Walt Disney

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Today I'm beginning a new feature on the blog, Suggestion Sunday. Just a quick reminder, Suggestion Sunday is where I read a book that was suggested by someone in my family. I decided to start with my parents, since they're the ones who taught me how to read. My Mother is still working on picking out her book, so today I read the book my Dad suggested. My Dad picked a Disney related book because those are the only kind of books that he reads.

Today's book; "After years of research, Bob Thomas produced a definitive biography of the man behind the legend of Disney: the unschooled cartoonist from Kansas City who went bankrupt on his first movie venture and developed into the genius who produced unmatched works of animation, and ultimately was the creative spirit of an international entertainment empire."

These are my two favorite pictures from Disney World - because I think they capture the essence that is my Dad. He's basically a really tall eight year old. Which made for a very fun childhood, and an incredibly embarrassing adolescence.

As you can see, when Dad is on vacation he is willing to pose for any picture, no matter how ridiculous the circumstance. You should see the stares we got when my Mother was taking the picture of him with the giant Coke bottle. There's also a picture of him pretending to lift a giant lego, but I couldn't find that picture. I'll post that picture the next time Suggestion Sunday rolls back around to him - because I know he'll suggest another Disney related book.

Fun facts about Walt Disney and Disneyland:

  • Disneyland opened in 1955 - which is the same year my Dad was born. Coincidence? I think not - and neither did Dad who decided in 2005 that since he and Disneyland were turning 50 that year it was only right that they should celebrate together. Dad wore his Happy Birthday button around all week. For those of you who have never been to Disneyland or Disneyworld on your birthday - the Happy Birthday button entitles you to free dessert at every meal, and you get to ride in the front car of all the rides. Dad had a hard time getting used to the Happy Birthday button though, and spent the whole first day responding to cast members saying, "Happy Birthday John," by saying, "How do they know my name?" My Mother would dryly respond with, "Maybe because you're wearing a giant button on the front of your clothes that says Happy Birthday John on it."
  • Walt Disney's favorite ride at Disneyland was the Peter Pan ride. - If I had to chose my favorites among the rides that were there from the beginning I would have to pick the teacups. But my favorite ride of all time is Soarin' Over California. For those Disney enthusiasts who are reading this: What is your favorite ride? I love asking people that question because every time I do the other gets so animated with their answer, regardless of whether it's a four year old or a 70 year old. - Those rare people who don't get animated about it I find highly suspect. I don't trust a person who doesn't find Disneyland/Disneyworld magical. It's just not right. It's almost as disturbing as hearing someone say they don't like cookies or Christmas or money. It's just plain old-fashioned wrong.
  • One of the original Disneyland workers vividly remembers women's spiked heels sinking into the softened asphalt on Main Street on opening day. - I'm so amused by the thought of someone wearing high heels to Disneyland. I attempted that once at Disneyworld, because there is a section of the MGM park that is set up to look like a city street from the 40's, and I wanted to dress up like I was in an old movie and have someone take a black-and-white picture of me. But, sadly, Disneyworld does not sell black and white film. My sister and I walked out of that giftshop feeling disappointed and we decided that it's not that we are odd, but rather that Disney does not have their hand on the pulse of today's youth. It's probably for the best anyway - I can't even imagine how my feet would have felt after walking around like that for 8 hours.
  • Within seven weeks of opening Disneyland had received 1 million visitors, and those customers had spent 30 percent more than was expected. - As I read that I could hear my parents voices saying, "Well of course they spent 30 percent more, the park had a captive audience." - Even thinking about the expression "captive audience" sends a chill up my spine, and I feel certain that when my sister reads this entry she will feel the same way. For the first 3 years that my brother was in college my parents harped incessently about how colleges are able to charge ridiculous prices on everything from tuition, to books, to rent for apartments near campus because they have a "captive audience." This went on until it reached the point where my sister and I decided we were going to beg/mock/plead/cry and roll around on the floor/yell - anything that we had to in order to get that phrase stricken from their vocabulary for good. They eventually dropped it from their everyday language - but occasionally it makes a hideous return back to our lives, and every single time it's like nails on a chalkboard.
Well I hope that you've enjoyed taking this mental trip to Disneyland/world with me. The next time my Dad requests that I read a Disney related book maybe I'll post some pictures of the rest of the family. My sister and I defy all travel logic and spend way more time on our appearance when we're on vacation than the rest of the time, so we look better than normal in all of the pictures - not that you don't look good every day Alissa. Excuse me, I meant to say that no woman in the history of the world has ever looked better than you look every day. Hows that for sisterly loyalty.