Pirates Turns 50!

Over the weekend Disneyland’s beloved attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean turned 50. Yes, believe it or not, the pirates have been pillaging and plundering for a whole half of a century and the attraction has been reimagined across the globe. To celebrate, I whipped up a Pirates parasol featuring the mural of Anne Bonny and Mary Read that is painted on the walls of the attraction shortly after entering. I have a soft spot for these ladies, as they were pretty bad ass, and I wrote a paper about them in high school. You can learn about these amazing women with this article written by one of my favorite historians, Karen Abbott. I also wore a pirate inspired ensemble for the occasion.

I feel like an anniversary such as this is a wonderful occasion to talk about the history of the attraction. Could you ever imagine Pirates of the Caribbean without riding in those little boats? It just seems perfect, doesn’t it? Well, it was almost a plain ol’ wax museum! But by 1963, the wax museum was put on the back burner as Walt Disney looked ahead to the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, where he committed to building four attractions, all of would find homes at Disneyland after the closing of the World’s Fair. They were Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, “it’s a small world”, the Magic Skyway with Ford Motor Company, where guests rode in a new Mustang and witness the progression of history, and this included the Primeval World that would land along the Disneyland Railroad after, and the Carousel of Progress, which left Disneyland in 1973, but still exists in Walt Disney World. But it was “it’s a small world” and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln that really changed the game for Pirates. The success of the boats in “it’s a small world” meant that an ocean voyage type ride was possible. And President Lincoln was the first successful human Audio-Animatronic, leading to giving these would be static pirates, a life all their own!

The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction has seen a series of changes over the years. In 1997 many of the “sexist” elements were changed. Originally pirates chased women, with the exception of a larger woman chasing a scrawny older pirate, this changed to the women chasing the pirates, and the pirates had armfuls of food, to make it seem they were stealing. There was another pirate, dubbed the “Pooped Pirate”, who held a piece of woman’s clothing, and a woman popping out of a barrel behind him. The pirate said some rather lewd things, and he too got a more PC makeover. He became the “Gluttonous Pirate” holding a chicken leg, and a cat replaced the woman. He then talked about how full he was. But after the massive success of the 2003 film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, based on the attraction, film characters such as Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa joined the attraction in 2006. And the “Gluttonous Pirate” receive yet another change, Jack replaced the cat, and the chicken leg was replaced with a map, and then the pirate shared how excited he was to have the treasure map, and how Jack will never get his hands on it. Captain Jack joined some other scenes, Captain Barbossa takes the helm of the large pirate ship that is firing its cannons, Davy Jones speaks to Guests through a waterfall, and other lines in the attraction have seen change to accommodate a Jack Sparrow plot.

To learn more about Pirates of the Caribbean, I highly recommend the book Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies by Jason Surrell.

Below you’ll find one of my favorite videos about Pirates, from the Wonderful World of Disney, it gives you a behind the scenes look at the creation of the attraction, its opening day festivities, and a float through, so you can see the original scenes that have since changed.


Outfit
Pirate Hat: Target (during Halloween)
Blouse: Buffalo Exchange
Skirt: Pinup Girl Clothing
Shoes: Re-Mix
Earrings: Aquanetta
Brooch: I honestly don’t remember…
Rings: Belonged to my grandmother
Parasol: Made by Me

All Aboard!

While many were busy celebrating Mother’s Day last weekend, we were busy celebrating Patrick’s birthday, which happened to fall on Mother’s Day this year, just as it did when he was born. Now, that isn’t to say we didn’t think of our mothers that day! So don’t sit there thinking we totally ignored them! Anyway! But as it was Patrick’s birthday, I allowed him to decide what we did with the day, and we spent it at Disneyland exploring the unique train offerings that are currently going on due to Star Wars land construction, as he loves the Disneyland Railroad. Gear up for a pretty picture and history heavy post!

Typically Disneyland offers the opportunity for Guests to board real steam engine trains and embark on a Grand Circle Tour of Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom, stopping at Main Street USA, New Orleans Square (originally was the stop for Frontierland), Toontown (originally the stop for Fantasyland), and Tomorrowland, as well as a visit to the Grand Canyon and a trip back in time and see some dinosaurs. However, Disneyland is undergoing some massive changes, including its first expansion to the park in over twenty years, with the addition of what everyone is simply calling “Star Wars Land” (whether or not that is going to be its real title is still up for debate, but I digress). The construction is having an impact on the railroad and thus excursions on the Disneyland Railroad have been temporarily halted. But Disneyland has made up for the lack of transportation by offering a unique opportunity. Guests can now get up close and personal with the trains (I was in awe of the hand-painted details!), even sit inside the cab of the train, where the engineers sit, and talk with them!

The train parked at the New Orleans Square train station is C.K. Holliday, and the first train at Disneyland. It was built at the Studio in 1954, and was there for opening day in 1955. It’s named after the Santa Fe railroad founder, Cyrus Kurtz Holliday.

You can also cross the tracks at the New Orleans Square Station and approach the telegraph office. Before construction of New Orleans Square, the area was still part of Frontierland, and the station featured a yellow and brown color scheme and was used as the ticket booth for Guests wishing to ride the train. (check out some pictures from Daveland here) The station moved across the tracks in 1962 to make more room for New Orleans Square, where it sits today and serves as ambiance and a break room for Cast Members. This gave me a chance to get close to one of my favorite details, the telegraph that sits in the window, which is continually “sending” Walt’s opening day speech in Morse code.

Also available on the opposite side of the tracks is a cutaway engine and both boards and an engineer to explain how a steam train works. Plus Guests can actually blow the train whistle!

At the Main Street USA Station Guests can view boards that discuss Walt’s love affair with trains and feature many photos. He loved trains so much so that he built his own personal miniature, 1/8th scale train (though large enough to sit on and ride) in backyard of his Holmby Hills home.

Outfit
Frontierland tee: Mickey’s of Glendale booth at D23
Skirt: Pin-Up Girl Clothing
Cowboy boots: Buffalo Exchange

D23

Oh my, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Well, for several reasons, I was really stressed out over something, which I hope to share soon, and my summer cold has been dragging on and on. But I still managed to get myself to the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend for D23 Expo.

So, what is D23, you ask? D23 is hailed as “The Ultimate Disney Fan Event”. It is an event hosted by Disney to celebrate Disney, the old and the new, and all forms, such as films, parks, and products. In a way, it’s basically like ComicCon, but strictly Disney (which of course now includes Lucasfilm and Marvel). There are booths to shop at, actors and artists doing signings, exhibits to explore, and of course panels to sit in on – most of which did not allow photos.

This was my first D23 (and only the fourth that the Company has hosted) and I was super excited, especially with the newly added Walt Disney Archives Stage, a platform for the Archives to present unique looks back at Disney’s past. Another panel that offered a peek into Disneyland’s history was hosted by Charles Phoenix. I have been a fan of Phoenix’s work for a long time, but it was the first time I heard him speak, and it was a delight to see old images of Disneyland and hear him tell stories. We also attended a panel on the shortly lived Don DeFore’s Silver Banjo Barbecue, which was hosted by DeFore’s sons, and a panel, similar to Phoenix’s, but hosted by Disney archivists, sharing images and information about long since gone Disneyland attractions. But by far the highlight of the entire event was Disneyland: The Exhibit, presented by the Archives. So read on if you’re a Disneyland fan, and would like a peek at some of Disneyland’s most unique artifacts!  Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Disneyland!

On July 17th, 1955, Walt Disney, famous prior for his feature length animated films and a little guy called Mickey Mouse, introduced the world to a new form of family entertainment with his creation, Disneyland. On that day, which was full of festivities, though not without issues (including women’s heels sinking into the freshly laid asphalt, as temperatures reached 100), Guests got to step into the stories that Walt brought to life, through the innovative attractions in Fantasyland, they got to look into the future in Tomorrowland, join skippers on a dark jungle cruise in Adventureland, hitch a ride on a stagecoach in Frontierland, and of course walk down Main Street USA to see how their grandparents may have lived. Sixty years later, Disneyland is just as magical, with new lands and many new attractions over the years, and on July 17th, 2015, Guests got to reflect on Disneyland’s history.

Leading up the the Park’s birthday, Disneyland announced they wished their Guests to “Show their 1955 Disney side”, by wearing “1955-inspired ensembles”. As I selected my outfit, I knew I would have change out of it, store it, and change back into it, as I did work that day, and chose for a rather no-fuss outfit, but one that I still felt was neat for the day. Awhile ago, Joanna of Dividing Moments, brought this skirt to my attention, and I was thrilled to finally wear it to the Park. It is a skirt that was originally sold at the Guatemalan Weavers shop in Adventureland, which today is the Indiana Jones Outpost. You can actually spy Guatemalan Weavers in the background of this photo I found on the blog Stuff From the Park. I also wore a vintage Disneyland button featuring Tink.

To celebrate, Disneyland hosted a small ceremony in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, with the president of Disneyland, Michael Colglazier, who was later joined by Richard Sherman, one half of the incredible song-writing and composing duo, the Sherman brothers, who penned the classics from Mary Poppins, among many other Disney works. Sherman was joined by the current Broadway Mary Poppins, Ashley Brown, who sung one of Walt’s favorite songs, “Feed the Birds”, as Richard played the piano. The two then lead Guests in singing “Happy Birthday” to Disneyland.

Prior to the day-time parade, Mickey’s Soundsational, they had a mini parade featuring Cast Members who were there when it all started in 1955, along with a few very lucky current Cast Members.

Additionally, Guests were given cupcakes, and had unique photo opportunities throughout the park, including backdrops made by blowing up images of old photographs of Disneyland, and one of the old stagecoaches!

Patrick brought along the dual lens, and I’m eager to get the pictures back from the photo shop, and hope to share them with you!

I’m not sure that Walt knew that what he created that day would have the reach and draw it does today, with multiple parks across the globe, and tens of thousands coming through the turnstiles everyday. I feel very special to have been a part of celebrating Disneyland’s 60th birthday, and I also feel special to continue Walt’s dream of creating a place where dreams come true.

Outfit
Top: Jet Rag, Los Angeles, California
Skirt: Ebay
Disneyland Button: Expo
Scarf: Who knows!
Shoes: Miss L Fire

A Visit to the Studio

Another one of the perks of being a Cast Member for the Disneyland Resort is access to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. Of course it is limited access, I can’t just go stepping onto a sound stage during filming, but it is access nonetheless! Recently, the ultimate Disney fan club, D23, announced the recent lobby display for the Disney Archives, which celebrates the 75th anniversary of Walt Disney Studios. The display boasted a wide variety of items from the archives, from models to furniture to props, and I was extremely excited. But before I geek out too much about the archives, how about a peek at my outfit.

Read on for a glimpse into the Walt Disney Studio…

Continue reading

Will You Be My Valentine?

In all honesty, I care little for Valentine’s Day. Patrick and I don’t even celebrate the holiday. But I find it a good excuse to wear as much pink and red clothing as I can and accessorize with my heart-shaped jewelry as much as possible throughout the month of February. Like Christmas, Patrick and I figured why not go to Disneyland and see what was brewing there. It also gave me a good excuse to wear a newly acquired, and very appropriate pin!

My day started out wonderfully when I spotted Chip and Dale shortly after walking through the gates, who attempted to make a heart around me for the holiday.

My pin is a recent Ebay purchase, when I felt the need for more Clarice pins in my life, and Ebay seemed the best place, as the Resort seems to rarely carry merchandise with her on it! (If you don’t know who Clarice is, check out my Halloween post from last year!) And Chip and Dale expressed great interest in my pin, Chip even pantomimed his heart pitter-pattering at the thought of her.

Near where we snapped these photos is one of my favorite “hidden in plain sight” gems of Disneyland, one of the last remaining ticket booths.

You can spy one of these ticket booths in action in a close up of one of my family’s pictures taken in the late 70s.

Before the days of the one ticket for everything at Disneyland, Guests purchased entry to the park and tickets of varying values for the various attractions. Park entry could be attached to a ticket book, and you could purchase additional ticket books in the park at these ticket booth locations, very similar to a carnival. Tickets were graded on a value of A through D, with the E ticket being introduced in 1959. A tickets represented the lower key attractions, such as the carousel, working their way toward more intense attractions. E represented the best of the best, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Matterhorn, and the phrase “E ticket” went on to represent how awesome something was. Astronaut Sally Ride described her first space shuttle launch as an “E ticket” experience. Ticket books disappeared entirely in 1982, introducing the system we now know today, and today ticket books have faded into obscurity, though hard-core Disneyland fans will always have a soft spot for them, including myself. After purchasing the iPhone 5S (which was larger than its predecessor) I needed a new phone case, and was ecstatic when I found a ticket book one on Ebay, which is what you see in the photo above.

Awhile back the old ticket booth was home to a small film and memory card kiosk, for Guests in the event they ran out of film, or space on their digital camera’s memory cards. But I guess the need for film, and additional memory cards (as current memory cards can hold thousands of photos now) has diminished enough that there is no longer a need to use this location. Currently film and memory cards are available at Disney’s Photo Pass Service along Main Street.

After spending some time in Disneyland we popped over to California Adventure for awhile where I spied Chip and Dale yet again and I couldn’t resist wishing them a Happy Valentine’s Day.

As you may have guessed, we’re home now, and are planning on running a few errands before needing to drive into LA to pick up my brother and his girlfriend who will be visiting for the next week, including several days in the park! So I’m very excited for that. I hope you all are having a lovely holiday and weekend!

Outfit
Vintage Sweater: Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon
Dress: Stop Staring, by way of Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon
Belt: Nordstorm
Shoes: Re-Mix, by way of a rummage sale
Pin: Ebay
Purse: My Christmas present from Patrick, though from Disneyland

Where it All Began

Over the weekend Patrick and I went to the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. Now, normally I’m not one to go to a place just to ride a carousel, but the place has a very special meaning. Built in 1926, the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round is often described as the place where Walt Disney first thought up the idea for Disneyland.

In an interview (later shown as part of the The First Fifty Magical Years, viewable here), Walt described spending Saturdays with his two daughters where he would “sit on a bench, you know, eating peanuts” watching his two girls ride the merry-go-round and it is here that Walt thought to himself “there should be something built, some kind of amusement enterprise where the parents and the children could have fun together.” So, in a way, our visit was a pilgrimage of sorts to the place where Walt first dreamed up Disneyland.

The merry-go-round also houses one of the original benches that was at the merry-go-round during the time period Walt took his daughters. Although only visible when riding the carousel. Two other benches are on display, one at Disneyland, just inside the Opera House, and another at the Walt Disney Family Museum, which you can sit on.

When we arrived, I was personally shocked at the state of the carousel. Horses were lacking in color, and worn from the years, and even a portion of the carousel’s ceiling was missing. However the the carousel appears to be in mid-restoration, with some of the scenes around the top looking freshly painted, while others have completely faded, although I can find no articles mentioning restoration. There was one sled that had been fully restored, although with funds from the Walt Disney Family Foundation.

After Patrick and I took a short hike to the old LA Zoo, a place I have been dying to visit for sometime, which will be getting its own post, so look for that soon!

Outfit
Blouse: Jet Rag, Los Angeles, California
Pink Jeans: Old Glory Antique Mall, Vancouver, Washington
Mocassins: Minnetonka
Purse: Found by my dad
Scarf: ???
Bangles: Here and there
Robin Hood Pin: Disneyland