November 28, 2010

Winter wardrobe

Contrary to popular belief, there were times when it was not much fun to be a Disneyland Cast Member in the 80s.

Say around 22:30 (the Park runs on military time) during a private party in the winter season. Mostly alone at a popcorn wagon on the hub (which could have done with an extra heat lamp). Or running a relief shift giving breaks to vendors up by Small World. Or maybe clutching a balloon bunch in a frozen fist under the PeopleMover track.

During the off-season months, Anaheim got downright cold at night. If I had the good luck to be near the Inn Between behind Plaza Inn, I would scoot in as soon as I could, happy to step off the nighttime stage for fifteen much-needed minutes. If not, spending a break huddling somewhere backstage under a space heater with a paper cup of machine-made hot chocolate offered little comfort.

Fortunately, Disneyland's once-legendary wardrobe department was there with all the help that it could provide in the form of these bright red jackets. Zip-up and lined with white fleece, they were a formidable shield against late November nights. You could still see the imprint of your fingers when you pressed them against the back of your hand, but you could stand up to an eight-hour shift wearing one of these. Add a white scarf, and you could keep your smile genuine till past midnight.

Here's a toast to those toasty coats, and warm winter wishes to all of my Disneyland friends, old and new.