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Congratulations to Lou Mongello and The WDW Radio Show!

16 Aug

The 2007 People’s Choice podcast awards were announced today, and The WDW Radio Show has taken top honors in the Travel category. (Hat tip to 2719 Hyperion.)

If you love Disney trivia and history, and have a few spare hours each week (sorry Lou, I couldn’t resist!), you really owe it to yourself to check out The WDW Radio Show. This week’s show is a great example of the high-quality, in-depth content.

I am also going to introduce the first in a recurring series entitled, Legends of Disney Imagineering. My first guest certainly qualifies to bear that title and introduction. He is George McGinnis, who played a large part in the creation of the Mark VI monorail, Space Mountain, Horizons, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and countless other attractions and vehicles in Walt Disney World. In this exclusive, one-on-one interview, Mr. McGinnis shares stories of being personally hired by Walt Disney, the triumphs and challenges in creating such attractions as the WEDWay PeopleMover, Space Mountain, Communicore and countless others. He reminisces about working with not only Walt Disney, but a who’s who of Disney legends, including Dick Nunis, Marty Sklar, John Hench, Bob Gurr, Roger Broggie, Claude Coates, and so many others. It is truly something special that I think you’re going to enjoy and was a personal privilege for me to do. And listen very carefully, as he also shares a secret about a change that is likely coming soon to one of his Walt Disney World attractions.

If you have any time left after listening to WDW Radio, there’s a wealth of other great podcasts on the list, in categories ranging from Business to Gaming to Education. Or if you simply can’t get enough Mongello, he’s a frequent co-host on WDW Today. (And no, I’m not just sending you there because they plugged my blog this week . . . I’m also sending you there because yesterday’s episode was wonderfully weird. Hey Matt Hochberg, you might want to drag yourself out of your sickbed soon, those guys are going off the deep end without you!)

Disneyland Vacation, Circa 1976

16 Aug

When my parents packed up our red Volkswagen bus and drove us down to Anaheim, they could not possibly have known that 31 years later I’d be blogging about it. But man, I wish they could have . . . maybe they would have saved that awesome Mickey Mouse shirt I’m wearing!

I’ve uploaded a handful of photos from that trip to Flickr, including a shot of Tomorrowland Plaza that we think was taken from the Skyway. Or maybe Astro Orbiter? Also, we’re not entirely sure these photos were taken in 1976, so if any Disney geeks out there can confirm or deny that year based on details from the photos, please do.

I love these old pictures of Disneyland, and will admit to the narcissistic joy of seeing my cute little 1970s self, complete with coke-bottle glasses. But the truly embarrassing moment? Realizing that this is also the trip I talked about a couple months back on Mouse Guest Weekly, where I hid in terror through the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, terrified from that long first drop (which admittedly is much scarier in Anaheim than Orlando). Given how spooked I was, I thought I’d been 5 or 6 on that trip! But no, based on some family details in the photos I’ve got to be at least 8, but probably closer to 10.

Ahh, the Skyway, the Peoplemover! I shall never grow tired of the tomorrow we dreamed about yesterday.

Tomorrowland Transit Authority vs. Spaceship Earth

16 Oct is continuing its Walt Disney World attraction tournament, and this week one of the matches we’re asked to vote on is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority vs. Spaceship Earth.This nostalgic fan was sent into a tizzy by the decision. Two attractions from the retro-future! How can you compare the two? The TTA is a close cousin to the Peoplemover, a now-extinct Disneyland attraction which once stood for the future of transportation, and which played a significant role in the public transit scheme for the city that never was to be, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCoT, not to be confused with Epcot). How can I possibly compare that to Spaceship Earth, one of the world’s largest geodesic domes (though not truly a sphere), and of course the symbol of Epcot, the symbolic heir of the experimental prototype community?

In the end, I had to vote for the TTA. Nostalgia dictated that I vote with my heart. But I’m betting it’ll be Spaceship Earth in a landslide.

Bring Back the Peoplemover to Disneyland!

12 Oct

Looking for a litmus test, to prove whether you’re a real Disney freak or just a casual fan? Well, how do you feel about the Peoplemover, formerly of the Disneyland park? If you miss it, chances are good you just might be a freak. (Like, oh, yours truly.) If you ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority at Walt Disney World and find yourself referring to it as the WEDWay Peoplemover, there’s probably little hope for you, but you’re not alone. is there for you. Enjoy the videos, enrich your knowledge with the history, sign the petition.

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