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Old 07-25-2008, 10:19 PM   #61
Sleepless Knight
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Chapter 7: Talk About a Dream Come True!!

And so our time in the original animation building came to an end. From there we headed over to the new Legends Plaza and the Team Disney Building, which houses the office of CEO Bob Iger. The Team Disney Building is most famous for its' roof, or rather who is holding the roof up. Yes, I'm talking about the 7 Dwarfs, upon whose foundation Disney animation is built.



And now we're on Legends Plaza. Once a year, the Walt Disney Company confers the status of Disney Legend upon a select group of individuals in honor of their contributions to the Walt Disney Company. The legends come from all walks of Disney life, including actors, animators, artists, musicians, voice actors, and even former Disneyland cast members(more on that later). At the Disney Legends ceremony, each newly inducted Legend is given a small replica of the Disney Legends statue. There's a fun note about the statue. Since it's themed to a certain mouse, the sculptor of the statue thought it would be fun to hide two other mice in the statue itself. So if you ever get a chance to see the Legends Statue, make sure to look very carefully at the back of the statue and you might be able to catch a glimpse of the mice who made Cinderella's dream come true when they rescued her from her mean and wicked stepmother. That's right, I just said the Gus and Jaq-Jaq had more to do with Cinderella's happy ending than Prince Charming. No wonder Disneyland had to remove the princes from the Parade of Dreams. The two Charmings must have felt rather silly next to Prince Phillip.





As you see pictures of the different Legends plaques, you'll notice that some have the logo and others have the handprint of the Legend. If the Legend is honored while still alive, they'll put their handprint in the plaque. If it's a posthumous honor, then Disney just has the picture there. There are a whole lot of Legends honored on Legends Plaza, so I tried to seek out the plaques for Legends who in some way contributed something meaningful to my Disney fandom. Along the way I found quite a few whom I didn't know were Legends, but certainly contributed a lot.

While most people are familiar with Menken and Ashman, Frank Churchill wrote the songs in Snow White and George Bruns did many, many projects for Disney, including adapting Tchaikovsky's ballet for Sleeping Beauty.



Mary Costa provided both the speaking and singing voice of Aurora. She credits the film with launching her distinguished opera career. Walt called her happy bird because she was always smiling.



Richard and Bobby Sherman provided the music for such classics as It's a Small World and Mary Poppins.



Walt's nephew Roy was the son of company co-founder Roy.



Pinto Colvig and Clarence Nash did the voices for Goofy and Donald Duck.



Although I remember him more for being wild and crazy, singing about King Tut and being The Man With Two Brains, Steve Martin got his start at Disneyland.



Now, this was the Mickey Mouse Club



Partway down Legends Plaza we see two very nice tributes to the wonderful men who built the Walt Disney Company. The first is the statue of Roy Disney sitting on a bench talking with Minnie Mouse. For anybody who's ever been to Walt Disney World, this is the same statue that sits on Main Street. It was placed there as a tribute to Roy, whose perseverance and love of his brother drove him to ensure that Walt's dream to build a park in Florida didn't die with Walt.

No word yet on how Mickey feels about Rick Russell taking Minnie's nose



The other statue is the famous Partners Statue found in all Magic Kingdom parks save Paris(which for some reason moved the statue to the Walt Disney Studios Paris park. It's really neat to see this statue very close up and actually touch Mickey's hand. There's a nice dedication plaque at the base of the statue from Michael Eisner talking about what Walt's Legacy means to the Walt Disney Company. It was placed there on the 100th anniversary of Walt's birth, December 6, 2001.





Our group in front of the Team Disney Building. This is the only size I've been able to get a hold of to this point

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Old 07-25-2008, 10:22 PM   #62
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Chapter 7 Continues

With 32 pictures in chapter 7, I had to break this up into two posts. Enjoy, won't us. . .

After being given some time to explore Legends Plaza, we then head to the Frank G. Wells Building. Frank G. Wells was an important contributor to Disney's success, especially in the years immediately following Michael Eisner becoming CEO. Wells died in a tragic helicopter crash in 1994. Naming a building after Wells isn't the only tribute on Disney property to the man. Since he was an avid mountain climber, Disneyland placed a tribute to Wells in the Matterhorn. So if you didn't know beforehand, now you know just what the mountain climbing gear marked Wells Expedition means in the Matterhorn.



Now, there are two very exciting things to see in the Wells Building. The first is a place I only dreamed about seeing. The Walt Disney Archives. Inside the Archives are all sorts of amazing displays, some of which rotate on a regular basis. On this day, we saw a collection of different products featuring Donald Duck, which made my friend Doug very excited.





The archives also had on display a copy of assorted mementos from Walt Disney such as his birth certificate and passport. And while looking at these mementos, something caught my eye. An actual cel from an animated Walt Disney Classic. And this one made me very excited because you see, it featured a certain peasant girl dancing in the forest. This peasant girl has gold of sunshine in her hair and lips that shame the red, red rose. And dancing with her in this scene are the woodland creatures. I can hardly believe what I'm seeing now. Not only is this an actual cel from Sleeping Beauty, but if features one of my favorite scenes from the film. This is truly exciting.

Once Upon A Dream



A birthday portrait of Mickey Mouse by John Hench. Note the Epcot Center plans behind Mickey. Lillian Disney once said that following Walt's death, it was so hard for her to see Mickey because he reminded her so much of Walt.



With all due respect to Bill Murray, Star Tours, talkin' 'bout Star Tours





There was also one very interesting item on display. An old bird. But this isn't just any old bird. This bird was purchased by Walt Disney himself during a visit to Germany. And as Walt played with the mechanical workings of this little bird, he came up with an idea that would change the parks forever. And thus Walt Disney gave his Imagineers the task of creating a much larger version of this little mechanical bird, one that would move, talk, and even sing. And so, this little bird became the inspiration for Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, which in Disneyland remains under the same management as it always has.



Now, anyone who's been to Walt Disney World since 2005 may recognize what we saw near the entrance to the Archives, only there's one major difference. The wardrobe you walked through to enter the Narnia attraction was a replica. This door, right here, is one of two actual wardrobe props from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The detail on this door is amazing. It's so cool to see it close up. And the statue of Mr. Tumnus is the real thing.





Upon exiting the Archives immediately to your left is a remarkable piece of Disney history. The multiplane camera. For those who don't know, the multiplane camera was invented by Walt Disney as a way to allow for more depth than had ever before been possible in animation. In short, the size of the multiplane camera is impressive. Each level of the camera contains a different picture of the final version you see on the film.







After admiring the mulitplane camera used on the film that started it all, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, we leave the Wells Building and head over to stand in front of the Animated Shorts building. Well, this building obviously housed the artists who created what the name implies. But something even more significant was in this building. The second floor of the Animated Shorts Building housed the office of Walt Disney himself.



It is however highly encouraged to feed the chipmunks, though it appears those two little rascals are off torturing Donald Duck.



With that we head over to lunch in the Studios Cafeteria. While it's very much like just about any other cafeteria building you'll find in the world, this one does have a major difference. The safety cards reminding you of workplace safety feature the fab five in case you forgot just where it is that you are. Anyways during lunch, we got to meet Disney Imagineer Larry Nikolai. Now, this is actually the second time that I've met Larry. I first met him in Disneyland last June when Cindy told me about a Sleeping Beauty painting that he had done that just so happened to be released in Disneyland when I was down there. So, I get to spend some time on a Saturday morning in the Disney Gallery before they converted it into the Dream Suite and admire so much artwork there. Since Larry was there for an artist signing, I got to talk with him for probably 10 minutes or so about the painting and what he was attempting to capture. And of course, there's a tremendous amount of symbolism in it. The painting is called Aurora.



What's really neat about the painting is how everything is leading Aurora towards her final destiny. Notice the darkness over Forbidden Mountain and the sun rising on yonder topmost tower of King Stefan's Castle. Look at the light shining on Briar Rose from the direction of the castle. There are smaller details like how her skirt and hair is going towards the castle. And see if you can find the symbolism in the branches just over her head. Even though bad things happen in our lives, a way has been prepared for us to pull through and find a happy ending.



So, it was nice seeing Larry again and talking with him about the refurb of DCA. As it turns out, he worked on the Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue attraction there and told us all about how the assorted CDA agents used to be very famous celebrities. Am I the only one who finds this funny? Talking with Larry also gave me a different perspective on some things. In discussing how Disney was now having to fix the mistakes made with DCA, Larry commented how he had worked with Pressler and Harris. He told us that while he realized they made some mistakes and some very bad decisions, their hearts were in the right place. Now, I'm not saying here that we should gloss over the fact that some people in high up positions at Disney have made some bad decisions that had negative impacts on the company, but we should remember that we all make mistakes and hopefully we learn from them.

After saying goodbye to Larry, our day at the Studios was nearly complete. We headed over to the Walt Disney Studios company store, which despite the fact that it is located in Burbank, California is owned by Walt Disney World, which means they probably have more WDW merchandise than Disney Studios merchandise. So while I was unable to find a Studios T-shirt that I liked, I was ecstatic to find a Jedi Mickey DefendEARS of the Kingdom laser cel from Star Wars Weekends. I remember seeing one in WDW when we went 2 years ago, but since the SWW hadn't started yet, I could not get one. Well, now I got one, so that was exciting. I mean, it's artwork of Mickey Mouse holding a lightsaber. How cool is that? I also picked up a couple of pins that were special to the Walt Disney Studios, one from Valentines Day(we visited on February 15th) and one from opening day of Enchanted, which managed to entertain me quite a bit when I saw it in theaters.

With our day at the Walt Disney Studios now concluded, we said our goodbyes to some in our group who were heading home to northern California that night, as the few of us staying in Anaheim prepared to make the drive back to Anaheim. On the way out, I insisted on snapping a picture of the humongous WALL-E promotional poster on one of the buildings there. Little did I dream on this day that nearly 4 months to the day I would be touring the Pixar Animation Studios before seeing a special Pixar screening of WALL-E a week and a half before it was released in theaters.

The best movie of the year.



I also decided to snap a couple of pictures of the new animation building with the famous Sorcerer's Hat. I'm not too disappointed that we didn't get to see it. The Disney movies that I really love were almost all made in the old animation building and I got to see that.



And now came the moment that we had been dreading ever since arriving at the Studios harried and stressed over being late. Leaving and heading back into the mess otherwise known as Los Angeles traffic, especially on a Friday afternoon. So while we didn't have a deadline, it was still not fun sitting in traffic again, especially after the stress of that morning. All in all, we spent nearly 4 ½ hours in traffic that day(or about an hour less than how long I spend when I drive to Disneyland from northern California. You know what though, this traffic experience made me appreciate Disneyland even more than I already did. At about 5:00pm, Doug and I walked through the entrance gates of Disneyland, and at that moment, all of the anxiety and leftover worry from the nightmare of that morning when we feared we might miss the Walt Disney Studios washed away. And that's how special Disneyland is. At Walt Disney World, Disney has complete control over you. Once you step off that plane in Orlando, they've got you and can completely immerse you in the magic. In short, it's much easier to create the magic since they control your surroundings.

But Disneyland can't do that. They can't control Los Angeles traffic. They can't take over an area the size of Manhattan and turn it into a playground. And that's what makes Walt Disney's achievement with Disneyland so impressive and amazing. Even with the outside world right across the street, when you walk onto the esplanade and through those gates, everything changes and you're immersed in Disneyland. Walt's statement about leaving the world behind and entering a realm of fantasy and the future were never more true than when spoken about Disneyland.

Doug and I met up with Marty and Linda Martin and we just wandered around the park for the evening. We took in a few attractions, enjoyed a quite ride aboard the Mark Twain at night since Fantasmic wasn't showing, and ended the night off right, finding a spot in the hub to watch Remember Dreams Come True. . . If you haven't seen this amazing spectacular you're missing out. It's so impressive as to how Disneyland transforms the night sky and Sleeping Beauty Castle into such beloved park attractions and the Main Street Electrical Parade, the Indiana Jones Adventure, Pirates of the Carribean, the Haunted Mansion, Fantasyland, and of course Star Tours. I couldn't believe how much I smiled the first time I saw fireworks timed to the music from the Star Wars main title theme in Disneyland during the 50th anniversary.

And with that a magical day came to an end. With the crowds still being much heavier than normal after the fireworks I decided I'd rather sleep and be fully rested for tomorrow. I still have the long drive home ahead of me, but starting Monday I knew I'd be chained to my desk for two months(a trade off I was more than happy to make), so I wanted to get a few more hours in Disneyland before returning to the real world.
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:37 AM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepless Knight View Post
Cheryl, your bedroom is the perfect place for the Happiest Street on Earth. It's such a wonderful and fun piece.

Melissa, was it on a little golden book or something like that. I may be able to put you in touch with somebody who might be able to do something like that for you. Let me know if you want more information.

Phalene, thanks for your kind words.
Nope, it was one of those personalized books that you sent away for with an ad from a magazine circa 1975/76. It came looking like a real book but it was typed on a type writer with my name and my friends names and my address and my birthday used IN the story.

I actually got a SIMILAR type book for my daughter a couple years ago at a mall kiosk but it wasn't as detailed.

What you might know about the old style of book I'd be interestd in hearing

ALSO: Boy - o - boy they picked the RIGHT guy to invite on this Studio (the real Hollywood studio's) tour! How cool for you! I'm really happy you had such a great time.

Was wondering... any details on the "mistakes" that he thought they made on DCA?
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Old 07-26-2008, 12:08 PM   #64
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As far as the old style book goes, I don't really know much. From your description I wondered if you may have been talking about the Little Golden Books. I know a former Disney animator and artist who worked on Sleeping Beauty, worked for Hanna-Barbera, and did work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid TV series. So, if you were looking for something like a personalized Little Golden Book, he might have been able to help.

As for the DCA mistakes, what I'm saying next I did not hear from Larry Nikolai. I want to be perfectly clear that he did not tell me this. Somebody else did, whose name escapes me. Apparently, Imagineers who worked on both DisneySea and DCA knew what was coming before the respective parks even opened. Simply put, one was built on the grand lavish Disney scale we've come to expect, and the other was built on the, to quote Michael Eisner "If it's good enough for Six Flags, it's good enough for Disney" mentality. I think that sums up DCA's problems. Simply put, they attempted to build an amusement park right across the street from Disneyland.

And now that Bob Iger is leading Disney, he's working on mending fences and repairing the mistakes that Eisner made(see Pixar, ticking off George Lucas, and building DCA on the cheap).
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Old 07-26-2008, 02:39 PM   #65
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Fun read

Really enjoyed the report...the pics were fantastic.
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Old 07-26-2008, 02:41 PM   #66
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Wow, that was SO well worth the wait. Thanks for taking LOTS of pics at the Studios to share with us! When I lived in L.A. I used to drive by some of those buildings while on the freeway. It was nice to see them up and close in your report. Sounds like an amazing time. I am also in shock you got to see Pixar too.... hasn't 2008 just been THE year for you!!
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Old 07-26-2008, 04:03 PM   #67
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2008 has been quite a ride, that's for sure. I have some friends that went to Club 33 in June and they were ecstatic. While I was quite happy for them, I can honestly say that I've been to two places that mean a lot more to me.

Thanks for the kind words, KCMike. I still have more update on this one to go.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:59 PM   #68
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Wow great updates!!!!!!
I hope my time at the Walt Disney Studios in December is half as magical as yours was. I don't think we get to go to the archives, so I was very excited to see that & I would love to have a replica of the Narnia wardrobe wouldn't you? It looks amazing even in a picture.
I can't wait to look for Gus & Jaq on the legends statue....thanks for that little tidbit. I am so looking forward to seeing my favorite Disney Legends honored there.......got to find Frank & Ollie, Peter Ellenshaw & Julie Andrews first.
I like what you had to say about Disneyland having to work harder to make you forget reality because reality is so much closer there. Something to really think about. I have only been to Disneyland once & it was just a quick 2 day trip & I was with my Mom & my two brothers who were in their late teens at the time who were just not as awe struck as I was at being in the place that Walt really built & where he walked. I cannot wait to experience it again with my husband & experience the real MAGIC that Disneyland has to offer.
Can't wait for more.
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:42 PM   #69
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So you don't lose precious time, Frank and Ollie, Peter Ellenshaw, and Julie Andrews have their handprints in cement over by the old Animation Building on Dopey Drive. Have fun finding Jaq and Gus Gus. And one more thing. Make sure to find Peter Ellenshaw's name on the window in Disneyland. That's a nice little tribute as well.

Here's the ultimate conclusion I've come to about the Disney west coast vs. east coast debate. If you go to Disneyland expecting Walt Disney World, you're going to be very disappointed. And if you go to Walt Disney World expecting to find Disneyland, you're also going to be very disappointed.

For the myriad attractions and similarities the two destinations share, they are also very different. As I said, WDW has the illusion of control. I absolutely love that. Disneyland has Walt's personal touch and a special charm about the place. I think that Disneyland's ability to place you in another place is more impressive because it cannot accomplish the whole immersion thing even if you stay onsite.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:54 PM   #70
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Chapter 8 And That's a Wrap as All Good Things Must End, Sadly Enough. . .

And so the final day of my dream come true visit to Disneyland has arrived. In truth, it won't even be a full day since I'm driving back to northern California, but truth be told, Monday morning and extra long hours in tax season are going to be upon me before I know it, so I'm determined to enjoy my last free Saturday. And what better place to do it at than Disneyland?

And so, I sleep in until about 9:30 or so. I know the park is going to be insanely crowded today since Presidents Day is Monday, but I just want to get a few rides in, do some shopping, and just generally soak up the park atmosphere. After all, the real world is returning soon enough.

And so after packing my car up, I drive over to Disneyland and learn the first real lesson about the importance of arriving early. Even though I was staying at the Tropicana, it probably took me 30 minutes from my hotel to arriving in Disneyland because of the traffic trying to get into the park. So once I finally made it into the Lion King parking lot, I prepared for the short walk to the monorail station since I figured that this could be a fun and cool way to enter Disneyland for the day. Along the way, I saw a minivan that changed my life. Well, not really, but if I ever own a minivan, I want it to look like this.



Upon arriving in Disneyland, a CM helpfully tells me that I should just stay in the park all day as it's going to get more and more crowded. So yes, the crowds are nuts, which brings me to a helpful observation about touring Disneyland when it's crowded. Always use half park days at the end of your visit for hitting the highlights again. It's hard to effectively use FastPass with high crowds and early departure times. I do manage to get a ride in on Space Mountain, Star Tours, and Matterhorn though so that's good. At 11:00am, the line for Nemo is already insane, which brings me to another random observation about the Nemo submarines. If you want to experience this ride, do it very early in the morning. And if you hear that the line is only one hour long, get in it!! The way Nemo works, that will end up being a very reasonable wait time. Whenever I overhear people say “I want to ride Nemo, but an hour is too long to wait, so I'll see if it gets shorter” I want to say “get in line now since you're not likely to see that line get shorter.”

From Tomorrowland, I wander over to Fantasyland, and in the hub, I hear one of those comments that just grates me. “Wow, the castle here at Disneyland is so small and pathetic.” Now, don't get me wrong as I love WDW and think Cinderella Castle is beautiful. But I really get defensive when people start tearing down Walt's castle. It's all I can do to not turn around and inform these park guests about one of Walt Disney's reasons for making Sleeping Beauty Castle smaller. Instead, I'll vent here, so it's time for everyone's favorite random trip report game show “Random Trivia About Disneyland!” In today's edition we learn that in medevial times also known as the historical period in which people actually lived in large castle like structures, the large castles were used to intimidate and put down the lower classes. Now, Walt Disney, being well, Walt Disney wanted none of that in his Magic Kingdom, so he deliberately built Sleeping Beauty Castle to be more charming and intimate so it would feel like a warm and inviting place to a park guest.

Along the way I take a few pictures, including my traditional Partners statue picture and Sleeping Beauty Castle shot. As I walk through Fantasyland, I soak up the atmosphere there and notice something that really gets me excited. Ladies and gentlemen, for your viewing pleasure I present a square tree!!



Now, why is a square tree so exciting? It's simple. This is Disneyland after all and we're looking at the back of Sleeping Beauty Castle. In the 1959 Disney classic, Eyvind Earle, the artist who designed the look and appearance of the masterpiece film painted square trees as part of the film's distinctive design. This is yet another impressive little detail about Disneyland. When you look at Sleeping Beauty Castle, you see so many small and subtle details from the film including the forest creatures on the castle itself, the medevial tapestries(which heavily influenced Earle's design of the film, considered by some to be a moving illustration) hanging on the castle, and the aforementioned square tree.

I also have to take a picture of the nice little statue that was the topic of a silly conversation a couple of nights ago because my sense of humor is random like that(and I love the film Sleeping Beauty, but I think you knew that already).







Now, I decide to head over to the Frontierland area of the park and I make a shocking discovery. I see a pin on a lanyard. Now, I've collected pins for a few years and have a fairly narrow focus to my collection. One theme is going to absolutely shock and surprise all of you, but I'll give you a hint just in case. Hint: it features a film about a princess with hair of golden sunshine, lips that shame the red, red rose and a valiant prince who fights a dragon to save her. The other theme is Mickey Mouse, but since there's probably kajillions of Mickey pins out there, I like to focus on Mickey in Star Wars. And I think I see a new Jedi Mickey pin. Well, I'm not sure about it, so I head over to Splash Mountain. And while the line is long already, I'm traveling solo, so I use the wonderful single rider line, which is much shorter. So, on hot days and long lines, do Splash Mountain single rider if you can stand to possibly split your party up.



And on exiting Splash Mountain, I see another park guest with a lanyard on that confirms what I thought I saw earlier. It is indeed a new Jedi Mickey pin, with him in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. And if that's not enough, the pin says Disneyland Year of a Million Dreams 2008 on it. Now, considering that just yesterday I realized the Disney dream I never thought would come true, this pin is perfect for me. I ask the gentleman where he got it and he tells me that it was in Frontierland. So, beginning to hope against hope, I head over to Frontierland's pin shop to inquire about my newest dream pin. Once there my dreams die. The cast member is not sure what I'm talking about, but being helpful she calls a few stores and learns exactly what pin I'm looking for. And guess what, it's a travel package pin only. The only way to get it is to trade for it. She tells me it should be easy enough to trade for, but I have a problem. I'm literally leaving in a few hours and don't yet know when my next visit will be. I thank her for her help and leave, disappointed.

So, I hit a few more rides. I think I worked a ride on Pirates of the Carribean and the Disneyland Railroad in there and found myself wandering back near the hub when I happen upon a pin trader setting up shop. I ask if by any chance she has the Jedi Mickey pin and she responds with a no, but then looks closer at her pins and discovers that she does! Now, this may be my lucky day, except there's one little problem. I don't have any pins to trade. I explain to her that I would love this pin, but the best I can do is a pin off the rack, so I ask if there is one she would like. She thinks about it and then proceeds to give me a detailed description of a Finding Nemo pin. I thank her profusely and tell her I'll be right back. She then puts the pin away and I jet on over to Store Command where I find the Nemo section, and lo and behold, there it is. I happily buy the pin and head back to the trader and happily make the trade. So, once again thanks to a wonderful trader who made my day.

Well, now it's lunchtime and I'm getting hungry so I head over to Redd Rockett's and have lunch. I like this place for a couple of reasons. First, the portion sizes on the pasta are very large and they have free refills on your sodas. I love these sorts of places because it offers you a nice way to rehydrate and get a nice rest. I'm almost at a point where I only eat in free refill places at Disneyland.
Well, I'm really starting to get tired and I have a long drive ahead of me, but I refuse to leave Disneyland yet. I've decided that I want my last Disneyland memory from this trip to be Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams. I first actually came up with this idea a few years ago on a family visit during Christmas time. We actually ended up leaving on December 24th, and while I wanted to leave right after the parade, my family had already declared that we would be leaving earlier, but ever since I came up with this idea, I've wanted to try it. Well, this time I control my schedule, so I've decided that I'm going to do it.

Determine to see the parade, I decide now to do some shopping. For you see, at this very moment while I am in Disneyland, my sister-in-law is having a baby shower in my parents home since they're expecting a baby girl(who would actually arrive one month later exactly). Now, in keeping with my tradition(I picked out a stuffed Mickey for my nephew), I have to find a suitable girl plush toy for my niece. After doing some searching, I across a cute little baby Minnie complete with pink blanket. And now comes another plush toy search. Back in November, my little sister who is now attending my alma mater picked up some apparel for me at a sale, thus meaning that I didn't have to pay for shipping. Well, after I refused to give her a Goofy Christmas Tree plush toy gift before Christmas, she and my mother conspired against me and informed me that to help pay for the shipping costs that I didn't have to pay in November I would have to get some “super cute stufftie” on my next visit to Disneyland.

And so a new hunt begins. Only this one is much, much harder. You see we all knew that this visit would be around Valentines Day so it was assumed that it would be very easy to find at least one “super cute stufftie” for my sister. Right? Well no. Either Disneyland sold completely out of all Valentines Day related plushies before I arrived on the 12th or else the only plush toy they made was the one of Mickey. Well, that doesn't quite work since my sister specifically wanted Goofy. But there is no Goofy. So, I do the logical thing and call my sister. Except she's taking a nap, so I end up with some sort of muffled response along the lies of “I don't care, but I'll very unhappy if I don't get my “super cute stufftie” on this visit. Eventually I come to this conclusion. I'm going to buy a stufftie and if it's not “super cute” then my sister is just going to have to live with it. I eventually settle on Minnie Mouse as an Easter bunny, though I'm still baffled as to why there is but one Valentines Day plush toy in the park right around Valentines Day, yet there are many variations for Easter which is around 6 weeks away. Maybe Disney was holding back on the supply in anticipation of Love Day(okay name that pop culture reference).

And so the parade time marches ever closer. I head over to get some ice cream to enjoy before the parade. After getting my ice cream, I sit over by the Partners Statue and just eat my ice cream while looking at the castle and the hustle and bustle of the hub. I really enjoy taking some time to simply experience Disneyland. It's a beautiful day outside, I've had an absolutely unbelievable visit, but it's sadly coming to an end.

My ice cream finished I head over to pick my spot for the Parade of Dreams. What can I say about the Parade of Dreams that begins to do it justice in my mind? Well first off, I love how it's so themed to Walt himself and Disneyland. The only three films to appear in the parade that were not made by Walt are The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King, all wonderful additions to the Disney classics. You'll find no replacing Peter Pan for Pochantas in this parade. I mean seriously, how could you put Pocahantas in place of Peter Pan in Fantasmic at DHS? But I digress.

If you're familiar with the Disney classics, this parade is a joy to watch. The 3 Good Fairies from Sleeping Beauty are spot on. They've got the mannerisms down and know their stuff. If you ever want to have some fun, make sure you loudly proclaim “make it blue” in front of Flora or Merryweather. If they hear you, then you too can say that you started a fight between two cast members in Disneyland. Perhaps this is why Aurora's dress is lavender in the parade instead of it's proper blue. . . And so the parade continues until my favorite float comes up.

Two castles for the price of one


In the end, this final float really captures what Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams is all about. It's a remarkably detailed recreation of Sleeping Beauty Castle. I love how it incorporates the Partners Statue in a stained glass archway. And I think it's a great touch to have “Walt's princesses” on the castle float. Which brings me to another random comparison about Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.



Now the purpose of this comparison is not to extol the virtues of one park over another, but rather to point out an interesting observation I've seen regarding two princesses, Cinderella and Princess Aurora to be specific. There are a lot more references to Aurora in Disneyland than in the Magic Kingdom. And conversely, there are a lot more references to Cinderella in the Magic Kingdom. Take for instances the carousels. In Disneyland, the carousel though named after King Arthur, features artwork from Sleeping Beauty. The carousel song on the official Disneyland album is, you guessed it, Once Upon a Dream. In the Magic Kingdom, the carousel features artwork from Cinderella. All of this leads up to my final observation. When you watch the Parade of Dreams, note what happens during the final float. The musical loop features themes from all 3 Walt Disney fairy tales. (Well, when the parade first started, it also featured the princes, but I think Disneyland management felt sorry for the two Charmings since they didn't even really get a name, nor did they have to fight a dragon).

Lucky Chipmunk. It appears as if Clarice has competition


During the music from Snow White and Cinderella, all 3 princesses share the stage, but when the music from Hail to the Princess Aurora plays, Snow White and Cinderella curtsy before Aurora and then move to the bridge while Aurora has the stage to herself. Considering Disneyland's history with the film Sleeping Beauty, it's a nice touch. And then, my heart begins to swell because the show stop has come and the castle float is right in front of me. Now,while the show stop dialogue is the same no matter where you're at, it carries deeper meaning to me with this float. For me, this float is symbolic of where my Disney fandom begins. There's Walt Disney welcoming all who come to this happy place. Up top, presiding over the festivities is Mickey Mouse, my oldest childhood friend in all the world. Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Pluto, and Chip and Dale, who along with Mickey, starred in some of my all time favorite cartoons that I still enjoy as an adult are all part of the float. The film that really changed film history, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is part of this float. Cinderella, the film that saved the Disney Studios from going under after World War II, is also prominently featured here.







And of course, the Disney film that means the most to me is prominent. Sleeping Beauty has been important to me in so many different ways. As a little boy, it ignited my imagination and reminded me that the weapons of righteousness will triumph over all the powers of hell. The music of the film instilled in me a love of, and appreciation for, the Russian classical music of Petr Ilych Tchaikovsky years before I would live among the Russian people. And now, the film reminds me that there may be dragons to slay, but good will triumph in the end. Dreams do come true.

Epilogue:

And so I followed the parade down Main Street. As always, I veered to the right to stop and admire the window display, taking a final look at the castle as I always do before turning right. Then, I look up at the firehouse window, and silently thank Walt for sharing his vision and creativity with the world. And with that comes the walk that I do not want to make, but I must. The walk back to my car for the long drive home.

As I knew they would be the next 2 months were very challenging. That first week back, I began working nearly 60 hours a week right up through April 15th. To top it off, I got sick a few days after getting back, but didn't really have time to be sick, so I continued working 10 hour days all the while. It was remarkable to see how much more I could get done at work once I was healthy. And yet periodically I would steal a glance at a mug sitting on my desk. The mug featured a unique Mickey Mouse crest with the words The Walt Disney Studios. I put it there to remind me of where I had been and the experiences I'd had. As it turns out, my sister loved the Minnie Mouse Easter bunny plush toy, and the baby Minnie I'd bought for my niece ended up becoming a surrogate baby sister for my nephew in the month leading up to my nieces' birth. When it came time to read my nephew a story, he wanted Minnie to be there with him. He also wanted to help change Minnie's diaper. When he went for a ride in the new 2 child stroller, Minnie went in one seat and he in the other. In a small way, I guess that Minnie helped prepare my nephew for the baby sister who would come.

I knew the months ahead would be insanely stressful and busy. I knew that free time would be minimal. I knew that there would be sacrifices that I would have to make. And so it was. And you know what? I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. But as it always does, tax season comes to an end. And after we've made it through the insanity of another tax season, we always take a well deserved vacation. Can you guess where I went?

So, while this trip report comes to an end, another one is yet to come, to tune in soon for Searching for Sanity in the Happiest Place on Earth.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:07 PM   #71
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Thank you for sharing!! Loved reading your TR! Can't wait for the next one.




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Old 08-01-2008, 11:11 PM   #72
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Thank you. If all goes according to plan, than I'll actually finish it up before my visit the end of this month. If all goes according to plan, that is
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Old 08-02-2008, 01:43 AM   #73
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Nice reflections, great trip report! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:25 PM   #74
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Wow, what an amazing trip! I really enjoyed reading about your adventures.

I thought I'd contribute an Aurora picture:


I've always loved the part in the movie where she is dancing in the forest, this picture reminds me of that.
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:34 AM   #75
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Of course I'm biased, but that's a great picture. And that scene is easily one of my favorites in the movie. How many princesses are equally at ease dancing with the forest creatures or the prince?

Maybe one of these days Disney will surprise me and have Briar Rose wander around the parks. Now that would be cool
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