So, this post is inspired by Karen of Just Me and My Running Shoes blog and her posting from today, which you can read here. It’s actually kind of interesting that she should write a post on the magic of Disney today because I was feeling inspired by the magic of the company I work for (Disney) as well today. This morning began with a town hall meeting for all of Corporate Legal. This meeting began with a very inspiring presentation by Tom Skaggs, the head guy for Disney Parks and Resorts. He started off with a great sizzle piece on the parks. As he said, “If watching this doesn’t inspire you to want to work, nothing will.” How true that was. So, my day started off with hearing about all the cool things going on at the various parks and resorts Disney owns around the world. Inspiring stuff. Here is my response to the questions Karen answered in her blog…
Favorite runDisney Race
Well, I’ve only participated in 2…the Neverland 5K (twice) and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. So, there isn’t much to choose from, thus far. I would have to say my favorite of the two is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. If you’ve read my race recap, you’ll understand why. It was the race that got me hooked on running. This picture speaks for itself.
Although, I do reserve the right to change this once I’ve run in the Disneyland races this Labor Day and the Disney World Marathon Weekend races. After that, my answer might change.
Favorite Disney Movie
So many great movies to choose from. This is a hard one. My favorite animated movies are the Toy Story movies. Toy Story 1, 2 and 3 were amazing! One of my all time favorite trilogies of movies.
My favorite live action Disney movies is a tie between The Avengers and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (the first one).
Favorite Disney Song
The music lover that I am makes this one especially difficult. Here are some of my favorites (in no particular order)…
Circle of Life from the Lion King
So Close from Enchanted
Ever Ever After from Enchanted (my wife and I exited or wedding ceremony to this song)
You are the Music in Me from High School Musical 2 (dedicated to my wife)
Favorite Disney Park
This is a no brainer for me…Disneyland. This is the theme park I grew up going to. It’s the theme park that Walt built. This is where the Disney theme park magic all began. I may be a little biased (as a former Disneyland Cast Member), but the level of customer service at Disneyland surpasses that of the theme parks in Florida. It may not be as large as the parks in Florida, but Disneyland is the original and the best.
Favorite Disney Restaurant
Without a doubt, I love the Blu Bayou. There’s nothing like it. Club 33 comes in second place only because it doesn’t have the same awesome ambiance as the Blu Bayou. This amazing restaurant is in the same building as the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. After I got engaged, my wife, myself and our friends ate there to celebrate…AND…we got waterfront seating! If you’re ever at Disneyland and have the chance, I highly recommend this restaurant. It has the best service (outside of Club 33) and the food is amazing! By the way, they do have more than just the famous Monte Cristo Sandwich.
Favorite Disney Character
This is a tie between Mickey Mouse (hey, it all started with a mouse. Right?) and Buzz Lightyear…to infinity and beyond!
Have you ever dressed up as a Disney character?
Unfortunately, I have not done this.
Describe your favorite Disney Memory
There are a lot of them. My two favorites are…
Getting Engaged at Disneyland (best trip to any of the Disney theme parks EVER!) On May 3, 2008, I set out to get engaged to the best woman I’ve ever known. We are one of those eHarmony success stories. May 3rd, was just a couple of days short of the 2nd anniversary of our first date. Since Brooke is my princess, I thought that the only place we could get engaged is by a castle. Well, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland is the closest one to us. Plus, we’re both big Disney fans. So, that was where I thought we should get engaged. I emailed several of our friends to see if they wanted to be apart of this event. To my surprise, we had 8 people say they would pay the admission price to Disneyland just to be involved. One of my friends got a video camera to capture the moment and others would hide out near the wishing well by the castle to capture the moment in pictures. I told Brooke we’d be going to Disneyland to celebrate our 2 year anniversary and left out the other information. There is long story I could share about this very magical day. However, I’ll have to save that for another post.
Long story made short, I coordinated everything with our friends at a dinner we had at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney several weeks prior. Everything turned out perfectly. Brooke had no idea that any of this was going to happen. Cool thing is that I have the whole thing on video. She didn’t even notice our friends until after she said “yes!” We even had an unplanned surprise. While we were on our phones calling our parents to let them know we were engaged, the Mad Hatter walked by. He asked who was crowding his hall. Our friends told him we just got engaged. So, he had us reenact the moment in front of him with his narration. It was sooooooo over the top fun. I also got that on film as well. It was a great day!
Singing in the choir for the Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2012 with Dick Van Dyke narrating. I sing in the Disney Cast Member Choir for the Candlelight Processional at Disneyland and have done so for the past 5 years. If you haven’t seen the Candlelight Processional at Disneyland, you absolutely must do so. I know that the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT is very popular. However, the processional at Disneyland is simply better. It has different music and is performed on Main Street U.S.A. at the Train Station. There is a 600+ voice mass choir (the Disney Cast Choir makes up the living Christmas Tree in the middle), a full orchestra, and 8 herald trumpeters who stand on top of the train station. Along with that, we have a celebrity who narrates the Christmas story.
In years past, the Candlelight Processional at Disneyland was limited to 2 days (the first or second weekend of December). In 2012, they decided to do 20 days of Candlelight. With the additional days, came multiple narrators. From the Cast Member Choir perspective, this meant an additional 36 performances to staff. So, they invited alumni to join us and sought to have as large of a choir as possible. I think our choir was around 400 people! Anyways, we got to select when we wanted to perform. When I saw that Dick Van Dyke was going to be a narrator, I just had to sign up for one of his days. As a matter of fact, the two days he was narrator were the days that had the most choir member sign ups.
Well, the day I got to sing with Mr. Van Dyke, we had the threat of rain. As a matter of fact, the first performance of the night got rained out. Part of the fun of doing an out doors concert in December. We were all happy to find out that the second performance was going to happen. So, we lined up and processed down Main Street (always a magical moment). During the performance, we got some really light rain for parts of 2 songs. Luckily, the rain subsided before the songs finished. So, we kept going. However, the rain returned during the last bit of narration leading into the Hallelujah Chorus (the last song). So, they had to pause the performance to see if they could finish. That’s when magic happened. The two videos below captured the moment. I include the second video because it finishes the show out. Enjoy.
As the music played for the choir to exit, many of us choir members turned to each other and said…”Best Candlelight EVER!” The entertainer that Dick Van Dyke was turned an awkward moment into a bit of Disney magic. I’ll never forget that performance.
Any additional random Disney fact you’d like to share?
The next time you’re at Disneyland, try this little trick out. The way the buildings on Main Street U.S.A. are scaled, it gives the illusion that Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is far away when you first enter Main Street. If you to the other end of Main Street U.S.A. and look back towards the entrance, it won’t look quite so far away. The buildings were scaled that way to make you feel like you’ve come to this great big place when you arrive and have all the energy in the world. However, they realize that, by the end of the day, you’re tired. So, by giving the illusion that the entrance isn’t so far away, it helps you out mentally as you leave the park. You’re not thinking “I’ll never make it.” You’re thinking “It’s not too far away.”
As for a random Disney fact about me??? I started college at Azusa Pacific University as a music major. While there, I got to sing in a commercial for a travelling Disney stage show with several of my other APU choir peeps. We spent 12 hours at the University of California, Irvine singing Zippidee Doo Dah. Ah the fun of showbiz!
Now – it’s your turn. If you’re a Disney fan, answer these questions in a blog post of your own. Share that link in the comments below.