Stepping out onstage with a fresh, colorful bunch of Mickey Mouse balloons is definitely up there with my favorite experiences.
I remember pulling those fifty red strings connected to mouse-eared, helium-filled childish delights through one of the doorways separating backstage from the visible parts of Disneyland. Maybe between Mission to Mars and America Sings. If you went among guests through that Tomorrowland gate, you were headed for the balloon vendor under the PeopleMover's straightaway or near the (pre-Nemo) Submarine Voyage. You and your bunch might even walk out to the courtyard of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Main Street vendors were resupplied through the doors by Bank of America.
No matter where you arrived onstage, you would be met by guests wanting balloons. Without any means to handle cash, though, you couldn't sell them. All you could do was lead a little parade to the Cast Member whose balloon bunch had dwindled to single digits. With one arm raised overhead, your red, pink, blue, and yellow cloud was a latex version of a Tour Guide's riding crop.
When you reached the vendor waiting for you, he or she took hold of the bunch, trying to keep the strings from getting hopelessly snarled. There was a surprising amount of pull, especially in anything above a slight breeze. Keeping the strings straight was a constant chore. Once the handoff was made, the balloons settled overhead, and the vendor—usually now surrounded by moms, dads, and kids trying to be patient—could turn to the task at hand.
Then, one by one, fifty Mickeys were introduced to new friends. I remember feeling like it must have felt to be Bert selling kites.