Sunday, July 6, 2008

Disneyland Musings - Volume 1 - "Your Attention Please!"

The melodic recorded call of the conductor rings out from Main Street Station, Disneyland USA: "Your attention please! The Disneyland Limited now arriving from a trip around Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom. Passengers will stand by to board."

Jack Wagner's voice haunts my memories of the Park. It echoes from my earliest trip, unseen and beckoning. As I walked through the tunnel onto Main Street, I would hear that call time and again. Over the years, the recording has changed a bit, but it has still retained its tone and essential content. For most folk, Jack Wagner's is the first voice they hear of the many thousands recorded and calling to them from inside the berm. For those of us who have been to the Park hundreds and hundreds of times (if not more) it is as familiar as a favorite t-shirt. Its call rings through the years, at once present and distant. It is another one of those billion little details that makes Disneyland so utterly unique in our dark universe. I do not think anyone can adequately sum up the overall scope and span of Disneyland's architecture, design, ambiance and terroir. Like any work of art, each observer experiences it from their own perspective and takes away their own interpretation.

All I know is that I spent many, many hours and days sweeping Main Street and "Your attention please!" is ever present in the soundtrack of my recollection of those times. Since so many things about Disneyland were absolutely intended by its designers, it is probably no accident that one of the things you first hear upon entering the Park is an invitation, a call, to embark on a tour of the Magic Kingdom. I guess in a way it is like the Park itself is speaking the words to its guests: "Your Attention Please! You are now leaving your world and entering mine!"

On quiet nights while working unload on the Jungle Cruise, the call from the Main Street station would float in over the treetops of the Jungle. I found myself stopping and soaking it up on those occasions. It always happened on slow nights and between boats. The Jungle sounds were always present, along with the trickle of water and the organ piping in from the Swiss Family Treehouse. Amidst all that, alone on the dock in relative quietude, the far off call would come. It was faint but certain. Like the pinpoint glint of a distant lighthouse. Even as a cast member of several years and a lifetime Disneyland goer, the call seemed fresh and new. Somewhere inside part of me responded, yes! Where do I board?!

So here's to Walt! Here's to Jack Wagner! Here's to Disneyland! A simple toast of thanks for inviting us in and sharing some real magic with each of along the way. Many happy returns!

"Last call! Booooooaard!"

(My sincere thanks to for the classic photo of the west tunnel main entrance at the top of this post).

Signs Around the Grounds of Disney's Polynesian Resort

Today we are going to take a look at signs from around the Polynesian---in no particular order. We begin our little tour with the signs at the entrance to the Hawaii longhouse and Concierge Lounge. Ahhh. I can still feel the blast of cool, air-conditioned air as the sliding doors open! What's on the menu upstairs today? BBQ pulled pork with whole grain buns and Asian slaw? Spirit of Aloha chicken drumsticks and fried rice? Marinated turkey skewers with peanut sauce? Kona Sticky Wings? It's all good, my friends.
This sign greets you as you walk back to the Polynesian from the Transportation and Ticket Center ("TTC"). The TTC is almost due east of the Polynesian's grounds. I need to found the Polynesian font to download onto my computer!
Here's the path leading to Hawaii from the Volcano Pool. Too bad the landscaping isn't lush, the resort isn't centrally located, the food isn't good and the kids hate the Volcano Pool. Otherwise, we'd simply love staying here.
Here's the sign posted next to the service counter in the Concierge Lounge. All you foodies can set your clocks to the daily service (or services) of your choice. I'm partial to Kakahiaka (although I don't recommend saying this out loud while eating) and Ahiahi (which sounds as though one is being tickled when spoken aloud).
Here is the building where you can find the Never Land Club and do some laundry while you're at it. God bless Rolly Crump!
Above is the directional sign located just behind the bus stop, near the Monorail tracks, on the path that leads past the Never Land Club in one direction (to the right, as shown in the photograph) and back toward the main entrance of the Grand Ceremonial house in the other direction (to the left or almost straight ahead). Here we also find our wooden friend, Uti, one of many tiki statues designed by Disney legend Rolly Crump. He shows up at several locations around the resort. The fish he has speared symbolizes hospitality.
This sign is located on the path leading to the Hawaii longhouse (and Concierge Lounge aka the King Kamehameha Club) from the "quiet pool" or "east pool." The longhouse directly in front of the viewer in the photograph is Samoa. If you walk to the right of the sign and down the path between Samoa and Hawaii, you will come to the Volcano Pool. Of course, walking to your left will lead you back toward the GCH and Luau Cove!
This one is on the path leading toward the bus stop from the Quiet Pool area of the grounds. You can see the Monorail track in the background. If you take a left, you're off to do laundry (or can drop off the kids at the Neverland Club). Or, swing a right and head back to the GCH for some Lapu Lapus at the Tambu Lounge.
Now you are walking from the GCH toward the TTC. The building in front of you houses the Tongaroa Terrace banquet facility and the Never Land Club.

This concludes our tour for today. For those of you departing here, please be sure to collect your personal belongings and take small children by the hand as you exit.