf coating. This is the torch that is there today. The original torch with the glass paned windows can be found in the museum at the lobby of the Statue of Liberty.

As for The American Adventure, it has only gone through a revovation two times since it debuted. The first was in 1993 where it received all new animatronics as well as a new version of the theme song. The second was in 2007 where the final montage received an additional 45 seconds of footage with the most notable being the 9/11 terrorist attacks on The World Trade Center and the brave men and women of the NYPD and FDNY.

So, that explains why the torch in The American Adventure looks the way it does. It is based off of the torch held by the Statue of Liberty in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the attraction was designed. That torch was the original copper torch built by Frédéric Bartholdi and then retrofitted with glass panels and internal light by Gutzon Borglum. It does make you wonder though, when the next renovation/refurbishment of The American Adventure occurs, will the Imagineers update the torch? And, if they do, will they also display the old torch somewhere else in the pavilion? What do you think?

If you would like more information on the Statue of Liberty, please visit the National Park Service's web page for the Statue of Liberty.

  1. The first image I took in the Fall 2008.
  2. The image of the torch in the lobby of the Statue of Libery was borrowed from the following web site:
  3. The image of the new torch was borrowed from the following web site:
  4. The last image was scanned from Richard R. Beard's book.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dining Around The World Brochure Late 1980s

The tenth and final item in the Fort Wilderness welcome packet is an undated brochure for Dining Around The World. From a visual standpoint, this item is very bland and is much smaller than the other brochures. But, what makes it interesting from a theme park enthusiast perspective is what is inside. Here, you will find all the full service restaurants at Walt Disney World in the late 1980s. Many still exist, but, several of them have changed their names. Take a look. Have you been to any of these defunct restaurants? If so, do you remember what you had to eat there? And, do you have any pictures?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

True Life Adventures Comics October 22 & 26 - 28, 1955

True Life Tuesday is here again. This week's edition features the TLA comics from October 22 and 26 - 28, 1955. Hope you enjoy these vintage panels.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sony Rear Vision Sweepstakes Fort Wilderness 1989 Brochure

We are getting close to the end of the contents of the Fort Wilderness welcome packet. This ninth item is a 1989 brochure for the Sony Rear Vision Sweepstakes to "Win a Walt Disney World Resort family vacation, including a 5-day/4-night stay at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground". There are some nice pictures inside of some activities around the resort including carriage rides at the Settlement, horseback riding, and the petting farm. Also, there is a nice picture of some some tubing at River Country, complete with the logo on the tube.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fort Wilderness Fleetwood Booklet 1988

The eighth item in the Fort Wilderness welcome packet is an October 1988 (10/88) edition of an advertising booklet for Fleetwood. This booklet has 24 pages, but, only the first four pages are of interest to Walt Disney World. The first page, which is the cover, has a nice photograph of Chip N' Dale posing with the campground entrance sign for Fort Wilderness. The second and third pages are a spread for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue with a few nice pictures. The fourth page has a picture of the Fort Wilderness Fleetwood Trailer Home Rental as well as a floor plan for the six sleeper model. The other pages of the booklet, which I did not take pictures of, are pictures of various Fleetwood trailer models.

Friday, September 11, 2009

All Aboard A Christmas Carol Train

All Aboard! Disney's A Christmas Carol Train Tour made its stop in Louisville, Kentucky today, is a new marketing vehicle (no pun intended) Disney is utilizing to promote this new incarnation of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey. The stop will last from September 11 through the 13th and is FREE. This makes two days in a row that our family has participated in a Disney event away from any Disney park. However, today's event was much more entertaining than yesterday's. Obviously, the train and the theater were the main attractions, but, a few booths were set up outside offering drawings and games for prizes. One of those booths was Radio Disney, which gave away mini movie posters and t-shirts. Now, without going into a ton of detail on this tour, I'll give a quick overview and then let the pictures tell the story.

As you approach the train, your party is given a boarding pass, which made for a great souvenir. The train was beautifully painted and was basically a moving billboard advertising Dickens' story. The first car introduces guests to the film through displaying character art and costume reference, as well as some historical Dickens memorabilia. The next car features concept art displayed on high definition screens. The screens also change pictures every few seconds. Next, some maquettes and models were displayed. The next car featured motion picture cameras as well as behind the scenes look at the process in the movie. The next car no pictures were allowed. Here, several screens displayed more behind the scenes clips followed by an interactive couple of cars where guests could get their picture morphed into one of the characters from the film including Scrooge and Tiny Tim. The last car featured final art and some live carolers as you exited. Overall, the train tour was very reminiscent of the Narnia attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the various props and behind the scenes videos.

After exiting the train, we headed over for about a 15 minutes sneak peek the portable theater. All I can say is Disney's digital 3-D looks amazing. Ok, one more thing to say. I am very excited about this film which hits theaters on November 6th. This looks like no previous interpretation of A Christmas Carol I have ever seen before. The motion capture, which most associate with The Polar Express, has improved in these past five years.

After the movie, it was time to head over to the booths. We got some tattoos of Scrooge, snowflakes, and heart-shaped candy canes. Yes, we signed up for a the Disney Movie Surfers raffle, and then headed over to the Radio Disney booth. For the next hour, the kids played games and won prizes. Of course, I had to hit all the booths and get the free advertising ephemera. So, has anyone been to this tour in your city? If the tour is stopping at your city in the next few weeks, definitely try to hitch a ride. I hope you are as excited as I am about this upcoming release. If not, well, "Bah Humbug"!