July 17, 2013

What do you give a 58-year-old Magic Kingdom?

What do you give a 59-year-old Magic Kingdom on her birthday? Especially when she has everything, like she did when I first pinned on a Mickey Mouse nametag:

A restored Tomorrowland? Nice, but totally expected. How about these ideas, taken directly from Your Souvenir Guide for 1983:

Complete banking services between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. every day Disneyland is open

A place to sign in the Disneyland Guest Book

A room full of fun for a penny, nickel, dime, or quarter

Small plants, unusual man-made flowers

Orville Reddenbacher Gourmet Popping Corn

A tree-top home built by an ingenious shipwrecked family

Choice antiques, reproductions, and rare gifts for the most discriminating collector

A foot-stompin’, knee-slappin’, country-western revue featuring a cast of 18 un-bear-able bear-itones

Frontier fun for a nickel, dime, or quarter

Indian arts and crafts, including a large selection of turquoise jewelry

Fort Wilderness

Keel Boats

A complete selection of Pendleton woolens, yardage, and accessories

Dancing girls, Slue Foot Sue, and Pecos Bill

Tricky currents and rapids

Dolls and toys to delight all ages

An aerial view of the Magic Kingdom...

Oh, heck... Just give her all of them.

Happy Birthday, Disneyland!

February 9, 2013

A one-way trip

Disneyland made the Skyway a one-way trip. Sure, sometimes an Attractions Host's flirtation with a cute girl was followed by a surreptitious phone call alerting the other station to send that gondola back to Fantasyland or Tomorrowland with her still in it. But back on the ground, we, as they say, only go around once.

So it seems to me like Walt may have had a bigger idea than transportation when he decided that Disneyland needed a one-way cable car route. Perhaps he saw the Skyway as a kind of metaphor for life. I don't care if that idea is goofy. Or dopey. Or just plain dumb(o). Off to Neverland with it, at least if our gondola will hold us with that mess of references.

You see, I've been thinking a lot about people who are no longer here as I knew them, lives I've loved that have ridden their buckets to places that I don't yet have the wisdom to identify.

Among them are former Disneylanders that you might recognize if you were once a part of the Show. If you haven't visited Disney Friends Who Have Passed Our Way and your one of the several people who read this blog, you'll likely smile when you do, although it may be through some tears. It's a facebook group filled with beautiful memories.

Thinking about those lives makes me think about the short span of metaphorical cable that we're all gliding along at this present moment. Was Walt thinking along that line? I don't know. Is that kind of question too philosophical for a blog about working at an "amusement park"? I don't think so. Compare these quotes:

From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.

The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.

As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but every one who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles. Indeed, with this attitude, each new obstacle can be seen as yet another valuable opportunity to improve our mind!

Thus we can strive gradually to become more compassionate, that is we can develop both genuine sympathy for others' suffering and the will to help remove their pain. As a result, our own serenity and inner strength will increase.
His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

Our ultimate goal is the creation of happiness for others. We're not reformers . . . remakers of the complex human element. We give everyone the same VIP treatment regardless of race, creed, color, politics, or color of sport shirt. If God made them, you'll meet them . . . and accept them as they are.
Showmanship . . . Disneyland Style

Every individual, every organization, needs a reason for being. At Disneyland, our goal is intangible, but vital: WE CREATE HAPPINESS FOR OTHERS . . . And by creating happiness for others, we have the opportunity to find a true reason for being in our own lives.
Disneyland and . . .
The Skyway station from which we swung out over Disneyland is already behind us.

The one that's ahead isn't yet here. The trip in between is for creating happiness for others.