Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Walt Disney World Postcard Puzzle

This is a Walt Disney World postcard puzzle. The postcard is actually the can which comes with a puzze inside. I believe this is from the 1970s, but, I'm not sure of the specific date. But, looking at the image and the copyright of Walt Disney Productions, I'm fairly certain that is the time period. Pretty neat piece. Since this one isn't in the best of shape, I may just frame it and put on my wall!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Commemorative Pre-Opening Guide to Epcot Center

During our vacation in the summer of 1982, guests got to take a ride on the monorail over to a new theme park opening later that year. The new park was to be called Epcot Center. Besides the ticket and a brochure we received, guests also were given a magazine called The Dawn of a New Disney Era...A Commemorative Pre-Opening Guide to Epcot Center. It is filled with tons of concept art, construction pictures, pre-opening pictures, and descriptions of the various attractions and lands in this future theme park. Now, somewhere I have some pictures my parents took. I'll have to see if I can find them along with my ticket and brochure. I'll save those for a future post.

On the back cover is a quote that illuminates what was to be Epcot Center:

If we can bring together the technial know-how of American industry and the creative imaginatioin of the Disney organization, I believe we can build a community that more people will talk about and come to look at than any other area in the world. --Walt Disney

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Disneyana Collector Summer 1982

Back in the summer of 1982, on our second family trip to Walt Disney World, I picked up a free copy of The Disneyana Collector at the Disneyana Collectibles shop on Main Street. This was the premiere issue Volume 1 Number 1. I remember walking down the street toward Cinderella Castle with my head looking straight down reading away, oblivious to all the hustle and bustle all around me. Although it only had four pages, I found it interesting and exciting to read, to discover that people collected Disney stuff...all sorts of Disney stuff. Who knew?

As the years went by, I had always wondered where my souvenir had gone. Well, about a year ago, I found it in a box of stuff I had stored away. Of course, I immediately started where I had left off those roughly 30 years ago.

The articles are brief, but, still interesting. There are two things that especially caught my attention. In the first article, the author talks about collecting "candy wrappers, soaps, bread wrappers, bottle caps, children's hankies". In other words...EPHEMERA!

Then, in the 'Collector Profile' section, Bernie Shine hits a home run when he says, "To me it's not gold, to hoard, or merchandise, to sell...Collecting is an enthusiasm to be shared."

Oh, and one last thing. Check out the price for a yearly subscription of 4 issues...$1!!!

NOTE: In case you are wondering what that stain is at the bottom of the pages...well, when I stored this item, as well as other Disney items, many years ago, I also stored a half empty bottle of cologne on top of them. Lets just say the bottle is now empty. As Stan Lee would say, 'Nuff Said'.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Coca-Cola Commemorative Bottle WDW 100 Years of Magic!

A favorite bonding time for my wife and I is to go to flea markets, garage sales, antique stores, and the like to see what treasures we might find. Well, here is a neat item I picked up at a flea market this past Saturday...a Coca-Cola bottle.

Back in 2002, Coca-Cola released this commemorative Walt Disney World 8 oz. Bottle and Tube celebrating 100 Years of Magic at the park. Born on December 5, 1901, this year long event was a celebration of Walt Disney's 100th birthday. The colorful cardboard tube comes with an 8 oz. Classic Coke bottle along with a flyer advertising Disney's Play 4 Days Pass for $99. The bottle has the 100 Years of Magic logo on it.

Now, I only paid $3 for this item and the best part is the dealer also threw in the cardboard display that was attached to shelves where these commemorative bottles were to sit. The display shows the entire picture that was wrapped around the tube. Glad I added these two items to my collection.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Test Track Safety Postcard...FREE

One piece of Disneyphemera I really like are postcards, especially free postcards from the parks. Here is a free postcard from Epcot's Test Track. You can pick this up at the GM information desk in the showroom at the exit of the ride. The front has a cool picture of the attraction's vehicle.

On the back it has a little safety reminder, actually, more like a contract with drivers. Then, when you mail your card to your family or friends, the safety message is passed on, along with an advertisement for Epcot and GM of course. This makes a great souvenir and scrapbook piece from the most popular ride in Future World.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gurgi's Munchies & Crunchies Photos

While on vacation a couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit one of my fellow College Program cast members. While looking through her pictures, I found a couple of of photographs of Gurgi's Munchies and Crunchies in Fantasyland. The first picture is from the summer of 1991...yes, that is me. This second photograph is of one of our friends.

These photos show a lot more of this inside of this bygone counter service restaurant. I posted a much longer blog with other pictures on my previous blog Destination: Disney. I'm including the post below for your convenience. I'm hoping that as I reconnect with former cast members from the College Program, I'll be able to get some more pictures of Gurgi's, and other lost attractions. Enjoy!

From the October 9, 2009 Destination: Disney blog entry:

When I was on the WDW College Program in the Summer of 1990, I worked in Fantasyland Foods (FF). The flagship restaurant was Pinocchio's Village Haus, known
as Pinoch's in Dinsey lingo. The other restaurants that fell under FF were Troubadour Tavern (Troubs), Round Table, Tournament Tent (Tent), the Pretzel wagon, and the place I spent most of my time, Gurgi's Munchies and Crunchies (Gurgi's).

In July 1985, Disney released its 25th animated feature, The Black Cauldron, based off a series of books by Lloyd Alexander called Chronicles of Prydain. Probably the most recognizable and lovable characters from that film was Gurgi, a dog-like creature that not only talked, but had quite an appetite and provided comic relief to this rather dark picture by Disney standards. Ok, maybe he wasn't a dog-like creature, but, he was furry and he was funny and he always said, "munchings and crunchings", which, made him the appropriate character for the naming of this restaurant. Unfortunately, this film was a far cry from a box office hit. But, like Disney does for all of its animated films, it incorporates them into the parks in some fashion. The Black Cauldron was no different.

On October 26, 1986, Gurgi's Munchies & Crunchies opened, taking place of Lancer's Inn. A question I received frequently from guests while I worked at Gurgi's was, "what movie is this place based off of"? More often than not, when I'd tell people it was based off of The Black Cauldron, their response was, "I've never heard of that one". And, unfortunately, at that time, The Black Cauldron had not been released on video, so, guests really had no way to go view it. But, this provided me an opportunity to talk to guests, so, I'd give them a quick synopsis of the movie.

Now, if you aren't familiar with this restaurant's location, it is across from Dumbo and Pooh's Playful Spot. This was a walk-up counter service restaurant with five registers, two queues per register. Out front were maybe half a dozen umbrella covered tables for guests to relax and dine. The design of the restaurant was the same style as Pinoch's except themed to the lighter side of The Black Cauldron. The sign out front was very similar to the Lumiere's Kitchen sign, except it had a picture of Gurgi and had Gurgi's Munchies and Crunchies scrolled on it. I have scoured the Internet and have yet to find any photos of this extinct restaurant. And, I've said it many times in previous posts, but, unfortunately, we didn't have digital cameras back then. And, as a college student, I didn't "waste" my photos on restaurants, to my regret.

But, while looking through my photos from my 1990 experience, I did come across a couple of pictures that show this very small location. In the first picture, to the far right, you can see a door which led backstage to the ice machine. Judging from the locaction, I believe this cast member was on the middle register. You can catch a partial glimpse of the drink menu right above his head in the background. Of course, you can see the Fair Folk, including the Santa looking King Eidilleg flying with a cup cake. In the window, you can see some of the food items ready to be delivered.

Here are the drink items sold at Gurgi's that I can see on the menu and can recall from my memories:
Soft Drinks: Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta Orange, and Fanta Root Beer (I think they were Fanta)
Orange Juice and Apple Juice boxes (Minute Maid I believe)
Hot Tea and Hot Chocolate
100% Colombian Coffee
Decaffeinated Coffee
Whole or Chocolate Milk
Lowfat Milk

As for the food items, what I can recall and can see in the window are the following:
Kids meal: Grilled Cheese or Chicken Nuggets (4 I think)
Chili Cheese Dog (yellow styrofoam container)
Chicken Sandwich (blue-green styrofoam container)
French Fries
Chocolate Chip Cookie

The kids meal came with a cookie, chips, and a Disney PVC figure. Of course, I do recall us also using those Mickey Mouse straws on occassion when we ran out of the figures. The summer of 1990 had those yellow boxes as seen in the pictures. I believe that was supposed to be Mickey's house. I remember that Mickey's nephews, Ferdy and Morty, were on the box. I wish I had saved one of those.

The next summer, 1991, the kids meal boxes were Disney Afternoon boxes. I actually did save an unused one of these. This is yet another example of Disney promoting one of its properties in the Disney parks as the Disney Afternoon was just taking off. The box has the Gummi Bears, Tailspin, DuckTales, and Rescue Rangers on it.

The second picture is basically the same as the first, but, just a little more to the right. In the background, you can see where we put all the condiments which included ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, bar-b-que sauce, and honey mustard sauce. Although these pictures don't show a whole lot of this tiny establishment, it is currently the only pictures I've seen in the past 18 years. I'm hoping that some of my former cast members have them. I've contacted some of them and if they do, hopefully, they will send them to me. If you have any, I'd love to see them.

Now, I've got many funny stories from working there, but, a couple of specifically food related tales. First, almost every day, we would have Germans come and ask for beer. I'd tell them that there was no beer sold in the Magic Kingdom. Then they'd point at the sign behind me and said, "beer". For the first few weeks this went on, I'd spend a few seconds trying to explain to them that this wasn't beer. Then, I learned. As soon as they'd point to the sign, I'd grab a little cup, put some root beer in it, and hand to them. Without flaw, they'd make a grimacing face and say, "MEDICINE"! That never got old to me and I got quite a chuckle, as did the guests.

Another common occurrence dealt with the kids meals. And, when I say common, I mean about every fourth kids meal order. Parents would come up and say, "I'd like a Chicken McNuggets kids meal". I'd reply, "I'm sorry, we don't have Chicken McNuggets", with an emphasis put on the "Mc" part. They'd look at me with a blank
stare, and then after a couple seconds, they'd get their gaffe and start laughing. Just goes to show the brand identity McDonald's has on chicken nuggets in our culture.

Gurgi's finally closed February 13, 1993, and then re-opened as Lumiere's Kitchen, followed by The Village Frye. To Disney's credit, it is amazing that a location based off of such a little known picture lasted about 6 1/2 years. And, to my knowledge, this was the only attraction, show, shop, or restaurant based off The Black Cauldron. In my opinion, it really is too bad that more attractions aren't based off of some of the lesser known animated features.

As for the stories of my time as a cast member at Fantasyland Foods...I think I'll save those for future posts.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Save That Counter Service Trash!

One of the most unique and fun pieces of Walt Disney World ephemera I like to collect are items I get from the counter service restaurants. You can find most of these at any counter service restaurant at any of the four theme parks. But, the best place to get them is at the food court at the value resorts such as Pop Century or the All Stars. That way, when you are done, ya can just boogie over to your room, clean them up real quick, and set them out to dry while you head off to the parks.

These plates, cups, and napkins you can find at any of the counter service restaurants. I really like the colors and how the evoke the them of "What will you celebrate"? which has been the motto of the parks the past two years. Written on the cups are 'Celebrate Today', while the plates have 'Where Dreams Come True' scrolled across them.

At the food courts, the kids meals can come with apple sauce and a half pint carton of milk, both featuring Chef Mickey. He even has a personal message for kids on the milk:

Drinking at least three glasses of milk a day helps give you the vitamins and minerals your body needs to be active.

Chef Mickey

And, finally, if you buy a large 16" pizza, it will come in a cardboard box with the Fab Five. Now, this is kind of a large item, and if you choose not to keep the whole box, you can either cut off the top, and recycle the rest. And, if you still think it is too large, then you can always take a picture and recycle the entire box. Either way, it is a very unique piece of disneyphemera!

Some of the other items you can find at counter service restaurants include hamburger baskets, fry holders, fruit cups, and hot dog holders.

Now, what I really like about these items, besides them being free, is they change almost every year. You can look forward with each vacation on adding new items to your collection. And, they even change during different holiday seasons celebrated at WDW such as Halloween and Christmas. I'll show some from Halloween in a future post.

Just like any piece of disneyphemera, a great thing about these items is they make for very interesting pieces to put in your WDW vacation scrapbook. All you have to do is simply flatten them for a couple days under a stack of books and VOILA...you have a super cool item to display in your WDW scrapbook for everyone to enjoy. So, your next vacation to Walt Disney World, whether you are enjoying your Mickey waffle or just taking a break from the heat sucking down a soft drink, take a look around and see what new disneyphemera you can add to your disneyphemera collection, or better yet, to your magical memories.