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Top 10 Restrooms of the Walt Disney World resort - number 6 - Yacht Club Convention Hall Restrooms

May. 15th, 2013 | 06:37 pm

Recently on episode 288 of the Walt Disney World News Today (WDWNT) podcast http://wdwnewstoday.com/blog/archives/1041 they did one of their "top ten" lists, one that had been long joked about, and now they were really doing it, well Disney fans have been joking about the fact that Disney's quality of experience extends even to their restrooms for a long time, (http://www.wdwtoday.com/wiki/index.php5?title=Humorous_nicknames_for_WDW_restrooms) there was even a web site on the Disneyland restrooms called "the Happiest potties on Earth" which is a take on Disneyland's self designation as "The Happiest place on Earth". I have long had a Flickr tag of TOTVKOTW that is an abbreviation for "Thrones Of The Vacation Kingdom Of The World" and in addition to the ones I have tagged I always seem to keep finding ones I have missed.
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=TOTVKOTW


Well one of the things that the folks at Walt Disney World News Today always do when they make a top 10 list is they ask others to make thier own lists and send them in, so over the next several days I'll be posting my top 10 WDW restrooms as posts to my blog and will send this list to WDWNT.

Yacht Club convention Hall Restroom - Door

  This is one I'm a little surprised no one at WDWNT had on their list as in addition to visiting this restoom at Mousefest 2008 I also was in this space for WDWNT:The Weekend back in 2010, I know a few folks had at least one restroom on their list at one of the Deluxe or DVC resorts where the restrooms have cloth hand towels, not for those who are my age we may remember a different kind of cloth hand towels, the one switched out by a laundry service and the towels were dispensed from a roll that fed out of the bottom of a dispenser box mounted on the wall and the used end disappeared back into the dispenser where once the roll was used up the roll would have to be switched out, but that's not what I'm talking about here, I'm talking about a basket of hand towels like the ones pictured below:
Yacht Club convention Hall Restroom - hand towels

and this is a nice difference that gives a plussing to how I perceive the quality of these restrooms, there are also hand towels in the restrooms of the main part of the yacht club too but the decor there seemed dated in a different way than the decor here did, I'm not saying that this restroom did not seem like it could have fit right in in a different decade, but I would mean that in a more positive way about this one, the decor in this restroom also seems to lean towards style that is patriotic and that may make it a bit more timeless also. just look at the Eagle that is atop the frame of the mirror and the stars on the wallpaper below and judge for yourself:
Yacht Club convention Hall Restroom - mirror frame detail

Yacht Club convention Hall Restroom

Yacht Club convention Hall Restroom - floor tile detail

Yacht Club convention Hall Restroom - wall detail

Yacht Club convention Hall Restroom

Yacht Club convention Hall Restroom

Yacht Club convention Hall Restroom

Yacht Club convention Hall Restroom - wall tile detail

Yacht Club convention Hall Restroom
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigbrian-nc/3119311952/in/pool-440896@N22/

That's numer 6, more to come!

Link | |

Top 10 Restrooms of the Walt Disney World resort - number 7 - Pecos Bills

May. 15th, 2013 | 07:04 am

Recently on episode 288 of the Walt Disney World News Today (WDWNT) podcast http://wdwnewstoday.com/blog/archives/1041 they did one of their "top ten" lists, one that had been long joked about, and now they were really doing it, well Disney fans have been joking about the fact that Disney's quality of experience extends even to their restrooms for a long time, (http://www.wdwtoday.com/wiki/index.php5?title=Humorous_nicknames_for_WDW_restrooms) there was even a web site on the Disneyland restrooms called "the Happiest potties on Earth" which is a take on Disneyland's self designation as "The Happiest place on Earth". I have long had a Flickr tag of TOTVKOTW that is an abbreviation for "Thrones Of The Vacation Kingdom Of The World" and in addition to the ones I have tagged I always seem to keep finding ones I have missed.
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=TOTVKOTW


Well one of the things that the folks at Walt Disney World News Today always do when they make a top 10 list is they ask others to make thier own lists and send them in, so over the next several days I'll be posting my top 10 WDW restrooms as posts to my blog and will send this list to WDWNT.

There was some aversion to restrooms that may become busy on the show, but being a person who;

  • goes to WDW at less busy times of year

  • almost always gets the the parks early

  • usually looks for opportunities to tour the park in a different pattern than the crowds do.

some of the restrooms I will choose are ones that may get busy at certain times, I'm just not as likely to be there at those times.
Pecos Bill's is a high volume WDW counter service restaurant, but I would imagine I probably took these photos early in the morning before the restaurant portion opened for the day. Whereas with the TTC restrooms of the previous post those would be more likely to be mid day some time after the initial rush to the Magic Kingdom had subsided.

Pecos Bills - Restroom - Entry from outside

Pecos Bills Restroom - Floor Tile - looking in from entrance

While this restroom has bright colors (though if you don't like this shade of green you may feel like you've walked INTO a giant Avocado peel that was turned inside out), it has nice tile work, it has that cool chunky frame around the mirror that looks like something right of of a colonial spanish building, this is one restroom that most folks might not think of when they think of a well themed Disney restroom, so in addition the the theme fitting elements that it does have i'll have to admit one other possible thing that may affect how well I like a WDW restroom and that factor is the fact that i am more  likely to be fond of a WDW restroom that I have managed to get good photos of, and this choice may be in part due to that bias.

Pecos Bills Restroom - Floor Tile - looking in from entrance

Pecos Bills - restroom

Pecos Bills - Restroom - looking back towards entrance

Pecos Bills Restroom - Tile Detail

Pecos Bills - Tile Detail

Pecos Bills - baby change station

Pecos Bills restroom - headed towards exit

Note the small trashcan here, I suppose it takes up less floor space rather than using one of the larger cans seen around the park, but the fact that they CAN use this small of a waste bin in such a high volume location shows how often it must be maintained.

Pecos Bills - Waste Basket

Pecos Bills - Exit from inside

Link | |

Top 10 Restrooms of the Walt Disney World resort - number 8 - TTC- north restrooms

May. 14th, 2013 | 09:34 pm

Recently on episode 288 of the Walt Disney World News Today (WDWNT) podcast http://wdwnewstoday.com/blog/archives/1041 they did one of their "top ten" lists, one that had been long joked about, and now they were really doing it, well Disney fans have been joking about the fact that Disney's quality of experience extends even to their restrooms for a long time, (http://www.wdwtoday.com/wiki/index.php5?title=Humorous_nicknames_for_WDW_restrooms) there was even a web site on the Disneyland restrooms called "the Happiest potties on Earth" which is a take on Disneyland's self designation as "The Happiest place on Earth". I have long had a Flickr tag of TOTVKOTW that is an abbreviation for "Thrones Of The Vacation Kingdom Of The World" and in addition to the ones I have tagged I always seem to keep finding ones I have missed.
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=TOTVKOTW


Well one of the things that the folks at Walt Disney World News Today always do when they make a top 10 list is they ask others to make thier own lists and send them in, so over the next several days I'll be posting my top 10 WDW restrooms as posts to my blog and will send this list to WDWNT.


One running theme that you may notice in the restrooms that I like is that many of them have colorful tile patterns. At the Ticket and Transportation center there are actually three different sets of restrooms to chose from, in the building just to the southeast of the Monorail station there are not one but TWO sets of restrooms , after you pass through the gates by Mickey's Gift station
Mickey's Gift Station (and in this same building) there is one set on the side facing the monorail station, it appears to be a more "old style" restroom, before they started making them more colorful:
TTC South Restroom - Facing exit


also in that same building but on the side facing the bus loading bay (you might be more likely to approach this from the lost and found building) is one that has had what appears to be a quite recent renovation:

Southeast Restrooms at the TTC (near bus stops)

and I do like the tile work and the colors in this restroom, but for some reason it just did not quite make my list, but for some reason the restroom at the North building of the TTC did make my list, I'd be hard pressed to come up with much of a justification of why I prefer this to the more recently renovated ones in the South building, I just do.

TTC North Restrooms - looking out & left from entrance

Perhaps the view from outside (monorails and flowers) is an easy reason to pick as who the smell and sound of busses is not high on most folks lists of things they use to add a certain ambiance to a scene.

TTC North Restrooms - looking out from entrance

TTC North Restrooms - overhead sign

Note that in the shot below you can see that the tiles in the women's room appear to have slightly different colors in their pattern:
TTC north Restrooms - Entrances

Even though i've taken a fair number of photos in WDW restrooms, i do get self conscious, afraid that someone will walk in, and that sometimes results in shaky photos.
TTC North Restrooms - looking in from entrance

TTC North Restrooms - Custodial Closet at entrance

TTC north Restrooms - Tile Stripe Detail

TTC North Restrooms - looking back to entrance

TTC North Restrooms - looking in from center

TTC North Restrooms - looking back from center

TTC north Restrooms - Tile Stripe Detail

TTC north Restrooms - Tile Stripe Detail

TTC north Restrooms - Hand washing Sign

Brawny and Sparkle, both products of the Georgia-pacific Corp. sponsor the hand washing stations in the restrooms of WDW. I wonder if WDW gets free hand towels and toilet paper in exchange for their Georgia Pacific product placement at the sinks around the resort? It would be a variation on that old rumor that WDW gets free soda syrup for all the Coca-Cola logos around the resort.

That's number 8, more to come!

Link | |

Top 10 Restrooms of the Walt Disney World resort - number 9 - G Force Records

May. 14th, 2013 | 08:55 pm

Recently on episode 288 of the Walt Disney World News Today (WDWNT) podcast http://wdwnewstoday.com/blog/archives/1041 they did one of their "top ten" lists, one that had been long joked about, and now they were really doing it, well Disney fans have been joking about the fact that Disney's quality of experience extends even to their restrooms for a long time, (http://www.wdwtoday.com/wiki/index.php5?title=Humorous_nicknames_for_WDW_restrooms) there was even a web site on the Disneyland restrooms called "the Happiest potties on Earth" which is a take on Disneyland's self designation as "The Happiest place on Earth". I have long had a Flickr tag of TOTVKOTW that is an abbreviation for "Thrones Of The Vacation Kingdom Of The World" and in addition to the ones I have tagged I always seem to keep finding ones I have missed.
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=TOTVKOTW


Well one of the things that the folks at Walt Disney World News Today always do when they make a top 10 list is they ask others to make thier own lists and send them in, so over the next several days I'll be posting my top 10 WDW restrooms as posts to my blog and will send this list to WDWNT.


  At the Disney's Hollywood Studios all through the front part of the park there are several restrooms that look very much alike inside, no mater how the exterior looks, by the time they got around to adding the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith in 1999, they broke with this and went a bit different, that said I actually like the style and colors  of the tiles in those other restrooms at the studios, and the real things that set the G Force Records restrooms apart are mostly in things on the outside like the signs which resemble compact discs, though the disc here is larger more akin to a laser disc, and perhaps why I have been told that this particular sign has since been removed.

G-Force records restroom - outermost Sign

These restrooms are located to the left as you enter the compound of the G-Force records studio:
G-Force records restroom - outermost Sign

There's a nice quiet practical place to wait for the other members of your party which is out of the traffic of folks coming and going to visit the attraction.

G-Force records restroom - to get there "Walk this Way"


G-Force records restroom - Mens Room Sign

G-Force records restroom - Companion Restroom Sign

Now all the signs above are cute but, for some reason, I like the sign for the Women's room better than the one for the Mens or the one for the Companion restroom, (the one for the companion restroom was damaged and missing what looks like it might have been a microphone stand emblem at the time I took these photos). Still this one is not my absolute favorite...


G-Force records restroom - Womens Room Sign
nor is the no smoking sign...
G-Force records restroom - No smoking Sign

This is the one that is really my favorite!

G-Force records restroom - Baby Change Sign
The headphones really are just the perfect thing here, though I guess nowadays they might go with ear buds and an iPod.

The rest of the bathroom is ok, my feeling is they are trying to make the floor here look like what you might really find at a studio where the money is all put into the recording equipment and the tiles were just whatever they were able to salvage form elsewhere, but I can't help but look for (and see) the patterns in what is supposed to represent a floor without patterns.

G-Force records restroom - Looking back towards entrance

Rock & Roller Coaster - Restrooms Floor tile detail

if it were not for that flaw it might have made it even higher on my list.

and that's number 9, more to come ...

Link | |

Top 10 Restrooms of the Walt Disney World resort - number 10 - Flame Tree Barbecue

May. 14th, 2013 | 06:50 am

Recently on episode 288 of the Walt Disney World News Today (WDWNT) podcast http://wdwnewstoday.com/blog/archives/1041 they did one of their "top ten" lists, one that had been long joked about, and now they were really doing it, well Disney fans have been joking about the fact that Disney's quality of experience extends even to their restrooms for a long time, (http://www.wdwtoday.com/wiki/index.php5?title=Humorous_nicknames_for_WDW_restrooms) there was even a web site on the Disneyland restrooms called "the Happiest potties on Earth" which is a take on Disneyland's self designation as "The Happiest place on Earth". I have long had a Flickr tag of TOTVKOTW that is an abbreviation for "Thrones Of The Vacation Kingdom Of The World" and in addition to the ones I have tagged I always seem to keep finding ones I have missed.
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=TOTVKOTW

Well one of the things that the folks at Walt Disney World News Today always do when they make a top 10 list is they ask others to make thier own lists and send them in, so over the next several days I'll be posting my top 10 WDW restrooms as posts to my blog and will send this list to WDWNT.

by [url=http://www.flickr.com/people/bigbrian-nc/]bigbrian-nc[/url], on Flickr

These restrooms are actually across the pathway from Flame Tree Barbecue in their own building as you are headed to Dinoland from Discovery island they are on your right,  if you turn to face the building you will see there is a cast member gate off to the right of the building and when live entertainment was more frequent in this park the little  sidewalk leading back to that gate was often used as a performance space for many live entertainment acts including the Village Beatniks.

Discovery Island Restrooms near Dinoland, across from Flame Tree Barbeque

The Village Beatniks - rolling out

Like most (or all?) WDW restrooms a water fountain is near the entrance:

100_5334

as well as a phone:
100_5335

Like the other restrooms in Disney's Animal Kingdom, the restrooms have heavy wooden doors rather than the "touch less" walk around the wall entreyways found in many of the high volume restrooms in the other parks, this is done to make the restrooms a safe refuge in the event of an Animal escape.

[100_5333

the main thing that makes this restroom rise to the level of a top 10 is the great decor in the tiles, both floor and wall.

100_5325

100_5323

100_5329

100_5330

100_5331

even the signs are made of tile:

100_5332 (this blurry sign is actually a no smoking sign.

The Baby changing station also has a tile sign.

100_5327

100_5328

100_5326



and that's number 10, more to come.

Link | |

ALL hail Larry Dobkin! A Mousin it up Blog - podcast episode review, of WEDWAY Radio episode #123

Aug. 14th, 2012 | 06:32 am

notes on Vic Perrin, Scary Dolls, The Bells system and the Peoples Republic ..er... I mean China




2 Min into the show "there'll be another series next summer" 30 years of Tokyo DL anyone? or 15 years of Disney's Animal Kingdom? 

(both were April openings BTW)

  • The Bell System was the American Bell Telephone Company and then, subsequently, AT&T–led system which provided telephone services to much of the United States and Canada from 1877 to 1984, at various times as a monopoly. In 1984, the company was broken up into separate companies
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bell_System

  •  There has been some discussion about who was the first narrator of Spaceship Earth.  Most fans seem to believe that the voice of the original Spaceship Earth narrator was Vic Perrin, an actor who did many voiceovers and was the "Control Voice" on The Outer Limits television show.  However, Disney Imagineer Marty Sklar did an interview saying that he didn't understand why everyone said the narrator was Vic Perrin; it was actually another actor named Larry Dobkin.
    • http://waltdatedworld.bravepages.com/id183.htm
  •   during the 25th anniversary to Epcot they once again poured waters in various decanters "representing" waters from the rivers of the world into the Fountain of Nations. According to Disneyland the Nickel Tour when iasw opened in 1966 they had actual water from various places around the world as per this quote from page 230 " even more proof comes from a file filled with bills for the cost of shipping the water to Disneyland. Why, it cost $21.86 to airfreight a liter of water from Venezuela alone!
  • The song"listen to the land" does not sound condescending to me, it does make me think of Epcot Center as a great place to take school field trips, all those kids singing and learning to listen to the land.
  • El Rio Del Tiempo "Bartering" In the words of Diego Montoya "I do not think that word means what you think it means, or at the very least I think the word you were looking for actually was haggling.
    • http://www.thefreedictionary.com/haggling
  • China favorite China story on the earliest pre-opening merchandise there are references to "The Peoples Republic of China" to the Chinese this was a bit offensive as the official position of the Chinese government is that there is only "one China" they did not then recognize the "republic of China" which we know better nowadays as Taiwan "Upon losing the Chinese civil war in 1949, the ROC government retreated to Taipei, and kept control over a few islands along the coast of mainland China and in the South China Sea. The People's Republic of China (PRC) was established in mainland China on October 1, 1949, claiming to be the successor to the ROC.[3]"
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_status_of_Taiwan
  • Scary Children of the world walk around Dolls - these were leftover from the 1976 "America on Parade" and got redressed and a fair bit of reuse in Epcot.

Link | |

The Art of Carving Bone or ivory is Srimshaw

Oct. 12th, 2011 | 10:31 pm

List three books that have changed your life:






Recently, during Project XL the WDW Celebrations fan-sponsered event held in celebration of Walt Disney Worlds 40th anniversary, I had the opportunity to engage in a couple of "scavenger hunts". The first in Epcot was a photo/task based one with a bit of luck thrown into the mix by the fact you had to complete a puzzle with somewhat randomly distributed puzzle pieces. Although we had a lot of fun our team had poor luck with the pieces and we did not place. Later in the same trip I was teamed with two other Disney fans whom I had not met previously, and this was for a less task/photo based, and more of a trivia/attention to detail based one. This scavenger hunt was in the Magic Kingdom, and we did QUITE well, in fact we won. If I recall correctly, we were five points ahead of the second place team, which I think was the biggest spread between any two places. Still, as much FUN as we had, and despite the fact that MANY of the answers were things new to me, I doubt many of the answers to the things we got right will stick with me nearly as well as the things we tried to find but just could not find the correct answer to. In fact the things I think will stick with me for the longest time are the things we learned the answers too AFTER it was all over. For one thing this is because it is fun to go back and FIND these things afterward, I made a point of taking photos of a few of them later in the trip as I came upon them. I also have had a similar experience in the past that makes me think that this is true as well. In April 2001 less than a month after "Who Wants To be a Millionaire-  Play it" opened (According to Wikipedia it opened April 7, 2001) I managed to get in the "hot seat", much like the, then popular, television show you "locked in your prizes at the 1000 point and 32,000 point level and the levels progressed as follows;
100
200
300
500
1000
prizes 5 pin set with those point levels on them,WWTBAM pin lanyard, 1000 point embroidered ball cap

2000
4000
8000
16000
32000
 5 pin set with those point levels on them, the CD-Rom Version of the Show, WWTBAM logo polo shirt
64000
125000
250000
500000
1000000
1 million point leather jacket, 1,000,000 point medallion, Disney Cruise Line vacation for four

Well the first several questions were fairly easy, many of the low point value ones related to Walt Disney World, and the basic disney characters,  I even got through 32,000 fairly easily, but by the time I got to the 250,000 point question I had burned my lifelines, I think I used the "phone a complete stranger" one to help confirm my hunch on a baseball related question, and I think I used another lifeline on the 250,000 point level question too, but when the potential answers to the 250,000 point question were read off the first words out of my mouth were something like "well I know it's not scrimshaw" unfortunately since the question was "the art of carving bone or Ivory is:" I was completely wrong. 

Still as you can see from the photo below I was quite happy with my 10 pins, lanyard, hat, polo shirt and CD rom.





and I'll NEVER forget that the art of carving bone or Ivory IS Scrimshaw!

Link | |

Juggling watercraft Capacity

Feb. 1st, 2011 | 06:31 pm

 Recently one of the podcasts I listen too (I think it may have been Inside the Magic) mentioned that the Cruiser "Mermaid I"
pictured below, is out of service for the next few months for repairs, and that folks might possibly experience longer waits for the runs cruisers and
launches make to Fort Wilderness, but it occurs to me that since they also brought over some of the former Animal Kingdom boats to
Bay Lake/seven seas lagoon for fireworks cruises, it seems to me that at least when they are not being used for that those vessels could be
used to aid the other ships on that run. It might also give folks a better chance to get good photos of them, which I would really like to see.
As I mentioned in a previous article http://bigbrian-nc.livejournal.com/9169.html
the few ships were brought over from Disney's Animal Kingdom were re-chrstiened with new names,
ones that make more sense for use on the
Seven Seas Lagoon and that also make a nostalgic nod to a few vessels from the past. Of course these ships have thier downside, they are open to
the weather and that might make them hesitant to use them, but once again, even if they can only use them PART of the time that would
at least allow them a bit more chance to keep the other Cruisers and launches well maintained


Cruiser Mermaid I on Bay Lake


This sort of moving boats from one route to another has been done before, as I was reminded just today by George Taylor of the imaginerding
blog http://www.imaginerding.com/ He sent me a link on my Facebook page, my reply got so long I decided it worked better as a blog post, and here we are!

Brian, check out the boat at 9:25 in this video. It is on the World Showcase Lagoon.
Reminds me of the launches that go from the Poly to the MK
.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ClqM5SrhJA


Very cool George that is one of the Motor launches, and I can ALMOST tell you which one, as it first comes into view you can see a green reflector
on the side of the ship on top of the canopy, the reflector is Green because it is on the right or Starboard side of the vessel, anyhow in the center
of the reflector is a letter, since the launch has a blue hull it would have to be the Mariner, Seafarer, or Voyager (as the Adventurer, Explorer, and
Navigator have white hulls) the letter on the reflector is quite square edged so it is certainly not the "s" of the seafarer I THINK it's the Mariner,
but the letter is blurry enough that I can not be certain that it not the Voyager. Today there are 8 friendships and they were built over time,
back then the Seven Seas Lagoon had excess capacity, there were fewer resorts (no Grand Floridian or Wilderness lodge) and more
ships (the two side-wheelers) than there are today so it was not so bad to pull one of the launches for this duty.
Now with two more resorts and two fewer big ships and 8 vessels on the World Shocase lagooon/ Crescent Lake.
It would almost make more sense to do it in reverse.


Also, I have one more thought, if they decided to perhaps bring over the remaining Animal Kingdom Vessels it would be really cool if
they renamed them for the old Side-wheelers, those ships were named the Southern Seas and the Ports-O-Call, but the pre opening art card of one of these vessels
showed one named the Osceola and I think that would make a great name with a tie to the past for one of these ships

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Well Ward, they finally did it right in the end didn't they?

Jun. 22nd, 2010 | 09:23 pm

Way back in 2005, almost five years ago as I write this, I took my first trip to Disneyland since moving "back east" at the beginning of High School in the 1980's. That 2005 trip is also currently my only trip to DL since that time. Recently I read a book that is closely tied to an event whose anniversary will be 5 years ago even sooner this coming Friday June 25 in fact, and boy am I glad this happened BEFORE my trip as it gave me the change to enjoy the fruits of that dedication during my visit in July of that year, I'm speaking of the dedication of Disneyland's fifth steam engine the Ward Kimball, and the book I read was by a fellow Carolinian Steve DeGaetano who literally wrote the book on this engine!
http://www.steampassages.com/
From Plantation to Theme Park: The Story of Disneyland Railroad Engine No. 5, the Ward Kimball
Which is a very LONG title for a great little book it tells the story of this engine with words, photos, and great illustrations as Disney parks related books go this one seems to me a pretty good value as well at $29.95 especially considering how well done it is, that said I see how this could seem to be a bit specialized to some folks, still if you would consider buying any books on the Disney parks railroads it would seem to me that this one would be hard to pass up. In celebration of this anniversary I helped write a "This week in Disneyland History" segment for the Disneyland news today podcast, you can listen to that episode here:
http://disneylandnewstoday.com/blog/podpress_trac/web/142/0/dlnt-show-24.mp3
or if you'd rather read it just continue, and I'll throw in my photos of the Ward from the 2005 trip:

On June 25Th 2005, that's just 5 years ago, a new steam engine debuted at Disneyland. Unlike the previous four engines instead of being named for a head of the Santa Fe Railroad this one was named for a Disney legend, and this is fitting not only because Santa Fe which was, from 1955 to 1974 the sponsor of the Disneyland Railroad, but it was also fitting because the Disney legend it was named for was himself arguably the biggest rail fan of the generation of folks who worked with Walt (or since then for that matter), this engine was rededicated with the name Ward Kimball, sure Walt had a scale model railroad in his backyard, as did animator Ollie Johnston, but Ward had a FULL SCALE steam engine the Grizzly Flats Railroad. Now while I called this a "new steam engine" that's only used in the same sense as when I purchased a car, and my friends or coworkers say, "oh I see you got a new car" as in a new car to me, so this was an engine that was "new" to Disneyland, and this engine has a story and history too it, its story is also a good example of the type of story at least two of the other Disneyland steam engines have as they all have some things in common, but also important differences. Compared to their sister engines at Walt Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom , these 5 Disneyland steam engines all tend to be a bit smaller, and the first two have a different reason for that than the others, as they were constructed to five-eighths scale by Roger Broggie and the Disney Studios machine shop, but it was soon realized that a better way to go would be to take advantage of all the old steam rail equipment that was being retired in the 1950's across the USA, but they couldn't just take any steam engine and bring it to Disneyland, after all with those first two engines being built to a reduced scale (and many other bits of the park too), a full size engine would not only be "not to scale" but would not fit the track, it turns out however that Disneyland's five-eighths engines were set to run at 36" gauge, the most common narrow gauge in North America, this meant that Disney could look for smaller engines, such as those used is some locations for logging, or those found on sugar cane plantations, the Ward Kimball was originally purchased for just that later purpose, it was bought by the Barker and Lepine sugar plantations in Louisiana In 1902, and was named the "Maud L" after a daughter of one of the plantation owners, it was cutting edge in one respect, rather than running on wood or coal, the plantation owners specified in their request to Baldwin locomotive works (a HUGE steam engine manufacturer in Philadelphia) that it was to be an oil burning engine, Baldwin had built their first one earlier that same year.




It wasn't until Mach 4, 1914 until Ward Waldrath Kimball was born, Ward had a love of trains and once he became an animator at Disney often seemed to work on those scenes in Disney films where trains could be found, his wife Betty was quite supportive of him and his hobby to the point that when he bought a rail coach to save it from scrap and put it on static display in his backyard it was SHE who suggested that he needed to find a locomotive to pull it!In 1948 Ward accompanied Walt on a trip to the Chicago Railroad fair, on the way back they stopped at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn Michigan, it is possible to see many bits of inspiration for Disneyland.


Meanwhile back in Louisiana in 1946 the Maud L was retired, sugar cane work and the humid Louisiana air are not kind to anything made of iron, and it is easy to imagine her rusting away in disuse, in the late 50's a a rail fan named Arthur La Salle purchased her saving her from he scrap heap Arthur's American Railroad Equipment Association restored old steam engines.




Meanwhile in Ohio two businessmen bought some land that an old amusement park named Cedar point sat on they thought the site it was on would make a great housing development, but the park had a least that didn't expire until 1959, well at least one of the owners made a trip out west before then and visited a little town called Anaheim and an attraction known as Disneyland that was well known across the country due in large part to the power of the new medium known as Television, and the Disneyland television show, following this trip he convinced his partner that there just might be something to this amusement park business after all. So in part to emulate Disneyland they sought out old steam engines to bring to their park, the Maud L was purchased and arrived in rough shape, Ceder Point restored her and used her.

In the mid 1990's Disneyland knew they needed a fourth engine, as that would give them to release the other engines, one at a time, for their own renovations, and still be able to run four engines at a time . Disneyland had an old set of closed coaches that they had used previous to the construction of their open air cars that provide such great views of the park and they traded those coaches with Bill Nored, a California rail collector for an engine originally built by Davenport locomotives Works, but they soon realized that engine was much heavier than Disneyland's existing engines and would have resulted in a need to reinforce all the trestles on the Disneyland Railroad, and also be a bit "out of scale", so it was sent to Walt Disney World where it was painted up and named....the Ward Kimball, unfortunately though the engine was a bit large for Disneyland it was a bit small for the Magic Kingdom, and more to the point, the Magic Kingdom didn't have a need to run four engines at a time, so they really didn't need (or want) a fifth engine. Disneyland continued to look for an appropriate engine, and they now know what NOT to do. While they were looking for a smaller engine they ran across an Ohio Amusement park looking to acquire a LARGER engine in 1999 a trade was arranged and the former Bill Norred Davenport locomotives engine that had been sent to Florida and named the Ward Kimball was traded for the Maud L, the Maud L arrived at Disneyland inoperable a new boiler was constructed, and Disneyland staff built a new cab very similar to the original, then all work stopped due to budget issues, in 2003 parts were being wrapped and prepared to be put in long term storage since no apparent end was to be seen of the budget issues, but in that same year Cynthia Harris who had been Paul Pressler's hand picked successor as Disneyland President, left Disneyland and Matt Ouimet was brought in and soon realized that Disneyland had a lot of spiffing up to be done if it was to be readied for a big celebration of its 50th anniversary, and the refurbishment of the Maud L to become the new Ward Kimball was back on again.





The rest as they say is history, in 2005 I enjoyed my only trip to Disneyland so far this millennium, and I was lucky enough to see the Ward in operation several times and some of my favorite photos from that trip are of the Ward Kimball.  If you'd like to see many more great photos of this engine I really do reccomend Steve's book as it is a fun and easy read with lots of great details and images.

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Mickey Mouse Pull String Doll ... OR, Pal Mickey, 1976

Feb. 6th, 2010 | 09:12 pm




A few years ago the Disney Company came out with an interactive plush Mickey Mouse called "Pal Mickey", Pal Mickey was deigned to actually interact, or react to electronic signals in the Disney parks, so if you were in Epcot he would tell you about things in Epcot, if you were at the Magic Kingdom he would share facts about that park and so on. While this pull string toy from 1976 is no where NEAR being up to THAT level of technology, it is an interesting parallel to think of this as a sort of precursor to that is some (tiny) way, and thought provoking as to how far the technology we would devote to something that is "just a toy" has advanced.
here are the 5 things he says during this video:
1 Oh Boy! ha ha
2. Are you a Mouseketeer too?
3. Mouseketeeers have big ears!
4. that tickles, ha, ha
5. M-I-C-K-E-Y

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