Meeting at 7am proved not to be an issue today due to the fact that we all knew we would be going to the Disney Studios and Imagineering. When you have a group of avid Disney fans who really understand how no one gets to see these two places, being on time is not an issue!! Breakfast this morning is in the hotel at Twist, the hotel restaurant. The buffet included eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, omelets, breads etc. We sat with Brent, Brock and some new friends Alex and his mom Haydee. Had they known then what they know now about us crazy people, they may have moved to a new table!!! LOL. We have a little delay in getting the bus but boarded it and headed out for the Imagineers. Everyone is like kids giggling and just anticipating and singing the songs playing on the CD in the bus. We were met by Dave who will be our guide. He walked us down a hallway filled with sketches and drawings and pictures. No pictures in here as you can imagine so its all visual memory. Not knowing we would gaze and gawk it took our group a lot longer to get to the room they had set up for usÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ He gave us a great overview of what Imagineers do and how Walt wanted his team of people to work. Showed us a slide/video presentation and walk us through a few new things they are working onÃ¢â‚¬Â¦then we got an awesome Magical Moment surprise that brought several people to tears. We split into groups and got to meet Valerie, a Sculptor, who took us into the Sculpting studio so we could see marquette’s (pre-molds) they make to then scale up or down depending on the project they are doing. In this room were Heads of Presidents, many Disney Characters and the miniature Walt and Mickey statue with Mickey holding the ice cream cone. Snow white and the seven dwarfs too surrounded us. Amazing! From Sculpting we went to sound and Steve played us a video of how they make sound really feel real just but them taking a dummy head to places and video taping on location sounds then remixing it. Very cool demonstration. We all then got to walk through where they were building mini models of things to come in CA Adventure and even though we could not see much you knew this are where it all begins. Dave then gave us a demonstration of animatronics and showed us "Joe Cocker" a bare bones person so we could visually see how the insides work. We walked through another hallway of painting and murals then out into a courtyard where we were allowed 30 minutes to shop at Mickey’s of Glendale. No one but the imaginers are allowed to go here really so for our group 30 minutes seemed so short but Beci and I broke the bank by throwing as much of and as many things we could into bags. I would say we easily as a group spent over $15000 in 30 minutes. Beci of course had the most but all for good causes!!!
We gathered back onto the bus and headed to Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. As a working studio again they do not really offer tours here and there are not cast members here but studio people. We were walked through the hallway of the art building housing some archives, paintings, sketches, drawings etc. The building we walked thru, I believe it was the Animation building has 6 – 8 wings all with outside windows and leveler shades so artists can control their own lighting. This building as a tunnel underneath connecting it to the Ink/Paint buildings next door. The tunnel is still used in movies today. We headed out and took photos in the courtyard of legends then were given 45 minutes to shop and eat lunch in the Commissary here. Marty Sklar was here also eating lunch with all of us mortals! Nick, a 13 yr old on the trip with his parents Helen and Steve, is a Disney enthusiast and very knowledgeable about Walt’s history and Imagineering. He was thrilled to see Marty.
Back on the bus now for the drive to Disneyland Resort. As you drive in the bus they play music that is selected specifically for the Adventure. I remember this too from the Southwest Splendors trip I saw. On our trip we are listening to older music from the Hollywood days, 70s tunes, Monorail music and then current Disney tunes. Then you suddenly here the whole bus starts singing as we are drivingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦so amazing. We have all really bonded, love Disney and just are acting like kids. As Tracy puts it she loves seeing us "all become children again" in our love of Walt and all things Disney. I hope this carries through in every group on Backstage Magic.
Arriving at the hotel we have about 2 hours of down time to check into the rooms here and relax before meeting for the welcome reception and dinner. Beci and I have a nice room overlooking the courtyard area and I just love the bedding, new flat screen TVs, bathrooms and the shampoo amenities are really nice. At 5pm we meet in the lobby and are greeted by David the 2008 Disneyland Resort Ambassador and Fred who works in ABD Operations. David the Ambassador also gives Beci and I Repeat Adventure guest pins too. I was really looking forward to this pin. We head over to Disneyland Resort Hotel and got to the Wine Cellar for a little cocktail hour. They have a guitar player hired to play music, have a selection of several wines to try and wonderful Bruschetta, veggies, dips to enhance this. Our host is Carlos who manages the Cellar and Hooks Pointe restaurant.. We head up stairs at 6pm for our dinner. One thing not mentioned before is we are always given tables away from all other guests in areas by ourselves with menus catered for our Group. It adds a nice touch and helps facilitate the bond of the group. The Guides all travel from table to table during the Adventure so you get to meet with them and know them more. We are fortunate enough to have our now core group Brent, Brock, Alex, Haydee to eat with. Quinn tells us stories of how he tried out to be a 2007 Ambassador and was a finalist.
After dinner we walk over to Disneyland Park and all the 1st time guests take a picture before entering. We actually have a lot of guests who have never been here which is so cool. We are walked over to our first Fun Experience in the Park, the Haunted Mansion. The coolest part of this tour is not waiting for rides. We are guided into a back entrance and get right on to the ride. The host has several people lay flat on the floor while we are in the elevator which is so cool and they said it really makes for a fun experience. This is Nick’s favorite ride here and he is thrilled. We get off the ride and are have about 90 minutes so Brent, Brock, Alex, Haydee and I follow Beci across the park making the most of this time. We manage to get on Indy, Space Mountain, and Finding Nemo submarine. I loved being back on the submarines here since its one of my fondest childhood memories but the ride itself was not spectacular. Running out of time we decide to all it a night and head back to the hotel