January 9, 2009

Dopey New Year!

Like just about everything else in Disneyland, the Disneyana shop on Main Street used to be something different. In my opinion, it’s gotten more reminiscent of the Shops at Caesar's Palace than the shops of turn-of-the-century America. Back in the good old days of 1982, it was a gracious little cubbyhole with a few display cases, an animation cell or two, and some very old Mickey Mouse toys. The shop was more a museum than a merchandise outlet, and it sure was nice to spend time in there.

I was doing just that one afternoon, watching the long-time Disneyana Hostess and fabulously talented Stacia Martin epitomize the legendary Disney courtesy. She spent as much time with the guest who wandered in from the Emporium and hoped to pay for a ceramic figurine without having to go find another cash register as she did with the high roller adding some big-ticket item to a collection. She made each guest feel like Walt himself. As one example, she used to ask guests if whatever they were purchasing was a gift. If it was, Stacia would press a piece of cellophane tape over the price sticker and, with a quick pull, magically lift the top layer, so the recipient wouldn’t know how much the gift had cost. That's why it takes people to make the dream a reality.

Stacia was, and still is, legendary, but the real Legend in the shop that day was animator, director, and imagineer Bill Justice. Stacia introduced us, and we had a wonderful time talking about his experiences in the Hyperion days. (Remember Disneyland’s silly reindeer? Those were Bill’s. Kevin Kidney has a great salute to them over at his fun blog.)

Bill pulled this Bambi letterhead out from somewhere and made this quick sketch of Dopey. Outside, guests strolled up and down Main Street, having a great time, but oblivious to the amazing treat they were passing. There were no crowds in the small shop. Just Stacia and Bill, Dopey and me. I'll take that magic over any marketing. It’s a “collectable” worth keeping forever.

Thanks again, Bill. And special, limited-edition best wishes for an authentic Dopey new year to all.


*THE Disneyland Mom* said...

I love your treasured Dopey sketch. I'm a life-long Dopey fan and completely jealous. I was a Tour Guide in the 90s and have a Disneyland site too. :)

Yellows said...

Congratulations! I always wanted to be a Tour Guide. Thanks for visiting and hope to see you again real soon.

Kevin Kidney said...

Such a wonderful post, and your insight into what makes something (not JUST Disneyland) "special" is right on. It's those little things that add up and are so memorable. When they're gone, they're gone.

And you are so right about Stacia. She is a real treasure.

Anonymous said...

Great story!!
I'm a child of the 50's who loved going to Disneyland. I got to meet the Mouseketeers and Roy drew a picture just for me!! He gave me a big hug when he handed me my treasure.
What made Disneyland special then was in the details. Even small details that you weren't always conscience of, but if they hadn't been there, Disneyland would not have been the special place it WAS.
Stacia is one of today's special "details" who is all too often overlooked and lost in the blurry merchandising morass of today.
Here's to Stacia and all of the people who truly and honestly care about the truly important details. Here's to a happier place.
Thank you, Stacia from Mama K in AZ