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.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

True Life Adventures Comics November 14, 15, 17, & 19, 1955

We are still in 1955 with today's True Life Tuesdays comic panels. These True Life Adventures comics are from November 14, 15, 17, and 19. This week features a few birds, some animal rituals, and another act of Mother Nature.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Snow White Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD $10 Coupon

Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6, 2009, begins the release of Disney's new line of home entertainment, its Diamond Edition line. Appropriately, the first release will be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which first hit theaters on December 21, 1937. This is definitely a timeless classic that has been loved by generations. Everyone knows the story, so, no need for me to do a review of the story, and, since I don't have the Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack, I can't do a review on that either. But, there are many sites out there where you can get that information.

What I do want to briefly mention is what is unusual with tomorrow's release. Disney is only releasing the Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack to stores tomorrow. And, it is trying a new type of packaging too. It will also be releasing a DVD/Blu-ray Combo pack. The Standard 2-Disc DVD set will not hit stores until November 24. This is yet another effort of Disney's to push the Blu-ray technology onto consumers. So, if you didn't get the platinum edition of Snow White back in 2001 and you really want it for your collection, Disney is enticing you to get it a month and a half early if you purchase the Blu-ray/DVD Combo or the DVD/Blu-ray Combo pack.

Now, I had been putting off getting Blu-ray sets for my collection until Disneynature's Earth was released. But, I decided at that time, I would get the Blu-ray/DVD Combo packs for all new Disney releases. My logic is this. First, I know I will eventually have a Blu-ray player. Second, it is only a few dollars more to get the Blu-ray/DVD Combo versus getting only the DVD set. Third, more extras are on the Blu-ray, which I love. Forth, and finally, the resolution is obviously much better. So, I am sold.

Now, to make the purchase even more enticing, if you purchase Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack by October 10, you can get $10 off by going to and printing out the $10 coupon. That puts it a few dollars cheaper than the actual DVD!!! I can't wait til tomorrow, til then, Heigh-Ho!

Friday, October 2, 2009

WDW 15th Anniversary Displays

The year long 15th Anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World provided some unique picture opportunites for guests. Digital cameras have basically made picture taking a zero cost hobby. Cameras at the time had 24 pictures to a roll and you had to pay to get them developed. Now, with digital cameras, you can take all the pictures you want. Not so in 1987 when we took our vacation to the World. Back then, you had to pick and choose your pictures. You had to be much more selective. And, for my parents, this meant that most pictures would have us in them, but not all.

The Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Center were the only two parks at the time and each provided a magic moment before you even enteredt the park. Each park had a different display erected near the front gate to celebrate the 15th anniversary. At the Magic Kingdom was a giant Mickey Mouse alarm clock with the number 15 in place the hour numbers. Flanking each side of the clock was a General Motors vehicle which was part of the car a day give-away promotion at WDW as mentioned in the last two posts.

At EPCOT Center, a giant yellow birthday cake was on display celebrating WDW's 15th birthday. Again, I regret saying that the only picture I have of this is with my Mom, two brotheres, and me standing in front of it. But, hey, it is a typical vacation picture. So, does anyone have any better pictures of this cake display?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Win a New GM Car

As mentioned in yesterday's post, each day, one lucky and surprised guest won a brand new General Motors car as part of Walt Disney World's 15 Anniversary celebration. We were fortunate one day in 1987 to witness a guy win a car at EPCOT Center. It was pretty cool. Mickey and the gang came running towards the surprised man and gave him a giant key. You can see the key in the picture.

Unfortunately, this was before digital cameras, so, my parents only took a couple of pictures. There was a news crew there, but, if I remember correctly, they were a WDW news crew filming the experience. I've always wondered what the person in line in front of this man or behind this man thought? Could you imagine..."oh, sir, go ahead in front of me, I'm waiting for my spouse". ARGH!!!!! Or, what if a family was waiting on their slow kid? NOOOOOOOOO! Or, what if this guy let someone go in front of him. No way! Now, I know this definitely made this guy's vacation special and unforgetable. But, I wonder if it ruined the vacations of the people before and after him in line? How would you feel? Anyway, since we were just walking up to the gates, we thought it was pretty cool to witness a car being given away on this day.