Wednesday, November 20, 2013

16 Things That Are Awesomely Hidden at Disneyland!! (a.k.a. I'm having a FREAK OUT!!)

Back in 2011, yours truly getting ready to leave for her Disneyland visit for the book,
holding the Mickey doll bought for her by her Mom back in 1972.

First of all, full thanks to Peggy Wang at Buzzfeed for assembling this magnificent collection of gems.  Click the link above to see the whole story.  Nicely done!

And now: the freak out ...

You can get a death certificate at the Haunted Mansion??

Take a ride in the Lilly Belle train car???

Get a free map of the Jungle Cruise?????

I pride myself in knowing all the details of what makes Disneyland THE most magical amusement park of them all (and remember: I visited a boatload for the book).  It's the original; there would be no Disney World, Disney Paris, Disney Tokyo or China or the other one I keep forgetting, if it wasn't for the first one built by Walt himself in 1955.  I worship at the altar of Madame Leota (and still get freaked out by Little Leota, but that's another story).  I genuflect at the light emanating from the second story of the firehouse, telling all that the magic and the story lives on.  Point being: I KNOW my Disneyland lore.  I KNOW "my" park.

But I did not know a BUNCH of these gems.  And it makes me mad.  Because I won't be back at Disneyland until March.

Yeah, I know, I know.  You're saying, "Oh, you have to wait a full three months plus, poor baby.  Here's my tiny violin playing 'My Heart Bleeds for You'".  But when a class A Disneyfanatic learns about things hidden at the park she owns tons of books about, has visited countless times, and owns a PIECE of (two chunks of one of the Mary Blair Tomorrowland murals, savagely ripped apart to make stuff that isn't half as charming or memorable), she needs to revisit and she needs to do so NOW.

I'll be in southern California for a class in March (nothing having to do with Disney whatsoever), but then, well, I'll just HAVE to swing on by the park.  And now, I've got an agenda.

I knew about most of these little-known gems at the park, but certainly not all (and I must thank my friend Melissa for posting this link on Facebook in the first place).  When I spent my birthday at the park in 2003, I was thrilled to be gifted with an honorary Disneyland citizen certificate (which you KNOW I have framed and in clear view, so I can remind myself of my elevated status on a daily basis).  During my birthday visit this February, I was knocked to my knees by the rare treat of visiting Walt's firehouse apartment (the post where he'd sit and watch all the happy folks enter his park).  And I knew that you can ride up in the front of the monorail if you ask nicely; the last time (truly last) we took my Dad there, he got to do this and was giddy like a three-year-old).

But to fancy a ride in the Lilly Belle train car, the one named after Walt's wife, the one decorated in fancy red velvet, the one you can sometimes take a meager glimpse of?  I'm blown away.

To come home with a map of the Jungle Cruise is to remind my Dad of that last trip he took there, when he chortled about the hippos' wiggling ears and got a kick out of the tour guide's snappy monologue.

And, the piece de resistance: to actually have a Haunted Mansion "death certificate".  For, as you know (or should), upon leaving your Doom Buggy, Little Leota will remind you to "hurry baaaack" and to be sure to "bring your death certificate" the next time you visit.  Boom!  You can actually DO this now, without the muss and fuss of actually having to die.  Bonus!

I tell you, I am jazzed.  And I'm saving up my pennies for Spring.  Because the Lilly Belle awaits ...

Friday, November 8, 2013

A blog post from Yesterland about the new Mid-Century-themed hotel at Universal Studios!!

Feast your eyes!  My dreams have come true!  A new, fresh modern hotel done in the style of Mid-Century motels!!  I'm so giddy!!

Kudos to the folks at Yesterland, one of my most favorite sites, for exploring this and finding some great photos of what promises to be a GrOoVy undertaking!!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book review from the blog of Suzanne Rowe Ogren - check it out!

It's always a pleasure to hear from fans of the book, to learn how it's affected them, how it allows them to take a trip back to simpler times, how it moves them spiritually - or generates inside them the deep desire to take off on their own vintage amusement park road trips!  So it was delightful to learn my friend, fellow author and actor Suzanne Rowe Ogren, wrote a lovely review of my book on her blog.

Take some time and visit Suzanne's site and get to her know her!  She's a fascinating lady, with many wonderful stories of her own to tell.  And, as a vintage amusement park superfan, you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn about her past at Walt Disney World, where she worked for many years, as costumed characters, inside the Haunted Mansion - the list goes on and on.  Her husband, R.J. Ogren, worked there as an Imagineer - are these folks cool or what?

But don't let me ruin the surprises.  Give her blog a read and find out for yourself!