May 15, 2011

Spring into summer

You could feel the Park begin to change around this time every year.

I don't mean in the ways that it has since those wonderful days when the Cast was a family, when the company was still close enough to Walt to carry his full name. Subtle things began to happen, signaling a gradual shift into our busiest season.

You didn't need a Summer wallet fact card to know what was ahead. It came after the brief upsurge of Easter activity that followed in Thumper's big footsteps. Things went back into a content lull for about a month or so.

Then the time card racks in Harbor House began to be populated with names you hadn't seen before, and you began to pass groups of wide-eyed former strangers to the backstage side of Disneyland as you headed to Wardrobe. New locks swung on formerly empty lockers, and your schedule began to include shifts training these new casual/seasonal Cast Members.

Onstage, things were almost the same as they were in the off-season. With most kids still in school, guests were still mostly international tourists and older folks. But you started to hear new music, as the All-American College Band began to appear on weekends. Attendance went up gradually. Grad Nites loomed large on the horizon. Once they hit, Spring became Summer.

In late May, Outdoor Vending CMs like me could still chat easily with passing sweepers, even take the time to get out from behind the wagon with a pan and broom of our own to flick stray popcorn off the pavement. The Park was always alive, but it still closed fairly early unless it was a weekend or private party night. The place wasn't yet pumped with the adrenaline that 85,000 people brought in through turnstiles that stayed unlocked until midnight or 1 a.m.

If you look at the drawbridge of Sleeping Beauty's castle in the cover photo of this 1979 souvenir guide, you might get the impression that things weren't all that different from today. Looks like a large crowd pushing its way into Fantasyland. But I remember standing there vending balloons for long stretches when only handfuls of people passed by. It would change just a few weeks later, when guests would start doing a lot more shuffling as they rushed from land to land.

In late Spring, they strolled.

May 9, 2011

A mother's day in the Park

1983. She and her two little boys. Snippets of a beautiful Disneyland day, including a trip through the Matterhorn on a long-ago Skyway to a long-ago Tomorrowland.

It's an amateur's collection of shaky shots, lightning-fast pans, and excessive use of the camcorder's zoom lens. It's also the pure joy of a mother and family enjoying the Magic Kingdom as some of us knew and loved her. Like so much of what's been added to the Park over the last two decades, any further commentary on this video treasure would lessen the wonder of what's there.

Nothing else is needed to make it a fitting tribute to moms everywhere. Here's to yours and mine.