(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday – A Visit to the Past

Greetings, and welcome to another (Nearly) Wordless Wednesday. Today, I have a special treat I hope you enjoy.

First, to preface: Yesterday, I turned 40. I don’t know why, but I feel there are certain age “milestones” that make one look back, putting them in a reflective and sometimes nostalgic mood. This has definitely happened with me. On Sunday, while at my mother’s house celebrating said birthday, she brought out a box of old photos, many from trips to Disneyland between 1974 (the year before I was born) and 1980. I seized the opportunity to borrow many of these pictures to scan, touch up, and share here. As I continue to look back and reflect upon my life, I realize how much Disney has played a big role in that, and I owe a lot to my parents and these early childhood trips to the park. So with thanks to both of them, as well as a thanks to Disneyland for being so magical, here are a few snapshots from Disneyland past. I apologize in advance for lack of resolution – these were small pictures, not negatives. Therefore, while much of the color has been retouched and restored (amazingly, our world was not as yellow as old pictures would have us believe!), I could only work with the size I had. I hope you enjoy them nonetheless!

A view from Disney California Adven...er... the parking lot, circa 1974

A view from Disney California Adven…er… the parking lot, circa 1974

 

With my mom and sister on a first trip to the Happiest Place On Earth!

With my mom and sister on a first trip to the Happiest Place On Earth! – 1977

 

Ready to ride Dumbo with my dad - 1977

Ready to ride Dumbo with my dad – 1977

 

A view of Disneyland as seen while riding Dumbo. - 1974

A view of Disneyland as seen while riding Dumbo. – 1974

 

This one I miss the most - I have some fond memories of the Skyway, all the way through my early teens. - 1974

This one I miss the most – I have some fond memories of the Skyway, all the way through my early teens. – 1974

 

It's a Small World in all of its 1974 glory!

It’s a Small World in all of its 1974 glory!

 

I love this shot of the sub and Monorail, and I can't help think about the fact that there were no digital cameras to be able to tell if you got the timing right or not. You had to wait till you got home! - 1974

I love this shot of the sub and Monorail, and I can’t help think about the fact that there were no digital cameras to be able to tell if you got the timing right or not. You had to wait till you got home! – 1974

 

My sister with Winnie the Pooh in the Hunny Pot of the Future, aka Tomorrowland. CHeck out the amazing Mary Blair mural in the background!

My sister with Winnie the Pooh in the Hunny Pot of the Future, aka Tomorrowland. Check out the amazing Mary Blair mural in the background! – 1977

 

I know this shot will make a lot of people nostalgic. Many see this as Tomorrowland in all its perfection. I kind of agree, but am excited to see what the future may hold! - 1974

I know this shot will make a lot of people nostalgic. Many see this as Tomorrowland in all its perfection. I kind of agree, but am excited to see what the future may hold! – 1974

 

Tongoroa outside of The Enchanted Tiki Room - is it just me, or does this area look as sparse as the rest of the jungle used to? - 1974

Tongaroa outside of The Enchanted Tiki Room – is it just me, or does this area look as sparse as the rest of the jungle used to? – 1974

 

A young DisNerd enjoys the magic of Disneyland and looks forward to what the future may bring! - 1980

A young DisNerd enjoys the magic of Disneyland and looks forward to what the future may bring! – 1980

There you go, fellow DisNerds. I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with me! Feel free to share with your friends, as well as leave comments below!

 

 

Diamonds and Surprises – A DisNerd’s Thoughts on #Disneyland60

I’m sure like me, many of you were up last night glued to Twitter feeds or various Disney news sites, looking for updates on the media event and announcements for Disneyland’s upcoming Diamond Celebration for its 60th anniversary. As I scrolled through the Twitter feed searching for the latest news using #Disneyland60, I noticed a common theme amongst other users: excitement. Rumors had been swirling for months now, and after an event last year that revealed the Diamond Celebration logo, fans were hungry for more. When Tom Staggs took the stage and introduced Steve Davison, boy, did we ever get some exciting news!

We get a new World of Color Show with “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney.”

World of Color, Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company

World of Color, Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company

Both Sleeping Beauty Castle and Carthay Circle Theatre will be decked out with a diamond touch!

Sleeping Beauty Castle 60th Anniversary Concept Art, Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company

Sleeping Beauty Castle 60th Anniversary Concept Art, Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company

 

Carthay Circle Theatre 60th Anniversary Concept Art, Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company

Carthay Circle Theatre 60th Anniversary Concept Art, Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company

 

We’ll see a new nighttime light parade in the form of “Paint the Night.”

 

Tinker Bell in "Paint the Night." Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company

Tinker Bell in “Paint the Night.” Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company

 

And we’ll also get a new firework extravaganza, complete with digital mapping projections and experiences throughout the park with “Disneyland Forever!”

 

"Disneyland Forever" Concept Art. Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company.

“Disneyland Forever” Concept Art. Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company.

I have to say, this all looks amazing, and I can’t wait to see it in person. Add on the fact that “Disneyland Forever” will feature a brand new song – “Kiss Goodnight” – by legend and one of my Disney heroes Richard Sherman, and I am in DisNerd heaven!

However, the most exciting news of the night for yours truly came from Tom Staggs (Chairman of Disney’s Parks and Resorts division), who said, “Of course we want to leave a few surprises…”

Why was this my favorite part? Glad you asked.

I feel in this internet age of instant gratification, we sometimes feel as though we need to know everything, and know it as soon as we possibly can. We’re four months away from the 60th anniversary kickoff, and we find ourselves wanting to know what shows will be added, whether there will be any special promotions or merchandise, if there will be changes to rides with long refurbishments. I do get the fact that many of us will be planning our trips based on this information,  and it’s good to know we definitely have new things to look forward to. Of course, one of Walt’s favorite words to use was “things,” and when he said it, it was more in reference to what cards he had yet to show. He would talk about Pirates of the Caribbean and say, “Of course there’ll be pirates and things…” Of course there would be pirates in a pirate attraction. But what other “things” was he talking about? Well, these were the “things” that made the attraction magical. The surprises around every corner. The amazing technology of audio animatronics. X Atencio’s rollicking “Yo Ho, a Pirate’s Life For Me.” Things that were meant to be experienced, not just talked and written about. If you ask me, we need more of these little “things,” surprises we’re not expecting.

I know many of us (myself included) tend to search for and scour over every piece of news regarding changes at the parks as much as we can. But some things need to be seen with the eyes, to be heard with the ears, to be taken in from every angle that words on a website can’t describe. For a long time, it’s been rumored that the much elusive Hatbox Ghost will be making a return to the Haunted Mansion. We’ve begged Disney for an announcement on the matter. But how amazing would it be if it were to just be put back into the attraction without notice? That a guest could be on the ride, and just… see him standing there, head in hatbox and all? “Did we just see….?” Imagine the surprise! I realize the word would spread fast, but what an awesome way to experience it!

When it comes to the 60th, I’m glad to know plans are being made. I’m genuinely excited for what’s been announced. But what I’m most excited for is being able to be there and see things for myself. I want surprise when I step through the gates. I want to be wowed by something I haven’t read about.

As my friend and fellow DisNerd Debi told me, it’s definitely a balancing act. “What is announced has to be big enough to draw the crowds (not a critique – Disneyland is an expensive park to run) while saving enough to keep us surprised, delighted and satisfied with our experience.” Disney, if you’re reading this, I’m sure I can speak for more than just myself when I say, we would be more than delighted for these surprises you have yet to reveal!

How about you, fellow DisNerds? What are you looking most forward to? Do you want to be surprised by some “things” as well? Sound off below, and feel free to share!

 

Confessions of a Fan

Happy 2015 to all of you, devoted readers and fellow DisNerds! I realize it’s been too long since I wrote a post or shared anything here, and I would like to apologize for that. While I could blame the crazy time of year, work, or general business, the truth is, I think my time away consisted of something more.

I think, in a way, I forgot how to be a fan.

 

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You see, I love Disney. I always have, even when the preteen in me was afraid to admit it. If a new movie came out, I had to see it right away. New CD collection? It didn’t matter if I had most of the songs elsewhere, this one had a few new ones – a must have! Trips to the park were always amazing, from rides on the newest rides to strolls through the shops to see all the new merchandise. If you knew me, you knew of my extensive love for all things Disney.

I also have a second passion: Writing.

Oh, how I love writing. While never formally educated to do so, I feel I’ve adopted a style that’s my own. Long winded sentences, dashes, ellipses, parentheses that allow me to stray off topic a bit.. They’re all very much a part of me as well, and I feel very much freed when I’m able to sit at a keyboard and type. To me, the written word is my chosen method of communication, and if I could find a way to make a living out of doing it, I would jump at the chance.

With that being said, Confessions of a DisNerd was pretty much a no-brainer for me. Write about my favorite subject? Of course! As you have seen, over the past (nearly) three years, I have poured out my heart on the subject of Disney, covering a range of everything from television shows to movies, from music to theme parks. And I have loved every minute of it. However, in the past year, I seemed too determined to focus on the News side, and less on the fan side. In searching for news on the company to report, I missed out on how excited I would get as a fan of all things Disney. And that’s never been who I am.

If I were to be honest, I’d say that experience drained me, maybe even slowed my passion for writing a bit. Never for Disney – just writing about it. I had stopped writing about the chills I felt in hearing “When You Wish Upon a Star.”  About the giddiness of seeing a castle at the end of a turn-of-the-century town. About the anticipation of a new film, and the joy of seeing it through a child’s eye. Instead, I looked for bits of news to share with you, the readers and fellow DisNerds, and report on it when possible. But the truth is, there are plenty of sites that do just that, and they do it well. I realize now a need to return to what I do best: Being a fan.

Does this mean that I’ll stop reporting on “News For DisNerds?” Not necessarily, but I think it will be reported from this fan’s point of view. I recently posed a question to friends of mine. What does it mean to be a fan? While the answers varied, I think the number one resounding  theme was one word: Passion. The more I thought about it, the more I realized a simple truth. If I’m going to report on something I find interesting or exciting, I need to let that interest and excitement show! If I feel something is newsworthy, I want to present it with the passion that hits me as I find out about it.

So what does this mean going forward? It means, that I’m hoping to invoke some of that passion and fun back into the blog; to truly approach things as the Disney fan I am. This year I’ll be experiencing a few firsts, such as my first ever RunDisney event, as well as the D23 Expo. My genuine hope is to be able to convey the experience as a first timer, and share that with you, the readers. As well, I hope to share more stories of some of my favorite things: Disney books, music, movies, and of course, trips to Disneyland. Also, Mrs. DisNerd is very eager to share some of the things that we as fans have done with birthday parties and projects that show off our true DisNerds!

I’m truly excited to see what the future has to offer, and want to give you my sincere thanks for sticking out this journey with me so far. Here’s looking forward to a Disney filled 2015!

Season’s Greetings From Confessions of a DisNerd!

Although it’s been said many times, many ways…

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Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or any other holiday… May this season be joyous and happy for each and everyone of my fellow DisNerds. I thank you for your continued support, and wish each and every one of you a very happy holiday!

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See you in 2015!!!

Making Walt Proud

I was backstage at Disneyland, just behind the backstage entrance near “it’s a small world”. My high school marching band had just finished parading, marching down Main Street USA and beyond Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. With the gates now closed behind us, the band began setting down their instruments, taking off their uniforms, relaxing. I, however, was not. I was crying. I was happier than I had ever been in my entire life. I had just marched down Disneyland, an absolute dream come true. As I sat there backstage, alone and still crying, a hand patted my back, and a voice told me simply… “Walt would be proud.” (That certainly didn’t help stop the tears, if anything it brought on an onslaught of more, but only because it resonated so deeply in my sophomore-age heart.) Certainly, that sentiment seems fluffy and shallow, and if you were to think too much about it, you might be able to disqualify the statement entirely. But such meant so very much to me then, and still continues to mean so very much to me now.

Today is Walt Disney’s birthday, and in honor of such, I simply wanted to share a bit of what this man has done for me in my life, much of which I am certain you will heartedly agree with. I have never met Walt Disney. I will never meet Walt Disney. My knowledge of him only extends so far as the knowledge his closest associates have shared. Yet in learning more of this “man behind the mouse,” I found a man who helped to create my dreams, and then taught me how to make them come true. He taught me, and still teaches me, of imagination, optimism, spirit, and ingenuity. Walt Disney has inspired me and will continue to inspire me.
At the end of each and every trip to Disneyland, I sit myself on a bench near “Partners”, the commemorative statue of Walt with Mickey Mouse. I sit under the twinkling lights in the trees, with tired guests walking past me for one last photo of the castle. Many families stop and look at Walt and Mickey, and many small kids have turned to their folks to ask, “Mom, who was Walt Disney?” Their answers never fail to bring tears to my eyes. “He was a magical man who made Disneyland,” some say. “He was remarkable, he had so many dreams.” “He’s who you have to thank for the wonderful time we’ve had at Disneyland.” I stay on that bench until security asks me to leave, but until they do, I have little conversations with Walt. I report back on my dreams. It’s a tradition of mine I’ve been doing since I was 12. I make sure I am doing him proud. And to all of us dreamers, hoping to carry on ol’ Uncle Walt’s legacy, I’m sure we’re doing him proud.

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday – The Storyboarder

Hello, and happy (Nearly) Wordless Wednesday, fellow DisNerds! With this week being the week of Walt Disney’s birthday, I felt it only appropriate to share what may be my favorite picture of the man himself.

 

Storyboarder

I wish I had a bigger picture of this to share. I wish I had a framed print I could hang in my office somewhere (I recently found this hanging in the 1901 Lounge of Disney California Adventure and wished I could take it home). This picture, taken from a storyboard session of Pinocchio shows Walt in rare form: working hard, using all he has to tell a story. It’s a picture that shows him using his imagination in full force – how I would have loved being able to sit in these sessions! For some odd reason, this is the picture of Walt that seems to inspire me the most; but more on that in an upcoming post….