Lock Me In The Vault

Remember waking up to this?

As a child of the 80s, The Disney Channel was a huge deal. As a premiere channel, it was THE channel to have added to your basic cable subscription. Unfortunately, not being able to afford to do so, glimpses of its greatness were few and far between. Still, whenever we would see the words “free preview” in our TV Guide, my heart would leap, and I’d be looking for blank VHS tapes to record as much as I could during those rare times of broadcast. In the three or four days of preview, before the screen became a distorted mess where you could almost make out Mickey’s famous silhouette, the channel was very rarely changed when I had the opportunity to plant myself in front of the TV. Waking up to “Good Morning, Mickey!” and a blood pumping “Mousercise?” That was the way to go. Classic Disney shows in the evening? Just as good. When the sneak peek was over, I’d occasionally flip back to channel 2 (yes, I still remember the channel) to see if by any chance this was the magical time the cable company forgot to switch it back over. Sadly, this never happened.

Yet, those times of watching the programming Disney had to offer, as limited as it might be, had an effect on me. I soaked it up. I memorized the song to “Good Morning, Mickey.” I caught my first glimpse of the original “Mickey Mouse Club.” I saw old episodes of “Walt Disney Presents.” I wanted my DTV.

And I Still Want It.

And I Still Want It.

Years went by, and the memories stayed. The Disney Channel went public. Many of the shows I remembered were long gone. But there was one aspect of the channel that continued to appeal to me: Vault Disney. Say these words to a child of the classic Disney Channel era, even to their parents and you’ll elicit a smile, and perhaps a sigh of longing. Vault Disney was a blessing for insomniacs, a late night programming block of Disney heaven for nostalgia loving enthusiasts. From episodes of “Zorro,” “Swamp Fox,” and even DTV segments, to reruns of “The Wonderful World Of Color” and “Walt Disney Presents,” viewers were treated to glimpses of the history of the Walt Disney Company.  Younger viewers such as myself were seeing these shows for the first time. Baby boomers were reliving fond memories of the past. My mom and I didn’t watch much TV together, but we both sat through a Spin and Marty marathon. I first saw the entire opening day broadcast from Disneyland this way. I laughed and smiled through “Disneyland Showtime,” the very dated, but fascinating, program where Donny Osmond got lost at Disneyland, leaving it up to his brothers and Kurt Russel to track him down before their scheduled performance.

Not to mention, seeing behind the scenes footage of the newest attraction was pretty cool, too.

Although I can’t remember the exact year, I do remember when Vault Disney signed off for the last time. I wasn’t aware what was happening until a few days before. All I really knew for sure is there was some awesome Vault Disney programming going on in those final days. So once again, for one last time, I scrounged up blank VHS tapes, set the VCR timer to record 6 hours worth of vault programming in the wee hours of the morning in order to enjoy what I could of what was left. No disrespect meant to the new Disney Channel show reruns that would be taking their place, but at this point in my life, it would be the Disneyland anniversary specials and “Wonderful World” shows that were holding a place in my heart.

Now, as a parent, I see the place new shows on the Disney Channel, namely Disney Junior, are taking in my little girl’s life. While I’m grateful for the new memories from these shows, I wish there was a way to share my memories with her as well. Sure, there are some I am able to share via You Tube, and thanks to the beauty of the Walt Disney Treasures DVDs, we have history lessons as well.

Her favorite older show is the one with the “dancing cake” (Disneyland’s 10th Anniversary).

However, it still feels lacking compared to the vast amount of Disney history that was once available. Dear Disney, please consider this blog post as my open letter to you. The same generation that grew up with the original Disney Channel now has children of its own. In addition to providing programming they will remember in their adult years, we sorely lack in being able to share our memories with them. How amazing it would be, through one of your current channels or a new channel, to offer a block of Vault Disney programming again? Imagine the limitless field, from kids’ programming such as “Good Morning Mickey” and “Welcome to Pooh Corner,” along with three different eras of “The Mickey Mouse Club,” to classic Disney programming such as “Zorro” and “Walt Disney Presents.” I truly believe there is a limited offering for genuine family programming; this could fill that void.

I realize there are a lot of things I don’t fully grasp, from licensing to key demographics; but I can’t be alone in my desire to revisit some amazing company history. Dear reader, do you feel the same? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Feel free to share this, write your own open letters. I’d love to see multiple generations of voices be heard in regards to the currently untapped history of the Disney company.

As long as so many of these wonderful memories remain locked up in the vault, I feel that part of me is locked up in the vault as well.

9 thoughts on “Lock Me In The Vault

  1. Oh how I wish they would bring back vault Disney or a whole new channel called vault Disney.

    We did not have Disney channel but when we went to my grandparents house after giving them hugs the tv was change to Disney channel. The new shows where fun but my favorites where the evening Vault Disney shows where my grandpa would sit with us and enjoy Zorro, swamp fox (my fav), and all the great movies that where shown.

  2. I remember hearing about these. Mostly from my parents. They were Mickey Mouse Club fans. I only knew of the 90s Disney channel, since that’s what I grew up with. While I thought that was all spectacular, I’d love to see some of the original stuff! The only exposure I got to the original shows were from old tapes my parents have.

  3. I have many memories that came from the Disney Channel. My parents decided to splurge for the premium channels, and us kids could watch 41 (DC) but not 42 (HBO) unless they told us we could. But I digress.
    Waking up and watching Welcome to Pooh Corner, Dumbo’s Circus, and the black and white Mickey Mouse Club. Years later I would watch the new Mickey Mouse Club and Kids Incorporated, not knowing these kids that were just like me would become big names for the rest of my life.
    These are shows that shaped me, and many other Disneyana fans of my generation. I know I was not alone in watching The Wonderful World of Disney, first when it was on at noon, and in later years when it was on in the middle of the night. And I would watch these shows with my mom and dad, and see the memories they had of seeing their favorite shows again.
    July 17, 1995 was the first time I got to see Dateline Disneyland, the largest LIVE broadcast when it was produced on opening day.
    I wish we had a channel again devoted to the Disney of long ago, and not so long ago. How many of us long to see The Disney Afternoon block again? To watch Darkwing Duck and Gummi Bears with our children. I know its not just me. And consider this as well, I write this on June 21, 2013. 25 years ago today Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released in the theater. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a channel that would honor this bit of history by airing the movie tonight? And promote it during the week(s) in advance with the actual movie trailers from 1988?
    There are countless reels of film inside Disney Archives just begging to be let out of the tins. Even if they were not digitally remastered, why not bring them back to the airwaves for the public to enjoy. We Disney fans may be a specific demographic, but we are many, and we would watch.

  4. It was always great sitting down to watch the Disney Channel with our two daughters. Once it became available in our area, it was a must for us. Mousercise kept us in shape ! The vault gave us favorites like Zorro and Spin and Marty. How I long for THAT Disney Channel. Thanks for the article and the memories.

  5. On Friday, I copy my comments from above to Disney in hopes of getting the ball rolling in making the Vault Disney Channel happening. The following is a complete copy and paste of the response they sent to me this Monday morning:

    Hi Jesse,

    Thank you for contacting us.

    If you wish to leave a voice message regarding Disney Channel U.S. programming, you may do so at 818-460-7477.

    Please note that the above number is a toll number. Long distance charges will apply.

    If you are under 18 years of age, please ask for permission prior to dialing the above number.


    Disney Online

  6. Pingback: Dear Disney Programming | Quest for the Vault Disney

  7. I remember when Disney first made this channel. I don’t believe my parents subscribed at first but I do think they did later on. This was still when there was push buttons and no remotes on cable boxes! After a few years had gone by I think our cable provider (Comcast at the time) provided it with our cable service. I spent countless hours and days watching this channel. I loved the Mickey Mouse Club or the Spin and Marty series. Can;t get enough of them! I had a crush on Annette even though I knew she was now my mom’s age and looked nothing like her child self. I still wanted to go back in time and date her LOL. Vault Disney was a big part of my life as I started working jobs that let me off at night time so I was up for a few more hours and then fell asleep to Zorro. I remember watching the very 1st episode of Ducktales on the Disney Channel long before it was ever on basic TV. Or watching the show Good Morning Miss Bliss that started Saved By The Bell on basic TV. So many programs and no commercials until the show was done/bewtween shows. Sadly the channel (to me) is a shell of what it once was. Just a name now. I skip that channel as much as I can now cause what they have on air now is not my cup of tea. The channel truly was awesome back in the day offering more than tween shows. It had shows for kids, teens and adults as well as all family shows. LOL I was just getting out of the age range to watch Welcome To Pooh Corner, but for some reason I just had to watch it. And not to mention Avonlea. Loved that show!
    Thanks Craig! Great memories have flooded back in!

  8. I found your blog while trying to hunt down DVD’s of Disney movies I had as a child. I still have the VHS copies of these movies and we have a TV with a VCR just so my kids can watch this movies. They LOOOOVE these classic Mickey cartoons…not Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or the Mickey Mouse Club. I really wish I could find these movies on DVD. Luckily I can find a lot of the cartoons on You tube. I would love to see your dream of a vault channel come true come day!!

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