3.30.2007

It's REALLY a Small World After All...


First things first: Yes, that's ME and Yes, I AM wearing my very own set of 50th-anniversary Mouse Ears. There are some things a Disney kid can NOT do without, and that headwear was at the top of my list last spring. (A twelve hundred dollar pair of Golden Ears, by the time all of the vacation expenses were added up. Ouch!)
OKay, next: I have my photo taken in this exact spot every time I go to Disneyland. Why? Disneyland is a BIG thing in my family. Sure, we were lucky enough to grow up in So Cal and visit alot, but it's more than that.
My grandfather built the Small World ride for me. Yup, you heard that right. I heard all about it from him, and he took me on the ride when I was a weeee little Debby and explained all about how he had been the man who made sure the mouths of the dolls all moved in perfect time to the endlessly-playing theme song, 'It's a Small World After All' (which is not actually the song titled 'The Song That Never Ends' - but it could be!). My grandfather really HATED that song. I guess after hearing it for months on end, anyone would. Even if he was building this ride knowing that someday his grandkids (ME! Oh, and all the other ones, too....) would love it. I have taken all of my kids on that ride, told them this story, and wished with all my heart that my grandfather had met them. When my grandson is old enough, I'll take him on it, too. It's a tradition!
My uncle was a head electrician on both the Haunted Mansion AND the Pirates of the Caribbean. And he LOVED the music! (Who wouldn't love 'YoHoYoHo A Pirates' Life for Me' a hundred times a day?!!!!) He took me thru both of those rides and showed me all the secrets and visual effects. Very cool, especially to a visually-oriented little girl.
There's a LOT more that ties my family, and me, to Disneyland - but I won't bore you with it. I'll just get to my point: So many people I have met all over the country have great Disney memories to share. The subject comes up at the most bizarre times....
Like, for instance, on Wednesday of this week: I had a meeting with a celebrated winemaker and his charming wife, to discuss how I can work with them to create a branded visual presence in their new facility. We toured the site, we went thru my portfolio, we talked services and fees....and then they asked about my background. As I started talking, I mentioned Disney - and suddenly Mr. Wine Guru's eyes light up and he tells me HE worked at Disneyland! We spent a good ten minutes reminiscing about growing up in So Cal (tho we did so a few years apart!) and it just amazed me. {He even told me that he had met Fess Parker's son (Eli?), as they are both winemakers. Fess was Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett in old Disney movies & tv shows, remember? And the hottest selling item in his Foxen Vineyards gift shop is ...a coonskin cap.} The wine industry is small, really - this man was the winemaker at a winery I was employed at a while back - but to also have a Disney connection, well, it's just kind of freaky! Especially in Washington - for some reason, about 75 percent of the people I meet here have NEVER been to Disneyland. GASP!
The thing with Disney, from a business standpoint, is that they have managed to create some things that no other business ever has: a self-sustaining culture of innovation & growth that continues to follow the founder's vision, a sense of intense loyalty by guests and cast (employees, for you who don't know the lingo) alike that is based mostly on making memories, and the most recognized brand image on Earth. I think it's because of those ears. And a few simple musical notes....sing with me.....'It's a Small World After All.....'

1 comment:

  1. I grew up in Florida, so for me it's great memories of Disney World. When I was a kid we used to go every year or two, and it was like magic! How neat that your family worked at Disneyland in the early years.

    I've been enjoying your blog and especially seeing the before and after shots of your work. Very interesting! I had antiques booths as a hobby in my mid-twenties and could definitely have used some of your tips ;)

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