Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Disneyland Musings - Volume V - What's The Strangest Thing That Ever Happened To You While Visiting The Park?

Hello, Jungle followers and readers! I've been stuck doing a million other things in my "real" life, so this virtual life has suffered greatly.

Today's post is a quick one, just so you don't think I've left you forever.

To make it even easier on myself, I am posing a question for you---so you can do most of the work.

What is the strangest thing that ever happened to you while visiting Disneyland?

Here's one of my answers to this ponderously deep question: One of the strangest things that happened to me at the Park might actually be the huge cloud of ash that drifted over Disneyland from a brush fire in nearby Yorba Linda as I was working on Jungle Cruise. It was very odd to see the Jungle turn orange. Indeed, all of Adventureland was cast in a weird orange glow as the fire clouds covered the sun. Fine ash rained down onto the canopies of our boats and the Elephant Bathing pool was turned into a scene from Apocalypse Now.

The Park became eerily quieter when blanketed by the smoke. It was one of those rare occasions when the outside world literally poured in over the berm. And in these rather crazy, 2012, End-of-Days, Nostradamus Effect, Global Economic Collapse, Terror Alert Level Orange, post-9/11, amped up and out of control times---it really wasn't all that pleasant to see a leviathan plume of smoke over the Park. I did not work at the Park on September 11, 2001, but can't imagine a weirder or more unsettling day than that for those Cast Members who were there that morning. I've read some posts along the way from people who were working in the Park that day. Surreal.

Well. How's that for uplifting?

Of course, I could've told you about the time I encountered a fellow Cast Member swimming in the Submarine Lagoon, but we'll save that for another day.

If you have a moment, drop a post about YOUR strangest Disneyland experience. I am sure there are some great stories among you. All four (4) of my loyal readers.

Stay safe and do your part to see that there is imagination left in the world.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Disneyland - A Guest Post From Anne of "The Best Possible Job" Fame

Today, we at the Jungle are honored to have a guest blogger come forward to do our dirty work. She is Anne of "The Best Possible Job" blog (here's the site in case my hyperlink doesn't work for some reason:http://bestpossiblejob.blogspot.com/). "The Best Possible Job" recounts Anne's experiences as a Disneyland Cast Member in the 1980s. If you are a Disney fan and have not checked out Anne's Blog---you are missing out!! Get over there right away! For now, however, please enjoy Anne's guest post below.

Take it away, Anne!


Greetings, Jungle readers! Your gracious skipper, Mike, has turned the wheel of his blog over to Anne from The Best Possible Job for a guest post. As my (four) loyal readers know, Mike and I share the same perspectives on Disneyland. Both of us were Cast Members in the days before DCA, when the PeopleMover still cruised through Tomorrowland, and popcorn was sixty-five cents.

Mike's recent photos of his daughter strolling down an early-morning Main Street brought back fond memories of my second summer in Outdoor Vending. As a new permanent part-timer, I got the opportunity to pick a regular shift. I chose a 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. assignment, which put me in the Park long before the rope drop. I loaded ice cream wagons with frozen bananas, ice cream bars and sandwiches, orange juice bars, and dry ice, then drove a little pick-up truck backstage to load lemonade cartons into the vending "train" wagons adjacent to the Small World souvenir stand.

I didn't take the a.m. shift to avoid guests. I just wanted to experience a Disneyland that few ever really see. Morning in the Magic Kingdom is truly a magical time. There's a kind of wet freshness that soon evaporates into the Anaheim air. And a quiet in which the sounds that soon fade into the background are solo performers.

Many of those sounds are still there, and Mike's daughter probably heard them as she walked leisurely over to the Plaza Inn. 1890s melodies. Clip-clops. Birds. The faint ticking of the Small World clock. "The Disneyland Limited, now arriving from a trip around Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom. Passengers will stand by to board."

If Madison had walked up to the Central Plaza at that hour in the early 1980s, though, she would have heard other sounds that brought a happy feeling to me during those years. Close your eyes the next time you're there, and maybe you'll hear them too:

The PeopleMover spiel near the entrance to Tomorrowland, where "you can see the heart of Disneyland. It's the Plaza. Gateway to the themed lands of the Magic Kingdom."

The Robinson's (not Tarzan's) organ pumping out "Swisskapolka."

Bears snoring in the caves above the entrance to Bear (not Critter) Country.

“Miracles from Molecules”

Snow White's Wishing Well

And then the announcement as the rope drop opens the Park for another day.

If you arrive too late, Disneyland's special sounds become harder to pick out, and the more distant sounds can barely be heard at all. So get there early, walk up Main Street like Mike's daughter, and really listen to Disneyland. Your day will be better for it. And you might even catch an echo of sounds from the best possible time.

Many thanks to "Jungle is 101" for the chance to step aboard for this post. Your regular skipper is now back from lunch at the Pit and ready to take the wheel of the Leaky Tiki for another trip!

(Hi, it's Mike again. Thank you, Anne, as always, for your keen perspective. It is great to see I'm not alone in my appreciation for what the Park once was. Here's hoping Anne gets another crack at being a Disneyland cast member someday! Once again, check our her blog!)


Friday, September 4, 2009

Disneyland - Main Street - First Ones In the Park

What is it like to be my child on a typical trip to Disneyland? Ask the girl in the picture above.
This is my daughter Madison entering the Park for Breakfast with Minnie around the time of her 5th birthday.
As you can see, Main Street is ours and ours alone. Sure, there were hundreds of people outside the Park lined up to get in...but we got in before them simply by calling in a reservation for breakfast at the Plaza Inn. Main Street is amazing whether crammed with guests or all by one's lonesome.
Being long time Disneyland insiders, our family is pretty darn spoiled. The kids have been everywhere from Club 33 to the Cast Member Christmas Party. Having annual passes for years didn't hurt. Knowing the traffic flow patterns helps tremendously.
We rarely wait in line for attractions, let's put it that way.
Anyhow, I thought you would enjoy a glimpse of Main Street as it appeared on a bright and early morning before the vast throng of guests had been admitted through the main gate.
We sure did.
We'll close today's action-packed post with photographic proof that, even on the Jungle Cruise, I wasn't ALWAYS the skipper.
Here's hoping that your next trip to the original Magic Kingdom is a great one!