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.