November 9, 2011

Come live it again

Back when Walt Disney Productions prided itself on delivering "The Finest in Family Entertainment," Disneyland reached out to guests to "come live it again." I've searched for promotions using that slogan for quite a while and thought that they were pretty much lost to time.

This late '70s or early '80s commercial was thus as neat a find as some rare item in the One-of-a-Kind shop. This is the Disneyland that I grew up loving—and enjoyed the great good fortune of presenting as an '80s Cast Member.

There were no fast passes or Ferris wheels. But there was a kind of state of mind. Sure, it didn't stop those who were determined to have a bad time from missing the magic in something as dopey as Dopey. Those who were willing to "leave today" when they passed through the outer lobby onto Town Square, though, really could "live it," the happy feeling that Walt's Magic Kingdom made real.

The old commercial's lyrics express as much:

Disneyland is your land.
It lives because of you.
Each time we say, "Welcome back,"
it always feels brand new.
And every great attraction
is a thrill that never ends.
Yes, Disneyland is your land
when you want to be with friends.
Disneyland is your land.
Come live it again.

"It lives because of you." Welcome back." "Friends." A little bit different from today's emphatic commands to let the memories begin in the place where imagination is the destination, etc., etc. When I look at messages from the "Resort," it just feels like someone doesn't really get "Walt Disney's original theme park."

Thanks to all of you for joining me in living it again.

November 6, 2011

Inside Outdoor Vending

If you remember having the lemonade stand that you had as a kid, you'll have a pretty good idea of what it was like to work in Outdoor Vending back in the '80s.

The backstage side of the business was an efficient but decidedly low tech operation. It was, in fact, a "no tech" operation. The walkie-talkies carried by leads and supervisors were the only electronics used. The ODV headquarters is depicted above as it once looked when it was tucked behind America Sings.

If Paul Frees narrated a tour, he might say something like, "We find it delightfully primitive here in this dusty retreat. The only room has wall-to-wall wooden counters for sorting guests' sweaty dollar bills, with cool or cold non-air-conditioned temperatures depending on the season."

Well-used bulletin boards lined the upper walls. Schedules were tacked up on one for the fifty or sixty Cast Members who wore Disneyland's yellows, as well as the various other costumes themed to lands across the Park where ice cream and popcorn carts set up shop. On the other, you would find guest compliments and occasional complaints, announcements about things like canoe races and softball games, and sometimes a postcard from one of our own who had taken some rare vacation time.

Clustered in the center of the room were stacked boxes of popcorn boxes, porch umbrellas that needed cleaning before they could be sent back out with ice cream wagons to protect against the Anaheim sun, and big yellow parkas for spending extended time taking inventory or something in one of the freezers. Tall metal dollies stood around. There were also about four electric coin sorters that might have been there since 1955.

The cramped cubbyhole on the right was where you arrived to find out your daily work location before heading to Wardrobe for the proper attire. The lead on the phone inside looks like he's handling a typical problem. Maybe the dry ice shipment hasn't arrived or extra shifts have to be filled for an after-hours party.

Looking back, I'd have to say that those seem like pretty good problems to have.