It is too bad that there were not alot of "little surprises" like one poster alluded. I had expected there to some sort of surprise during the actual 50th, this would have drawn attention to Disneyland as a special place where magical unexpected events occur. I read in an article that the first paying customer into DL, who has a lifetime pass, was not invited to Disneyland because they didn't want too much press. They could have invited him and allowed him to enter the park first again, 50 years later, this certainly would have grabbed the media's attention! Because Disneyland opened in 1955 I think it would have been cool to have a sort of retro- 50's themed style e.g. cars from the 50's on mainstreet, play 50's music, etc . . . I think that the golden ears look good, but I think that the gold on everything will wear thin as this 1.5 year celebration continues . . . Some "little surprises" I was hoping to hear about might have included:
1. Having the original Mary Poppins, Julie Andres dress-up as Mary Poppins and be available for pictures or sing a short song from the original Mary Poppins movie in front of the castle.
2. Special surprise anouncements concerning new attractions/events to be added to Disneyland.
3. Have more tweaks and upgrades to current attractions revealed as a surprise on the 50th. Maybe they could have secretly worked on bringing back a new PeopleMover or another attraction and revealed it on the 50th, that would have surprised APers and guests who wouldn't expect on riding a new ride!
4. Rather than just handing out cupcakes, which I admit was a good idea, have an extremely large cake made i.e. 40 ft by 40 ft with Walt's picture, maybe go for a guiness world record, and hand out slices of that to guests. That would have attracted more media attention to Disneyland and please shareholders at the same time.
5. Have an display on Main Street of rare photographs and precious Disneyland relics from the past showcases the evolution of Disneyland.
6. Since much of Disneyland is based on movie they could have had special showings of a recent hit Disney film like Pirates of the Carribean shown on a special screen around New Orleans at night with extended hours at night.
It seems that currently the Disney Company's plans are in a state of flux with the disappointment of DCA and it is hard to focus on making the 50th Anniversary special when many changes are undoubtedly to occur with the departure of Michael Eisner.
I have to respectfully disagree about hte media presence on Sunday. Having been at the front of the crowd for the ceremonies both on May 5 and July 17th, there was quite a big difference. On May 5, we were pushed way back to the Tomorrowland entrance, and none of the two Jumbotrons were visible. The area in front of us was packed with VIP and media seating, and those horrid radio booths were everywhere. On July 17th, we got up to the Matterhorn pathway, and there was only a small seating section for VIPs directly in front of the castle, and a stand behind it for photographers and cameramen. It was nowhere near the same media circus. I'll admit, though, that if you're farther back in the crowd, that would be harder to tell, but there's really no way around that.
As far as the ceremony itself goes, I was also a bit underwhelmed. However, I think what really made the 50th a hit for me was the other little touches - in particular, walking across the esplanade from DCA and down Main Street was like being on a red carpet. The CMs were so friendsly and welcoming about it, that it was incredibly heartwarming and special. Also, the crowd itself made the day. The type of guests who were there were the big fans, the ones who were so excited to be there that for the most part, they were very easy to get along with. Even when finding seating for Remember, we ended up sitting next to a family who offered to scoot around a bit to help us find space. The friendliness from others was wonderful! I'll admit, I didn't touch the merchandise line with a 50 foot pole, so I can't speak for that. As others have said, they made the "surprises" seem like there would be more to them, but I think that what they did was enough to make my day absolutely wonderful. My hat goes off to everyone involved in making this day happen!
"I don't need intelligent drugs because I don't know what they are. But I will put anything into my mouth that is given to me, whether it's supposed to go there or not. Because... I'm different."
Thanks for the terrific article Al. Very informative and enlighting. I understand your point about the ceremony being slightly off, but let's face it, in this topsy turvy society we live in today, everything is slightly off.
Not even Disneyland could turn back the clock and make America, the world, and us the way we were 50 years ago. What am I talking about? The world isn't the way it was four years ago. Everything and everyone has an angle, or a sponsor, or a deal, or is worried about getting blown up. It's the way we are and not the type of things Walt had to deal with fifty years ago.
From your description of the festivities, it sounds like the day went probably as well as it possibly could. We can all pine away for the ways things use to be fifty years ago, but that era is gone and gone for good. Ike isn't the president, the Edsel is dead, and those happy days weren't all that happy.
I'm happy with the attitude and work of the new management group. The park seems to back on the right track and as we all know, that's the track Walt would want the park on. I'm fifty years old and I'm planning to be around for the 100 year anniversary. I can't wait to see how much fun that event will be.
Walt Disney World still honors this longtime tradition!
Only when that park has a morning extra magic hour though. If the park doesn't have a mEMH that day, everyone goes in at the same time. Plus, how would you feel if you waited in line since 2am and people were let in before you?
As for little surprises, it will be very hard for there ever to be surprises again. Thanks to the internet, we will almost always know everything long before it ever happens.
“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney
Ears to you. Al...and golden ones at that! I guess the media and VIP's will always be placed at the foreground of these important events. At least the obstruction to the view of regular guests wasn't nearly as pronounced as it was on 5/5. In adidition, the well placed Jumbotron screens insured that almost everyone was able to view the speakers as well as here the speaches and announcements.
The need for sports stadium style screens was one of the ideas I mentioned in several posts following 5/5. Also, I contacted the resort and received a personal reply by a manager that my ideas were being forwarded to the right departments (instead of the typycal legal psucho-babble). Tomorrow, I am sending in a form that Disneyland sent to me that calls for me to respond to several questions that inform resort leaders of my opinion as to the manner in which my suggestions were dealt with.
They would do well to recognize how you, Al, have utilized the power of the web to get a significant number to the park in an organized fashion on July 17th, and many other events that have preceded it over the years. Personally. I would not be anywhere near as informed had I not started regularly following your reports over half a decade ago.
Art Linkletter is abso-freakin'-lutely amazing! I wonder why Fess Parker doesn't speak at these events? Most heartwarming of all was the personal thoughts that Diane Disney Miller expressed to the crowd with respect to her father, Walt, the grand old park, and the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room! The way that she began Walt's famous dedication speach was extremely cool as well.
I am happy that Diane and Roy have smoothed things over with the Company, and vice versa. Now if Governor Arnold can manage to do the same thing with his growing number of critics.
Last edited by Ride Warrior; 07-20-2005 at 12:46 AM.
I totally disagree with you Al. Having been there on May 5th, the media structure/blockage on the 17th was NOTHING compared to May 5th. Very few even got to see the only 2 jumbo screens let alone the stage itself. On the 17th there was minimal media there. On May 5th the entire hub, even the Partners statue was covered over with their structures, tents and booths. It was bad. July 17th you could see the stage when you stood off to the left or right of the Partners statue. That’s pretty darn good.
July 17th was beautifully done. The crowd control was awesome! They didn’t need to have a Cast Member for every 20 guests. Everyone moved without problems or objection. I was in shock. May 5th was so disorganized too. The crowd control was terrible and the hub was extremely congested. July 17th was amazing. The jumbo screens were very visible and you could hear the ceremonies very loud and clear. I was so impressed at the crowd handling. They did an awesome job to keep everyone contained and when the ceremonies were over, everyone was able to smoothly get out from where I was.
The particular part you were asking about I am pasting below. I hope it answers your question!
BOB IGER & DIANE DISNEY MILLER:
(audience applauses and cheers)
Bob: Diane, thank you very much. As a token of our great appreciation to you and your family for coming here today we'd like to present you with this famous photograph. This is a picture of your dad..I don't...
Bob: I am told that he didn't even know this was being taken, walk, walking right through that castle.
Bob: And it's become quite a famous photograph, been copied probably thousands of times in 50 years.
Diane: We love this photograph, we don't have one and thanks so much.
Bob: You’re welcome. Thank you very much.
Diane: You couldn't have given me anything we'd all love more. Thank you Bob.
Bob: Thank you.
After Mickey Mouse and some characters danced in, Bob Iger made a few comments and unfortunately showed with his stiff delivery that he learned from the master, Michael Eisner. To be fair his speech writer did him no favors with lines such as "Disneyland is such an important part of our Company that today it stands at the center of an unprecedented global, 18 month celebration of its 50th anniversary, stretching from California, to Florida, Japan, France and soon Hong Kong. With the newly re-Imagineered 'Space Mountain,' the opening of 'Turtle Talk With Crush' at Disney’s California Adventure and the addition of 'Finding Nemo Submarines' in 2007, Disneyland reminds us that growth and innovation remain the cornerstones of our creative legacy." Try making that flow off your tongue.
Al, I am a little confused. Bob Iger never said these things at the July 17th Ceremonies. Did you attend a additional event that he said these quoted things at? I do recall Bob saying this though: “Everywhere you look around you, it's clear that wish was granted. But even surpassing Walt's wildest dreams our celebration spans far beyond the borders of Disneyland. In every sense of the phrase, this really is the happiest celebration on earth. From California to Florida, from Tokyo to Paris to Hong Kong Disneyland which will be joining the celebration in less than 2 months.”
Originally Posted by Al Lutz
Eisner was then introduced with a loud musical fanfare (to drown out any possible booing?) for some more stiff remarks. "Rising out of orange groves and Walt Disney’s fertile imagination, Disneyland speaks the international languages of fun, laughter, smiles and family. As stewards of Walt’s creative vision, we have taken his dream around the globe and introduced the magic of Disneyland to countless millions who have embraced it as their own." Great we say, upon which we must ask, "How many more parks in China, Michael?"
I am also confused about these quotes you said Michael Eisner said on July 17th at the Ceremony. Michael never spoke about being stewards of Walt’s vision, nor the other things you said he did. The only thing he said about orange groves and Walt’s vision together was this: “So for a full year, American's everywhere watched their television screens wide eyed as 160 acres of Southern California orange groves became America’s main street, a charming gilded castle, a rustic wilderness fort, lush inviting jungles and even, a land of the future. Today, this place is even more beautiful and filled with even more excitement, fantasy and adventure then maybe even Walt could have envisioned.”
Originally Posted by Al Lutz
The above paragraph is pretty much intact from the press release issued afterwards. What it didn't include was that Disney Miller also said she hopes that 50 years from now the creative things her father did, such as the TIKI ROOM, would remain... such as the TIKI ROOM. Yes she mentioned it twice, and yes she emphasized the words TIKI ROOM both times, to some loud cheers from the crowd. Bless her.
I am also confused about your explanation of what Diane said. She didn’t say that the Tiki Room would remain the Tiki Room. She only mentioned the Tiki Room once. This is what she said: “Now I don't expect to be here for the 100th anniversary but I am certain that there will be one. And maybe some of you that are here today will be here then with your children and grandchildren and I'm willing to bet that the Enchanted Tiki Room will still be here when you come! Thank you!”
Diane also didn’t say that she hoped what Walt did would remain 50 years from now as you stated. Personally, I would have loved to hear her say this, but she didn't. This is what she said: “Dad's vision called for this, for Disneyland, ah, to be something that would grow more beautiful every year and it has. He saw that it would change and grow and offer continually new even more delightful entertainment to its visitors. I really don't think though that he envisioned a lot of people would resist too much change. Because they love some of the original attractions so much. But the creativity and skill of the those who developed the attractions, the talent and dedication of every cast member, the good will and spirits of everyone who has been a part of this wonderful experience through these past 50 years have brought it along and will carry it on.”