Walt Disney’s Mechanical Wonderland!

It’s amazing the articles one can come across while perusing old and vintage magazines. Imagine my surprise, when, looking at an issue of Popular Mechanics from 1957, I saw the following words written on the bottom of the cover: “Walt Disney’s Mechanical Wonderland.” Reading the article, I found myself just smiling at this blast from the past. I love seeing old ads, articles, and write-ups for the Happiest Place on Earth. What makes this article unique as compared to other promotional materials of their time, though, is the magazine it was written for. Instead of focusing on the “magic of the park,” or the exterior beauty, this article touches on a few of the  technological breakthroughs (yes, the spinning alligators needed a lot of help!) and the work done in particular by Robert Mattey and Bob Gurr. My favorite part of the article? That at “exactly 9-1/2 miles (per hour) the (Autopia) car can crash into a brick wall and do no injury to car or occupants.” But, I’ve said too much already. Instead of going on and on about this gem, I’ve scanned the entire article for your reading enjoyment. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to share with your friends!

Popular Mechanics Cover, November 1957

Popular Mechanics Cover, November 1957








Creating Magic – Who Inspires You?

3/8/13 12:00 PM PST – The contest portion of this blog post has now ended. The winner will be announced once he or she has been notified and has responded.


3/8/13 12:16 PM PST – Congratulations, Melanie! You have won the drawing and your choice of DVD or Book! Thanks for entering, everybody! Looking forward to another giveaway in the future!


Hello, dear readers and fellow DisNerds! Today’s blog post will be a little different, as instead of focusing on any “Limited Time Magic” promotion within Disney Parks, I’m turning the table to discuss the magic that lasts longer, and open up the conversation with all of you.

More often than not, when looking at the Limited Time Magic events, the ones that appeal to me the most are tied into company history; to those magical moments that resonate and inspire me. From the history of The Golden Horseshoe and Wally Boag to Disney movies that teach positive lessons about love, there’s so much to be celebrated regarding those who created the magic.

Of course, Walt is the first person that comes to mind as far as someone who truly inspires in the Disney universe. The man, his vision, work ethic and stubborness created an amazing world with a mix of fantasy and reality that have been unmatched.

And for that, I thank him.

But he’s not the only one. The Sherman Brothers, Robert and Richard are a huge personal influence, and a huge reason I love the music of Disney. The animators and songwriters behind the 80’s and 90’s resurgence of Disney animation brought Disney to the forefront in a time when animation was not looked upon favorably, and for that I am eternally thankful. Imagineers have done amazing things at Disney Parks worldwide and continue to truly create the magic. John Lasseter and the team from Pixar have brought amazing storytelling to the forefront, managing to make us laugh one minute and reach for the tissues to dry our eyes the next. If that’s not a definition of making magic, I don’t know what is.

A little closer and more personally to me, there are people in my life who have inspired me in my love for Disney as well. My wife, my fellow Disney fan, for her continuous support. My daughter, whose enthusiasm for Disney is unmatched, perhaps even by me. My friends who have encouraged me and shown me that I’m not the only DisNerd out there.

Then, there’s you, the readers and followers of this blog. The fact that you follow me here as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest…well, that means the world to me. It keeps me writing, to share my love of magic. I thank you all for reading, and it means the world to me.  Therefore, I’m going to throw a little bit of my own “Limited Time Magic” out there. As a thanks for those follows, which have hit 200+ followers on Facebook and 100+ followers on Twitter, I’ve got a little giveaway planned for one lucky reader (Sorry, immediate family of mine. You’re not eligible).

What do you have to do to enter? Simply reply to this entry in the comments section with your answer to the following question:

Who inspires you when it comes to Disney and creating magic?

The answer is all yours. It can be a celebrity, imagineer, friend or family member. I’d just love to see your answers.

From all of the responses posted on this blog between now and 12:00 PM PST on Friday, March 8th 2013, I will choose one random winner (For an explanation on the random choosing process, please check the explanation on my previous giveaway here). The winner gets to choose ONE prize from the list of the following pieces of media:

Waking Sleeping Beauty DVD

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers DVD

Walt & El Groupo DVD

Frank & Ollie DVD

Walt: An American Original book by Bob Thomas

Designing Disney book by John Hench

The Vault of Walt (Revised) book by Jim Korkis

Who’s Afraid Of Song Of the South book by Jim Korkis

Quite a few choices, as you can see, but all books or DVDs I personally recommend that show or tell about the people, many times behind the scenes, creating the magic. You win the drawing, you get to pick your choice!

I look forward to reading your responses as to who inspires your Disney magic!

A DisNerd Giveaway

NOTE: The entry period for this drawing has ended as of 9:00AM PST, July 23rd.

Congratulations to COADisNerd reader Andrew on winning the signed book!

(How the winner was chosen – all names were compiled, and randomized with numbers on a list through random.org . At that point, a sequence generator was generated through random.org as well; the first number in that sequence was the winner!)

Dave Smith is a pretty big name in the world of Disney. As the company’s chief archivist, Dave has been the go to guy for all sorts of trivia and information. I still remember the district trivia competitions during my days working at The Disney Store – we would be reminded that if there were any dispute over the validity of a question, Dave was sitting by the phone ready to answer any questions. Of course, no questions were ever asked, as the questions and answers were provided by Dave himself; and they weren’t easy.

Dave Smith is probably best known for his ongoing “Ask Dave” column that started in the now defunct Disney Channel Magazine and currently appears on the archives page of Disney’s D23 site. After many years, Dave has compiled many of his “Ask Dave” questions into one book – Disney Trivia From the Vault.

You’ll Even Find a Question From Me in There!

This is a highly recommended book for lovers of Disney – the questions and answers range from personal history of Walt, theme parks, movies and the company itself. Having full access to the archives, if there was an answer to be found, Dave would be the one to find it.

And now, dear readers, I have a copy signed by Dave to give away exclusively to readers of this blog!

All you have to do to enter is simply comment on this blog entry with a reply to the following question: What question would YOU ask Dave? Maximum number of times your name will be entered in the random computer generated drawing is one; multiple comments do not buy multiple entries. And of course, my family members are not eligible. Any obvious spam posts (ones that WordPress itself recognizes as spam) will be deleted and not eligible as well.  This contest will remain open until 9:00 AM PST on Monday, July 23rd, at which point a name will be drawn using random.org. The winner will be announced on the Facebook fan page by first name (and last initial if necessary) as well as notified by email. As an FYI, no worries – I will never put your name on an email list of any sort. Any questions, do not hesitate to contact me!

Good luck everybody – can’t wait to share this book with a lucky winner!