Thursday, August 30, 2012

Disneyland - Jungle Cruise - Where's My Boat?

I could sure go for a boatful of captive guests.
Where's my P.A. mic and throttle?
Since it's a work day and I have about five minutes, here are a few other things I could happily go for right about now:
  • A walk down Main Street
  • A leisurely float through the Small World
  • An impromptu performance by Billy Hill and the Hillbillies
  • A cushioned chair on the bow of the Mark Twain and a cup of Starbucks, watching New Orleans Square slide by
  • A roll of hundreds (hey, I'm dreaming here!)
  • Seriously bumping the car in front of me on the Autopia
  • A Skyway ride
  • A pan, a broom, cigarette butts, popcorn and an audience (behind the back! No looking! between the legs! Alley Oop!)
  • A suit, a name tag, a radio and an area where I'M the supervisor!  Heaven help my poor crew...
  • Looking forward to tonight's showing of the Main Street Electrical Parade.
  • On Main Street.
  • At Disneyland.
  • An open faced turkey sandwich at the Inn Between
  • An early morning "dead head" through the rivers of the Jungle
Must run.
You all have a fine day out there!
Be safe and treat each other nicely.
Don't make me have to pull this car over and come back there!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Disneyland - Jungle Cruise - An Early Morning Trip Before Park Opening

Greetings, Jungle Lovers!
Mike here.
Just pulled the Ganges out of boat storage and eased her up to the dock.
Hold on a second while I get these rounds loaded in my .38.
Nice morning, huh?
I am caffeinated, twitterpated, calibrated and now fully loaded.
That's the only way to start a day on Jungle.
Come on in, we'll take her for an animation check.
Nothing like being one of the first boats out.
You have your coffee?
Take the throttle, I'm a passenger now.
There you go.  Easy on the turns, but you can chug along on the straightaways.
Oooh.  That mist from the "rainforest" feels good.
Reach under the bow there and open that door.
See the radio?
I already checked it backstage.  Is the light still on?
Don't play with it!  You hit that button and we are "live" on the Operations frequency.
No need to get any supervisors marching down here wondering who's goofing off on the airwaves!
It you must play, how about I let you shoot the gun at the hippo pool?
Well we're not there yet, so put that thing back in the holster!
You bust out shots here at the Sunken City and every supervisor in Adventure/Frontier will be standing at the dock to greet us on our return!
Honestly, I don't know why I invited an "East Sider" on my boat!
You look ridiculous in that Space Mountain costume.
Good thing we don't open to guests for half an hour.
What's that?
No.  I didn't make it to Acapulco's last night.
Doug ended up in pretty bad shape, huh?
How many times do I have to tell him Long Island Teas are NOT from Long Island and that ISN'T tea!  He's gonna be fun today.  I think he's closing.
Nothing like a Jungle boat after a night of Bacchanalian bliss.
You playing Over The Line in this weekend's tournament?
You know Team Space Mountain's going down again!  Come on, no one beats the West Side.
The team from Canoes has some massive guys.
Eddie the Lead over there has arms bigger than my legs.
I saw him hit one to the breakers from the fire pit area over at Huntington!
Pull back on the throttle and stop!!!
Look, Space Cowboy, if you just cruise on by the Elephant Shower without stopping, we're BOTH gonna get blasted by that elephant up ahead to your right.
Once that animation trips, he's going to squirt.
I am NOT starting my day toweling off my boat because you forgot to stop!
See.  Now once he's done you can chug on by.
This is probably one of my favorite stretches through here.
I like how the river is smooth and we're heading straight for the falls.
You ever played with the apes?
Pull the throttle back and stop us right here.
I'll hang in the boat if you want to jump out.
I can't guarantee you'll make it back in without getting your costume wet!
Wise choice.
Last guy I offered took me up on it.
Left him in the Jungle.
Last I saw, he was cursing at me and shaking his fists as I rounded the bend at Schweitzer Falls.
Gorillas and an East Sider frolicking on the bank!!
You know, it was hard for me to tell who was who.
Good thing he was wearing that name tag.
Let me have the boat.
We gotta get back before my lead starts to wonder what's taking so long.
Hang on.
This is about as fast as one of these things can go.
You have to watch out for derails when you're empty.
Over there by the Lost Safari is where we generally jump off the boat.  See where the rocks are close to the edge of the river?  We took our Area picture there last summer.
Okay.  You can shoot the hippos now if you want.
Hold the gun way above the canopy!
I'm telling you that thing is LOUD!
Two shots and NO MORE, got it?
That's gonna leave a mark.
Dancing natives.
Yadda yadda.
Water buffalo.
Trader Sam.
See those lights in his shield.  They both need to be green or we have to stop.
They are probably done bringing boats out, so we should be clear.
Take that coffee with you and get out of my boat!
Have fun in Tomorrowland!  You better move if you don't want to be late!
What's that?
Oh, I know.
Yeah.  We are lucky.
We're working the best attraction in the Park.
Have fun checking seatbelts!!!
Don't go away mad!
Just go away!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Disneyland - Remembrance of Cast Members Past

I guess the trauma of Carnation Plaza Gardens being shut down left me in a two-month long funk.
Unable to post.
Adrift in the cosmos.


I was at my sister-in-law's for a 16th birtday party.
My 16 year old niece's boyfriend, Matt, was there, along with his parents.
His mom, Maria, is the niece of a man whose name appears on a window on Main Street above the Market House.
She also worked Adventureland Merchandise in the mid-80s.
We got to talking.
"Remember Guest Control duty and the Main Street Electrical Parade?" Maria asked.
Yes I do.
Her eyes lit with joy at the memory of manning the ropes and stanchions along the Plaza in the building excitement before the Electrical Parade stepped off onto its route through the heart of the Park.
"I miss that sooo much!"
Don't I know it, love.

Maria worked the Bazaar, but also handled the barrel of rubber snakes and related trinkets sold just outside the Jungle Cruise exit dock.
We probably passed each other on a number of occasions, never connecting, but then fate placed us at a sixteenth birthday party, sipping mojitos and calling to mind summer evenings of long ago.
My father-in-law was there, too.
He spoke of his time as a Disneyland cast member in the late 60s and early 70s.
He did electrical work on animatronics after he had to leave operations (Matterhorn, Subs) when he married a fellow cast member.
You could not both be in the same department back then, so he had to transfer.
He told us of the noise of the Tiki birds' mechanisms in the control room.
The difficulties in keeping the cannons firing in Pirates --- they were controlled by 8-track tapes and the heads got dirty, so he was in there often fixing them.
He would ride the attraction once an hour to make sure the animation was working.
Maria, my father-in-law and me spent a good amount of time kicking around stories from the Park.
Must've stirred something in this old skipper, because here I am back at my post after what I thought might be a permanent absence.
The Park has a hold on me that I cannot shake, no matter how much time passes.
No use fighting it.
So, thanks to Maria and my father-in-law, I am back to the blog.
Aren't you lucky?

Another thing.
My family and I have formed Team "Jungle is 101" and will be walking in this year's CHOC Walk in the Park.
It is always a great event.
I love that I can share with the family some of the "back areas" I used to haunt as a Cast Member.
All while supporting a worthy cause.
The people who show up for the event are a great boost to one's energy level, too.
Take Disney nuts, add some altruism and caffeine, march them around the Park and California Adventure, and you have an instant formula for success!
Hope to see many of you Jungleteers out there for the Walk.
If you can't make it, perhaps you can swing by the Jungle is 101 Team page at the CHOC website and pledge a donation.
No pressure.
Of course, I will mention at this point that I am in deep with some serious witch doctors.
Just sayin'.

Oh, and Maria's uncle?  Sebastian Moreno, aka "Seb Morey - Taxidermist."
Seb helped with the original railroad around the Park and went on to be in charge of the decorating department.
Maria still has and cherishes one of the placards that adorned Main Street lampposts during the "Blast to the Past" event circa 1987-88.
Her uncle sadly has passed away, but he left Maria and her family a great Disneyland legacy.

Gotta run.
Don't be such strangers!
Post once in a while or something!
Love you loyal readers.
The four (4) nicest folks I know (hi, Mom!)....