Tony Solaroni, a Tokyo Disneyland character

Tony Solaroni in Tokyo Disneyland
Tony Solaroni in Tokyo Disneyland

This Disney character is Tony Solaroni, an Audio-Animatronics alien in Tokyo Disneyland at the Pan Galactic Pizza Port. Although he speaks Japanese, thanks to the clever subtitles above his head, I learned his unique alien-style pizza-making process including using the cheese-o-matic and the  glib-globulator.  (I love that he’s wearing a Disney nametag.) See ya soon, Tony!

Disney World Main Street construction photo

Construction of Main Street in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, photo taken by Disney Imagineer Don Gardner
Construction of Main Street in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, photo taken by Disney Imagineer Don Gardner

I’m excited to share with you the first of a number of photos I will be posting of Walt Disney World under construction! These NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN photos are by Donald M. Gardner,  who was the chief electrical engineer at MAPO, the manufacturing department at Walt Disney Imagineering.  An electrical and mechanical engineer, Don worked not only on the opening  of Walt Disney World,  but also worked on Disneyland projects and attractions such as the Walt Disney World monorail.

Star Wars Days at Legoland photos

This couple in detailed Star Wars costumes told me they volunteer to attend Star Wars Days.

Star Wars Days at LEGOLAND California (June 3 & June 4, 2017) includes new Star Wars LEGO displays,  activities such as the LEGO Star Wars™ Family Build Challenge, LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland Scavenger Hunt, Jedi™ Trivia, costume contests more.

Many of the Star Wars-themed costumes were quite elaborate.
I even found R2D2 wandering around the festivities.
Any time is a good time for Star Wars fans to visit LEGOLAND. This display in Miniland is present year-round as are a number of other  displays and six larger six scenes that represent the first 30 minutes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Another meticulously designed LEGO scene in miniature.
Come to the "brick" side - A LEGO version of Darth Vader
Come to the “brick” side – A LEGO version of Darth Vader

Special thanks to LEGOLAND California for inviting me to your annual Star Wars Days!

Interview: John “Doc” Anello (Disneyland band leader and educator)

John "Doc" Anello leads his band at Carnation Plaza Gardens in Disneyland
John “Doc” Anello leads his band at Carnation Plaza Gardens in Disneyland

I just posted my interview with John “Doc” Anello, who started in 1975 as production manager for Disneyland, became the head of education for the entertainment department and  in the 1990s and 200s led his own band  in Disneyland, “Doc Anello and the Swing Machine.”  CLICK HERE for  the interview and more photos

John “Doc” Anello, Disney Entertainment luminary passes away

John "Doc" Anello leads his own big band at the historic Carnation Plaza Gardens in Disneyland
John “Doc” Anello leads his own big band at the historic Carnation Plaza Gardens in Disneyland

I’m sad to report that Mouse Clubhouse friend John “Doc” Anello has passed away.  Doc had a fascinating Disney career, and I had fun interviewing backstage at Disneyland’s Carnation Plaza Gardens a few years ago, which I’ll share on here really soon! After leading his own big band, Doc began his Disney career as Production Manager at Disneyland in 1975, making sure all entertainment venues in the park were up and running smoothly. In his second year, Doc took over another great Disney tradition, the All American College Band Program, giving top college musicians a once in a lifetime music, performance, and educational opportunity. Doc told me, “I set up auditions around the country and auditioned students from the various colleges. We then chose those students who would be invited to participate both at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. My title at that time was Education Program Director. I left Disney in 1980 to accept a professorship at College of The Desert in Palm Desert and was there for eight years. We developed a singing, dancing performing group and performed locally and at various locations around the country. After I left the college, I returned to Disney in 1992 and I was assigned as Manager of Talent Booking (for Disneyland and the Disneyland Hotel). Sonny Anderson was working primarily in Florida at that time. I left that position I believe in 1996 and decided I would just kick back and start my band again. Stan Freese was working here and I told him I’ve got the band, and we started playing here and I’ve been here ever since, just playing the one night a month. It’s been a great association.”  “Doc” will be missed.

Disney live entertainment pioneer Larry Billman passed away

Disney live entertainment pioneer Larry Billman, as scene in the Disney movie "Miracle of the White Stallions"
Disney live entertainment pioneer Larry Billman, as scene in the Disney movie “Miracle of the White Stallions”

I’m so sad to report that Larry Billman has passed away. Larry was not only a very important of Disney live entertainment history, but a HUGE supporter of my Mouse Clubhouse. He was responsible for my interviews with people such as Chuck Corson (early Disneyland/Disney World director of entertainment), Miriam Nelson (Disneyland’s opening day choreographer) and Alyja Kalinich (Disney costume designer extraordinaire). As a historian of American Dance on Film, Larry was more than once there for me when I felt that my Mouse Clubhouse work was too overwhelming with little gratification, and he inspired me to keep going.

After I posted an interview with a friend of Larry’s who passed away, Larry wrote me the following, “…I am gratified that you have captured some of his memories for eternity. In my life now I find that most of my energies are spent writing about the dancers and choreographers of the Hollywood musicals. I write for a newsletter which is distributed by the Professional Dancers Society in California. I am currently writing 12 obituaries for the next issue – including Marc Breaux. As painful as it can be when I am writing about people I know well, I am happy that their accomplishments are being documented. After my theme park career ended, I became a “Dance Archivist” with books and articles about them and that may be my finest hour. My mission is that they (and the art they created) are remembered.”

Inspired by Larry’s own words, I invite you to listen to the voice and stories of this wonderful and truly talented individual who I will truly miss.  http://mouseclubhouse.com/interview-larry-billman/

TaleSpin series artwork

My TaleSpin credit
My TaleSpin credit

It’s been nearly 30 years since I had the honor of being the assistant producer on a bunch of TaleSpin episodes! Thanks to those of you who write me about your memories of the show! It means a lot! Hope you enjoy the artwork below!!

TaleSpin color key artwork 1
TaleSpin color key artwork 1
TaleSpin color key artwork 2
TaleSpin color key artwork 2
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book

Here’s some pages from the TaleSpin comic books,  given to me by my friend and neighbor, the late Joe Messerli, who inked the art! What a coincidence that the man who lived just two doors down from me for my childhood ended up working on the comic books for the TV series I worked on!

TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin artist Derek Carter gave me my own camera shop in this TaleSpin layout key
TaleSpin artist Derek Carter gave me my own camera shop in this TaleSpin layout key
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
Rebecca rough construction
Rebecca rough construction
Rebecca details - I always thought it was amazing they got Sally Struthers to voice Rebecca, from one of the greatest sitcoms in history, All in the Family
Rebecca details – I always thought it was amazing they got Sally Struthers to voice Rebecca, from one of the greatest sitcoms in history, All in the Family
Molly mouth chart
Molly mouth chart
Molly details
Molly details
Head construction of Louie
Head construction of Louie
Kit Cloudkicker details
Kit Cloudkicker details
Various poses of Kit Cloudkicker
Various poses of Kit Cloudkicker
Rough drawings of Baloo's attitudes
Rough drawings of Baloo’s attitudes
Rough drawings of Baloo's attitudes
Rough drawings of Baloo’s attitudes

We sometimes had "Special Poses" designed such as Baloo in a hammock
We sometimes had “Special Poses” designed such as Baloo in a hammock

Where in Disneyland Resort would you find these eyes?

I took this photo somewhere in the Disneyland Resort. Who can guess where? (ANSWER IS BELOW)

Did you know… back in the ’90s, Shani and I did two books of Disneyland photography? The books were sold in Disneyland for years and featured closeups of things in Disneyland Park, so readers could try to guess where it is and then turn the page for the answers.

 

 

These eyes can be found in The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in Disney California Adventure. (One reader was confused because I said this attraction is in the Disneyland Resort… don’t forget there are two parks in the Disneyland Resort.)