Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Lilly Belle: Part 2

When we last left our hero he (I) had just spent $110 for 2 Lilly Belle tickets.  Another funny thing about this is that you cab write in how many people are in your party on the ticket so I really only needed one.  Like I said though, I thought they were only $5 so why not buy 2?

Fast forward to September 2010 and I bring my Lilly Belle ticket to City Hall to see if I can actually use it to ride in the private train car.  Now, I thought they would just sign it and I'd be on my way.  Even if you have a ticket and the Lilly Belle is running you have to set up a time to ride it.  A Cast Member had to call the station and set up a time when an extra Engineer/Conductor would be available to ride with me and my family.  Luckily my tickets were good, she filled them out and all I had to do now was wait until my designated time.


4:00 finally came around and it was time for our ride.  Here is what the Lilly Belle looks like from the outside.


Here's an inside shot:


I always heard that the inside of the Lilly Belle was furnished with things from Walt's apartment.  Our Cast Member told us that the chair (at the bottom left) and the carpet were the only things he had heard came from Walt's apartment.  Let's take a look at this picture from National Geographic of Walt in his apartment.


Maybe Walt had the carpet replaced after this picture was taken...?
Maybe he purchased the chair after this picture was taken...?

One thing he knew for sure though was that the coat hanging on the wall was donated by Lillian Disney herself (It was one of hers not Walt's)


Here's a few more pictures of random things inside.


We decided this was a shade placed in front of the window to block the sun.



Thank God this was here or I would have had to spit all over the floor...



Even though it may or may not be Walt's chair I still had to sit in it.



If you want to ride the Lilly Belle my advice is go to City Hall and ask.  Apparently if you know enough about the car to ask and show general interest in a ride a Cast Member will usually hook you up. It's much easier than spending $110....



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Lilly Belle: Part I

This post is going to be two parts (hence the part I in the title).  The first explaining how I purchased the ticket and the second about the ride.  I just did not want to write one huge post.

Back in September 2009 I went to a sneak preview of the Walt Disney Family Museum.  I am a Carolwood Pacific Historical Society Member and Diane Disney held a few tickets for members to attend (along with D23 members).

I was in the gift shopping grabbing everything in sight like a mad man when I stumbled upon a small table with large tickets on it.  There was another guy checking them out and had no clue what they were, I grabbed one and saw that it was a ticket to ride the Lilly Belle.  According to the sign these tickets were uncirculated left overs from ones Lillian Disney had printed to give to friends and family visiting Disneyland who wanted to ride in the VIP car on the Disneyland Rail Road.  I thought "Wow, these must cost a fortune."  When I turned it over and saw they were only $5 I thought "Well, why don't I buy 2 of them!"

I went the the register with my 2 Lilly Belle tickets and the rest of my swag and was confused when my total was $100 over what I had added up in my head.  I thought either this girl does not know how to use a cash register or I am worse at math than I thought.  I decided not to say anything and just check my receipt.  I scanned it for an error and that's where I saw it.  In my excitement at the thought of riding the Lilly Belle I misread the price.  They weren't $5 each...they were $55.

I did not want to go back to the register like an idiot and explain my lack of basic reading skills so I sucked it up and left.  I figured my worst case scenario was getting to ride the Lilly Belle twice.

So stay tuned for part II and see if one trip around Disneyland in a special train car is worth $55.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: The Vault of Walt.

Jim Korkis advises the reader in the forward that this book should be treated like a box a chocolates.  That we should savor and enjoy the stories.  Well I read this book the same way I eat a box of chocolates and gorged myself until it was finished.


If you're like me and you've read the majority of Walt Disney biographies you know the feeling of getting a new one and reading variations of the same stories you've read in every other biography.  Vault of Walt is not a biography, it's a collection of stories about Walt and other Disney related topics.  It promises never heard before stories and it has plenty of those.  

My only complaint is that it's more like Vault of Disney than Walt.  The book starts off great with all sorts of stories about Walt himself.  Then you get to the next section which is stories about Disney Films, followed by a section about Park stories.  It's not that I did not enjoy these other stories, but the further you get into the book the less you hear about Walt.  The tag line is also a bit misleading because "Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Uncensored" had me thinking I was going to get some dirt along the lines of Hollywoods Dark Prince which is not the case (which I will one day write about my love of that book). 

I would still highly recommend this book though, especially if you thought you knew everything there was to know about Walt.  If you've read a lot of Disney history you will encounter some repeats but for the most part there is a lot of new tidbits to read about. I never fully understood Walt's FBI involvement and this book tells you all about it in a way no other book has, so stop reading this and buy it!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Pee-wee Herman Show!

What a break! It's been so long kids.  Let's do this!


I flew to New York over the break to see the Pee-wee Herman Show and it was amazing!  The show ended January 2nd but not to worry (if you missed it) because HBO is taping it later this week and will be airing it soon!

The show was great, he took his original stage show from the 80's and added all characters from Pee-wee's playhouse (well most of them, sorry Floory fans).  The show was at the Stephen Sondheim Theater, half a block away from Times Square.


I went to the theater early to take some pictures and to find the stage door so I could wait after the show to meet Pee-wee.  I had my girlfriend ask the box office if they had any sort of "meet and greet" opportunities available.  The guy looked at us like we asked if we could kill his dog.  He snootily told us he did not even know what a meet and greet was (obviously the name implies nothing). I decided to take my chance at the stage door after the show.  

After the show we ran to the door where a barricade was already set up.  After a couple minutes he came out.


He spoke for a few minutes thanking everyone for coming to the show and for waiting to see him after.  Then he started taking questions from the crowd.  The first was a girl in her 20's with a Pee-wee doll.  She asked if he would sign it.  Pee-wee told her he could not because it would not be fair for everyone else who wanted a signature because he could not stay out all night signing everything.  He broke this rule though for a 7 year old girl who kept screaming "PEE-WEE!!!!"  When he invited her inside to take a picture and get his autograph you could feel hatred from all the late 20's and early 30's kids crowd who had grown up with Pee-wee.  Watching this kid get an autograph she would probably lose in the next few days was a little hard, luckily she was a really cute kid.



When Pee-wee left so did most of the crowd.  It went from over a hundred to about 15 of us.  As we waited the cast started coming out and I had them sign my Pee-wee Herman Show poster.  After over an hour of waiting (in 30 degree weather) security came and took down the barricade, it was not looking good.  Then a few minutes later Miss Yvonne (from the original stage show and play house TV show) came out.  She was nice enough to sign stuff for the 8 of us still waiting even though there was a car waiting to pick her up.  The group dropped down to four, I couldn't even feel my toes anymore when a woman came out of the stage door.  "Who are you waiting for?" she asked.  One of the guys told her Pee-wee.  She told us he had left half an hour ago.  He must have left through a different exit.

It had been almost 2 hours and I did not meet Pee-wee.  This was the scene at the stage door when myself and the other 3 finally left.


We left New York and headed to my girlfriends parents house in New Hampshire.  There I wrote a letter to Pee-wee and sent along my playbill from the show.  I asked him to sign it, I'll keep you posted on how that turns out.

Even though I did not get to meet him it was a great experience and I cannot wait for the HBO special!  And if your one of those Pee-wee haters out there you might be interested to know that Prince was in the audience the night I was there.  How awesome is that!?  he played at Madison Square Garden the night before and stuck around to see Pee-wee.


WELCOME BACK PEE-WEE!!!!