April 19, 2009

Sharing Walt Disney’s dream

As a last good wish to the cast of Tokyo Disneyland on their twenty-fifth anniversary, here is the special commemorative coin given out by Disneyland’s Cast Activities Center back in 1983.

The best part of my short look back at the TDL opening was discovering Disney on Parole’s post of the official congratulations photo taken at the floral Mickey at Disneyland’s main gate. It happened just a few days after I began working in Outdoor Vending. Not only did I realize the dream of being part of the magic of Disneyland, I also had the unusual experience of being in one of the most famous picture spots in the Magic Kingdom!

Those of us on the wet grass in front of Main Street Station that morning shared a special moment in Disneyland history. Things were a little less global then. There were no bloggers or websites. Even email was a novelty. But we were sending a greeting to our new Disneyland family in Japan that carried the hope and promise of our own recent silver celebration. For the first time, there really was a Walt Disney World.

I remember heading back into Town Square after the photo was snapped. Passing through the backstage entrance near the old American Egg House, I walked past Wardrobe toward Outdoor Vending’s Tomorrowland offices with an especially happy bounce.

Twenty-five years later, congratulations again, TDL. And thanks.

April 12, 2009

Tokyo Tomorrowland Then

More pages from the 1983 Tokyo Disneyland booklet given out to Disneyland Cast Members in celebration of the opening. Tomorrowland was quite similar to “world on the move” ideal. The “Skyway Station Shop” looks like a clone of the wonderful old Character Shop, Tomorrowland’s modernized Emporium.

It seems Tokyo’s Tomorrowland wasn’t far enough from Burbank to escape the effects of bad design decisions entirely, but I hope most of what was presented in 1983 remains.
Leaving Tomorrowland for a look back at Main Street’s vintage Emporium as it appears in Tokyo, here is a look at World Bazaar circa 1983:

This is how Main Street is supposed to look. Try to find a burnt-out lightbulb. By all accounts, TDL is still as sparkling as it was twenty-five years ago. That alone is worth congratulations.

April 5, 2009

Tokyo Disneyland 25

My knowledge of Tokyo Disneyland is limited to this pre-opening booklet given to me as a Disneyland Cast Member in 1983. April 15 marks twenty-five years. In celebration, I will post the whole book for fans of the Japanese park. Here is the cover and the first couple pages.

According to its website, Tokyo Disneyland seems to have the right idea:

Walt Disney, the founder of Disneyland and Walt Disney Company, had a unique sense of creativity and imagination, one that went beyond traditional ideas about genres and mediums.

But from comics and cartoons to movies and theme parks, there are some fundamental elements that can be found consistently throughout all his many projects; namely, his desire to foster a love of learning in young people and give them the ability to boldly and openly engage the exotic and unknown.

Today, Tokyo Disney Resort tries to base all our endeavors on those same principles, and we hope that by doing so,
we will be able to create a warm, imaginative and truly magical place for all our Guests.

I didn’t see much evidence of “learning” on the website, unless learning to operate an astro-blaster counts. The “exotic and unknown,” though, seemed well represented by George Lucas’s characters and Cirque du Soleil. Tokyo Disneyland indeed seems to be carrying on the updated Disney traditions. I wonder if there are any former TDL CM bloggers who were there in 1983 and recall the happiest place in Japan as it once was. I would love to compare our experiences watching the Parks change.

I remember many of the guests from Japan I met while working in Anaheim. They were invariably happy, charming, and polite. Many were carrying around big stuffed Mickeys, and they seemed to look upon even something as simple as buying a .75 Disney frozen juice bar as an experience to treasure. I wish them all the best, and Tokyo Disneyland a happy twenty-fifth anniversary.