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!)....



Hannahx2 said...

Have you seen this post by the Disney History Institute?

It's from about a month ago but it touches on Seb Morey's window and the author asks if anyone can shed light on the mystery of why he replaced a different name, Bob Mattey, on the same window, as not much is known about him. Just thought you might find it interesting :)

Dave Resnick said...

Excellent reading...I missed the time that you were taking a break. From #5 of the nicest folk(s) you know.

I live in Tucson, but find your blog to be entertaining, especially since I've never had the priviledge to have worked in the Park.


Hannahx2 said...

Well hello Dave, just thought I'd say hey from a fellow Tucsonan :) Cool coincidence.

Mike said...

Dave and Hannah:

Thank you both for stopping by! Hannah thanks for the info on Seb Morey's window. I am sure that his niece could help fill in some gaps in the record. His wife is still living, too.

Dave and Hannah, we love folks from Tucson in the Jungle. Trader Sam says they make a well-seasoned jerky from all that time in the desert sun. You might want to steer clear of him next time you're in Adventureland.

Great having you both stop by the dock. And, as we say in the Jungle, always remember....otherwise, you'll forget.


Hannahx2 said...

Hahaha oh I believe it about the jerky! Constant triple digits can do that to a poor soul. I just love connecting rare info from various sources. Brings out the mysteries and turns them into great history!

Jonathan said...

Glad to have you back Mike!

Dave said...

Thanks Mike, excellent advice, from the "head" salesman himself--

And, Hello to you Hanna!

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Anonymous said...

Hey there.
I am a former Cast Member, too, and I worked Adventure/Frontier Merch (Dept #952) 1980-1988. I am trying to remember "Maria" in my memories... (though I tried my best to stay mostly on the Frontierland side... didn't much care for the Adventure shops). What was Maria's last name?

Keith Hively
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