This past weekend I had the opportunity to take part in the D23 Great Disney Scavenger Hunt and the Destination D Walt Disney World 40th. The event had a ton of memorable panels, a great deal of funny moments, and a few excellent surprises thrown into the mix. I'll post these photos in three batches, so let's start with the first!
So in starting the event, we participated in D23's Great Disney Scavenger Hunt. One of our earliest Epcot tasks was to ride Gran Fiesta Tour and find several clues.
We were asked what city was closest to the band at the exit mural.
We were asked what the artisan's task was...
And then there were tons of unscrambling questions that required us to count letters and words to find an unscrambled name or theme.
In this question's case, the word was discover.
Another counting question found in Pecos Bill's.
Its not as easy as it looks!
Did you know that this is the Disney family crest on Cinderella's Castle?
That evening, I attended (in addition to Jack, pup and digidoc) a private dinner with Disney Legend, Marty Sklar.
I had met Marty back in 2007 for Celebration 25, but it was great to reconnect with him and hear more of his incredible stories... Especially the one about how he got RCA to sponsor Space Mountain.
The following day, the convention aspect of the weekend, Destination D began.
Located in the Fantasia Ballroom of the Contemporary Resort, we had to queue for about 20 minutes before we were allowed in.
Despite queuing later than most, we got pretty fantastic seats in the front-left section of the ballroom.
The logo is reminiscent of the one used for the Destination D Disneyland event...
The presentations (as you'll see much of here) were all of top notch quality and showed many unseen or forgotten photos and video from the resort's history.
A little more done...
Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads.
It's time to start!
The D23 Armchair Archivist Josh Turchetta kicked off the show with an amusing episode focusing on D23's head, Steven Clark.
He showed some embarrassing yet charming photos of Steven when he worked at Walt Disney World...
The two have some great onstage chemistry that allowed for some very funny moments!
Steven Clark told us about his experiences as a guest and eventually an employee at the Walt Disney World Resort, which was fascinating.
His D23 renewal letter came in the mail...
And then they did a quick plug for the D23 Expo taking place this August, which I'll also be going to!
And then a plug for the upcoming D23 Rocketeer event at the El Capitan. I love this movie!
And then to kick off the event, things were handed off to the Walt Disney World Resort's first Ambassador.
"We actually found your original application for the job."
It gets better...
A sign of the times, I guess.
They showed a few rare photos of Roy at the Magic Kingdom.
And then it came time for what ended up being one of my favorite panels of weekend.
Becky Cline was picked by Dave Smith to replace him following his retirement from the Disney Archives. Paul F. Anderson is an archivist whose focus has been on Walt Disney and the Walt Disney Company for over forty years. Most recently, his work has been featured in the form of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.
Now its time for some Weird Disney.
Words can't possibly describe...
This needed a second look.
Presented without comment.
We were told a story of how several little people were hired to dress up like Pinochio and sit atop the theater marquee.
According to our hosts, the characters were given libations and by the end of the red carpet experience, they weren't wearing their costumes.
This how this story in the paper was supposed to look...
Did you know they played the Phantom of the Opera at the Mainstreet Cinema and had a walk around Phantom character?
And the opening of Alice in Wonderland (at Disneyland) had this wonderful White Rabbit costume.
Walt fixes the rabbit's mask several times in the video...
An oversized clown in an undersized Herbie.
And then there were these...
Did you know you used to be able to fish at Disneyland's Tom Swayer Island and keep all you caught?
A souvenir for if you caught something.
This used to exist.
They used to do Pancake Races down Mainstreet.
This was one character that wasn't used after the night the photo was taken.
Then Tim O'Day came out to share a story about getting Baby New Year to fly off of the Matterhorn for New Years Eve at Disneyland. After telling us the story, he shared archived footage that actually proved the story true. Awesome.
Did you know Goofy could waterski?
Apparently so can Donald.
The floating outhouse...
This is the life...
A rare sight, I'm sure.
They used to have the Three Caballeros as walk around characters in Adventureland.
Who or what is the character on the far left?
America on Parade.
You... Think ME beautiful?
Not even sure...
"They ruined it!"
This is definitely from before my time.
This one too.
Here we go...
Steven Clark creating a magical moment.
Mork and Mindy.
I'm king of the world!
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
Followed by Kitchen Kabaret. I always preferred Food Rocks.
The milk carton was retained for Food Rocks and sang the variation of The Police's Every Breath You Take.
Oh, the Peach Boys. I was such a fan!
"We love junk!"
Way before me...
That being said, it looked very good for its time.
Keep going, keep going.
Trying to catch him ridin' durty.
Low rider, rides a little lower...
Anyone remember Galaxy Search at the Galaxy Palace Theatre?
I'm so lost...
What could this be from?
Believe it or not, this show was featured at the American Gardens Theater at Epcot's American Adventure Pavilion.
Walt Disney World once had a pet shop...
When it went out of business, this ferret was among the few remaining animals given away.
The big finale of Weird Disney involved a viewing of the extremely dated, hilariously gauche Grad Night promo video from way back when. To sum it up, there was bards signing in green-well tights, a clumsy witch and some very out-of-contextually tongue-in-cheek jokes.
Time for Dave Smith's presentation!
Despite his retirement, Dave Smith is still very involved with the archival process at Disney.
This is the Magic Kingdom before the Magic Kingdom.
I can't even imagine the Bee Line like this.
A rare look at Walt during one of his pre-Disney World visits.
Bay Lake before it was drained, refilled and developed.
And here is Roy Disney visiting the property during it's development.
Disney purchased the Celebrity Sports Center in order to familiarize its managers with the hotel industry before Walt Disney World was built. The property was later sold and eventually demolished, but it truly is a piece of the Disney story that few knew about.
Similarly, the Hilton Inn South was also leased by Disney to train employees for the opening of the Contemporary and Polynesian Resorts.
This property is now the CoCo Key Hotel on International Drive. So this piece of history is still accessible.
The Walt Disney World Preview Center still stands today towards the entrance of the Downtown Disney hotel area.
Pictured behind the register is the original Walt Disney World Ambassador featured earlier in this report.
Infrastructure work going on in preparation for the utilidors of the Magic Kingdom.
Art Linkletter was opposed to creating straight levies for Walt Disney World, hence the curvature of this and others, meant to follow the contours of the Florida landscape.
Beneath the sludge of Bay Lake, they found white sand which they used for the beachfronts created for the hotels in the area.
Before Walt Disney World was finished with construction, tree farms were created in advance so the vegetation could be matured by the time it was ready to be planted.
The same goes for the topiaries.
Roy looks out at what will become the Magic Kingdom.
The Mainstreet Station under construction.
Here are the three Walt Disney World railroad locomotives as they were being refurbished in preparation of the opening of the Magic Kingdom.
The Magic Kingdom from the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Mainstreet construction continues.
Getting closer now...
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
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