Friday, March 28, 2008

Cinderella's Castle & Liberty Square - 1972

Here's another round of personal photographs from Walt Disney World in 1972. Again, these are just some random shots that my folks took on their honeymoon...nothing special. They do, however, offer a look at the Magic Kingdom in it's very early days. The biggest thing you'll notice in these pictures is the lack of foliage around the park. There seems to be a lot more open space in these photos. After 16 years of only having the smaller Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, Cinderella's east coast counterpart must have seemed very majestic to Disney enthusiasts at the time. This picture on the left shows the grand backside of the castle, probably from the vantage point of the Sky Ride.

Didn't there used to be alot more topiaries around the resort!? Who's idea was it to scale back the topiary budget? Check out the "tail" end of a topiary creature slinking it's way across the bottom right corner of this picture.

The Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat docked.

A very crowded queue for the Haunted Mansion. The house looks kinda different sitting there all by itself - not surrounded by big trees.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Main Street U.S.A. - 1972

The other day I shared some WDW Resort ID cars from my parents' honeymoon in 1972. I've uncovered some other goodies from that trip, and today we're going to open up the family photo album and share some pics from the Magic Kingdom circa June 1972. We'll start our tour, as all visits to MK do, on Main Street U.S.A. These shots aren't earth shattering but it's always fun to see old photos of Walt Disney World, especially when you're going back to the days when the resort was only nine months old.

Here's Mickey at the 2:00 "Character Parade".

Donald waves hi from the fire truck. A nice shot of the Borden sponsored Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.

I guess at this point, these parade pictures are pretty self-explanatory.

Last, we have a double decker bus making its way around Town Square.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Free Comic Book Day

I thought I'd piggyback off yesterday's excellent Gyro Grearloose post over at 2719 Hyperion and offer up some fun news concerning the Duckburg inventor. Walt Disney's Gyro Gearloose will be one of the featured titles on this year's Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 3. If you can't figure it out from the name, Free Comic Book Day is a day where you can go to your local comic book store and pick up free specially produced issues of tons of different comic books. It's a great way for new people to discover the world of comics and for seasoned comic readers to try out some new titles. This years offering includes this Gyro book with stories by Carl Barks and Don Rosa. The official word on the book:
Scrooge and Launchpad join their gadget-man pal for a book full of inventive adventure! Gyro creates a super cheese in Carl Barks’ and Don Rosa’s “Pied Piper of Duckburg”; a money rescue system in “Cave of the Winds”; and several awesome — but not quite uncrashable — planes in William Van Horn’s “All Quacked Up!”

This exciting Disney freebie is known as a Silver Book, meaning that every store participating in Free Comic Book Day is not going to have it. Last year they announced a Mickey Mouse book as part of the offerings. When I showed up at my local comic shop they had not only the Mickey but also a Donald Duck book and an Uncle Scrooge title. So, it's worth the trip out just to see what they might have.

Other free comic books to be available on May 3 include The Simpsons, Transformers, Jughead, Gumby, and Superman among many others plus mini-figures from the world of Star Wars and Iron Man. Happy Comic Hunting!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!

One of my favorite parts of any holiday is working Disney into the picture somehow. There's always lots of Disney decorations and sometimes even Disney candy to go around. One of the nice things about being so obsessed with Disney and in particular Mickey Mouse, is that people give me Disney stuff all the time. My mother-in-law found this old Mickey Mouse Easter Egg Color Kit at an antique mall and picked it up for me a few years back. This item was produced by SunHill Industries of Stamford, CT. There's no date on it, but I'm guessing it's from the early 80's based on the artwork and the old Walt Disney Productions copyright on the back.
All the box contains is four standard dye tablets and the traditional "egg dipper". The Disney fun comes on the back of the box where you can cut out two pairs of nifty little Mickey Mouse Club hats for your eggs, and the two Egg Holders. At the most, you would have had two Mickey eared eggs and two more eggs sitting on the little cardboard rings. Still, a fun item and a reminder of more innocent times.

SunHill also produced these Little Mermaid Instant Egg Art beauties. Sadly, my ownership of this item does not come from a flea market or antique store. My mom recently found this tucked away somewhere from when I had bought it sometime in the early 90's. And yes, I made a batch of Little Mermaid eggs back then too. But these suckers were cool. This kit comes with 12 egg wrappers which are basically little plastic sleeves that you put the eggs into and then you dunk the eggs into boiling water for 3 seconds and the wrapper shrinks around the egg making very clear and pretty eggs with different characters from the movie. The package doesn't lie..."Prettiest Eggs in Only 3 Seconds!" Then when you cracked the egg the picture just came apart with the shell as if you had hand painted it on the egg! Very cool item! I remember taking some over to my friend Chris' house for dinner Easter night. I'm sure his parents and their other guests thought I was out of my mind...seeing as how I was 19 years old at the time.

This entry into the Disney Easter Egg Decorating Kit cannon is from a couple of years ago. I found them at Dollar Tree of all places! These bad boys come to us from The Paper Magic Company of Scranton, PA. (Rivals of Dunder Mifflin, no doubt!) Here we get FIVE dyes and the bent coat hanger...I mean, egg dipper, plus we get 48 stickers featuring all the four wheeled friends from the CARS movie. The package also promises "9 Fun Tops" and a "Punch Out Drying Tray". The tray, is the box itself with little perforated circles that you can punch out on the back to lay your wet eggs in. The "Fun Tops" are the little cardboard circles that you punched out to make the tray. The box instructs you to "Punch out the circles from the back of the box and push a toothpick into the center, then spin like a top!" lame is that? I'm sure our CARS eggs impressed the Easter Bunny though!

Thanks for checking in with The Blog Wore Tennis Shoes and have a safe and happy Easter weekend!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Really Old WDW Resort Cards

Here's one of the cooler pieces of my little ol' Walt Disney World memorabilia collection. These are resort ID cards dating back to the first summer of operation - 1972. My parents honeymooned there and were cool enough to save this little treasure. The ID card itself is the white part which is perforated and separates from the yellow card. That's the part you're supposed to carry around with you and show the folks at the monorail station before you hop on. (Yeah, right!) The yellow part you could just throw away, but my folks saved the yellow card on the off-chance that their first born son would one day cherish every little scrap of paper produced in Walt Disney World.

It's interesting to note that these cards could be used to charge purchases to your room but only in the hotels and campground. You could not use your room account in the Magic Kingdom park.

These cards are printed on a thick paper stock, like an old library card or time clock card. Later the resort updated to thin plastic cards before moving to the thick credit card style Key to the World card that they issue now.

You can click on the image to enlarge it. Note: I used MS Paint (poorly) to white out our last name.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Geppi's Entertainment Museum

Geppi's Entertainment Museum in Baltimore's Inner Harbor is a jaw-dropping treasure trove of all things pop culture. From comic books, toys, and movie memorabilia, there is something in this museum that will make everybody say, "Hey, I had that!" Since no one has had a hold of popular culture so long as Walt Disney, stepping into Geppi's is the next best thing to a tour of the Disney Archives. There's plenty of Disney history and other goodies on display on every wall of this museum.

The museum's tour of all things fun over the last 100+ years begins with the largest comic book collection you've ever seen. The books featuring the first appearances of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Spiderman are all on display as well as the first Disney comic books ever produced and scores of obscure titles and movie-tie ins. The exhibits then move in a chronological order from the very first comic strip characters to be licenced and merchandised all the way up to Spongbob Squarepants. Along the way, you won't believe the amount of Disney stuff you'll find. This place is awesome! Here's a few of the sights you see:

One of the earlier pieces of Mickey Mouse merchandising, a tin Mickey circus tent and circus train. I never had one of these but just seeing it made me nostalgic for the old days. (Which is strange because I also didn't live through the 30's.)

Original one sheet for Halloween Hilarities, a 1953 theatrical compilation of Disney animated shorts - released by RKO shortly before they ended their association with Disney.

You'd have a hard time finding Professor Von Drake merchandise from today, yet alone from the original days of Wonderful World of Color.

Here he is! The infamous Little Orange Bird, the subject of many a blog post.

This exhibit piece displays nine panels of a comic book in crystal clear large images. The screens change every couple of minutes, and display the complete story of a few books. One of the stories is the classic Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold. You can really appreciate all the detail and color when the frames are blown up in this fashion.

Geppi's Entertainment Museum is a real treat for Disney fans and anyone who likes cartoons, toys and all that good stuff. You could spend several hours soaking in all the museum has to offer. It's definitely worth a drive if you are in the surrounding area. They currently have a Uncle Scrooge exhibit in their temporary gallery space which I hope to get down to soon and report back on.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

WDW on Fine Living

I stumbled across the listings for two programs of note that are airing on the Fine Living cable network. If you've never heard of Fine Living, look in your local cable lineup in the 100's - it's probably up there around Channel 131 between The Biography Channel and the Fox Reality Channel or other such necessary outlets of broadcasting excellence!

This Saturday night at 11:00pm ET they are airing Great Family Getaways: Orlando. Spotlighted in this show will be not only Walt Disney World but also the ever-growing Sea World resort and Universal Orlando. In addition to a Disney fix, we might also get some previews of Universal's new Simpsons ride and Sea World's new roller coaster and water park.

Then next Thursday, they've got something called What You Get For Your Money: Walt Disney World. This program promises to show you how you can visit all four Disney theme parks for under $1,600. Sounds like it might be more of a promotional piece than informative or entertaining, but as long as it features lots of footage of good ol' WDW...we'll lap it up!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Have You Been to the Beach Party?

I imagine that this sort of home video title is the kind of thing that alot of people simply discard as children's programming not worth watching. While Beach Party at Walt Disney World does seem to be inspired by the home video & PBS hit "Barney & Friends" Mickey Mouse and company never come close to reaching the heights of annoying condescending overacting that Barney and his multi-cultural friends have made their trademark. Released in 1995 as part of a new home video series "Mickey's Fun Songs", the Walt Disney World resort is the real star of this 30 minute musical video .There's no story here and not much talking either, instead the video soars through 11 musical numbers all shot at different locations throughout the Orlando resort.
The main purpose of the production to to promote the WDW water parks. (Blizzard Beach was in it's first year of operation when the video was made.) However, the party starts with some good old fashioned shots of the Disney/MGM Studios backlot. Mickey gathers up some kids from their front yards and city streets. Anyone who's ever visited the Studios theme park before 2004 will instantly recognize the suburban settings as the now missing Residential Street area of the backlot tour. It's a neat reminder of how the Disney/MGM Studios theme park used to actually be the home of a great deal of film and television production.

From there we're off to several beach locations shot on the shores of Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. The kids next follow Mickey to Typhoon Lagoon for surfing in the wave pool. The song "Three Little Fishies" spotlights the park's Shark Reef with plenty of footage of the tropical fish found there and even a scuba diving Mickey Mouse. The next song "A Pirate's Life" was shot on a pirate ship docked in World Showcase Lagoon. It seems the only reason for this location was to have the Mexico building serve as a distant backdrop for the buccaneers. After the boys song, the girls sit with Ariel on the shore while she sings "Part of Your World" with the Polynesian resort looking beautiful in the background.

The centerpiece of the video is a rather extended version of "Hot, Hot, Hot" performed by Goofy while the kids and characters spend a day at Blizzard Beach. Plenty of the attractions are shown in great detail, especially the Ski Patrol Training Camp. Next, the kids take a boat over to the Polynesian for some hula dancing lessons.

The show wraps up on a beach at night time. It's hard to tell exactly where they are, but (a neat little surprise) the Electrical Water Pageant is parked right off shore. It's one of the few times I've seen the water pageant featured in a Walt Disney World show.

Beach Party at Walt Disney World is alot of fun. It's one of those videos that will give you that fix you need when you're having WDW withdrawal. You can easily find the DVD in stores, and ebay is always offering plenty of the VHS copies. The original VHS release is under the "Mickey's Fun Songs" banner, while another VHS and the DVD are labeled as "Sing Along Songs".

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mickey and Ronald Make Up?

It's been over a year since Disney and McDonald's parted ways as far as Happy Meals are concerned. Rumors indicated that Disney didn't want to be associated with Mickey D's fatty foods, while Disney insisted that the breakup was to allow other fast food chains to promote Disney films too. In the down time, neither Burger King or Wendys has had a Disney related promotion. (I did see a Hannah Montana kids meal at Subway, but that doesn't really count - does it?) This weekend marks the return of the mouse to the Golden Arches with the Year of a Million Dreams Happy Meal. It's actually more themed to the Pirate & Princess Party as all the toys are pirate or princess all depends on the gender of your child.
The boys' pirate toys are the usual assortment of action figures and pirate apparel. The girls' princess collection features eight different dress up items based on the popular princess characters. A neat twist with the girl toys, instead of the cartoon picture of each princess, the toys feature photographs of the face characters from Walt Disney World. I thought that was kind of a unique touch. All the toys come with stickers or tattoos and a collectors card that also could be a lucky winner card for a trip to WDW!
I took my boys to McDonald's tonight where they both got Pirate Bandannas. Here's also scans of the two collector cards we got...

You can see all the toys and cards at McDonald's Website.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

College Road Trip

If you find yourself at the multiplex this weekend, you can't go wrong with Disney's latest offering College Road Trip. While this film probably won't inspire theme park attractions or live stage shows it does offer some good ol' Disney fun of the G-rated variety. A blend of old school slapstick and family warmth mixed with a High School Musical style hipness, Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symone make their way on a 700 mile journey to Georgetown University for a college interview. There is lots of wackiness along the way including a pig destroying a wedding, sing alongs with Donny Osmond and more taser guns than any other movie I've ever seen. The humor is silly and gentle and appropriate for everyone in the family. There isn't even as much as one bodily function joke. And whoever the casting director was that had the idea to pair Martin Lawrence and Donny Osmond together, they should get a special Oscar award.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pluto and the Adventure of the Golden Scepter

Our favorite Orlando resort serves as the setting for Pluto and the Adventure of the Golden Scepter, a 1972 edition in the classic line of Little Golden Books. This off-beat tale follows Mickey's nephew Morty and good ol' Pluto as they help the King of Cinderella's Castle relocate his missing scepter. Pluto doesn't quite understand what a scepter is, and when Morty tells him it looks like a stick the two head off into the Magic Kingdom where Pluto tracks down every kind of stick you'd find in the park. The pictures in the book offer some unique renderings of Disney World landmarks.

Pluto mistakes Minnie's riding crop for the missing scepter. Minnie looks great dressed in the classic ambassador uniform. The background offers a retro look at the original opening day Tomorrowland.

Poor Goofy! Times were tough for him in the early 70's. Goofy had to start each morning picking up trash around the park. Why, he didn't even have his own trash-picking-up stick! He had to borrow one from Humphrey Bear every day.

It turns out the missing scepter had made it's way to the Jungle Cruise where this little elephant had been using it to scratch his hot dusty back. Morty suggests that the elephant take a shower in this waterfall. "Why, he enjoyed that shower so much that he stayed there ever after. (He is now the most contented elephant-and the cleanest, too-in the whole jungle.)" A nice tie-in to something that you can actually see at the park.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Comic Book Odds & Ends #1

Inside some of the older Disney comic books you can find some pretty off-beat stuff tucked in the pages between the main stories. Here's a one page quicky based on a True Life Adventure. This was taken from an early 70's reprint digest.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Disney & Vegas

The Blog Wore Tennis Shoes has put it's shoes back on! I spent the better part of a week in Las Vegas and an additional week laying on the sofa after slipping on the ice in my driveway and falling flat on my back (Chevy Chase style). So anyhow, my plan was to come back from Las Vegas with a few Disney related posts that would stand out from the normal "hey, look at this old thing I've saved" post. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I was planning on photographing the heck out of the unique Disney Store in the Caesars Palace shops that I visited five years ago. However, after walking all over that mall and checking a mall directory, I discovered that Mickey has packed up his things and closed up shop. It's a shame because the Vegas Disney Store not only sold some exclusive Las Vegas/Disney merchandise, the space was had a fun Roman Times theme that played in with the rest of the Caesars Palace resort.

Another spot I was planning on milking a blog post out of was the New York, New York Casino and Resort. This expansive property recreates the sights and sounds of The Big Apple very effectively. The exterior of the hotel captures the iconic New York City skyline in a stylistic manor similar to many of Epcot's World Showcase pavilions. The interior shops, casino and hotel lobby are reminiscent of the Streets of America backlot at the Hollywood Studios theme park. This is where I planned to be clever and snap pictures of all kinds of details and jokes like the ones found everytime you blink your eye at a Disney theme park. As much as New York, New York is detailed and feels authentic everything seems to serve a purpose. Shops and eateries aren't named with cute little puns, and the details on the buildings didn't seem to point to any kind of story being told. Signs advertise real businesses or services and building windows were dressed with little more than a lamp or a couple of books. The overall effect is pretty good, but it just doesn't work on that second level that a Disney park connoisseur has come to expect.

There are some similarities between Sin City and a Disney theme park. Some of these are probably borrowed from studying the various effective ways Disney seperates tourists from their money and the methods Disney entertains and handles larger crowds of people, while I'm sure some of my comparisons are just grabbing at straws or at least coincidences.

There's a Gift Shop for Everything At the MGM Grand they have a Lion Habitat in the casino with a few live lions on display. They also have a gift shop half the size of the attraction selling merchandise to commemorate your 50 second encounter with two lions behind a sheet of glass. At the Flamingo casino, singer Toni Braxton performs every night in a theatre that is not too far from a whole store (about the size of a 7-11) that sells nothing but Toni Braxton stuff. Who's paying top dollar to see Toni Braxton, is my first question and second, Who needs a Toni Braxton store?!? (Bonus Disney Connection: Toni Braxton once played Belle in Beauty and the Beast on Broadway.) Just about every show and attraction on the Las Vegas strip has a gift shop and/or merchandise.

3-D and 4-D Movies One of the most charming and unknown attractions on the Las Vegas Strip in a 3-D movie at M&M's World called "I Lost My M in Vegas". This movie uses similar tricks to the ones used in "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" as you follow M&M's Red and Yellow on a wild and wacky adventure. Before the movie, guests make their way through a very elaborate queue that, due to it's smaller size, manages to pull off a few gags that Disney couldn't do in their lines. There's even automatic doors at the end of the queue. In Vegas, there are also ride simulators galore, some of them using 3-D glasses. Star Trek is represented at the Las Vegas Hilton, the Luxor has a King Tut themed ride, Spongebob is currently taking up residence at the Excalibur, and you can ride along with Marvin the Martian at Circus Circus. And that's just a short list.

Overpriced Soft Drinks Three bucks for a 20 oz. Coke!?! Disney World must have their drinks shipped in from Vegas!

Monorail! Who doesn't love a good monorail system? Vegas' looks an awful lot like the Disneyland/Disney World monorails, except they they've sold the entire inside and out to advertising. The Vegas monorail was put in in 2004 and runs the length of the strip from the MGM Grand up to the Sahara. It's the first fully-automated, driverless urban transportation system, and that would have impressed Walt himself! There's even a distinct recorded announcer that guides you along your journey, who cracks jokes including making a few comparisons to the Disney monorails. more Disney & Vegas thing: You may remember a comedy special that aired on The Disney Channel a long time ago called "Who's In Charge Here? The Ronn Lucas Special". Ronn's a ventriloquist with a cast of crazy puppets and his special ran on The Disney Channel for several years. Ronn Lucas performs every afternoon at 3:00pm at the Luxor. I was lucky enough to catch his show and it was fantastic. He even talked Disney into letting him release the old TV special on DVD, which he sells after the show. Now that's a rare DVD for your collection!
Thanks for checking back in with The Blog Wore Tennis Shoes and keep checking back in for more new stuff on a regular basis!