30 September 2009

GAF Photo Trail

When GAF released its first park guide for Walt Disney World in 1972, it included helpful tips on photography to capture the perfect shot. To further develop the perfect still, they also created the GAF Photo Trail. On each Magic Kingdom park map twenty-four locations were marked to supply camera happy tourists with picture perfect photographs. These stops along the photo trail were, just like today’s Kodak Picture Spots, marked with a sign to assist the photographers. While twenty-four may seem like an odd number of stops for those of us in the digital age, it was the perfect amount in 1972, as most film came in rolls of twenty-four.During my most recent trip to Walt Disney World, I decided to hunt down the old trail and see what the sights would look like if the same path were used today. I found that the times have, indeed, changed the Magic Kingdom. Caribbean Plaza did not exist in 1972, nor did Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mickey’s Toontown Fair, or half of Tomorrowland, just to name a few. 1972 did, however, include the Skyway, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and quite a bit less greenery. The thirty-seven years of change between then and now is apparent in the photographs, such as the shot arrange to optimize the view of the 20,000 Leagues lagoon which now only showcases a stand of trees and shrubbery.

It should be noted that throughout this process I only had the locations of the photo trail stops, and not the staged photograph to know what I should be photographing. Although, in many cases, the target of the picture was obvious. While several of the spots still offer excellent views of the Magic Kingdom in all her splendor, only one still exists today as a Kodak Picture Spot. That location is the station near Sleepy Hollow Refreshments that offers a stellar view of Cinderella Castle’s profile.

If anyone has photographs of the GAF Photo Trail from the 1970s, and they would be willing to share them with the readers of the Main Street Gazette, I would be thrilled to share them. As well, I hope this look at the previous photo stops reminds all of us to stop, look around, and remember the history and memories the Magic Kingdom has provided us with.

29 September 2009

Singing the song of Adventurers

My recent trip to Walt Disney World was built around two unique experiences, the Expedition Everest Challenge and the Adventurers Club Dinner (created by WDW Radio Show and Mouse Fan Travel). Of the two, Everest presented a race that I hoped would be the first of many, and the Adventurers Club offered many of us the chance to bid a wonderful cornerstone of Disney entertainment a fond farewell. Today, I want to try and express what the Adventurers Club Dinner meant to so many of us.For starters, it should be noted that there would be no alcohol at this club once famous for their Kungaloosh, a fact that would not diminish the experience or the feelings anyone had for the establishment. The dinner itself, as well as the desserts, were fantastic but seemed more symbolic to those of us there to spend time with Hathaway, Sugar, Pamelia, and the rest of the Adventurers and their club.The events of the evening, the swearing in as new members, the Hoopla, and the Mask and Treasure room shows, in addition to the appearances of Babylonia and the Yakoose, made the night one to remember. While having some free time to roam the corridors one last time (in an attempt to document as much as I could), there were moments when the achy reminder that the Club would soon be shuttered for the last time would wash over, but the pains were soon washed away by the cheers and laughter of patrons interacting with our brave and bold adventurers.Highlights, at least in my house, of the evening include my wife, alongside two of her friends, having their first experience of a Hoopla. The Hoopla Virgins, as they were announced to Hathaway Browne, were dubbed Sassy, Trashy, and Sleazy. Although, which is which is probably up for continual debate. For my part, just before the night ended, it seemed as if Sugar Snap needed some assistance in clearing the house. Unfortunately, the end result included my wearing her hat, choker, holding her feather duster, and having a pair of stockings draped around my shoulders. Afterwards, since I saw about two hundred camera flashes, I decided there was no point in keeping this photograph undercover. It was, after all, all in good fun. Plus, what a last memory to be able to treasure.The final bows, rousing ovations, and, finally, the request that we all had to clear the building, were fitting in and of the fact that so many of us got what the Adventurers Club was, what it was all about. It was the crown jewel of engaging, interactive experiences, especially when coupled with the story of the entire Pleasure Island area. There may never be Adventures marching along the banks of Walt Disney World again, but for the past twenty years we have been lavished in innuendo and laughter, regaled with tales, and become a part of the stories. Thank you Pamelia, Hathaway, Otis, Emil, Samantha, Fletcher, Graves, and especially you Sugar ( ;^) ), your spirit will live on in each of us.After the two Hooplas had ended, while everyone was chatting with the Adventurers and each other, before they asked us to leave, I took a moment to snap one last picture on the stage. A moment trapped in time, a moment I will never forget, no matter how many years I go marching along.

28 September 2009

Recreation galore

Sometimes looking back at what the Walt Disney World was painted to look like ends up being a memorial to what might have been. Then, there are those rare moments when a conceptual piece of advertising lives up to splendor and glory. Such is the case of this photograph painting released in 1971. From the Cyprus swamps to leisure endeavors, this piece gave a true picture of what a vacation in Walt Disney World could feel like.Here is the official caption:
RECREATION GALORE – – Walt Disney World’s “Vacation Kingdom” in central Florida will provide an almost limitless variety of land and water-oriented recreational activities, including boating, horseback riding on miles of bridle trails, nature tours, bicycling, tennis and golf. In addition, Walt Disney World resort hotels will offer dancing, dining and nightclub entertainment by popular stars, for both adult abd family audiences.

27 September 2009

See ya real soon!

For the Princess

Hold these truths

Boma breakfast

Meet Adriana Caselotti, the voice of "Snow White"

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will soon be gracing the screens again in a new DVD release. To celebrate the feature that started it all, today’s Back Issue comes from the Summer 1987 issue of Disney News and features a personal chat with Disney’s first princess, Adriana Caselotti.
One of the best known voices in the world belongs to a singer most people have never heard of. Adriana Caselotti lives in contented obscurity near the site of Walt Disney’s old Hyperion Avenue studio in Los Angeles, where she was chosen by Disney himself for the voice of Snow White in his animated film classic, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

“That was in 1935. I was 18 years old,” Caselotti says with a still-girlish laugh.

“My parents were opera singers. I auditioned for Snow White on a whim. Mr. Disney was looking for someone who could speak and sing like a child. He had turned down Deanna Durbin because she sounded too mature. She was 14.”

The picture opened December 21, 1937, and celebrates its 50th anniversary (and seventh reissue) this year. Millions of sound track records and tapes have been sold, putting Caselotti’s voice onto the airwaves and into countless households throughout the world. Yet except for three stage appearances in “Rigoletto” in 1944, she never performed professionally again.

“The studio didn’t ask me back,” she says. “Besides, I wasn’t much interested in a career. I just wanted to be happily married and keep house.”

Caselotti is active and vivacious. “In our later years, a hobby is rejuvenating,” she says. Her lifelong avocation is designing and building houses. Several of them dot the hills above Hollywood and Caselotti, twice widowed, occupies a dramatic Hawaiian-style house she designed herself. It is landscaped with rare tropical plants, a Japanese bridge, and – yes – a wishing well.

Several years ago Caselotti, whose voice is still as bell-like as ever, was called upon to record some vocal tracks for the newly remodeled Fantasyland at Disneyland. “After numerous takes and still not getting it quite right,” she recalls, “I closed my eyes and asked Walt for his help. The next take was perfect.”

26 September 2009

Time to run

Team Gazette

Off to the Challenge

Someone stole the speeder bike

Luxo Jr.

For Greg

I don't wanna miss a thing


One of the most anticipated features of any new Walt Disney World resort is the pool area. From zero entry, to water slides, and even the pool bar, everything is scrutinized. The latest pool offering, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village, offers a multitude of experiences in the water complex.Comprised of the fitness center, Survival of the Fittest, the Maji Pool Bar, and two different water areas, Kidani Village will keep families entertained for hours. The main pool, Samawati Springs, comes complete with zero entry and a 128-foot water slide. While the water play zone, Uwanja Camp, has squiting snakes and flowers, misting masks, dump zones, small, child-friendly slides and pools, jumping water fountains, a fort, and several spray cannons to be used against pesky siblings. Oh, and did I mention the complex also has two hot tubs?All-in-all, the area, though removed from the main resort, will induce fits of giggles and calm even the grumpiest of sourpusses. Let’s take a little tour, shall we?