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!)....


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Disneyland - Plaza Gardens Requiescat in Pace

An icon of the Hub is soon to be gone.
I saw the skeletal remains of its old red and white, metal "circus tent" roof protruding over the construction wall on my trip to the Park last Sunday.
The colored metal pieces had been removed, leaving only the empty frame behind.
Perhaps the Disney folks are carefully dismantling it so that it may be reconstructed someplace else in the Disneyverse.
Probably not.
Walt danced there, under the circular roof and across its sparkling floor.
Louis Armstrong blew his trumpet from the tiny stage.
The Osmond Brothers made their debut.
Les Brown and his Band of Reknown used to perform before a floorful of happy swing dancers.
The original Mickey Mouse Club Mousketeers had many stints there as well.
The dance floor under the canopy was an area of the Park that had remained relatively unchanged over time.
The sparkling electric sign over the entrance was as much a feature of the Hub as the Castle drawbridge, the Frontierland entrance, the Adventureland sign or the popcorn wagon.
The little wooden bridge that led to Plaza Gardens was tucked beneath shady trees and crossed a winding brook.
Peace amidst the busy, crowded Park at almost any time.
Indeed, to this day it remained one of the few "parklike" areas in Disneyland, where guests could just sit and be refreshed.
Years ago I wrote a lament for this beloved corner of the Park once before, never, ever expecting to later be writing of its utter and complete demise.
I believe Walt wanted the Park to grow, to ADD new things, as long as imagination is left in the world.
Adding or "plussing" something was one of his many traits of genius.
I'm not so sure he would favor seeing "Fantasyland" intrude upon Main Street's Hub when presented with a storyboard or design drawing.
He probably would have coughed and raised that dark eyebrow the moment some overzealous Imagineer ridiculously suggested taking the Rocket Jets down from their old spot and planting them on the Hub, too.
Growing and adding new things is not the same as ripping out old things.
I suppose Sleeping Beauty Castle has had its day.
Maybe we can dismantle it and put up a "meet and greet" area for other "non-princess" Disney characters.
I mean where do you go these days to see Gaston, or Mr. Smee, or Horace Horsecollar, or any cast member from "Watcher in the Woods," "The Black Hole" or "The Black Cauldron" and other such "classics"?
That mountain over there with the bobsleds?
Don't repaint - REMOVE! REPLACE!
Enough with Pirates and Ghosts and Peter Pan!
We can yank 'em all out and put in attractions that have more "crossover" appeal, like "Wizards of Waverly Place Magical Hollow," "Phineas & Ferb's Platypus Manor" and "The Suite Life On Deck's Cruise of Terror."
Imagine an audio-animatronic Mr. Moseby, Zack and Cody in a dark attraction based upon rehashed "Love Boat" episodes and overgrown twins that have lost their appeal.
The heart thrills at the thought.
And Main Street.
What the heck is that place all about?
Does anyone really care about turn-of-the-century America anymore?
Let's lose the 1890s facades and trick out a West Coast version of Times Square!
Slap up some skyscrapers on either side of Main Street, with gleaming steel and glass.
Penny Arcade?
We've installed "Studio 54," a 1970s disco tribute bar and nightclub in its place!
Come on in kids, it's a blast!
There's a life-sized "K.C. and the Sunshine Band" animatronics stage show that repeats itself every 15 minutes!
Put on your Boogie Shoes 'cause that's the way aha, aha, we like it!
Over on the east side of the street, the lame old Market House has been transformed into the Guggenheim West!
Immerse yourself in a post-modern, cutting edge retrospective of International Abstractionism, along with some classic Kandinsky!
Oodles of family fun await!
And the horse-drawn streetcars of yesterday are now the Manhattan Taxis!
Take a memorable journey through the streets of New Main Street in the back of a smelly cab operated by a guy with a thick accent and a meter that never stops!!


I got a little carried away there.

Carnation Plaza Gardens, I will miss you.

Thanks, as Bob Hope said, for the memories.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Disneyland - The Price of Poker's Gone Up, Kids

Renewing my annual pass recently, I saw that the Park has significantly raised admission prices.

Why not?

The Euro has collapsed (it's just waiting for everyone to "officially" admit it).

The dollars that we here in the United States have electronically "minted" (through the looking-glass magic of the Federal Reserve's "quantitative easing" program) are holding steady, supposedly, at somewhere around $2 trillion.

Among friends, after all, what is $2 trillion anyway?

Here in California, the cataclysm of today's "economy" is visible everywhere.

Count the shuttered car dealerships.

The carcasses of former banks.

The "for lease" signs at the mini-malls and corporate parks.

The empty "big box" stores.

The failed restaurants.

The boarded up department stores.

As an example, the Montclair Plaza shopping mall in Montclair, California, has had a huge amount of retail square footage at its eastern end sitting vacant since 2006.

The space used to be a Broadway store from 1968 until it became a Macy's in 1996.

It stayed a Macy's and finally closed its doors in 2006, never to reopen.

It's kinda weird to see a mall in the middle of populous Southern California with a giant, empty store at one end.

All those stores, banks, dealerships, mini-mall shops, restaurants and retailers were once filled with people.

And merchandise.

And jobs.

Banks would accept money from businesses and individuals for safekeeping.

Workers would deposit their paychecks and businesses would deposit their cash receipts.

Banks would take the money and invest in assets and lend some of money back into the community---to businesses and consumers.

Businesses would use the money to buy product, build things, create retail space, hire employees, etc.

Consumers would borrow money to buy cars and homes and appliances.

They would also earn money from working for the businesses and restaurants and such.

In turn, they would save a little of their money in the banks and, of course, spend a little at the restaurants, amusement parks and businesses in their community.

THOSE were the days.

What is YOUR home worth today?

Are you even still living in a house?

Still employed? Thank God.

You know several people who are not quite so fortunate.

Even here in Southern California.

California was once the 6th largest economy on the planet, I've heard.

If we in the "Golden State" have such visible signs of decline, I can only imagine how others in this grand country are faring these days.


Folks will still find a way to buy admission into Disneyland.

The Park is perhaps taking the place of the old movie theaters of the 1930s, where Americans escaped the woes of the Great Depression by spending precious money on a matinee or a double-feature.

An hour and a half of "fantasy" in the darkened cinema, with Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire, Giner Rogers, Shirley Temple, the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Mickey Mouse or the Three Little Pigs, brought a respite from the literally depressing state of Americans' daily life.

While today's malls may be emptier, the Park has remained crowded to capacity.

Cars Land and the recent efforts to "fix" the Eisner-iffic masterpiece known as Disney's California Adventure have sparked further interest.

The Park has cleaned up its act tremendously in the past four years.

Check out the newly refurbished West Side of Main Street, from the Emporium to the Candy Palace.

Look at the gleaming new Matterhorn paint job and the mountain's suddenly glowing waterfalls.

Do waterfalls actually glow in the Swiss Alps?

Ah. I digress.

March along with the crowd of guests around you.

Start doing the math.

Think what each of them has spent to be there (either as an annual passholder or a ParkHopper purchaser).

Of course, each of them has to eat and drink and perhaps grab a plush toy or a sweatshirt.

Where are all these folks getting all this money?

Disney seems quite happy to provide them with a beautiful place to spend and enjoy it!

The Park masterfully anticipated the coming financial collapse by permitting passholders to pay for their passes on a monthly basis over the course of a year!

Now Disney has an income stream, even if folks can't make it to the Park.

It worked.

The crowds are thick as ever.

The guests seem pretty darn satisfied, too.

I am still one myself!

Hike the price?

Looks like we all will still gladly pay it.

Even in the midst of the Greater Great Depression of 2008-present!

Of course, I imagine the number of Greek, Italian and Euro-zone guests may have dropped off a bit of late (and more so in the coming weeks and months, no?).

How's Euro-Disney doing these days, I wonder?

For us in Southern California, the Park remains a place to set aside one's cares for a while.

Truly a place to "leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy," as Walt wished for his guests when the Park flung open its waiting arms in 1955.

I am still willing to pay to answer its embrace.

Sorry for being gone for so long, Jungleteers! I missed each of you deeply!


Monday, April 30, 2012

Disneyland - Fantasyland Break Area - Costume Changes and the Disney Look

Through a pathway among the bushes at the back side of Storybookland was the entrance to a small covered break area.
It had old-school vending machines, including one that had Eskimo Pies and chocolate ice cream bars.
I loved those!
Orange picnic tables were available for taking a few minutes' rest from being on one's feet.
Chief among this break area's positives was the fairly constant flow of female cast members clad in classic Fantasyland style.
Blue skirt, knee-high white stockings, cute shoes and a neat white blouse with colorful trim and short sleeves, sometimes accentuated by a matching headband or bow.
We were mostly college-age folks, clean-cut and with cheerful dispositions.
Come on, it was the old Disney.
Way before political correctness.
Back when costume policies and grooming standards were still strongly supported and enforced. No facial hair for men.
No wild hair styles or excessive make-up or piercings for either sex.
It was, as the Disney University taught us, the "Disney Look."
Why the "Disney Look" in 2012 must now permit facial hair after 56 years is not an issue for my pay grade.
Why the Park long ago decided to allow its cast members to wear their costumes home instead of turning them in to Wardrobe at the end of the shift is beyond me.
Moreover, who designs the modern costumes?
If you are out there, hear my plea - "Do something for the poor folks in Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and just about EVERYWHERE over at California Adventure!"
I am sorry, but no one can really pull off the strange uni-sex olive pants, blousy shirt and frumpy hat that Fantasylanders must don today.
Think "poochy."
And this is true for folks who may be thin as a rail!
The entire kingdom of Fantasyland looks "poochy!"
Oh, Peter!
It's true, Wendy!
And what is with the hats?
It's as if "Newsies" collided with Lampwick after a particularly hard night of drinking at Pleasure Island.
Not a skirt or primary color to be found north of the drawbridge these days, I'm afraid.
Then there's poor, poor Tomorrowland.
Never a region to top the list of "best costume" award winners, this area is absolutely languishing in the modern era.
The flumpy silver jackets.
The 21st Century shirts from a futuristic bowling alley or full-service gas station.
Hey, it isn't like they aren't trying.
Here is an article about modern Disneyland costuming, to show that it is quite a process to outfit thousands of cast members.
No doubt, one or two stinker costumes are going to rear their ugly heads within such a wide and varied mix.
Anyhow, we really should applaud the fact that the Disneyland show continues.
There are pirates and Haunted Mansion hosts and hostesses, Riverboat Captains, Big Thunder miners, canoe explorers and even jungle skippers that actually look the part.
Soon they'll be bearded and mustachioed.
Not so bad for Pirates, I guess, but I'll miss the clean-cut, All-American look that Disneyland cast members once sported.
I know, I know, "But Walt had a mustache!"
Okay, you start your own animation and entertainment empire, design, build and launch an utterly new type of theme park against all odds and amass armfuls of Academy Awards, all while keeping the whole enterprise moving and afloat somehow - then you can wear any mustache you want.
Oh, and Walt could pull it off. Like Clark Gable or Caesar Romero or Douglas Fairbanks.
I am sure things will work out.
Not every change is the equivalent of "New Coke" or the Edsel or doubling the price of Netflix.
Look, most of the dwarves have beards.
So do Jafar, Stromboli, the Queen's Hunstman, Merlin, King Triton, Jack Sparrow, Captain Hector Barbossa and others.
Mustaches abound as well: Captain Hook, Mr. Darling, Gepetto, Mr. Potato Head (okay, he's Pixar), etc.
Of course, back in the 1980s, things were a bit different.
Let us close with a quote from one of the Three Little Pigs:
"Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!"

Today's post was brought to you by Burma Shave:

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And one more for the road:

He had the ring

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She felt his chin

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Burma Shave


Friday, March 16, 2012

Jungle is "101" - Disneyland's Jungle Cruise And Other Disneyland Stuff: Disneyland - Bats Day

Jungle is "101" - Disneyland's Jungle Cruise And Other Disneyland Stuff: Disneyland - Bats Day: Long after my initial romp as a Disneyland cast member, starting in 1999, a curiously strange and clearly "unofficial" event began at the Pa...

Disneyland - Bats Day

Long after my initial romp as a Disneyland cast member, starting in 1999, a curiously strange and clearly "unofficial" event began at the Park - Bats Day.
It started as a promotion put on between "goth/industrial and death rock clubs Absynthe and Release the Bats," according to the official Bats Day site at
Gee, when I worked there I think Sparks was about the most "cutting edge" thing to enter the Park.
Now, a hapless guest at Disneyland on the weekend of May 18 - 20, 2012 will stumble upon herds of folk in black "Goth" attire, eye liner, pancake makeup, fishnets, high leather boots and occasional vampire fangs.
And those are just the toddlers of the group, tagging along in strollers with their similarly-clad mums and dads.
Disneyland and Goth/Death Rock.
Practically peas and carrots, coffee and donuts, salt and pepper, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Martin and Lewis, Simon and Garfunkel, or any other natural pairing, right?
I remember stumbling into my first Bats Day as a guest.
A child in black crepe with eye liner and black lipstick was walking ahead of me with a Mickey Mouse balloon in his small hand.
His proud parents, dressed as what can best be described as a zombie bride and groom, walked on either side of him, beaming with parental pride (as much as folks can "beam" while wearing pasty white makeup!).
I paused.
A longtime resident of Southern California, I chalked it up as a typically family visiting from the San Fernando Valley or maybe North Hollywood.
But then I saw another group of folks in similar dark attire.
And another.
Soon enough I began to feel somewhat out of place in shorts, t-shirt, Nikes and a baseball cap.
Putting self-consciousness aside, I decide to strike up a conversation with one of these guests, to see just what in the heck was up.
"Hi. I'm Mike and I love the top hat and death's head cane! Are you guys with a wayward youth group or something?"
"Oh no," came the friendly and smiling reply, "It's Bats Day!"
Now I had been in and around Disneyland for many decades, but "Bats Day" had never made it onto my Park radar.
He may as well have told me it was "Opossums Day" or "Capybaras Day."
"Ah. Bats Day," I said.
"What...uh...what is Bats Day?"
"It's like when Goth people come to Disneyland for some fun. This is our second year!"
Clearly this was no accident. It appeared to be an event that happened regularly.
"Well, have a great time! Enjoy the Haunted Mansion!"
"Oh, we've been on that three times already! Now we're going to Snow White!"
That went well, I thought.
The rest of the day, in lines, along walkways, in shops and food service locations, I encountered and conversed with Bats Day participants, never quite getting the concept but enjoying the outfits and conversations.
I felt like the guy giving candy on Halloween.
"Look! What a cute little undertaker/dark overlord! Honey, come see!"
Without exception, the people I met were nice, happy to share and genuinely were enjoying themselves.
Maybe this year I'll sport a Dead Skipper or Guest-Control-of-the-Damned costume.
Disney does not officially sanction this gathering, but they seem happy enough to sell admissions, churros and bat-Mickey ears to the participants.
Well, I'll be da...darned.
Hurry! You have only about 60 days to get your outfit together, book your hotel and rent a hearse for the 2012 edition of Bats Day(s)!
Oh, the angst!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Disneyland - Starcade

The crowded cosmic alley that the Space Mountain exit dumps you into, where you can get a photograph of you riding on the attraction or make a quick restroom run, also leads to what was once...

...the Starcade.

In the days before everyone had three gaming systems at home, an iPhone and an iPad, people would actually pay a quarter to play a single video game.
Oooh!  Tell us more, Uncle Mike.
It's true, children.
Why, you can still find some of these old-fashioned, coin-operated video game machines at places like your local miniature golf "family fun center," or the waiting areas of some restaurants, or in dimly-lit, smoke-filled bars that sell Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap and smell of decades of spilled pilsner.
In the mid-1980s, there was even a really goofy TV game show called "Starcade" in which contestants played video games for prizes.  Check it out...

I lived through the 80s.
I can safely say that somehow, I never knew of, nor did I ever see even a moment of, "Starcade" back then.
I only came across it in a search for Disneyland's "Starcade," which actually debuted at the Park in 1977 along with Space Mountain.
It had that late 70s vibe.
It had two stories of video and arcade games!
Air hockey?
How about 10 or more tables?
Even Star Wars made an appearance eventually.
Two stories of arcade!
Nowadays, the arcade is confined to the lower level, with two escalators to nowhere blocked off on the first floor.
An old X-wing fighter hangs from the ceiling above the dormant escalators.
No lines for the hottest machine.
No rows of quarters lined up to "reserve" a machine for the next game.
No groups of people milling around.
More merchandise location than arcade.
Even the Peoplemover no longer glides by the second level (or anywhere else in Tomorrowland for that matter!).
The bands cannot be heard from the Space Mountain stage either, since it was long ago covered over for such 3-D extravaganzas as "Magic Journeys," "Captain Eo" and "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!"
It isn't the lively and bright area it was in the late 70s and early 80s.
It looks like Today finally caught up with Tomorrowland.
Such is life, no?

For now, friends, a fond adieu!
And here's to a great big beautiful Tomorrow!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Disneyland - Pirates Adventures

Having friends in New Orleans/Bear Country Attractions had its benefits.
Among them, the chance to join in the fun before opening or during special events and parties when the Pirates of the Caribbean would be opened up for a cast member tour (some official, most---and the best---unofficial).
If you have never seen the Pirates from outside the boat, let me tell you, you've missed something special.
The Pirates show building sits on the south side of the berm and takes up a good portion of the backstage area behind New Orleans Square.
Like Small World, Pirates has walkways that track the flume where the boats go.
They wind in and out of the "on stage" scenes, blinking back and forth from cavern to chicken wire and plaster (the backside of the rocks that make up the sea caves of the attraction).
There are gangways for access to lighting and sound elements.
A large room near the end of the attraction makes up "boat storage."
You can see the access to boat storage just after you pass under the laughing pirate and enter the burning jail scene.
The backstage areas literally look like a soundstage or a true "back stage." Lots of plywood, 2x4s, wires, electrical boxes, light fixtures and the like.
Most of the back stage consists of walkways with wooden railings.
These are lit with the old style light bulbs in little wire cages to protect the bulbs from being broken when bumped by a ladder or some other contrivance as the maintenance crew works behind the scenes.
Deep in the bowels of the attraction, one will find the pump room.
It is an all-important part of a water-based attraction.
Imagine the amount of water those pumps push through each day!
While you are enjoying your trip, there is an entire crew of maintenance personnel keeping the water flowing, the lights lit, the fire detection/response system operational and the audio-animatronics moving smoothly.
Oh, and they can see you.
Really see you.
Those romantic trips as a teen in the back of the boat through the darkest parts of the ride?
They saw you.
Infrared cameras televise it all to the control tower so that safety can be maintained.
I've heard tell there are still some ancient video tapes floating around with some pretty racy scenes of guests getting the most out of the attraction.
Next time you're feeling amorous in the POTC, be sure to turn and smile!
It'll make some cast member's day!

Gotta run for now.
You guys stay here with the boat.
And don't eat anything Sam tries to sell you.

Trust me.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Disneyland - Some Thoughts

I miss Burl Ives.
And the days when you could step out of the heat and into "America Sings."
Remind me again why they took out the attraction?
Don't get me wrong, "Innoventions" is deeply compelling.
So is the Museum of Ceramic Art.
And the Gallup New Mexico Center for the Development of Motel Management.
And the San Bernardino County Water Treatment Symposium.
The songs and colorful characters of America Sings were always a pleasant experience.
Kids today have nothing like it in the Park.
Winnie the Pooh?
Buzz Lightyear?
Man. There's not even a Country Bear Jamboree this side of Florida.
(Insert wistful sighing noise here).


back at the helm, I remember pushing the throttle gently as my boat chugged along the dock.
I would stare out from my launch at the guests waiting in the queue.
"Oh, Hi! Hey check out my boat!!!
It was WAY more crowded when I left!
Ladies, your wait is over.
Your dreamboat has arrived.
Hey, why the long faces?
You were expecting Clark Gable? Douglas Fairbanks?"
Coasting to the loading dock, I pull the boat into reverse and slip the throttle back to neutral.
The doorways line up with the dock load areas.


(Pause and stare).

"Get in."

(stare some more as guests start to file into the boat).

"Look at you guys.
What? You been at a theme park all day?
Larry (at rear load), I thought I ordered LIVE bait!

(Stare some more at guests).

Sir, let me ask you something,
when you got up today did you say to yourself: Disneyland. Jungle Cruise. Gotta do it!?

(Pause, sighing heavily)

Me too.

(Stare blankly over mic at the guests, raise left eyebrow).

Keep 'em coming, Larry.
Slide all the way forward, ladies.
Forward, ladies.
My! How we in the Jungle enjoy forward ladies!
But that's another long story and I don't want to go into just now.
Looks like Larry and Dave are almost through overloading our boat.
Nice work, fellas.
Remember: a full boat is not just a sign of this attraction's popularity,
it also gives me much more bargaining power with the local natives.
Speaking of which, let me take a quick "head" count.
Okay, 47 and a half.
Looks like we are ready to launch.
Just a friendly reminder before we leave, the Jungle Cruise is not responsible for any lost personal items such as purses, cameras, children or in-laws.
You folks enter the Jungle at your own risk.
away we go.



You'll never see those people back there again.


Oh, my, where are my manners?
My name is Mike, and I'll be your captain, tour guide and fearless leader until things get even the slightest bit dangerous or uncomfortable.
Please keep your hands, arms, feet, legs and in-laws inside the boat at all times.
Watch your children.
First of all, chances are good they're watching YOU!
And secondly, it's literally a Jungle out here.
Most of the plants along the banks are known to actively feed on small children.
But look at the colorful flowers!

I believe you folks know your way in the spiel from here...

Have a wonderful day!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Disneyland - "Hello Everyone..."

"Hello everyone! Welcome aboard the Disneyland Railroad," boomed the familiar baritone voice.
The smell of hot steam and burning brakes wafted past as we pulled out of the station.
I never worked the trains during my stints at the Park, but knew a good deal of folks who had held this position.
The world in front of us clicked steadily by as we rolled through the outskirts of Adventureland.
This shady part of the train's grand circle tour was breezy and cool.
Children seated in the front row of the passenger car peered out over the railing, their eyes tracking the scenery.
The wooden bench felt incredibly smooth.
The rythmic motion instantly instilled a calm humour.
Closing my eyes, I listened to the sounds around me.
I thought how this attraction is another one of the "time portals" the Park has in its arsenal.
Riding the train today feels almost exactly the same as my first trip as a child.
Or as an energy-filled teenager.
A twenty-something college student.
A newlywed.
An uncle.
A dad.
A semi-beat up middle-ager with chronic Disneyland-itis.
Some of the scenery along the way has changed, but the long train, the colorful canopies, the smells, the swaying of the cars---pretty much identical.
Honestly, if there were ever a time portal, I think a steam train would be the vehicle through which it would be entered.
Perhaps that is why a steam train has been the choice of authors of books from "The Polar Express" to "Harry Potter" as a means of transporting characters to distant, magical and fictional places.
Even the "Twilight Zone" employed this device in one of Rod Serling's (and my own) favorite episodes, "A Stop At Willoughby." Check it out for yourself if you've never had the pleasure of seeing the episode: and also a snippet for flavor is below:

Wouldn't it be something to step on the train today and step off at the Frontierland Station in say 1979 or 1983, or any other date since July 17, 1955 for that matter?
Today's wacky world got you down?
Head on over to the Main Street station.

If you need me, I'll be over in Adventureland in 1986.
I'm thinking, summer-ish.
See you there!

P.S., You will also find a "Willoughby" reference as you exit the "Tower of Terror" over at that "other" Park over in Disneyland's old parking lot.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Disneyland - Jolly Holiday - Photos From Last Thursday's Visit

Today we pop by the Park for a view of some updated locations and an out of the way pathway.
We begin at the new Jolly Holiday food service location on Main Street.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
These plucky fellows adorn the main windows. "Order what you will, there'll be no's com-pli-men-ta-reee!"
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App

Here is the interior:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App

A view of the front porch, looking out onto the Plaza and Hub:
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
"I'd know that 'sill-you-wet' anywhere...Mary Poppins!"
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Further down Main Street we see there is still construction at the Carnation Cafe and Blue Ribbon Bakery:
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
And an out of the way locale on the far western edge of the Park in the area now known as Critter Country. Below we see a walkway under the Hungry Bear Restaurant and its back stairway, which are falling into decay it appears. No one seems to use the back porch seating upstairs either.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
A view of the Rivers of America from this path under the Hungry Bear.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
The Matterhorn is getting a facelift. The picture below seems to be missing a Skyway, no?
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Trust me, the old Fantasyland Skyway station is still up there, waiting:
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
And the archway below leads from Snow White's Grotto to Fantasyland (and vice versa).
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
More Matterhorn rehab (as seen from the Hub)...
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Finally, we will close with a view of Main Street on a crystal clear day (last Thursday), with its flowers aglow.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
I hope you've enjoyed today's slices from around the Park. Many happy returns to each of you!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Disneyland - Oh Dear, Mike's Got An Ipad2!

Kids, Mike here. Blogging from Starbucks somewhere in Orange County (Fullerton-ish).
Jungle fans are in trouble.
I've got a new Ipad2 and I'm not afraid to use it.
Perhaps posts will increase precipitously.
You have been warned.

Is it just me, or...

...could you go for a noseful of Pirates of the Caribbean watery cavern smell? the new "Facial hair is okay" policy adopted by the Disney folks kindofa heartbreaker?

...have you encountered one or two pretty good Jungle skippers in your recent trips to the Park? Must be something in the water...

...does a Hearthstone Lounge Bloody Mary sound good right about now? I can see the droplets of condensation forming around the outside of the glass as I type this! Extra spicy, please, James!

...would a front row deck chair on the bow of the Mark Twain be a nice thing to have under you? Ah, watch New Orleans Square slide slowly by you. Be sure to wave at the folks along the shore! Cue the steam whistle blast. One more for good measure. Now the bell: Ding! Ding! "Bowman, cast off bow lines...!"

...are you overdue for a trip to the Park, too? you find that work really seems to get in the way between trips to the Park? Sheesh!

...are these venti iced coffees wickedly good around 10:50 a.m.? Or 5:50 a.m., or 10:30 p.m. for that matter? The first step towards a cure is admitting you have a problem. Hello, I'm Mike and I am a caffeine addict...and I do not wish to quit.

...does Trader Sam look like he's lost some weight? I hear he's switched over to a vegetarian diet, and we all know vegetarians just don't have much meat on them... a return of the Peoplemover now embarrasingly long overdue? Um...hello...the track is pretty much still there (a little Rocket Rods leftover demolition and, boom, we're in business...come on! WED still has the old blueprints somewhere, I'm sure!)

...have an amazingly high number of this blog's hopes and wishes for the Park actually come to pass over the past few years? (Lincoln's back, they've put in a food service location at the Plaza Pavilion, the Park is immaculate, Plaza Gardens has big bands with regularity, the Skyway is again floating high above Fantasyland...okay, 4 out of 5 isn't bad). That's the kind of pull we have here at Jungle is "101"... a few of you out there in Internet Land wish you still had the mouse on your name tag and the name tag on your costume? Move it up, Skip! How many here? Right this way, stay on the outside of the boat and head all the way up to the front by the skipper!

I love you people!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Disneyland - What's It Like?

What's it like to be a Disneyland Cast Member?
I've run up against this question many times over the years.
An answer today might differ somewhat from a Cast Member's answer in the 1950s, 60s, 70s or 80s, I'm sure.
I'll give an answer a shot in my simple, broken manner.
I'm a simple, broken person, after all, so I've gotten pretty good at this approach.
To begin with, if you work at Disneyland and do not think that the very fact you work there is something pretty cool indeed, I say you are missing a key component of your personhood.
You are like a security guard at the Louvre who wanders empty halls at night without noticing, encountering and taking in the artwork that surrounds him.  What a colossal waste!  Why not guard a junkyard instead?
If you came to work at Disneyland solely for a "job" or to complain about your hours, your wages, your bunions or whatever else, I am not sure I understand you.
So, for starters I would say that most Disneylanders felt the job itself was something special.
For a number of us, our role involved being On Stage - out in the Park among the guests.
Some are more outgoing than others.
Others are more outgoing than they should be!
All must admit to a feeling certain small thrill while being part of the Disneyland "show."
Where else in the world is there a job with the goal of making people happy and safe?
Happy and safe in DISNEYLAND, that is?
Sure, the folks working there would love to see their customers safe and happy.
Not the same.
Who at Nordstrom, Macy's, Forever 21, Starbucks, American Eagle, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma or Target or Walmart wouldn't wish to pursue a similar goal?
Nope. Not the same.
There is just something different about the Park, even when compared to its new next-door neighbor, Disney's California Adventure, or to the mega-Disney parks in Florida, Paris, Tokyo, the Antarctic, etc.
Disneyland is its own means and end.
It was touched by its founder and literally lived-in by him!
It defies easy categorization or explanation.
It is escapism and fantasy.
But it is also quite real.
There is, unfortunately, vomit to be cleaned up.
There are screaming children throwing tantrums.
Angry guests at the ends of their respective ropes, losing it on a poor counter girl at Coke Corner.
High prices.
Smells from grease traps and busy restrooms.
These realities fade into the beauty and joy that Disneyland uniquely brings.
They are overcome by the smiles and laughs of children, teens, adults and grandfolk.
They are drowned out by fireworks, flowers, shiny paint, bursts of color, sparkling lights and sheltering trees.
They dwindle to insignificance beside mountains, castles, mansions, Percherons, steam trains, sternwheeled steamboats, treehouses, rivers and pirate ships.
They are obliterated by children's voices singing, steam whistles blowing, cannons discharging, strange and eerie sounds echoing through halls, frontier gunshots, bleating goats, Yeti roars, carousel music, ragtime piano, jungle drums, marching bands, sudden-drop screams and electrosynthemagnetic musical sounds.
They are erased with ice cream, churros, turkey legs, soda, popcorn, fritters, mint juleps, licorice, rock candy, caramel apples, pineapple whips, teriyaki skewers, pizza and fajitas.
They are overrun by waterfalls, spinning teacups, singing birds, clip-clopping horse hooves, dark caverns, icy slopes, flying elephants, dancing natives, pixie dust, flowers, canal boats and miniature houses.
Indeed, the realities have no chance.
The Park's charm and warmth and happiness conquer all.
Being part of all of that was simply a joy.
With Mickey on your name tag, you had a role to play in the grand experience we all know as "Disneyland."
The sheer fun of having fun.
Working with others who were in on the secret.
Reuniting a lost child with a thankful parent.
Making your little corner of the Magic Kingdom, well...
Herding crowds or spending moments one-on-one with someone looking for a restroom, a lost camera, a little conversation, whatever.
Being a little silly---and that's okay!
Solving problems---unexpected problems.
With style.
With diplomacy.
With humor.
Taking a moment to watch the parade go by as you called out, "Please keep to the right!"
Getting to see fireworks every night!
Most of the people you encountered were actually enjoying themselves and having fun!
Your superiors actually wanted you to be nice to people.
Every day.
You got paid money to be at Disneyland.
There's a gig I can handle!
This whole blog is a dim reflection of memories, experiences and feelings that were instilled within me simply by working at the Park.
I know a LOT of other folks who worked there, too, and feel the same way!
Call me a nerd.
Goof off.
A grown up with "Peter Pan" syndrome.
Mickey Mouse.
Terminally un-hip and un-cool.

I'm okay with all of that.

After all, there is one thing I've got on most folks...

I worked at Disneyland!

Well...that's my answer.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Disneyland - Carousel Music and Tom Sawyer's Island, Tomorrowland and the Parking Lot 1988

When the "new" Fantasyland debuted in 1983, it was---and remains---a wonder.
The Old School Disney crew responsible for the redesign did an expected phenomenal job.
Of course, many mourned the loss of the old pirate ship and "Skull Cove," as well as the Fantasyland Theater.
But overall, the area's re-christening was welcomed.
The Dumbo calliope (or "band organ") music resounded through the main area of Fantasyland and provided the theme music for the background of my many shifts there as a sweeper.
Where else in the world do you get to set your work pace to the bouncy tunes of classic Disney standards?
I swear the old collection of songs from the calliope---in the order they played---still runs in my head.
You would stay in step with the Mickey Mouse Club March, You Can Fly from Peter Pan, An Actor's Life For Me!, Bibidi-Bobidi-Boo, Chim Chim Cher-ee, Jolly Holiday,  Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!, Zip-a-dee Doo Dah!, Some Day My Prince Will Come,  etc.
Does anyone have the full list of songs in their original order???

I have written earlier on this blog of a day I when got to work on Tom Sawyer's Island.  I came across this video (originally posted by IngrahamArchives on of the Island in 1988, which shows you how it looked back then.  It is a slice of nostalgia for you Park lovers, served up hot with a cup of bad coffee---as though we were on a break at the Inn Between! It contains footage from inside the now closed Fort Wilderness---*sigh.*  Well, without further ado, here you go:

While we're on the subject, here is another clip from IngrahamArchives that gives us a glimpse of the Tomorrowland I knew and loved and (at the end) a view of the wonderful 100-acre Disneyland parking lot.  You can see the Cast Member parking area (at 6:50 - 7:011-ish on the video), as well as the canopies of the General Motors display that was installed in front of the Park as part of its 30th anniversary celebration in 1985 (these appear for a flash at 7:12)---I had many a Main Gate sweeping shift and wound my way through the display with a pan and broom out there. Now you can see what it was like (from a distance!)

And for a closer view of the parking lot and main entrance area of the Park as it looked back in my day, here is a video from 1990---the areas depicted in the video are largely the same as they would have appeared 3-5 years earlier---you'll will note the extreme lack of Disney's California Adventure, for example!  This was posted by Mr.Disneyfanman and I thank him for putting it on YouTube:

Hope you enjoyed today's brief trip back in time!

All the best, to each and every one you!
All four (4) of you, to be exact!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Disneyland - Town Square Sweep Shift

In my sweeper days, I was assigned a summer to Main Street.
I had several Town Square shifts, some opening and some closing.
As a sweeper, you literally learn every inch of the area.
With eyes trained to hunt and destroy objects as small as a kernel of popcorn or a smashed cigarette butt, one becomes keenly attuned to the environment.
The best part about Main Street was my ability to circle Town Square and then pop into the shops and attractions there for a blast of air conditioning and to chat up the cast member at the turnstile.
From the vendors at the gift stands at either main entrance tunnel to the conductors of the Disneyland Railroad to the girl in the yellow dress outside Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln to the plaid-adorned tour guides at and around City Hall.
I knew the cashiers in the Emporium and even bumped into my pals who were working Jungle at the time.
Many skippers would cross over to Adventureland from the cast member gate by the Mad Hatter to the backstage door next to the Fire Department.
"Doug!  You closing tonight, too?"
"Oh hey, Mike.  Yep.  Don's the lead tonight, so we should be in for some real fun."
"Say hi to him for me.  Guess I'll see you around.  I'm on 'til 1:30 a.m.  Joy."
"Ooh!  Man, you need to transfer into attractions!  I'm out by 12:30 at the latest!"
"Thanks for that.  At least I'm not chained to a boat doing laps around vegetation!" 
"You WISH you were me, so don't give me that!  Have fun picking gum out of flower beds!"
"May you derail."
"Oh, I'd like that!  We'd be down for at least half an hour!"
"Charley Browns after work?"
"Probably.  I'll see what everyone's up for.  Might hit Acapulcos.  So long, sweeper boy!"
I pushed him through the backstage door, gently...okay not so gently...slamming it into his backside as he beat a retreat to the back area.
I'd then do a lap around the square along the sidewalks, my broom snapping bits into the jaws of my metal pan.
Inscribed in permanent marker along the side of the pan were the words "Jaws II" and some triangular, cartoonish teeth.
Each sweeper had their own Sharpie design on the sides of their pans, except for the "lifer" guys.
Mine was "Jaws II," as "Jaws" had been retired after a season in Fantasyland---it had developed a rusted hole along the bottom and could not be repaired.
Up the many steps to the Main Street train station.
Tim stood at the entrance making notes on the turnstile "count" on an old clipboard.
His name tag born a cherished 10-year pin.
"How we doing?" I asked.
"Slow day.  Only about 20,000 in-Park right now.  We're barely cycling guests at the moment.  The last train was almost a dead head!"
He looked sharp in his vest, white shirt and rail road cap.
I always admired the Railroad costumes.
Similar to the ones we used to wear on the Mark Twain.
He was exaggerating a bit.
Though 20,000 was hardly a crowd in the expanse of the Park, it was certainly enough bodies to fill more than a few train cars---and they were running three trains, since it was summer.
"I'm heading home; had an opening shift." Tim remarked as he glanced at the pocket watch he pulled from his vest.
His salt and pepper gray hair under his cap, the tiny wrinkles developing around his eyes and his naturally calm, "farmer-like" demeanor made him a natural for the role of Disneyland Railroad conductor.
"I'm afraid I'm here 'til after closing," I announced with a sigh.  "Still, there's worse jobs!"
"You have no idea.  Wouldn't trade this one for all the money in the world.  Looks like the Company's going really attack our benefits during this next contract negotiation, though."
The Strike of 1984 was soon to be a reality.
It would mark the end of Disneyland as we knew it and there was literally nothing anyone could do about it.
The new management was not the Disney family of old.
A group of outsiders had come in, with Roy Disney and his attorney Stanley Gold orchestrating the changing of the guard.
The Company itself had been the subject of a hostile takeover bid by a 1980s corporate raider.
Walt's son-in-law, Ron Miller, was forced out and the Company was about to begin building toward the mega-corporation it has become today.
No matter.
On that afternoon there were still tons of "lifers" and long-timers in the ranks of Disneyland cast members.
I am glad to have had the chance to work among them.
It was a grand time.
More to follow, I'm sure...


Monday, January 16, 2012

Disneyland - Let's Get Specific

Heidi Ho, Neighbor!  Been awhile, I know.
Today in the Jungle we get specific.
And share photos from today's trek to the Park.

[DISNEY NERD ALERT: The next section is for Disneyland nerds---despite our best efforts to avoid such content, even we in the Jungle occasionally lapse into it---Disney Nerdville; it's a lot like the stuff you occasionally step into while exploring Water Buffalo habitat.  Anyhow, here it goes...]

Sure, you all know about Club 33, but upon what street is it located?

A:  Royal Street.  33 Royal Street, New Orleans Square, to be exact.  Meet you there at 6:30 p.m. for an icy Martini---dirty, of course.

Speaking of addresses, riddle me this, what is the address of the French Market?

A: 30 Orleans Street, but who's counting?  See below.
Oh yeah, well where would you find the Mint Julep Bar?

A: Front Street.  Located at the "back" of New Orleans Square, "Front" Street actually runs along the train tracks.  The Julep Bar is just west (past the stairs) of No. 15 Front Street.

What are the two (2) addresses for the world famous Cafe Orleans?

A:  The main entrance is at 20 Royal Street, but it also has the address of 42 Esplanade (the entrance to the restaurant's main patio, along the famed Rivers of America riverfront).

While we're on the subject, the Cristal d'Orleans is at 23 Orleans Street, just across from Mlle. Antoinette's Parfumerie (24 Orleans St.).

Here's a view of the ancient oak that resides in the planter at the northwest corner of the French Market, providing shade for a goodly chunk of western New Orleans Square.

Who "operates" the Jungle Cruise today?

A:  The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd (since 1911) - you'll see their sign between Jungle's main entrance and the Tropical Imports stand.

Who do you see in Adventureland if you're looking to be inked with an Oriental tatoo?

A: Prof. Harper Goff (he gives banjo lessons, too---also designed the Jungle Cruise, among other things).

 And as your heading up the stairs to see Prof. Goff, you can hang a right and see the old Jungle break area "porch" (pictured below).  Better get back to your rotation before your break window closes, or you may never get out of that boat once you get back in it!!
Pssstt!  Wanna see something really Bazaar?
Take a look across the street after exiting the Jungle Cruise.

Excuse me, but where in the Park will you find sconces like the one pictured below?  
 A: Inside Davy Crockett's Pioneer Mercantile Exchange.

Can you name the hat shop whose sign adorns the building next door to the Golden Horseshoe?

A: Crockett & Russel Hat Co. (Their coonskin cap logos are on either side of their name).

All right, a few more.

What will you find at 101 Main Street?

A:  The Emporium.

What store is located next door to the Emporium, at 107 Main Street?

A:  The Crystal Arcade.

What is the name and address of the shop directly across the street from the eastern entrance doors of the Emporium?

A: The 20th Century Music Company (106 Main Street).

Enough of that stuff.

I mean, what next?  Hidden Mickeys?


All right, to round out today's "nerdy" theme, how about a report from today's trip to the Park?

The Park is under rehab left and right!  From the Matterhorn (scaffolding up the slopes), to Main Street (shut down on the east side from Carnation Cafe to Coke Corner) to the Columbia (in Fowler's Harbor drydock) to the Adventureland main entrance and beyond.

Good to see the company is keeping up the "Crown Jewel" original of its many theme parks.

Today it was cold at the Park. 
Sitting under heat lamps on the patio of the Rancho del Zocalo, we watched the Mark Twain, its decks aglow in sparkling yellow lights, ease up to its dock in the dusky twilight at 5:44 p.m. and end its run.

It was also chilly at the "other park" across the way.
We took in The Little Mermaid (well done and worth the 15-minute wait).

Checked out the new food area on the east side (lots of covered seating and you can get Mediterranean fare or pizza and salads---mental note for those hot days when shade and ceiling fans are absolute musts!).

Cars Land construction continues to hum along--we took a look from the porch of the Blue Sky Disney Imagineering exhibit.

The whole main entrance area at DCA is fenced off still and as you enter the park, they have everyone walk to the right, behind the Soarin' building.

They also still have fences up along the World of Color lagoon.

On the way out of Disneyland, we caught the parade on Main Street.
From "Step in Time" chimney sweeps to Dixieland Jazz, all the princesses, characters, songs and dancing you could hope to pack into a Main Street parade.
Do not miss it---and this is from a grizzled veteran, who's seen just about everything that can straggle down Main Street!!

Thanks for hangin' in there between posts, Jungle fans!!

You are four (4) of the best friends a skipper could ever want!

That reminds me...

You know what the hungry Green Giant said, after he reached into a random bag of mixed veggies in his freezer and pulled out a morsel?

"I gotta pea!"

Yes sir, folks, we offer only the highest quality entertainment in these parts!
Now move along!
Dock side!  Please, exit out the front.
Water side, you'll be helped out by the rear.
If you get lost, check in with our helpful "Guest Relations" cast member below.

He'll be more than glad to tell you exactly where to go!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Disneyland - Jungle Cruise - The Way We Were

Scavenging along the shoreline of the Internet, I came across the following footage of the old Jungle Cruise from 1992.  It shows the attraction as it was when I first worked it, including the old hornbill at the turn in the river that is now occupied by the queue for Indiana Jones.  Even "Old Smiley" is referenced by the skipper (a favorite joke at this part of the old river was "Old Smiley is the oldest and laziest crocodile in these parts, he just sits around my boat waiting for a handout.  Just last week I had an English teacher on board.  She put her hand out.  Now she teaches...shorthand").  I miss the old guy.

Many thanks to Eric aka MrDisneyfanman for originally posting this to YouTube.  Since there are relatively few good videos of the mid to late 1980s Jungle Cruise, I found this one to be useful because it really shows the old queue, the dock, Trader Sam, the striped canopied boats, even the old Jungle costume as they appeared around the time I first worked the attraction.

Hope all of you Jungle fans have a great day today, wherever you may be. 
I love each and every one of you.
Except you in the back.
Yeah, over there on the left.
I'm keeping an eye on you.
Well, it's 8:04 a.m. and time for a Jungle Julep.
Last night the Tiki Gods had a party.
Some luau!
When tiki drums begin to pound, my head full BIG sound!
Cheers, Jungleteers!
And remember, nothing says good, clean Disney fun like human skulls over Adventureland!