Tag Archives: Walt Disney
When Walter Disney was a boy in Kansas City he worked aboard the passenger trains as a news butcher, selling newspapers, candy, and the like. He kept his supplies in the baggage compartment, and visited with train crews while sitting on trunks or barrels or mailbags.
It has often been said that Walt didn’t build a railroad because he built Disneyland; he built Disneyland so he could have a railroad. Indeed the railroad was originally operated as a separate company with separately paid employees. He carefully oversaw the design and construction of the railroad equipment, and he made sure that the passenger train (designated “Retlaw 1”) included a Combine car as the first car behind the steam engine. This car combined two functions, having both a passenger area, and a baggage area. Combine No. 101 was said to be his Favorite car on the railroad.
Main Street Station was and still is the first Disneyland building visitors see when they arrive at the gates. Hearing the steam whistles and seeing the trains rumble overhead as you walked toward the tunnels is the dramatic welcome most visitors will never forget.
In the 1950’s and 60’s visitors wanting to ride closest to the engine would head straight for the Combine. A fortunate few could ride in the baggage compartment itself. Decorations included wooden steamer trunks and bright red gunpowder kegs. Watching the comparatively open park roll by through the large open baggage door would have been a thrill, as every cast member stopped what they were doing to turn and wave at the train.
After having been inaccessible to the public for nearly 40 years, it created a sensation in the world of Disneyland Railroad enthusiasts to learn that the Combine was coming out of private storage to be restored for public display by the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society. Then an even greater excitement came when it was announced that the car would not only be on static display, but that for the first time in decades it would run on the rails again, united with four of the original Retlaw 1 coaches at the Pacific Coast RR in Santa Margarita, California.
Guests enjoyed a truly red carpet weekend.
- Riding aboard private Vistadomes behind Amtrak
- Lectures from Disney Legends and current animators and Imagineers
- A lively auction of memorabilia from the parks and personal collections
- A catered lunch in the historic Mission Asistencia, the oldest standing building in California.
- A chance to meet and mingle with numerous past and present Disney and Pixar artists.
- The privilege of being the first passengers to ride in this famous car in decades (And the only ones ever to ride in it outside Disneyland).
Early in the morning, the air was cool and crisp. The mood was electric. Everyone waited next to the track in anticipation. As the train first crested the hill and The Favorite came into view with its fresh paint and pinstriping, the crowd erupted in applause. Throughout the day guests were speechless as childhood memories of riding the Disneyland railroad came back to life. Some were near tears as they appreciated the importance of the Combine to Disney history.
Robinson & Associates was honored to be invited to create the documentary of this historic event. It is a joy to bring viewers along for the ride during this historic event.
Michael’s father Roger was the original Imagineer. Michael learned about trains at Walt’s knee, and he literally wrote the book about Walt Disney’s love of trains. [Walt Disney's Railroad Story]
Bob Gurr (Disney Legend)
Was one of the early Imagineers and designed “almost everything that had wheels”, including the Monorail, Autopia, the Submarine and the later Disneyland Railroad passenger cars. He also goes into detail about the little known Viewliner, which was always intended to be a temporary train ride (1957-1959)
Floyd Norman (Disney Legend)
Discusses his time at Disney studios and how much railroading was a prominent part of the culture.
Terri Hardin (Imagineer alumnus)
Discusses the depth and the energy of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society and fans of Disney railroading.
Tim LaGaly (Restoration specialist)
He and his crew not only restored the Combine, they were awarded the contract to restore prestigious Lilly Belle parlor car, which still operates for VIPs at Disneyland. Tim speaks at length about the work that went into bringing both these cars into better-than-new condition.
Sean Bautista (Restoration specialist)
Explains the work involved in restoring DLRR Coach #105.
- 1955 Disneyland opens with Walt making his grand entry on Retlaw 1. Very early the need to load and unload passengers more quickly became clear.
- 1958 The Grand Canyon Diorama opened, passengers wished for a better view and seats facing sideways.
- 1960’s After the newer passenger cars were built, the Retlaw 1 train set was relegated largely to rainy days and fill-in running.
- 1974 Placed in permanent storage in the back of the roundhouse
- 1992 Sold to Bill Norred
- 2010 Acquired by Carolwood Foundation, restored for display in Griffith Park.
Robinson & Associates, PO Box 8953, Red Bluff, CA 96080
Official Carolwood Site – http://www.carolwood.org/
- Review of Disneyland: Sunrise to Sunrise, by Tom Bricker (chipandco.com)
- Special Event – D23′s Disneyland Off the Map (chipandco.com)
Walt Disney World is a wonder of human invention and innovation, of “Imagineering” in Disney terminology. But what did that piece of real estate Walt Disney turned into his vacation dream land look like before the Imagineers got a hold of it?
Constructing Walt Disney World impacted the environment drastically, and in the early 1990s the Walt Disney Company partnered with the Nature Conservancy to mitigate some of that change by turning a huge swath of undeveloped land at the headwaters of the Everglades into a nature preserve. Today the original 8,500 acres donated by the Walt Disney Company has grown into 12,000 acres of wilderness filled with wildlife. The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve is just a 28-mile drive south of the resort entrance and provides an interesting side trip for environmentally-inclined visitors.
The site of the preserve was once heavily logged and used as ranch land, but it has been restored to near pristine condition as described by the first Spanish missionaries to visit what is now Florida. Many species of birds have returned to the area, including bald eagles and sandhill cranes. Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom has partnered with the Nature Conservancy to monitor one of the nation’s largest rookeries of wood storks as hundreds of mated pairs arrive each spring to nest among the bald cypress. The preserve also is home to big-eared bats, gopher tortoises and indigo snakes. The occasional Florida panther has even been seen passing through!
A hiking trail leaves the visitor center parking lot and offers a view of Lake Russell, with one of Florida’s last undeveloped lake fronts, along with an optional 2.5-mile loop showcasing more of the area’s unique plant and animal species.
For a little break from theme parks, or just to see some of what nature has to offer, visit the Disney Nature Conservancy at 2700 Scrub Jay Trail in Kissimmee. Hours are Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except major holidays. You can learn more by calling the Nature Conservancy visitor center at (407) 935-0002 or visiting the web site here.
Jeffrey is a father, husband, Disney fan and refugee from the real world. While planning his next Disney trip, he enjoys bringing the Magic into his life in all ways possible, including his personal blog, Pooh Sticks.
- Disney Takes Animal Kingdom to Facebook With Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers (chipandco.com)
- Walt Disney World Donates $5.7 Million Donation to Florida United Way (chipandco.com)
Cinderella Diamond Edition Coming To All-New Blu-ray Heights for Its Royal Diamond Edition Debut, October 2, 2012
“A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” and at the stroke of midnight, October 2, 2012, dreams around the globe really will come true when The Walt Disney Studios opens its prestigious vault to release one of Walt Disney’s most timeless and beloved masterpieces of all time, “Cinderella,” in the highly anticipated Blu-ray™ Diamond Edition Collection.
This enchanting classic comes alive in stunning fashion for in-home viewing for the very first time on Blu-ray high definition with enhanced picture and sound, once again being embraced by new and old generation alike and only available … as long as the spell lasts.
The “Cinderella: Diamond Edition,” with its spellbinding storyline, memorable music, unforgettable characters and spectacular animation, sparkles like never before with a wide-array of bonus features that extend the viewing experience for the whole family to enjoy including never-before-seen material, family-friendly interactive activities, games and more.
“Cinderella: Diamond Edition” will be offered for purchase in several distinct packages – a collector’s 6-Disc Jewelry Box Set (Cinderella Blu-ray + Cinderella 2: Dreams Come True Blu-ray/Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time on a single Blu-ray + Cinderella DVD + Cinderella 2 DVD + Cinderella 3 DVD + Cinderella Digital Copy Disc), a 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy), a 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD), and High-Definition Disney Digital.
“Cinderella” will join the company’s prestigious line-up of Blu-ray Diamond Collection titles this Fall which is currently comprised of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Bambi,” “Lady and the Tramp” and “The Lion King.”
SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS:
To learn more and keep informed on this release:
- “Like” the Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/Cinderella
- Follow us on Twitter at @DisneyPictures
- View videos at www.YouTube.com/
Street Date: October 2, 2012
Suggested Retail Pricing: 6-Disc Jewelry Box Set = $89.99 (U.S.)
3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack = $44.99 (U.S.)
2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack = $39.99 (U.S.)
High-Definition Digital = $19.50 (U.S.), $23.50 (Canada)
Feature Run Time: Approx
DVD Feature Film – 1.78:1
DVD: Feature Film – 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix
Languages/Subtitles: English, Spanish and French
- Win these 5 Disney Classics on Bluray/DVD (chipandco.com)
- Disney Classics Head Back Into The Vault : ”Bambi & Beauty And The Beast Diamond Editions (chipandco.com)
The Walt Disney World Resort is huge, and it can be a complicated destination to navigate. The properties boast four theme parks, two water parks, more than two dozen hotels, a campground, a shopping district and more than 200 dining locations. It can all be a little overwhelming to returning visitors, let alone first timers. That’s why planning your Disney vacation is so important, and why Disney World guidebooks are so popular.
But with all the options available, which guide is right for you? I’m going to look at three of the most popular to demonstrate the differences and hopefully help you decide which fits your experience level and travel style.
The Unofficial Guide To Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa is huge, detailed and brutally honest. The Unofficial Guide’s 2012 version features 854 pages of text, charts and drawings, but no pictures. There is a companion volume of pictures available, but the Unofficial Guide itself is photo-free, rather devoting all its space to information.
If you like charts, this is the guide for you. Want to know how long it takes to get from any resort, using any transportation option to the front gate of any park, down to the second? There’s a chart. Which rides are scary for what age child? There’s a chart. Room rates, sizes and amenities? Ticket options? Average cost of a day at Disney? Ratings of rental car companies? This book has a chart for just about everything. The authors use a team of researchers and feedback from hundreds of readers to give you a very balanced and often brutally honest look at what exactly lies in store for a family vacationing at Disney World. They look at options both inside Disney World and off-property, offering valuable insight.
This is a very informative book, and surprisingly entertaining to read, given the density of information. The quotes from readers peppered throughout the book often left me in stitches. The downside is the sheer mammoth size, which is a bit intimidating, and the tendency of the authors to look at a Disney vacation as an exercise in mathematics and cost-savings that could turn off many people that aren’t exactly Type A personalities.
On the other end of the spectrum, we find Birnbaum Guides’ Walt Disney World 2012, the Official guide to Walt Disney World. This book is less than 300 pages of much bigger type and features many photographs from all over the Walt Disney world property. Being the Official Guide, this is written with the cooperation, and approval, of the Walt Disney World Resort. It is very up to date and includes all the basic information on accommodations, dining and the parks.
The flip side of that is that you will not get one word of criticism. Disney World is a truly magical place, but it has its ups and downs like the rest of the world. Birnbaum is all ups and no downs. Honestly, while this book is fun to page through and get your family all excited about your trip, it doesn’t have any information not easily available on the Disney website, and much less than is available on fan sites all over the internet, including Chip & Company.
PassPorter’s Walt Disney World is a third option and is quite a departure from both the Official and Unofficial guides. The PassPorter guide offers more pictures and color than the Unofficial Guide, more honest reviews than the Official Guide and is unique in that it also serves as a travel planner and scrapbook.
The authors, Jennifer, Dave and Allison Marx, don’t provide the depth of detail that marks the Unofficial Guide, and aren’t nearly as addicted to charts and graphs, but they do a very good job of honestly portraying Disney World’s best and not so great. The back of the book is composed of cardboard stock pages designed with pockets to hold tickets and other memorabilia and forms for recording both plans and remembrances.
I used this book as a planning guide on our last week-long trip a few years ago without taking advantage of the scrapbook-type features and felt I completely got my money’s worth. This year, I plan to use the whole book as a way to make writing about my trip easier on my return.
No one guide is going to be right for everyone. Whether you are looking to plan every second of your vacation like the D-Day invasion or you just want pretty pictures to help you feel the magic before you leave, there is a guide for you. Or, of course, you can do like me and buy them all! One never can have too much Disney on the bookshelf, I think.
This guest post was written by our good friend Jeffrey. He is a father, husband, Disney fan and refugee from the real world. While planning his next Disney trip, he enjoys bringing the Magic into his life in all ways possible, including his personal blog, Pooh Sticks.
- Which Disney guidebook or online subscription is right for you? (chipandco.com)
- When is the Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World? (chipandco.com)