I was heading from Jungle to the Inn Between for a cup of coffee this past Sunday, March 15, 2009, when I stopped in my tracks as I rounded Coke Corner. There was Johnny Hodges at the piano! He was performing a four hand piece with today's Coke Corner Pianist "Ragtime" Robert.
It. Was. Fabulous.
Who says you can't go home again!?
It is somewhat surreal to me that I'd happened upon that scene more than 20 years after the last time that I saw Johnny at the piano on Main Street.
Dressed in full Jungle regalia on Main Street (remember, I was on a break and headed to the Inn Between), I turned to a guest watching the performance and mentioned that the guy at the piano dressed in civilian clothes had been the Coke Corner pianist for decades before dropping by today for an impromptu show. The guest's eyes opened a bit wider as he watched the two players' hands fly across the keys.
"It's really something," I told the guest, "I last saw Johnny here when I was a cast member back in 1987, and here he is today just as fine a player as ever! You have stumbled upon a rare treat."
If I had not mentioned it, the guest would never have realized just who the mysterious "guest" piano player really was. Regardless, it was for him a moment of Disney "magic" that I'm sure will be fondly remembered. A classic example of a hidden gem stumbled upon by a guest on a "typical" day at the Park.
It is truly heartening to see that such moments keep happening at Disneyland!
Thanks to Johnny and Robert for sharing their talents!
First let's travel back to 1976-ish and see how things are going at the construction site of that new attraction in Tomorrowland. It is scheduled to debut in 1977 and looks like it still needs some work. Look! There in the background! What the heck are the Rocket Jets doing in Tomorrowland!!! Somebody should move those things down from their platform and out to the entrance of Tomorrowland. That would be really cool.
Gack. [Thanks to Rudy Bermudes for sharing this construction photograph].
Next, we have a pre-Nemo view of the Submarine Lagoon, sans the lagoon. Taken from the extinct Skyway, and also showing the extinct Peoplemover, the old Monorail platform and Autopia, this shot captures a Tomorrowland that has been sadly moved into yesterday. It is good to have the Subs back, at least.
Some nameless and faceless mucky muck(s) apparently thought that the Peoplemover was not cool any more and it was replaced by this:
Funny. I haven't seen many "bring back the Rocket Rods" blogs, websites or posts among the Disneyphiles out there.
Can't imagine why.
Oh, and speaking of faceless mucky mucks, here's a final photo of our friends in the Mansion when they are not "grinning." They may still be grim, however, but it is rather difficult to tell.
[Thanks to Josh Sudock for originally sharing this picture].
Until next time, remember:
Remain seated until the vehicle comes to a full and complete stop!
Truly timeless advice.