Monday, April 29, 2013

A Little Rain Must Fall

"Welcome to the magic kingdom of Disneyland. 
We're sorry that the weather is not more pleasant but you can still find much to see and do here." 
- Disneyland Rainy Day Announcement, featuring Jack Wagner 

Clearly, Eric is just as inspired by the rain as I am!
 'm pretty sure I wore my little red Bambi Read-Along cassette tape raw because of how many times I rewound the song "Little April Showers".  Sure, I loved Bambi and that trademark Disney chorale sound, but when I pushed play on a rainy day, I would sit at home behind the sliding glass doors (opened to just the screen) in an indian-style position, with my beloved Fisher Price tape player in my lap,  just to entertain the bursting rain drops bouncing off the backyard patio cement and daydream about how it was probably raining in Disneyland, too.   

  Never being caught in a Disneyland rainstorm before then, I'm willing to guess that my curiosity blossomed while tilting my head back and being lulled by the swinging rain boot-clad feet of the glamorously carefree Teddi Barra as she took the spotlight during 'Singin' in The Rain' during the Country Bear Vacation Hoedown. In fact, just thinking about her makes me pretty cheerful, myself! Or, perhaps, I was charmed from the several lucky viewings I had already enjoyed of the Water Birds episode from the Walt Disney's True Life Adventures series. Either way, I knew Mr. Disney's park transformed into a different world during the rainfall and I longed to be there just as much as I would on a sunny day.  Some things never change...

Here, Eric takes a page from Goofy's book
and demonstrates what happens when
you do NOT properly prepare for the
rain on a visit to Disneyland. We've
learned since 2005, of course.
  As I've become old enough to enjoy the spoils of adulthood (and being a Disneyland Annual Passholder),  taking off on my own adventure to enjoy a rainy day at Disneyland has become a rare and highly anticipated treat, and believe you, me, I've been keeping a close watch on the weather for a token from this notoriously rainy season!  With hot chocolate in hand, I could travel on the Disneyland Railroad all day just watching the Mickey Mouse rain ponchos and umbrellas whir by while listening to the water beat upon the train roof, or take shelter underneath the cover of The Hungry Bear Restaurant deck and follow the paths of the rain droplets as they become the Rivers of America.  I assure you, there is no better time than this to take a tour of The Haunted Mansion, nor to venture on a bobsled escape from an Abominable Snowman through and around the Matterhorn, nor a boat tour scouring the untamed wilds of The Jungle Cruise.  And how lovely it is to see a just-rained on Disneyland freckled with only a handful of water-brave Guests determined to get their moneys worth - some of whom just might enjoy a wet Disneyland in the same way I do.  I fully recommend you pull on your galoshes, prepare wisely, and find out for yourself.  

  Something about the rain falling onto Disneyland accentuates the life it has taken on all by itself, despite being created by human hands some 57 years ago.  It gives it life, depth and peace.  It is one of few instances where the marriage of our every day reality and the escapism that Disneyland so graciously lends to us is not only comforting, but simply beautiful.  What a glorious feelin'.

*Special thanks to our mouskefriend, TokyoMagic, for the Rainy Day Announcement sound clip!*

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hang a Lantern in Your Window

ny other household in America tuning in to ABC for the live broadcast of Disneyland's Grand Opening could tell straight away - just like Mr. Disney could - that Annette Funicello, the little pirouetting Mouseketeer, was well on her way to becoming America's newest sweetheart.  But in one particular household there was an 11 year old girl watching the show who pursed her lips at the sight of Annette and decided from that moment forward, she couldn't stand her.
  Unlike most classic Disney fans, I do not have the privilege of saying that I have been a lifelong fan of Annette's.  The reason is simple: that precocious 11- year-old I told you about grew up and became my Mother.  I was raised on the principal that Annette was 'annoying' and was discouraged to have anything to do with her.  She was almost a taboo subject if I brought her up to my Mom, the only real Disney fan in my family, and I would simply get a dismissive response and the only time I heard my Mom say something thoughtful about Annette was when we would hear about her very public illness through the media.  It didn't take long before I almost completely gave up on having any kind of relationship with this One-Named Wonder at all. However, as any curious child would do, I admired Annette from afar because she was forbidden. On Hawaiian Day in our Kindergarten class, I shook my hula skirt to her version of 'Hukilau' and loved every illicit note of it ('Ama'ama and all).  On every mandatory visit to Disneyland's Tinker Bell Toy Shoppe, I would press my little nose against the glass case when no one was looking and say 'hello' to the Madame Alexander doll donning a Mickey Mouse Club outfit as I pondered the secrets she held from me.  I will never be privvy to the reasons behind my Mother's harsh snap judgement against this adorable little girl, but I can only laugh and deduce that Annette and my mother were only a few years apart in age and shared the same perky attitude, short thick curly hair and pronounced eyebrows.  My Mom is my hero and she will always be the winner to me, but I gotta admit - she certainly knew who her competition was.

Paying homage at Disneyland's
Tomorrowland Stage. Come
along and dance with us!
  It took me a long time to talk myself into understanding Annette. It wasn't until several years ago, when Eric and I began delving deeper into Disneyland's history, that I finally found what I was looking for in Annette after all these years of separation: a boy-crazy Scorpio girly-girl who I would love to become friends with.  Attending D23's 'Destination D: 'Disneyland '55' Mickey Mouse Club panel in 2010 was a major turning point for me when I realized how adored Annette was, but it wasn't even until this past year, thanks to the kindness of like-minded Annette fans, that I finally came to understand what everyone's been talking about all this time. Let me just say, the car trips home from Disneyland would not be the same without raising the 'ruff' with the big fat beat, and Eric and I are both better Mouskepeople because of it.

  Today, part of Mr. Disney's legacy dies with Annette Funicello.  We should all be so lucky to have had someone like Annette to share with the world - no matter what length of time each one of us had with her.  She is the face of Mr. Disney's empire, the voice of a teener generation, a living Disneyland fixture and she had the best hair and beach body I have ever seen.  I feel fortunate to have been given the chance to celebrate Annette while she was alive and I am am proud to spend the rest of my life discovering and being captivated by her - she'll make a lifelong fan out of me yet!

  If you are interested in helping support the fight against Multiple Sclorosis, the infamously devoted and incredibly talented Kevin Kidney teamed up with Zazzle last year and created Annette's Place, featuring some groovy choose-your-own-adventure style Annette merchandise that I highly recommend (though I'm still hoping for a version of Disneyland After Dark Annette - hint, hint!). As taken directly from the site: "All proceeds fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological diseases."

  Annette, thank you for giving us things to smile about and reasons to dance. We'll be sure to hang a lantern in our window just for you.  You do what nobody can do.

In Memory of Annette Joanne Funicello
                                              October 22, 1942 - April 8, 2013

"C" Ya Real Soon,
Eric & Ginger