Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Disneyland - The Park At Christmas - Part II

Today we have photographs from Sunday night's trip to Disneyland.
We begin and end on Main Street.
Where would you find these idyllic holiday scenes?

 Answer: the south windows of The Emporium, shown below from a distance.
And a view of the tree on Town Square.

Next - the garland over the Fire House and the Christmas tree in Walt's apartment window above.

 Finally, City Hall.
Just a few snippets, but you get the flavor!

Have a fabulous Tuesday!

Remember, if you find yourself passing by the Jungle Cruise later on tonight---we understand completely!

Merry Christmas!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Disneyland - The Park at Christmas

We went to Disneyland last night.
All was right in the Magic Kingdom.
Not too busy.
The decorations are splayed everywhere, from flickering candles adorning the Haunted Mansion to lighted garland above the Fire House.
We browsed the shops this visit, picking up an engraved gift at Crystal Arts on Main Street.
Iced coffee at the Blue Ribbon Bakery.
Popcorn from the cart in New Orleans Square - across from the French Market patio.
A walk up the recently refurbished Treehouse, which definitely received a lighting upgrade.
The view from the boughs of the Mansion and Thunder and the Castle were worth the climb.
Splash Mountain was sore for customers, which is not a shock given the cool night air and guests opting to avoid drenched clothes and shoes by remaining comfortably dry off the Mountain.
This night, it appeared the folks voting for "dry" were in the majority.
Found a nice, warm spot to watch the fireworks and the five of us enoyed the display.
Never gets old.
I must say I was surprised they let the show go off, since the winds at elevation were moving.
The fireworks were blowing pretty fiercely from east to west, their incendiary bursts and smoke racing through the sky toward Frontierland.
Most times when the winds were that swift, there would be an early finish or an outright cancellation.
It is still a well done show and it ended with "snow" on Main Street.
My youngest bolted to enjoy the falling flakes, her older brother in pursuit---to make sure she did not disappear forever in the Main Street crowd.
He manned his post well and returned with his sister intact.
Score another for this skipper's clan of Park veterans!
For the many readers (two, I believe, out of our four loyal fans) who reside out of state, I am happy to report the Park is as pretty as ever.
Later, I'll post some phots for you all.
Stay merry, my friends!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Disneyland - Belated Happy Thanksgiving - Early Merry Christmas!

I haven't posted for the past week or so because I was in the midst of a wrongful death jury trial in downtown Los Angeles. 
As counsel for the defendant, I was a touch too busy to post.
The jury issued a verdict in favor of my client after a week of trial.
I even managed to work the Peoplemover into my jury selection and closing argument!
Ah, the joy of having a Disneyland background.
Helps keep the jurors awake.
Okay - semi-awake.
Anyhow, we have all had our Thanksgiving and today is Black Friday.
Guess we should pack up our pepper spray and hit the Wal-Marts, Targets and Best Buys of the world.
Anyone tries to grab that deeply discounted item you're reaching for?
Spray 'em into next week!
That's the Christmas spirit!
Heaven must weep at our hapless human species.
Hey, at least the folks that brought you two world wars, a Holocaust and atomic weapons are also responsible for good wine, violin symphonies, poetry, art...and Disneyland!
It really is an unlikely place in this wacked out world of ours, isn't it?
Who would have ever believed that this former Anaheim orange grove could be transformed into the Magic Kingdom?
Frankly, only a group of artists, daydreamers and craftsmen like those Walt Disney assembled could have EVER pulled off a stunt like Disneyland.
Many of those responsible are still scratching their heads.
How'd we manage to do it??
Ours, dear Jungle fans, is not to reason why.
We are merely to soldier forth onto Main Street and through New Orleans Square and beyond---experiencing the magnificent place that so many people's imaginations helped to make a reality.
This Thanksgiving we begin, as always, by thanking God for our very lives, our families, and our many blessings---those we see and those we carelessly overlook.
Allow me to add a prayer of thankfulness for the power of imagination, the gift of joy, the capacity to wonder and the faculty of creativity.
These are gifts of light in a world that might otherwise sink hopelessly into tarry darkness.
May your life be filled with such gifts, fellow travelers!
As we march forward into the Christmas season, please accept this old skipper's sincere wishes for a Merry Christmas!
This is a simple greeting and wish meant to communicate universal concepts of joy, love and peace, regardless of the cultural, racial or religious background of the recipient.
And I extend it to you whether you hail from the banks of the Nile in Egypt, the teeming jungles of the Amazon, the humid forests of the Mekong, the steep canyons of the Yangtze, the Colorado or Columbia, the idyllic hillsides of the Rhine or the Danube, the soaring edifices abutting the Hudson, the Thames or the Seine, the realm of the mystic Ganges, the plains along the Irrawady and the Congo, the green wetlands along the Tigris and Euphrates, the muddy edges of the Mississippi or Missouri or Ohio, Allegheny or Monongahela, on either side of the damp concrete channel known as the Los Angeles River, or "home on the Ana" along the Santa Ana River in Anaheim, or from the dusty deserts of Yemen, Tunisia, northern Mexico, the Australian Outback, the American Southwest, or northern and central Africa, or come from the high mountain areas of the Andes, the Rockies, the Alps, the Urals, the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush, Sierra Madre, the Pyrenees, Sierra Nevada, Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge, Mt. Kenya, Mt. Kilimanjaro or Akaishi Mountains, or from the great and rolling plains of the Dakotas, Deosai, western Siberia, northeastern China, the Pampas, Nullarbor in Australia, Canterbury Plains of New Zealand, the Steppes of Russia and Mongolia or the Canadian Prairies.

It is, after all...

...a small, small world.

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Disneyland - Circle Vision and Rod Miller

As I walked by my 1983 map of the Park, which is matted, framed and hung on a hallway wall, my eye caught the rounded rooftop of the old Circle Vision attraction in Tomorrowland.
Buzz Lightyear resides there now.
In my Custodial days, sweeping through the pre-show and Circle Vision theater provided welcome relief from hot July shifts in Tomorrowland.
The pre-show area was expansive and cool.  The air conditioning was wonderful.
I would always say hello to the attraction operators and make a quick sweep and trash check.
Between shows I would sweep through the theater (about once every hour or so).
Sometimes I'd slip in with the guests and take in the show!
Those who got to experience it know that there is nothing like it.
I was fortunate enough to have seen both the original version and the American Journeys version---snippets of which are shown below in this YouTube posting from "Celli0905."

Even saw several showings of The Wonders of China there in that theater-in-the-round.
I miss that attraction.
Think of what they could do today!
HD cameras.
I bet they could build an unbroken 360 degree screen and really blow your mind with shots and scenes from throughout this great land.
C'est la vie.
I close with this.
In my days in the Jungle, whenever I'd head over to the Inn Between for lunch or to Wardrobe at the close of my shift, I would pass through the door over by the Candy Palace and Coke Corner.
Most of the time, I'd get to walk right by this gentleman and his piano.
Get a load of Rod Miller just doin' his thing...

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Many thanks to HarborHouse55 who posted this originally!!!
'Course, I got to see him "live" five days a week and it didn't cost me anything to get in the gate!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Disneyland - I wish real life were more like it..

I wish real life were more like Disneyland.
First of all, things would be cleaner.
There'd be theme music in the background.
You could always find a trash can.
Or a bathroom.
Or an interesting attraction.
Most folks would be smiling.
Several would have name tags, so you'd know whom to ask for help.
There would also be a map.
Of course, the food would be subpar.
But you could could walk to everything.
Sure, there would be lines, but we'd have FastPasses, too.
The surroundings would be safe.
No weapons, except the harmless rifles in the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade, plastic Swords in the Pirate shop and an occasional Buzz Lightyear ray gun.
The whole family would have fun together, or go off on their own if they needed a break.
"We'll meet back at the Castle in an hour, or text where and when you want to meet!"
Things would be accessible to everybody, even if you have a disability or a condition that might otherwise limit your ability to participate.
We'd have those, too.
And a Skyway (while we're at it).
The tour guides would wear plaid.
No Congress.
Abe Lincoln would be our president.
Every night in the summer.
Dole whips for the whole bar!
You can bump the car ahead of you and no one gets hurt or sues.
Disney dollars and no mortgage or global economic collapse.
There's a Hub where we can all meet and no one is disputing land boundaries.
Tomorrowlanders do not suicide bomb Fantasylanders.
West Siders would still have a justifiable superiority complex, though.  Some things are just a given.
No hospital.
We have Central First Aid on Main Street.
The weather's nice most of the year.
Everything is decorated for the holidays.
You should see the place on Christmas!
We would all be either Cast Members or guests.
We could even trade off.
Lots of flowers.
In well-kept beds.
No TV.
No Internet.
Dixieland Jazz and our very own marching band.
Kids.  Plenty of kids.
Age doesn't matter.
Shade and benches aplenty.
Crowds. I could do without crowds.
Still it is better when we share.
And I'm just wondering out loud here.

Where would everyone sleep?

As we say in Disneyland,
"Ride's over.  Get out."


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Disneyland - Happy New Year...er...um...November 5th!

Friends of ours were at Disneyland this past Saturday and were treated to a film crew doing "live" shots from the Park for "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest."
Ryan Seacrest was there, along with some of the young actors from "A.N.T. Farm," a Disney Channel television show.
More importantly, Main Street U.S.A. was shut down for extended periods while the crew did take after take.
Several guests caught in the chaos were literally held hostage as the director wanted a crowd to film.
At one point, you could barely move and the main entrance was jammed with people as the parade sat in place on Town Square.
Imagine a parade at Disneyland that is not moving.
Now imagine thousands of people trying to weave their way up and down the narrow passages of the Main Street Shops because the street and sidewalks are blocked off and/or crammed with guests.
Near riot.
Happiest place on earth ranking in jeopardy.
Moms close to tears are stuck against a rope pleading with the director to let them pass through.
"I've been standing here for 40 minutes!!" she shouts over her crying toddler, who lost interest about 39 minutes earlier.
"I need everyone to show enthusiasm for this next take!" the director bellows into his megaphone.
Steely stares and angry murmurs bounce back at him from the guests and extras lining Main Street.
The cast---whose faces reflect boredom and irritation between takes---instantly turns their respective visages to smiling, saccharine, pseudo-happy configurations for the rolling video cameras.
"Okay.  Let's try that again.  I really need excitement from the crowd.  Come on."
More steely stares.
Less excitement.
Another take.
Meanwhile, up on the Hub, the crowd gathered in front of the stage at the Castle forecourt is actually doing a fine job of acting enthusiastically.
You can hear the roar when the director urges everyone to "Get excited!  Let's hear you!"
The "Rockin' New Year's Eve - "Live"" stage lights up and Mr. Seacrest excitedly prepares the crowd to greet 2012.
Only 1,398 hours before midnight!
Talk about building excitement.
It must be weird to be at a New Year's Eve party with Ryan Seacrest and turn on the TV.
As you sip from your drink and much on shrimp and puff pastry appetizers, your buddy Ryan (who's standing next to you in the buffet line) appears on the screen '"Live" (recorded earlier)' from Disneyland.
Neat trick, Ryan.
How'd you manage that one?
Only in Hollywood.
Hope we didn't ruin the New Year's moment for you.
That "(Recorded earlier)" on the bottom of your television screen does NOT mean, an hour earlier because, say, you are in a different time zone.
More like two months earlier.
Cue the confetti and balloon drop.
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to m-i-i-i-i-i-nd...."
Wait, wait.
"Okay.  Let's try that again.  I really need excitement from the crowd.  Come on."

As for me, allow me to be the first to wish you a Happy November 8th!!!
Let this post be a lesson: Disneyland during a film shoot is chaotic and definitely not its normal self.
May you avoid one on your next trip inside the berm.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Disneyland - Live Trip Report - November 4, 2011

8:50 p.m. - East Center Street - Market House. I am standing at the north doors, just below the "Detective Agency - We Never Sleep - W. Dennis Cottrell - Private Investigator" window.
My daughter is earnestly listening in on an 1890 party line conversation.
Ah, the many times I've step beyond the door here to and the back area.
It's a nice, slow night. Main Street is wide open---even the shops. There's only three people ahead of me as I step into Market House for some coffee.
Can you smell that? Hmmmm.
Vanessa is at the counter, her 1-year pin on her name tag. Quite Disney. A pleasant testament to Cast Memberdom!
The crisp night air and the warm cup join with the half moon almost straight overhead as I sit with my daughter at the tables that front the southern wall of Disney Clothiers Ltd.
Carnation Cafe's red and white umbrellas are just there across Main Street and the sparkling lights ant-trail across the "Fortuosity Shop."
We've visited the Haunted Mansion and said hello to Mr. Skellington. The kid liked it.
Me...you know ME.
Still, it was entertaining and we had a good time.
We then took in Winne the Pooh.
Happy to report that Max, Buff and Melvin (at least one set of them) remain hung on the wall behind you as you get near the end of the attraction. Keep looking back and up.
You'll see them.
From Pooh, we walked through New Orleans Square, with its holiday decorations sneaking into view.
Back through Adventureland and on to Main Street. Popcorn at the Hub and then a stroll toward Town Square.
And here I am.
The little one is off to the Penny Arcade...with $1.60.
She could be there for hours.
As for YOU...
Wish you were here.

Disneyland - Live (kinda sorta)

At 6:45 p.m. we arrived at the Rancho del Zocalo, after squirming through the remains of the parade over on Main Street.
Fish tacos for me, kid's bean and cheese burrito for my 8 year old.

Modern Disneyland Touring Tip ("MDTT") #313: on a cold night, grab dinner or a snack at the Rancho del Zocalo and sit under the covered veranda. They have heaters! Cozy, eh?

Thunder's down, it appears from here.
Love the many star-shaped lanterns hanging above. They scatter interesting shadows on the ceiling.
The little one gets to pick where we go (her big sister is here with several friends from high school and this old skipper won the privilege of driving and chaperoning the crew!).

Oh.  Thunder's back up.  Guess what she chose?

THANKS JUNGLETEERS! See you at the Park tonight!

Wow!  You guys are fabulous!
After yesterday's post your efforts to get the word out have increased our readership by 50 percent!
We have gone from four (4) to almost six (6) readers!
See the power we possess when we work together!

Tonight this blog will travel with me to Disneyland!
I will try a first-ever "live" post from the Park (if I can get this darn antenna to connect to my typewriter).
It should be cold and maybe a little damp.
Just the way we like it!
Can I pick up anything for you while I'm there?
Antenna ball?
Rock candy from the Candy Palace?
I am betting there'll be cocoa or coffee in my future!
Let me know. I'll check back in with you in a couple hours once we're inside the Berm!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Disneyland - Jungle Is "101" - A Maniacal Plan To Quadruple or Quintuple Our Readership!! Who's With Me?!

It's never too early for a "Greatest Hits" album.
For newbies to Jungle is "101" we provide this once in a lifetime opportunity to get all of this blog's "one hit wonders" in a single post. 
Call it our Top Ten.
More importantly, this is our chance to expand the blog's readership from our four (4) devotees (Hi, Mom!), to possibly 16 or 20!
Think of it.
Together we could quadruple or quintuple the number of people who have been exposed to (or follow) this, ahem, "unique" collection of stories from an old Disneyland Jungle Cruise skipper and Custodial sweeper.

Here's the plan, gang.

We'll put on a show and save the orphanage!
Whoops.  That's the plot to a Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney film.

No, the real plan is this: all YOU have to do, my four (4) amazing readers is e-mail four to five friends, loved ones, relatives or people who annoy you and send them a link to this blog's address: "http://jungleis101.blogspot.com."
If each of them takes you up on your e-mail offer to check out this blog, our readership---for one glorious day, will go up precipitously.
It's like a Ponzi scheme or Amway!  (is there a difference?)
Give it a whirl.
Copy the link above and e-mail it to some friends who might find this stuff of moderate interest.
Disney fans, for example.
There's no obligation, of course.
It's not like I haven't been here for you, toiling in the moist Adventureland heat, digging up old photos and memories, clacking away at my Underwood..
Don't mind me.
If you want to pass along this site, that's entirely up to you.
Of course, the other three (3) readers are doing it.
No pressure.
You don't have to do it, but if you don't you can't hang out with us anymore!
Come on!
Try it.  Everyone's doing it!
It'll expand your consciousness!
Don't tell us you're chicken!

Once I again, as I do so often around here, I have completely digressed.

As promised, here are links to some of this blog's Top Ten greatest hits to be shared with whomever you decide to inflict them upon:
  1. The Haunted Mansion's Real Ghost
  2. Pepperoni Tony!
  3. Alone on Tom Sawyer's Island (Part I)
  4. Alone on Tom Sawyer's Island (Part II)
  5. Unload Corn
  6. Mickey's In The Well!
  7. On Being A West Side Cast Member
  8. The Jungle Princess
  9. The Bench 
  10. Dead Head On A Slow Night
This list is not scientific, nor is it exhaustive.  You may have your own favorites.  No problem.
Cut and paste these links into your e-mails and maybe someone else will join our ragtag group!

Today ---- four (4) devoted readers.

Tomorrow---THE WORLD!!

I love each of you.

You know what to do.

Adieu, for now, mon ami!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Disneyland - Random Jungle Stuff - Load and Intro

Greetings and welcome aboard the Jungle Cruise!
I am SO glad to see each and every one of you.
Watch your step as you come on board.
Hey, as you're boarding, I'm standing here thinking, whattayou call a guy who stands on the river's edge next to the boat?
How 'bout the guy who makes announcements over the intercom?
The one who oils our boat's engine?
The girl who catches all the butterflies for us while we're on this expedition?
Why, that's "Annette."
A net!
Oh that's rich.
See that gentleman loading our last few victims into the back of the boat?
He's also in charge of fueling us up.
We call him "Phil."
You'll want to steer clear of his brother, the guy who collects spears from the local natives, I say spears from the local natives.
His name is "Chuck."
And, our personal favorite here in the Jungle, the gal who cleans up after the elephants in the meadow...
Believe me, she's a pile of fun!
Speaking of names, mine is "Mike" and I have the honor of being your humble skipper, guide, bartender and lounge act for the entire duration of our trip along the murky rivers of the jungle.
Sit well back in your seats, take hold of small children, loved ones and cameras.
Now that we are completely loaded, it only seems fitting that we'll plunge ahead into the teeming jungle.
In fact, that's the only way I know how to enter the Jungle...fully and completely loaded.
Turn around, wave goodbye to those poor folks we're leaving behind on the dock.
I say "poor" because they missed being on OUR boat---simply the greatest, most excitement-filled, most luxurious, best appointed, most-well stocked and most unpredictable boat in all the Jungle---everyone shout "YEAAAAAA!"
Go ahead, make it look like you're having the time of your lives!  Come on, really sell it!
Fabulous.  You folks are like family.  It's like I've known you my whole life.  You feel the bond?  Powerful stuff.
As we enter the Jungle, a safety reminder, remain seated, keep your hands, arms, legs and nostrils inside the boat at all times and watch your children.
Speaking of children, you know what we call an unwatched child in the Jungle?
Sometimes "Tiger Nip," or "Kibbles and Bits" or "Hyena Chow."
Most of the carnivores in the Jungle LOVE children.
But enough of that...this young lady up front is starting to look a little nervous...
Don't worry sweetie, I'll protect you.
Hmmm.  She does not look too convinced.
Three toucans.
Three toucans, otherwise known as...
a six pack.
Which brings to the ruins of an ancient Cambodian shrine, destroyed centuries ago by an earthquake, it has almost been completely overtaken by the Jungle.
There on our left is a truly magnificent specimen---a full-grown, male Bengal Tiger.  Isn't he something?  Weighing over 800 pounds, with razor sharp fangs and claws, he can easily leap over 20 feet and....he eats small children...one of my FAVORITE animals of the jungle.
(Turning again to the six year old girl to my left) It's okay, sweetie, like I said, I'll protect you.
Look there!
Snakes?  Why does it always have to be SNAKES?
That stone sculpture is Ganesha the Elephant God and he marks the beginning of the world famous Elephant Bathing Pool.
Look at all the elephants!
Big shots.
Little squirts.
See that one with the private shower?  He's special.  Weighing over 800 pounds, with razor sharp fangs and claws, he can easily leap over 20 feet and....he eats small children...one of my FAVORITE animals of the jungle.
Whoa!  This guy has gotten away from the rest of the herd and LOVES to squirt my boats.
Stopped just in time.  That was close!
(The elephant fails to squirt...surprise).
I am totally and completely kidding.
That's just a little DRY humor.
Sir, in the back, with the serious face...I said DRY humor!
Hey, I don't write these, I just say 'em folks.
Uh oh.
Uh. Ohhhhh.
I have a BAD feeling about this.
Everyone.  Keep very still.
If you are wearing yellow, do not make any noise like a banana---
It drives these guys APE.
Heck, they might even find you...
(Long pause for effect...I stare back at my crew with a "What??" kinda look on my face, then a slightly guilty smile over the microphone).
I'd like to thank the gentleman in the back for laughing at the banana joke.
Thanks a BUNCH.
(I turn and look expectantly at my boatload of guests with the same "What?" kinda look and the smile over the mic once more).
You know what, you're right.
I shouldn't've let that "bunch" joke SLIP.
Enough with the banana stuff, I think we better SPLIT!
(Groans.  I turn and look with an excessive mock injured look on my face).
But seriously, those gorillas are amazing creatures.
See that one with the rifle?  Weighing over 800 pounds, with razor sharp fangs and claws, he can easily leap over 20 feet and....he eats small children...one of my FAVORITE animals of the jungle.

I mean, let's face it what good are groaners in the Jungle if you don't milk them?!

Oh, there's more, but I have a feeling you may have heard it all somewhere before...



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Disneyland - Cast Activities Center, Versateller, Herbie Hill

Snooping around the internet, I once again came across an '80's era video clip posted by Jeff Hawkins of parts of the Main Street back area, including the Cast Activities Center, the BofA Versateller (to think I was once a Bank of America customer!), Herbie Hill, Harbor House and the old Cast Member Parking Lot.
The video captures these areas and the kinds of goofy stuff cast members did when left to their own devices.

I find myself looking over people's shoulders into the background of the shots, my eye seeking out the details.
You see people in orange Parking Lot costumes, I see the Cast Activities Center and the glass doors I entered so many, many times.
I hit that Versateller ATM at the end of lots of shifts---before heading out to whatever our destination may have been for some post-work fun.
I emptied those "bullet can" trash cans way back when I worked in Day Custodial.
To us in the back area, a good chunk of Space Mountain was BLUE. You can see its blue lower, rear wall flash by there behind the ATM in the video.
As the Parking Lot crew is on their way out of the back area, they drive by the old Wardrobe building. You can see a Security cast member heading to or from the Security office.
Just before they make a right turn down Herbie Hill, you can ahead see Outdoor Vending on the left (along the back side of Space Mountain and Tomorrowland) and the old locker building on the right.
they then drive past Harbor House, which you can barely see on the right as they bounce down the hill under the covered trestle of the Disneyland Railroad.
Then they head out to to Parking Lot (another bygone thing of beauty) to head toward the Disneyland marquee, which they indicate is about to come down.  Oh the humanity.
Eisner.  Ack.
Here is Part II of the video.

I'd ask you to take a close look at the Disney Cast Members. See those nice, crisp costumes? No frumpy, take-it-home-and-wash-it-yourself stuff back then!
And look at the people!
It's 6:00 a.m., but they are smiling, happy, enjoying themselves and each other's company. They are a family.
They are also a pretty fit, clean cut group.

My thanks for Jeff for posting these. Perhaps you Jungle followers may recognize an old friend or fellow CM in the videos.
Even if you don't, the video gives you yet another slice of what life was like in the Park.

Happy All Saints Day!