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Old 10-08-2000, 03:43 PM   #1
Sarangel
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Club 33 Event - September 30

My boyfriend, Mike, and I decided to splurge to go down to the Ryman-Carroll event at Disneyland on September 30th: we bought ariline tickets instead of driving, we rented a hotel instead of staying with friends, we even rented a car instead of taking the shuttle bus. We arrived Friday and checked into our hotel, the Westcoast Anaheim, which, it turns out, doesn’t actually own parking spaces for its guests (who have to pay a third party $8 - $11/day for the privilage) AND was remodeling it’s swimming pool! Not the best beginning to our luxurious weekend away.

Despite the trials of the first night we were optimistic about the next morning, so we called down to the front desk to set our wake-up call for 5:45 the next morning. Around 6:00 the phone finally rang to wake us up, and we started scrambling to get ready. We pulled into the new “Mickey & Friends” parking structure right at 6:35 and dashed out to the tram, making it to registration by 6:45 - 5 minutes before it closed. We were registered, recieved a little wristband to identify us as participants, and were escorted into the park by a Cast Member. Main Street was open to the public (for Early Entry), but Adventureland was still undergoing its nightly maintenance, so we got to see trucks and technicians fine tuning the park before it opened to the real public. We were escorted directly to Club 33 and allowed to enter.

For those who haven’t been to Club 33 before, it is lovely. You enter a little door to the right of the Blue Bayou, and pass into a foyer where the Hostess will take the name of your party. It’s a small room, probably 10x20, into which they have put the Hostess’s podium, a fabulous glass cage elevator from the 20’s (or possibly the 30’s), a small display case that has generally held merchandise for sale, and a stairway that curves around the elevator. There are mirrors on the walls, as well as original artwork from the planning of Disneyland and some of the movies. As you climb the stairway, there are more pictures amid the dark wood paneling. You arrive (by stair or elevator) at a landing that contains a replica of the phone booth used in “The Happiest Millionaire” to your left is a short hallway, leading to the dining salon, and to your right is what would have been a conference room, filled with antiques and photos.

The main dining salon consists of three rooms strung together at the right end of the upstairs hallway (which also continues on to the ladies’ and gent’s rooms). The first is a room that displays several antique pieces, including a small piano (it’s not really a piano, but I forget the name for it - it’s shaped like a baby grand piano, but is much smaller) that is painted on the case. The second room is where the buffet is laid out, a room with hardwood floors, the buffet on the right, and windows and still more pictures on the left (as well as the small dessert buffet in the corner closest to the dining room). The final room in the series is the main dining room. Richly carpeted in blue, with windows looking over New Orleans Square, this room also has an antique mantlepiece (in white marble if memory serves). There are lovely flower arrangements everywhere and a very attentive staff.

We were seated in the back room (which is supposed to have been meant for meetings) at a table of eight. One of the party was a gentleman named Tom Kielor(?), who had actually worked for a number of years as an imagineer. He told us a story about working with Blaine Gibson on the Mr. Lincoln project, about how he provided the initial movement for the AA figure.

The buffet consisted of: cereal, milk, cheese, crackers, fresh fruit (my favorite), tiny Mickey Mouse waffles, eggs with mushrooms & onions, sausage or bacon, homestyle potatoes, strip steak. There were also selections on the dessert buffet, but I skipped over them. We were served orange juice and tea or coffe at the table. I don’t know if I’d qualify Club 33’s breakfast buffet I’ve ever had (the eggs were a little runny, but the fruit was perfect), but it was quite good.

After breakfast, we were seperated into groups of 33 or so and led off to hear our first speaker. Our group was first led to Blaine Gibson, the man who sculpted Mr. Lincoln. We were placed in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle in a small group of roped off wooden chairs. We found out that he had begun working for the Walt Disney Studios as an animator, and had done that for 25 years before he was approached by Walt to work at WED as a sculptor. He said that he’d actually decided against moving to WED, but when he told his boss, his boss said that he’d better think about it some more, since Walt expected him to make the move. He is in the Walt Disney Story, the short film they show before filling the Mr. Lincoln theatre, explaining what is was like to sculpt the face from a life mask taken from Mr. Lincoln himself. He sculpted the ‘Partners’ Statue of Walt and Mickey as well as the statue in Florida of Roy and Minnie. There was a question and answer session after he’d spoken, but I’m afraid I don’t remember much of either the questions or the answers.

Our second speaker was Bob Gurr, who designed the original Autopia. Our seating area this time was out in front of the new Autopia. Bob talked about the challenges of doing something that had never been done before. He had been hired as a designer for the outsides of the little cars, and then been told he was doing the insides too. He told us about the problems that plagued the opening of Disneyland, his Autopia attraction had started the week with 40 cars, and ended the week with only 2. They had used Aluminum (Reynolds was one of the sponsors) instead of spring steel for the bumpers, which turned out to be a mistake since aluminum doesn’t pop back into shape.

Bob also told us about an incident with Walt. While they were trying to repair rides during the first weeks of Disneyland’s operations, there was so much going wrong that Bob had pulled up his old Cadellac into the Autopia attraction, pulled out his tool kit and was trying to fix the little cars. Walt, who had apperently not been having the best of days, walked up, sat down and just shook his head as he stared out over the broken Autopia ride. About 45 minutes later, according to Bob, one of the locomotive engineers came chugging down the track towing a wooden shed. The engineer asked Bob where he wanted it, saying Walt told him to move the shed over so that Bob’s Cadellac and tools wouldn’t be as visible.

Our third speaker was John Hench, who still imagineers for the company. We were seated this time at the foot of Main Street in the plaza that flies the American Flag. John didn’t have a speach ready, he just took questions. By this time I was beginning to think of questions, and asked him if he had a favorite place in the parks, and if so, which one and why. He told us about a time when Walt called him over to look at a shipment of crates that had arrived from Italy, addressed to: Walt Disney, California, USA. The crates (which had no bill of lading, or any other paperwork) turned out to contain beautiful carvings of the 7 dwarfs and Snow White (who seemed to have shrunk to the size of a dwarf) in Carrera Marble. Walt turned to John and said, “Put them in the park someplace.” John’s immediate thought was that if he laid them out along the ground anywhere they would end up looking like a graveyard and people would thing that the dwarves had been buried in Disneyland. When he asked Walt about this, Walt said, “Don’t make it look like a graveyard,” not exactly the help John was looking for. After a while, John had the idea of putting them in a vertical arrangement, with a waterfall providing forced perspective so that Snow White looked more like she was human sized. When Walt saw the drawing, he asked John to put a wishing well in, in the hope that people would throw money into it rather than the pond created by the waterfall. That led to John putting in the music to the area, since he remembered the song Snow White sings at the beginning of the movie. The only problem came when they discovered that the Dwarves had been placed on copper-treated wood. After a couple of months, the copper had leached into the figures and turned them all green! As a result, the figures were replaced with castings of the originals. The originals were bleached and are now stored in a warehouse near Disneyland.

After we’d listened to the speakers, we were led back to the Disney Gallery to look at the exhibit of Herb Ryman’s work. It was delightful to see the diversity of his work, and we spent an hour or so looking at the paintings and prints on display. We were also allowed to sign up for copies of a book of Ryman’s work, called “A Brush with Disney” which will be printed in November or so. As a note to pin collectors out there, we were also given a special pin for this event (there are only 350 of them): an artist’s palette with the words “a brush with Disney” across the top.
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Old 10-23-2000, 01:06 PM   #2
Mary Jo
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<font color=navy>Sarangel,

What a special afternoon! I really enjoyed this, so thank you. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

<font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color=#FF0066>Mary Jo
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Old 03-02-2001, 07:01 PM   #3
Marla Hellwig
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What a wonderful way to spend a day at DL. Thanks for posting!
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