I've been bursting to tell you guys this news since I started learning it a few weeks ago, and now I've finally asked permission to share a wonderful story!
My Drawing 1 instructor Paula Gray used to work for Disneyland, and as soon as I overheard this, I picked her brain about what she did there, how she got to work there, etc, etc.
She told me this wonderful story: when she was a little girl, her family didn't have a lot of money, so her mother volunteered to run a branch of the library in their home (they lived out in a rural area). She would spend all this time looking through the books. She once found a book about the film animation of Walt Disney (this was still a newish thing at the time), and in it there was a picture of a man looking over a portfolio of art work. She used to look at it and wonder how you would get into such a business, where that man would browse your portfolio and you would make artwork for things like animated films. Even as a little girl, she wanted to be in that studio, doing these wonderful new things, and the "behind the scenes" type photo of that man symbolized it for her.
Flash forward to her years in art school: she was in the middle of a studio class when someone came in and asked "does anyone here need a job?" so she raised her hand and was handed a flyer. She didn't know what job it was, but she was told to take her portfolio to the address on the paper. And what do you know, she got the job working (officially as a model maker, but really doing everything imaginable) with the Disney Imagineers for Disneyland.
Soon after she was hired, she got to know the lady working next to her. Her new friend invited her home for dinner, to meet her husband. The lady was Alice, and her husband was Marc Davis, the man from the photo in the book! It was the beginning of a close, lifelong friendship, with the Davises sort of taking her under their wing, even helping her pay for art school! Serendipity at work.
Of course I asked her if she ever met Walt. She said not officially, but that she worked in close proximity to him often because he was so hands on that he would always be walking around the studios and warehouses. She told about a time when once, the person next to her nudged her while they were working, and she turned around, and Walt had been watching her from right behind them, over her shoulder, and she got very excited and nervous! I would to, I think I'd jump out of my skin, haha!
I asked her what she worked on: She worked on Small World with Mary Blair, especially on the clock figures. She worked on Pirates. She worked on the Haunted Mansion. She worked on stuff for WDW too later, but she didn't say what specifically. I was blown away. She worked on some of the most iconic and best loved attractions, alongside Disney legends!
Paula was very surprised by my enthusiasm for Disneyland, and she was even more shocked that I recognized so many names such as the Davises, Mary Blair, and Ward Kimball. Never mind that I don't even know half of what some of your guys know! She is still great friends with Alice Davis, and the last time she talked to her, she told her about me. Paula says that when I get back down to southern California, she's be happy to arrange a meeting between Alice and I (and probably herself if she can make it down south). This is amazing news for me, since this semester I've become increasingly interested in costume desgin and construction, and Alice of course did all the costumes for the AAs on POTC and small world!
So I am stunned and overjoyed about this amazing opportunity. I'm going to need your guys' help to get fully educated on Alice and Marc if I'm going to meet her! And of course you'll have to help me think of questions for her before the day comes.