Thursday, October 2, 2014

Walt Disney World's 25th Anniversary Memorabilia

By Nick

Much like a museum, there is nowhere near enough shelf and wall space to display all of my collection, so, much of it is in storage. These were just pulled out of the attic.

I was in the Magic Kingdom October 1st, 1996 for Walt Disney World's 25th Anniversary, and picked up several souvenirs.

One was the special 25th t shirt, long since worn out, a white shirt with the same graphics as this button:

Another button, this one lenticular:

And finally, I'd like to share this Souvenir Pack:

It includes a pennant, sticker, and another button.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Adults at Mickey's Halloween Party

by D'land Hubby

Disneyland is normally a magical place, but a few times a year the resort transforms itself into holiday happenings. Disneyland has always had a strong Christmas presence but in 2005 the resort attempted to grab the family into a Halloween event held at California Adventure. The first year my wife and I were given the opportunity to purchase tickets but we thought we were grown adults and thought we would not fully appreciate the family atmosphere and declined. Boy, were we wrong... I had a few coworkers who attended the event and kept raving about all of the fun that they had. From the candy to the small wait times in attractions, they sold me. Since then I've been able to go three different times and enjoyed each one for a different reason.

Our first visit to the Halloween Party was in 2006. 

My wife and I still hadn't had kids, so it was just about the two of us. We decided to dress up (this is the only time that adults are allowed to dress up) as the Mad Hatter and Alice. 

People seemed to really like our costumes throughout the night. We tried to do everything. Trick or Treat, parade, characters, and the attractions. We were able to make it through most of the night but it started to rain. Being at a park during the rain is challenging enough, but with the added elements of a costume, we decided to head back to our hotel before the event concluded.

We attended our second Halloween party in 2008. My son was just over a year old and we dressed him up as a baseball. Actually, an All Star Baseball since the Angels were going to host the All Star Game the following year. 

We had been given tickets just a few days before the party so my wife and I decided to not get dressed up. We arrived right at opening to a long line. The night was fun but as the party started our son was ready for his sleep. We forced our son to stay awake for as long as he could. We pumped him full of candy. We had him pose with characters, some he knew and others he didn't. We went on one or two of his favorite rides. Sadly, we only lasted about half the time before our son had fallen asleep. 

This year we decided to attend our third Halloween Party. This is the first time that we've gone since the event has moved to Disneyland. Based upon past experiences we decided that we wanted to leave the kids at home since they would normally be going to sleep just an hour after the party started. We were really excited, and we eventually talked two sets of friends into joining us even though they had no idea what to expect.  

Our friends were a bit shocked that adults would be allowed to get dressed up. My wife and I decided to dress as Ellie and Carl from Up. Both of the families decided to get dressed up for the event.

To be honest, some of the fun of the event is watching how other adults get dressed up.
We decided to avoid taking pictures of other guests (to allow them to enjoy their visit) but we had a lot of fun pointing out their great costumes. We found a Jack Skellington that almost looked like the real thing and some great Haunted Mansion Ghosts walking down Main Street.  

The second shock for our friends was hearing that we, the adults, could actually Trick or Treat.

Everyone assumed that only kids would be allowed to participate. During the evening it was decided by all adult parties that the traditional diets would be suspended following the outcome of the candy grab! We all felt like little kids again going from station to station receiving candy. Sometimes you would get one or two pieces and other times you would get full handfuls! Either way, we would start trading our favorite candies with each other.

One set of our friends haven't kept their annual passports because of the increasing costs. They were really excited about visiting Disneyland and felt the price was worth the experience. I was able to purchase their tickets using my annual passport discount so it came out to be $112 for two tickets. Basically, half price from a normal Disneyland ticket and it included parking (a $17 savings). They were able to get into the event three hours early and visit some of their favorite attractions prior to the party starting.

Another advantage to the evening was the attraction wait times. We only encountered one line that was above 15 minutes, Haunted Mansion Holiday. To be honest, the other ride we expected to be a long wait we never found out the wait times, Space Mountain. We did spot 10 minute waits for Indy, walk on for Splash Mountain, five minute wait for the Storybook Canal. Some of the rides were closed for the evening so you should check with the Disneyland website or with City Hall prior to your visit to make sure your favorite ride will be open. If its not, visit before the party begins in the three hour window your allowed to arrive before the park closes. 

If you've ever wondered about Mickey's Halloween Treat you should plan to go next year. Most of the Friday events sell out quickly so plan to pick up your tickets earlier rather than later. We have already started planning our 2015 trip and have talked our friends into joining us once again! Disneyland is a place to act like a kid and being able to get dressed up and Trick or Treat makes it just a little more magical!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Give Me More Music, Music Music...

By Beth Skarp

If I were to ask you to name just ONE Disney song to start singing right now, what popular or perhaps not so popular song would you start singing and possibly dancing to? 

My song of choice was Let's Go Fly a Kite” from “Mary Poppins”, but chances are you may or may not have been thinking of “Let It Go” from “Frozen."

What makes for a great Disney movie? Is it the story line, the animation, or the music?
I am beginning to think that perhaps the music is what makes the movie. 

I wanted to know which Disney movie holds the title to date for having the most music associated with it. Without doing an online search, can you name which movie, a Disney classic, holds this title? I had no idea until I looked online and discovered the movie was “Alice in Wonderland”. Now here is a real test of a Disney a song from this movie!

Did you think of an “Alice in Wonderland” song? Chances are, you came up with “The UnBirthday Song” , “I'm Late” or the opening theme song of “Alice in Wonderland”. Those were the only songs I could recall when thinking about the film.  

In all, thirty two songs were originally composed for “Alice in Wonderland”, but only twenty songs made the cut for the official movie soundtrack. Why do you suppose Walt Disney himself went to such great lengths to compose so many songs of such a wide variety for a single movie? 

The answer is quite simple actually. When Reverend Charles Dogdson, who used the pen name of Lewis Carroll (the author we know of for writing “Alice in Wonderland”) wrote these stories, they were intended to be read as short little snippets or bed time stories. Carroll had a vivid imagination and created many characters within his various stories. Many of the characters that Carroll created did not readily lend themselves from one story line to the next. Simply stated, there was no real continuity to Carroll's stories in his books. This posed a bit of a problem for Walt and his production team, since the works of Carroll were so unlike other well known author that Walt used as template of sorts for this earlier movies such as “Snow White." 

Walt presented the works of Lewis Carroll to his animators and writers, sharing his ideas for the possibility of a making a feature film. Using a bit of musical as well as animated whimsy, the story line was able to segue from one thought to another without the fear of being too disjointed or choppy.

Walt had a great pool of musicians from which he could draw for musical talent. Bob Hilliard & Sammy Fain collaborated on the scores to two early 1950’s Walt Disney animated features. Fain was the composer while Hilliard tended to be the lyricist. Another talented composer, Sammy Cahn, teamed up with Bob Hilliard & Sammy Fain for the music to "Your Mother and Mine" and "Second Star to the Right." While these songs were nicely composed and had memorable lyrics, they did not flow with the story line for “Alice in Wonderland.” 

“Peter Pan” was in production during the same time “Alice in Wonderland” was also in production. Not wanting to waste great talent or good music, the songs of "Your Mother and Mine" and "Second Star to the Right" were recycled into Peter Pan with more memorable results.

In fact, “Beyond the Laughing Sky” was the song originally suggested for Alice to sing during the opening scenes of the movie. Instead, the theme song, or the song we hear Alice singing in the very beginning of the movies became instead “In a World of My Own."

As one reads the twenty songs listed as the official soundtrack for the movie, it is a little bit easy to wonder if in fact you actually heard the various musical numbers or not. Some of the songs are a mere jingle of only a few seconds. The ones you actually remember are catchy tunes that you remember for the music as well as the sometimes silly words.

The film soundtrack was first released on vinyl record back on July 28, 1951. I may be one of the few who actually still has a copy of this record someplace in our collection. The song titles for the record included the following titles:

“Alice in Wonderland”--sung by the Jud Conlon Chorus and the Mellomen

“In a World of My Own”--sung by Alice

“I'm Late"—sung by the White Rabbit

“The Sailor's Hornpipe”--sung by the Dodo

“The Caucus Race”--sung by the Dodo and Animals

“How Do You Do”--sung by Tweedledee and Tweedledum

“Shake Hands”--sung by Tweedledee and Tweedledum 

“The Walrus and the Carpenter”--sung by Tweedledee and Tweedledum

“Old Father William”--sung by Tweedledee and Tweedledum

“Smoke the Blighter Out”--sung by the Dodo and the White Rabbit 

“All in the Golden Afternoon”--sung by The Flowers and Alice 

“A-E-I-O-U”--sung by the Caterpillar 

“Twas Brillig”--sung by the Cheshire Cat 

“The UnBirthday Song”--sung by the Mad Hater, March Hare, and Alice

“Very Good Advice”--sung by Alice 

“Painting the Roses Red”--performed by the Playing Cards but sung by the Mellomen and Alice 

“Who's Been Painting My Roses Red?” (Reprise)--sung by The Queen of Hearts and the Playing Cards (Mellomen) 

“The UnBirthday Song”--sung by the Mad Hatter, March Hare, The Queen of Hearts, and the Playing Cards (Mellomen) 

“The Caucus Race” (Reprise)--sung by The Entire Cast minus Alice 

“Alice in Wonderland” (Reprise)--sung by the Jud Conlon Chorus and the Mellomen 

If you wish to count them, you will find that exactly twenty titles appear on the official listing for the soundtrack.
After doing a bit of research, I did manage to find the listing of the songs written for the film but not used for one reason or another. For your enjoyment, here is that listing:

“Beyond the Laughing Sky”. This was replaced with “In a World of My Own”--sung by Alice. “Beyond the Laughing Sky” was later turned into “The Second Star to the Right” and is a featured song in “Peter Pan.”

“Dream Caravan”--sung by The Caterpillar. This song was replaced by “A-E-I-O-U” 

“I'm Odd”--sung by the Cheshire Cat. This song was replaced with “Twas Brillig” 

“Beware the Jabberwock—sung by Stan Freberg, Daws Butler and the Rhythmaires. Since the character of the Jabberwock was deleted from the film, the song was deleted as well.

“So They Say”--sung by Alice 

“If You'll Believe in Me”--sung by the Lion and the Unicorn which were deleted characters.

“Beautiful Soup”--sung by the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon. This song was set to the tune of “Blue Danube” and had already been used by the Walt Disney Company in two cartoons recently released at the time (Jungle Rhythm and Night). The character and the song was removed from this film.

“Everything Has A Useness—meant for the Caterpillar to sing to Alice while attempting to explain the usefulness of everything, or in this case the use of the mushroom. 

“Curiosity”--no one seems to know why this song was written or why it was deleted 

“Humpty Dumpty” 

“Speak Roughly To Your Little Boy”--this was from the original works of Lewis Carroll depicting a grotesque character from one of the stories. Walt felt the music and the character may be too inappropriate for young children, including his own daughters Sharon and Diane Disney. Because of this, both the character and music was deleted 

“Will You Join The Dance”  

If you were counting, you will notice that an even dozen or 12 songs were written that were not used for “Alice in Wonderland”. This brought the total number of songs composed to thirty two.

One of biggest criticisms for “Alice in Wonderland” was that it was in essence a series of short cartoons or story sketches loosely pieced together. Walt himself felt he had let his audiences down, that this was a feature that truly had no heart to it. Walt was not a huge fan of this particular movie, and almost didn't release the film for theaters.

However, movie goers tended to love the characters and the whimsical music associated with “Alice in Wonderland”. This fact alone is probably what has helped keep “Alice in Wonderland” a beloved Disney Classic.




Monday, September 29, 2014

Walt Disney World Rides and Attractions: Musts, Maybes, and Passes

By Nick

A few months ago, my friend Lisa Green posted an article on her terrific Living a Disney Life Blog about breaking down rides into Must Do, Will Do, and Once and Done categories. She gave me her blessing to use (steal) the topic.

My wife and I are extremely fortunate to be able to visit Walt Disney World each year, sometimes multiple times.

For this reason, we don't feel the need to tour the parks "Commando Style," getting to the parks at opening and staying all day hitting every ride, attraction, parade and show. Don't get me wrong, we usually do get to parks for rope drop, but we usually leave mid-day, sometimes going to a different park in the evening, sometimes opting to not return to a park at all.

Still, there are a few rides we MUST do on each visit to a particular park.


Magic Kingdom

  • Haunted Mansion
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Peter Pan's Flight
  • Dumbo
  • Carousel of Progress 

  • Spaceship Earth
  • Soarin'
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
  • Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Midway Mania
  • Rock’n’ Roller Coaster
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream
Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everest (For my wife. Sadly, this gives me severe motion sickness.)
  • Kilimanjaro Safari
  • Dinosaur
This next group consists of rides we enjoy, but if time is a consideration, we don't need to experience on each and every visit.


Magic Kingdom
  • It’s a Small World
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Space Mountain
  • Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Splash Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Prince Charming Regal Carousel
  • Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Hall of Presidents
  • Walt Disney World Railroad
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • The Barnstormer
  • Liberty Square Riverboat
  • Tom Sawyer Island
  • Maelstrom (Closing very soon. Makes me wish we'd ridden it on our last trip.)
  • O Canada
  • Reflections of China
  • Impressions de France
  • Living with the Land
  • Ellen’s Energy Adventure
  • The American Adventure
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Innoventions attractions
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • The Magic of Disney Animation
  • The Great Movie Ride
  • Star Tours (This used to be a must, but because of motion sickness, it's a maybe now.)
Animal Kingdom
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug
  • Primeval Whirl (Barbie likes it, I cannot ride it however. Yep, motion sickness!)
  • Flights of Wonder
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Pangani Forrest Exploration Trail
  • Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Affection Section
  • Wildlife Express Train
  • Finding Nemo – The Musical
The following rides are those I won't do again, or perhaps will only do under duress. A couple, shocking as it may seem, I've never done! These I feel deserve a bit of an explanation.


Magic Kingdom
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin (Never been on it.)
  • Mad Tea Party (motion sickness)
  • Tomorrowland Speedway (Too long a line. Always!)
  • Stitch’s Great Escape ( I can't say we'll NEVER do this again. Here's the thing, this was the first ever attraction Barbie and I experienced together at Walt Disney World, so it has a special place in my heart. We just haven't been on it since that first visit in September of 2006)
  • Astro Orbiter (motion sickness)
  • Country Bear Jamboree (Barbie hates this attraction. See this article for the reason why)
  • Swiss Family Tree House
  • Mission: Space (motion sickness)
  • Test Track (I don't like the redo but would ride this with friends.)
  • Captain EO (Another one I'd do with friends.)
  • The Circle of Life
  • Studio Backlot Tour (Just closed. It was a very sad shadow of it's former self that we only did once on our first trip.)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Lights, Motors, Action – Extreme Stunt Show (Barbie literally fell asleep at this show.)
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • Beauty and the Beast- Live on Stage (Every trip I say we are going to see this, and then it's too hot out, or something else comes up. We'll get there eventually.)
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (Would probably go again, but have only seen once. And I was one of the audience members chosen to be in it!)
Animal Kingdom
  • TriceraTop Spin (motion sickness)
  • Kali River Rapids (Only ever rode it once, but would go on with friends)
That's my list. What would your list look like?