Thursday, June 11, 2020

Oh, for a drink at Trader Sam’s...

Greetings, Jungleteers!

I dug out my old Blogger account access and have taken a few moments to jot down some thoughts about the Park.  My first thought as I sit behind the old Royal typewriter here by the dock is that it has been a very long time since I’ve held an icy tiki drink from old Trader Sam’s.
The above photo was taken in June 2018, and a few things have happened since then. You may have noticed.
I’m not sure I could’ve imagined Disneyland shutting down for more than a few days, yet here we are.
An empty Park.
Do not get me wrong, I always enjoyed the Park when it was empty and I either came on for an early morning shift or was walking out after a closing shift.
But MONTHS of emptiness?
Not a single guest since some time in March?
This is strange.
Now we get word that it will open again In time for its birthday on July 17.
I raise a glass to that.
If I were nostalgic for the good old days when I first began putting together this little blog over a decade ago, I am not sure how to begin to describe my feelings today.
I am even more grateful to have been able to experience Disneyland with thousands and thousands of people around me, no face mask in sight.
We are social creatures. The Park was meant to be a place where young and old could enjoy it together.
It was meant to evoke an individual response, while allowing guests to also share the experience with their friends and loved ones.
Aside from a carousel horse or perhaps an Autopia vehicle or Doombuggy, its Attractions were designed to move people as groups.
It is difficult to remain socially distant on a Jungle boat during peak summer months.
Perhaps a part of the appeal of the Jungle Cruise was the fact that the guests and the skipper were stuck in the boat together, having to face the wilds of the jungle with only each other.
As a skipper, I faced thousands and thousands of guests per day during the peak season, with every imaginable manner of virus and bacteria literally teeming aboard my craft.
At the unload position, my bare hand grasp the elbows of thousands and thousands of men, women and children as I help them to exit the boat.
The locker area backstage was shared and touched by thousands of cast members, as were the offices, break areas, Inn Betweens, vending machines, door handles, attraction control knobs, ropes and poles used for guest control during each and every parade or fireworks display, PA microphones in the queues and at the bow of our Jungle boats, .38 caliber guns we used to “scare” hippos away from our boats, handles of thousands of strollers that we moved from walkways to stroller parking areas, hundreds of thousands of scraps of paper or cups or food or diapers or other debris of every imaginable sort that we routinely picked up and threw away as part of our daily tasks in the interest of maintaining the Park and good “Show.”  Each and every one of these persona, surfaces, objects, tools, or things were encountered by us Cast Members without thought or care that we might be inviting our own doom.
That is how it should be.
If there is one thing I learned in the Jungle, it is that we move through a very dangerous world, and there’s always something around the corner that might represent danger.
There are no guarantees.
Sometimes we will fall ill.
Life itself may bring unexpected challenges, even bacteria, virus, or disease.
There are piranhas, Tse Tse flies, Headhunters, and much worse to be faced.
The trick is not to let fear prevent you from adventure and the joys of life!
For the world also has cures, healing, love, rebirth, strength, heroism, tenacity, togetherness, medicine  of all kinds, and laughter — one of the best medicines of all!
Here’s to reopening!
Here’s to some semblance of normalcy!
Make it a Mai Tai, Sam.
Make it a double!

—Mike

6 comments:

MW said...

Can't believe you made a new post! Can't believe I actually checked the site and read it! I was stumbling through my favorites list trying to clean some things up and found the link to your site. I really enjoyed it back in the day! Thanks for all the good memories.

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Unknown said...

Geez Mike! I thought you disappeared after the Thanos snap! Or was that only in the Avengers? (Who cares, Disney owns it all anyway.) Keep posting. This is a great place for the rest of us to remember what it was like to work in the park.

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Bu said...

I just found your Blog and can say that I am completely obsessed and am not stopping until I see every post and every picture! We must have crossed paths more than once in my 1980-1990 stint at the Park. You have also posted a photo of me- albeit many years ago- and I was flattered to get some critical analysis of my hair...which unfortunately, is no longer with me :) Thanks for all of the memories- there are so many people that I remember now that you've jarred my memory. Looking forward to you posting again and hope all is well. Thank you.