Category Archives: Disneyland

Interview: Chuck Corson (Dapper Dans; the Osmonds; Walt Disney World entertainment)

Chuck Corson (left), Chuck's window tribute at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World
Chuck Corson (left), Chuck’s window tribute at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

I just posted my interview with Chuck Corson on my Mouse Clubhouse website.  In this conversation, Chuck discusses the beginnings of the Dapper Dans at Disneyland, the Osmond’s Disneyland roots, and Walt Disney World entertainment.  CLICK HERE for the interview

 

 

Interview: Chuck Corson (Fred Waring; Big Bands; Disneyland’s nighttime entertainment)

Chuck Corson (left), Chuck and jazz legend Pete Fountain (right)

Chuck Corson (left), Chuck and jazz legend Pete Fountain (right)

I just posted my interview with Chuck Corson on my Mouse Clubhouse website.  In this conversation, Chuck discusses his days with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, Big Bands at Disneyland, and the beginning of Disneyland’s nighttime entertainment.  CLICK HERE for the interview

 

 

Interview: Cicely Rigdon (The Disneyland Ambassador Program; ticket sellers)

Interview with Cicely Rigdon
Cicely Rigdon in the 1960s (left) and in the 2000s (right)

I just posted my interview with Cicely Rigdon on my Mouse Clubhouse website.  In this conversation, Cicely discusses her times at Disneyland from ticket seller to running the Disneyland Ambassador program.  CLICK HERE for the interview

Interview: Valerie Watson, Miss Disneyland 1962

by Scott Wolf

Valerie Watson, Miss Disneyland, 1962, "Disneyland News" clipping
Valerie Watson, Miss Disneyland, 1962, “Disneyland News” clipping

Valerie Watson was a Disneyland hostess, who had escorted numerous noted personalities, including three presidents, a prime minister, three kings, two queens, three princes and four princesses. To begin this conversation from 2010, I asked Valerie about her reign as the first “Miss Disneyland,” in 1962.

Valerie Watson: How that happened is I joined Disney in 1959, because I took a break from college to rethink my major. I took guided tours and then I had the good fortune to be selected to greet King Hussein of Jordan on his visit, April, 1959, for no special talent other than my height. I was 5’3 ½” and it was protocol that somebody should greet him that could look him in the eye – not overpower him. So that began a real wonderful career for me that lasted thirteen years.

Valerie Watson with King Hussein of Jordan
Valerie Watson with King Hussein of Jordan

After greeting King Hussein, I was made a VIP hostess along with a very good friend of mine, Donna Clark. She and I were in Guest Relations together. We were assigned to take the king and queen of Thailand through Disneyland, we were the hostesses, but always the U.S. State Department representatives were with us, and we were given protocol instructions before royalty arrived. And the crown prince and princess of Japan, and Thailand, and the three heirs to the throne of Scandinavian countries.

Valerie Watson, with the characters of Walt Disney's "Disneyland, USA" stage show at Radio City Music Hall
Valerie Watson, with the characters of Walt Disney’s “Disneyland, USA” stage show at Radio City Music Hall

Among the VIPs that I took on tour was a man named Russell Downing and his wife Sally, and I spent two days with them, showing them every part of Disneyland. I had no idea why they were there, but he was president of Radio City Music Hall in New York and he was on a confidential visit to meet with Walt Disney on how best to market a new film that was going to be released, called “Moon Pilot.” They wanted to release it at Radio City Music Hall, and in the east coast there was no real familiarity with Pluto and Mickey and Donald Duck and so forth, the “live” characters, so a stage production was in the works to launch Disney in the east, this was long before Walt Disney World.

Valerie Watson as Miss Disneyland, 1962
Valerie Watson as Miss Disneyland, 1962

They decided, “How can we get the interest of the press in New York?” who was considered very jaded, having seen everything, so they came up with a tag of “Miss Disneyland.” They weren’t looking for a beauty queen. They were looking for someone who had knowledge of the organization and enthusiasm, and Russell Downing proposed by name, so he gave that idea to Walt Disney. It was quite a Cinderella story.

Valerie Watson with John F. Kennedy at the New York World's Fair
Valerie Watson with John F. Kennedy at the New York World’s Fair

I worked for Disney in three different states. First of all California, then the New York World’s Fair, and then of all my jobs with Disney, my very favorite was working with WED Enterprises (now known as Walt Disney Imagineering.) The best was at WED, I worked for the master planners of Walt Disney World and it was all secret. It was called Project X. At that time, at WED, under one roof were animators, sculptors, painters, model makers, the most incredible assembly of creative people you can imagine, and I worked there for three years.

Valerie Watson with the first tour guides of Walt Disney World
Valerie Watson with the first tour guides
of Walt Disney World

It broke my heart to be promoted and sent to Florida. I didn’t even want to go. It was a great opportunity to start the Guest Relations department at Walt Disney World, but my heart was really always at WED.

Interview: Carole Tully (Miss Disneyland 1964; Tivoli Gardens tour guide exchange; Walt Disney)

Carole Tully rides Dumbo with Hanne Plath, tour guide from Tivoli Gardens; Carole with Walt and Lillian Disney and Hanne Plath in Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
Carole Tully rides Dumbo with Hanne Plath, tour guide from Tivoli Gardens; Carole with Walt and Lillian Disney and Hanne Plath in Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

I just posted my interview with Carole Tully on my Mouse Clubhouse website. In this conversation, Carole discusses her time representing Walt Disney and Disneyland around the world as Miss Disneyland 1964. CLICK HERE for the interview and more photos

 

Interview: Stan Freese (Disney career overview)

Stan Freese with Mickey Mouse; Stan conducts the orchestra at a Disneyland Ambassador ceremony

Stan Freese with Mickey Mouse; Stan conducts the orchestra at a Disneyland Ambassador ceremony

I just posted my interview with Stan Freese on my Mouse Clubhouse website.  In this conversation, Stan discusses his 43 years with Disney starting as leader of the Walt Disney World band, performing on Hee Haw and the Lawrence Welk Show, and becoming the beloved director of talent booking for Disneyland. CLICK HERE for the interview