Minnie Mouse Sighted in London, Ontario

Friends of mine were checking out the Masonville Mall in London, ON and came across a famous Disney personality:

How to Draw a Crowd 101

Apparently she was there with Mickey (not pictured) to help open a new Disney Store! This is good news for us as we live just over an hour away. Check out the news report here.

FUN FIND: How many Disney Store Cast Members can you see in the picture?

Disney’s Top Five Best Decisions of All Time

Recently I listed what I thought Disney’s Top Five Worst Decisions were and so in the interest of fairness I now present my Top 5 List of Disney’s best decisions:

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   FIVE

Live-action Versions of Animated Classics

So although these aren’t my cup of tea the general Disney fan/public has embraced these ‘remakes’ with a passion! Cinderella did very well and the latest, The Jungle Book, also did a brisk business. And the upcoming Beauty and the Beast practically has people frothing at the mouth in anticipation.

While these are obvious attempts at recycling ideas and extending profits from established franchises, one can’t argue that they are beautifully done. My main complaint is that they haven’t strayed much from the original animated source material so there aren’t any surprises or new interpretations.

Maybe the live-action Beauty and the Beast will break out of this provincial approach and break new ground.

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   FOUR

Promoting John Lasseter

I just love this guy! From his early antics on the Pixar DVD releases to his many appearances to promote new productions in both Pixar and Disney studios, you can just feel his enthusiasm for both animation and the Disney legacy.

With Walt gone and no more Disney family members stepping up to fill the void, Lasseter is the next best thing. That doesn’t sound too complimentary until you realize whose shoes he is basically filling!

I hope to see him grow with the company for many years to come, but do wonder just who could fill his shoes when the time comes for him to step down?

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   THREE

World Showcase Ethnic Casting

The best part of World Showcase in Epcot at Walt Disney World is the Cast Member interaction. And the fact that each pavilion has CM’s from the actual country being presented is a brilliant stroke of casting!

And so many benefit! Young people from around the world get to have an experience that they will never forget. The guests get to meet them and learn first hand about the culture and activities of all eleven countries represented in World Showcase. And those of us who are not American get to visit the country of our origin (if represented) and unite with a fellow countryman.

It’s win-win all around and I hope Disney never abandons this decision!

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   TWO

Acquiring Marvel/Lucas Film

    

As I stated in my post about the worst decisions Disney has made they should never have acquired Pixar. I feel it ruined the creativity of that company. But as it comes to Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm Ltd. I think Disney has only helped to grow these companies.

Largely by leaving them alone, Disney has given the people at Marvel full support to continue to develop the MU in a very interesting and profitable way. The acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. is too new to really tell how things are going to turn out, but if the first Star Wars film under the Disney banner is any indication, it’s not going to badly.

Maybe Disney has learned that putting up the money and just a little creative input is the way to acquisition success?

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   ONE

Keeping Vintage Attractions

This is a highly debatable decision but I put it in the number one spot for a reason. Walt was all about nostalgia. And nothing sparks nostalgia like the original attractions that were in the parks when they opened. Or that came soon after.

Rides from the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair like The Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World still interest park goers today just as they did in the past. And the fact that Disney fans mourn each time a beloved attraction is demolished confirms this as truth!

While other parks continue to focus on thrill rides Disney wisely nurtures its attraction heritage of dark rides and corny shows. Hey, if it works…

Conclusion: For every bad decision there is a good decision. And given the success of the multi-billion dollar business that is Disney, one would have to believe that the good decisions are outweighing the bad!

Book Review: Mickey Mouse Club Scrapbook

I’ve reviewed the Special Souvenir Edition (SSE) of this book, but in this post I will focus on the regular edition, as it were.

MMC Scrapbook 1975 014

This book was compiled by Keith Keller and published by Grosset & Dunlap of New York.

MMC Scrapbook 1975 015

Back Cover

This version of the scrapbook is essentially the same but does contain some more interesting pictures than its SSE sibling. The regular version starts out with an introduction to the Producer of the show, Bill Walsh. This is new to this version. He spends a few pages telling the story of how the Mickey Mouse Club got on the air. Remember, this was about the same time that Disneyland was being built, as seen below:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 016

There are many wonderful full-page spreads of vintage ads and bulletin pages that were distributed to fan clubs:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 017

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Next we meet the Mouseketeers, and see how they spent some of their off-screen time, and the rehearsal process:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 019

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  Call Sheet

Next we learn about the production of the show, its format, about the Serials, and then about Mouseketeer Mania! There were jumpsuits, ring promotions, records, and:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 020

And who was everyone’s favorite Mouseketeer?

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Who’s the little lady that we never will forget? – Annette!

The book closely follows the SSE version from here. There is the songbook, the Mouseketeers today (or at least, as of 1975), a call to find a few missing Mouseketeers, and a final dedication to Jimmie Dodd (1910-1964).

Here is what two Mouseketeers thought of the book:

“It’s such a thrill to see a book like this. It’s like reliving my childhood.” – Annette Funicello

“A terrific record of the good times!” – Bobby Burgess (later, of the Lawerence Welk Show)

I would give this book a 5 out of 5 stars for being so full of nostalgia, just like its SSE sibling! Any fan of the show, Annette, or early Disney lore will love it!

Disney Cast Member DREAM PIN in Presentation Box

This great little pin was an item I found on eBay oh-so many years ago. I was delighted to find it in its original presentation box. But details about the pin itself have been hard to find.

Disney Resort Cast Member DREAM Silver Award Costume Pin

DREAM stood for Disney Resort Experiences Are Magical if my research is correct! Only Resort Cast Members who worked in a resort during this program earned the ears which were worn on the name tag.

There are two versions of the silver pin, one with white writing (shown above) and one with black writing. There is also a similar gold pin with DREAM in black. Both pins are hard to find, with the silver one being more common, but I have come across gold ones in the past but without the display case. The pins measure 1/2″ (1.3 cm) tall by 5/8″ (1.6 cm) wide.

I have kept it in the original presentation box and have never worn it. But I think I might start wearing it as a tie pin.

Not being a Cast Member, I don’t know the details behind this pin. If you are a Cast Member, and remember this pin, please comment below with any information you may have so that I can update this post. Most importantly, I obviously would like to know if the details I have shared already are correct, but also when this appreciation program was in effect and what one had to do to receive the award.

Thank you in advance!

Disney Commuter Assistance Cast Member Booklet

I love finding odd little pieces of Disney ephemera. The find is especially good when it involves Cast Member booklets or documentation. I don’t remember where I got this particular piece, although eBay is a likely source.

This helpful booklet is 6″ x 9 1/4″ in size and broken down into five main sections. The purpose is to encourage new (and presumably existing) Cast Members to consider the benefits and conveniences of a better commute strategy.

The inside front cover has a message from Walt Disney about conservation:

Jiminy Cricket introduces Disney’s Environmentality on the first page, although the words contained therein are attributed to Kris McNamara, who was the Vice President of the Corporate Environmental Policy division of The Walt Disney Company at the time.

A team of transit planning specialists were available (and I can only assume they still are, if this program is still operative today) to help Cast Members plan their commutes to and from work each shift period. Let’s look at the five avenues available:

This particular booklet is obviously for Cast Members of the Disneyland Resort, but similar ones must have been, or are, available for Cast Members working at Walt Disney World and perhaps other Parks worldwide.

Disney had (has?) a program to reward Cast Members who are involved in clean air commute activity. Enrolled Cast Members received two points for every day of reported clean air commuting. Two points equaled one US dollar. Amounts could be carried over to subsequent years, but when redeemed, the money would be added to the Cast Members pay check (with taxes deducted). Or Cast Members could opt for a gift card, but tax deductions would still apply.

Tucked into the back of the booklet is a supplemental pamphlet called Disneyland Resort Guidelines and Enrollment, which contains all of the rules and eligibilities. A nice touch is the rear pocket it is tucked into:

Transportation is a reoccurring theme throughout the booklet

So would you like to enroll? Just use this handy Disney Commuter Assistance Enrollment Card, and let Jiminy be your guide!

And as Kris McNamara concludes in her introduction entitled Disney’s Environmentality, and I quote: “Thank you for choosing to make a difference!”