View RSS Feed

Weekend Update

Weekend Update: Gilroy Gardens; Bullet Train; America on Parade Vintage Postcards

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 10-09-2009 at 07:56 PM

You asked for it - you got it! I had the good fortune of meeting Ken Eslick, the proprietor of at the recent D23 Expo. I told him that I edit the Weekend Update column for MiceAge/Micechat and that you guys have been clamoring for more vintage postcard images. He was kind enough to grant your wish. We'll be featuring the postcards from his massive Disneyland collection in the Weekend Update from time to time. This week we have some great images from Disneyland's America on Parade.

Before we get to that, however, we have a couple of fun features. sir clinksalot recently took a trip to Gilroy Gardens (formerly Bonfante Gardens) and did a very comprehensive trip report which he shares with us this week. After that, we're whisked off to Japan at 180 mph with TDLFAN as he shares a look at the Nozomi Super Express Shinkansen (Bullet Train). After you regain your composure from the Bullet Train ride, sir clinksalot will shake you up again with his video of Knott's Halloween Haunt.

Thanks for visiting the Weekend Update. Enjoy!

Gilroy Gardens
Gilroy, California

sir clinksalot takes us to this gem of a park with an interesting history.

Gilroy Gardens is one of the most beautiful parks not only in California, but anywhere.

Gilroy Gardens is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit horticultural-themed family theme park in Gilroy, California and home of the world-famous Circus Trees created by Axel Erlandson. The Park opened in June 2001 as Bonfante Gardens. The name was changed to Gilroy Gardens in February 2007. The park features 19 rides, 27 attractions and six gardens.

Gilroy Gardens was founded by Michael and Claudia Bonfante after selling their Nob Hill Foods supermarket chain to build the park. The park was a dream that took about 25 years to become reality.

Starting in 2004, the park began its annual holiday celebration - Gilroy Gardens Holiday Lights.

The park struggled with financial difficulty and low attendance the first two years it was open. It closed early for its first two seasons and the park's management debated whether to open at all for the third season. Paramount Parks began to manage the park on contract starting with the 2003 season.
Gilroy Gardens operates under the management of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which acquired Paramount Parks from CBS Corporation on June 30, 2006.

The city of Gilroy purchased the 536 acres (including the theme park rides) March 5, 2008. This purchase bought out about half the existing bond holders. The other half will be bought out in 2010. Like many other theme parks, Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park leases the land from the city.

The natural setting is very inviting and the parks attractions blend in very well

One of the famous "Clown Trees"

One of the parks premiere attractions is the Quicksilver Express.

The theming is based off of an ore-mine railway and is very well done.

Bonfante Falls

The parks other roller coaster is the Timber Twister Coaster

Snake, Snake, Snake!!!

The Garlic Twirl is a garlic themed spinning ride. You can smell the garlic growing all around the ride.

The park also features many rides for smaller children

The South County Backroads is one of the prettiest rides anywhere

We chose the 1950's side

There is lots of 1950's themeing to go along on your tour

There is even a car wash

The Sky Tram takes you around a portion of the park and even gives you a birds-eye view of one of the greenhouses.

Going into the greenhouse

And even an overhead view of Quicksilver Express

The park is home to an amazing rock maze

We leave you with the cool garlic, which you can win at many of the games at the park.

Nozomi Super Express Shinkansen
Riding the Bullet Train in Japan

A ride on a train is fun, but's even more fun when you go at 180 mph! TDLFAN recently took a ride on the Nozomi Super Express Shinkansen (bullet train) between Nagoya and Osaka. This is the same train that takes just under 3 hours if you travel from Tokyo Station to Osaka. This particular train ride pictured below took about 48 minutes from Nagoya to Osaka, with one very very brief stop in Kyoto Station.

The Nozomi Super Express Bullet train, series -700, arrives at Nagoya station where we wait to board.

Passengers boarding the train. Like in airplanes, the seats are reserved by numbers and letters, example 18abc and 18def (window, middle, aisle). Non reserved seating is also available.

Everyone is settled in their seats and ready to go. Luggage stowed in overhead bins.

Information placards on your tray table offer a train guide in your immediate seating area and car. Here you can see I was seated in the last car #16.

Seating in the bullet trains is similar to airplane seating. They also have "Green Cars" and that is the equivalent of First class seating..bigger seats and arranged in 2-2 configuration.. with foot rests and other amenities.

The windows are big and have shades you can pull down, just like those found on airplane windows. Notice the generous amount of space between seats. You never feel cramped.

Outlets for your laptop, cellphones and other electronic devices can be found just below your seat on the wall. Some of the Shinkansen trains already offer wi-fi internet service onboard as well.

While we cruise at 180 mph...a train attendant comes through pushing a cart, offering beverages, snacks and food for sale. Like I said before.. Just like traveling in an airplane, but at least here, the attendants are very professional in appearance and in shape. Male attendants are also employed, and the train conductor (not pictured) walks by every so often, and they wear very nice "pilot like" outfits. This is a class act. Glamour baby, unlike the friendly skies now-a-days.

Arriving in Kyoto.

JR Kyoto Station...we make a brief stop here before going on to Osaka. From here, Osaka is only 14 minutes away on this train.

Note that coat hooks are built into the wall of the train next to the windows.

You never know what lovely sights you will see as you cruise along...

This is a short video shot by TDLFAN as the train cruised at approx 180 mph between Nagoya and Kyoto. The speed here is comparable to that of an airplane on take off.

The Trains in Japan website offers more information on the bullet train:

Looking for up-to-date reports from Disneyland
including photos, gossip, park schedules and more?

Visit these MiceChat columns each week:

Andy Castro's Dateline Disneyland

David DarkBeer Michael's In the Parks

sir clinksalot attended the special MiceChat meet at Knott's Halloween Haunt and prepared this video recap of the festivities.

These oversized color photo cards of the "America on Parade" Bicentennial were sold in the Park between 1975 and 1976. The publisher and distributor are not known.

All these cards are copyrighted Walt Disney Productions.

There are eight cards in this set, not counting the variations, numbering from 0111-0590A through 0111-590H. These were sold as a package of eight and were inside a plastic package with printing on the outside. Measuring 5-3/4" by 9", these cards are actual pictures of the Bicentennial parade.

Ken Eslick also publishes a blog that features Disney postcards and other things "Disney". You can visit it here:

Intrigued by the America on Parade postcards, I dug up some more information on this unique parade for you. I hope you will find it as interesting as I did.

America on Parade ("AOP") was a temporary replacement for Disneyland's and the Magic Kingdom's The Main Street Electrical Parade ("MSEP") for the United States Bicentennial. Like the Main Street Electrical Parade it was also created under the direction of Disneyland's Director of Entertainment, Bob Jani. The first run was in the summer of 1975 and was originally designed to run through 1977, to commemorate the United States Bicentennial. Where the MSEP ran twice nightly, AOP ran once during the afternoon and again just prior to the nightly fireworks display. It traveled the full length of Disneyland from "it's a small world" to Town Square at the beginning of Main Street, U.S.A..

The Sherman Brothers who had left Disney Studios to work for independent film companies were asked to write a specialty song for the American Bicentennial. The song was called "The Glorious Fourth" and was performed as a part of AOP.

The parade also featured synchronized music to which performers danced set routines created by Disneyland choreographers (Barnett Ricci and Marilyn Magness). Each of the parade performers sported costumes appropriate to the float around which they danced, as well as enormous heads fixed on a custom-built apparatus for support, with the performer looking through the neck, giving the parade a carnival appearance.

The parade's soundtrack was Don Dorsey's first project for Disney. He used synthesizers and antique carousel organs to create the soundtrack. During the parade's run, Dorsey conceptualized a system which Disney would develop a computer controlled system called "Mickey Track" that controls the parade's music from 1980 and on.

MiceChatter Sosai X posted this photo of an "America on Parade" era Disneyland name badge.

The Disneyland publicity machine was in full force promoting this parade, as witnessed by these magazine covers featured at

There is a great feature about America on Parade at our sister website Yesterland.

Also MiceChat partner Alain Littaye blogged about America on Parade this year on July 4th. Alain has some unbelievable images of original artwork and models: Disney and More.

The soundtrack for America on Parade can be heard on this Youtube video:

A Super 8mm Disney souvenir film has been captured to this Youtube video. It's a little hard to watch but really shows what the parade was all about.

Our Beautiful Baltic series will be back next week.

And that brings us to the end of another week. Our photographers have just enough time to reload their cameras before we see you all again next weekend. Thank you to all of our wonderful readers, and as always, a huge thank you to our amazing team of global photographers, spies, and gossips:

Denise nbodyhome Preskitt (
sir clinksalot
Ian Parkinson and Richard Williams
Abominable Snowman
Jack Hollywood 1939 Wixom

Special thanks to Ken Eslick at

Your Editor - Rixter

It is readers like you who make MiceChat such a special place.

Don't miss a single one of MiceChat's Featured Blogs (including the Weekend Update). Add our feed to your favorite feed software or site:
MiceChat: Featured Disney Blogs

Follow us on Twitter

Submit "Weekend Update: Gilroy Gardens; Bullet Train; America on Parade Vintage Postcards" to Digg Submit "Weekend Update: Gilroy Gardens; Bullet Train; America on Parade Vintage Postcards" to Submit "Weekend Update: Gilroy Gardens; Bullet Train; America on Parade Vintage Postcards" to StumbleUpon Submit "Weekend Update: Gilroy Gardens; Bullet Train; America on Parade Vintage Postcards" to Google

Updated 10-10-2009 at 09:49 AM by Weekend Update



  1. ScottG's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Thanks for the great update. Our family attended (then) Bonfante gardens several years ago and truly enjoyed the gorgeous landscaping and interesting trees.
    It's a far more slower paced place to visit than DLR, kind of like visiting a quiet garden with great theme rides thrown in here and there. Definitely worth the trip.
  2. yorkiedad's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Great story on the Shinkansen, TDL Fan! I've been to Japan many times over the years (and I'm going again in two weeks with a visit to TDL/TDS planned) and always marvel at the amazing rail system. If you live in a city, you really don't need a car since the local trains (subway) will take you wherever you need to go. That, and the clean buses and taxis, make it seem like Disney is in charge of the whole island's transportation system!
  3. sir clinksalot's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Wow, the Bullet Train is AMAZING!!!! The vintage postcards, what a treat.

    Another fantastic weekend update.
  4. TDLFAN's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Well If Disney was in charge of Japan's train systems, passengers would always be waiting for traffic clearance, as they do at WDW. Hehehe But glad you enjoyed the pictures and report and I wanted to thank Rixter for adding the extra items from the Shinkansen website. Very informative stuff.

    Now.. on a sentimental note. I really really really enjoyed the "America on Parade" segment. Being an easily impressed kid back in 1975/76, this particular parade was one of the highlights for me at WDW like.. ever. Never saw DL's version until this youtube tape came up. That was a treat. Blast to the past. Love it how Disney used to go all out in their special events and parades back in the days. I miss that sorely in our US parks now a days.
    Great weekend update!
  5. disney-fan-reborn's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    I was actually there as a kid for the "America on Parade" years. My parents have some pics of it too. I'll have to post them when I get a chance.

    GREAT update! HOWEVER, I would have liked to hear the actual sounds and stuff of Knott's Haunt rather than the music that was played over it all. Looked like fun though!
  6. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Great Update!
  7. Eagleman's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    *Gilroy Gardens= I need to check that place out...
    It look so nice and clean and have heard about the garden specialy the trees......

    For weeks I been asking bring back OLD POST CARDs!
    "WOW" "America on Parade" !
    That was one Grand Parade to see!
    Thank You...
    That was one Disney must see Parade.....
    I just sorry to thos who did not get to see it....
    It was very mush a colorful RED,WHITE & BLUE and BIG ....
    thos days Disney reallly put money in to it
    for Disneyland and Walt DisneyWorld, the MUSIC and sound also GREAT -worth hearing....
    It was trurly a Family time .....
    and when it end with GOD Blesss America you truly walk away with you
    " I glad Iam Amearican"!
    This is kind of Entertainment Disney need to have!
    Thank you again for shareing a great Disney past time!
    Updated 10-10-2009 at 06:08 PM by Eagleman
  8. Barbossa's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Thanks for the update! For America on Parade, there was a hardcover book released. I have it in my library.
  9. MsSarah's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    What a lovely update. Those pictures are great!
  10. okerry's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    Love dat Scarey Farm video! Congrats to whoever put it together. I gotta get there sometime . . .
  11. aduecey's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    A very enjoyable weekend update this time out. The addition of all the video clips were very much appreciated. Also the level of detailed reporting and information offered in the Bullet Train piece made for a very interesting read. Thanks!
  12. KENfromOC's Avatar
    • |
    • permalink
    I remember AOP very well and have a lot of the memorabilia including napkins, popcorn boxes, etc, as well as a collectors plate, postcards, and other items. One item I have of note is the commemorative coin they made and sold for less than $5. Not a big deal you say? Well, when they first came out the flag on the coin had 14 STARS instead of 13! And yes, I have one or two of them!!