April 8, 2016
My Birthday with Disney, Part 1
Walt Disney presents me with my first Oscar!
I made sure that I thanked “all of the little people”. :o)
This trip had been a long time in the making, over ten years, to be exact. Through the Disney Movie Rewards Member Program , my daughter and I had been religiously racking up points with each DVD movie purchase, and every purchase of Disney movie tickets. At last, we had accumulated the 15,000 points required for the ultimate prize;
The Walt Disney Studios: Special Private Tour for 4! Martese and I excitedly made plans for our tour. It would take place the week of my (March 2) birthday. :o)
The coveted prize, as shown on the Disney Movie Rewards Member Program website.
Dale and I would fly to California from Maryland, meeting Martese from Minnesota, and, Martese’s often “partner is Disney shenanigans”, Natasha from Texas. Martese and Natasha’s friendship began when they were both on the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World in 2010. Natasha joined us, thanks to the generosity of Martese’s husband, graciously giving up his spot on the tour.
Martese and Mike, in formal mouse ear attire, at their
May 2013 wedding.
The four of us were up bright and early, in anticipation for that morning’s Disney Studios tour. Allowing plenty of time for our drive (and the LA traffic) from Anaheim, where we were staying, to the Studio area of Burbank, we had time to spare. We explored the nearby and historic Griffith Park .
Martese, Natasha, and I stand in front of the famous
Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round.
It was while sitting here, watching his young daughters, that Walt Disney first envisioned his iconic Disneyland.
You can read more about it here and here.
This former park bench now resides in
The Opera House at the front of Disneyland.
Walt sat on this very bench, by the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, when the Mickey Mouse-shaped light bulb went off in his head; the beginning of Disneyland.
Disneyland is now the benchmark for all amusement parks.
(Get it? Bench, Benchmark? hee hee)
Natasha enjoys the beauty of these pink blooming trees in Griffith Park.
After some research, I believe that they are called the Cigar Tree, also known as the Indian Bean Tree, or Catalpa.
They were fragrant, and smelled like cotton candy!
Walt Disney Studios
We were greeted at Disney Studios by our enthusiastic, and totally fun,
guide Lisa Donahey.
Not only is Lisa a Disney Guide Extraordinaire,
she is also a talented singer, (listen to Lisa’s melodious voice here and here)
and actress (see Lisa in a small part on one of my favorite shows, The Middle, here).
Lisa is also a googley eye enthusiast, as evidenced (I am guessing) by the
addition to the Disney Studio fire hydrant pictured below.
Our crew stops for a few photo ops on the property. :o)
Top photo- We are all smiles with the Disney 6-leg water tower behind us.
Photo just above-We all happily pose in front of the Disney animation building.
Below- A bit in awe, we stand around the historic Disney Studios sign.
The movie Saving Mr. Banks used the area at Walt Disney Studios, including this spot, for some of it’s filming.
(Read more about that here , here, and here .)
On the tour, Martese enjoys some illustrations/cells from her favorite movie
101 Dalmatian figures “play” in the Disney Studio gift shop (just below).
Martese stands in front of a model for 101 Dalmatian villainess, Cruella de Vil’s, car .
(Read more about the car, here.)
Exploring Disney History
We enjoyed strolling the hallowed halls at Disney Studios.
Steamboat Willie (1928), Mickey’s first film, is immortalized in this floor decor.
To view Steamboat Willie, click here.
At every turn, we were treated to a piece of Disney history . Above, I stand with (wearing) a pair of authentic Mouseketeer ears from original 1950’s The Mickey Mouse Club,
and a chimney sweep broom from 1964’s Mary Poppins.
A highlight of our visit, was our visit to the Disney Archives/Library.
We got to hold a real Oscar.
We saw a treasure trove of items from Disney’s past,
including these 1950’s Mouseketeer pieces.
I loved seeing these “puppets” from the opening scenes in 1961’s Parent Trap,
one of my favorite Disney films.
Dale enjoyed this prop, Tim, the tool man’s, tool belt from the 1990’s TV show,
Disney Legends Plaza
This beautiful, parklike, area is a tribute to the legends of Disney.
I stand proudly (below) with my namesake, Annette Funicello’s handprints.
I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.
It had been a great day!
For more information about the Walt Disney Studios , click here.
Thanks for reading.
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My next post will be around, May 8.
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A souvenir photo put together by our wonderful guide, Lisa,
from our Disney Studio tour.
The seven dwarfs look on.
Thank you, Lisa, for the great tour!