Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Walt Disney Family Museum Member’s Holiday Open House

Walt Museum

Hey everybody! It’s going to take me a few days to get my pictures and report together from my Disneyworld trip last weekend, which included the allearsnet December to Remember event titled, “The Evolution and Secrets of the Carousel of Progress” hosted by Jim Korkis, as well as “Christmas around the world” at Epcot. So in the meantime…

On Friday, December 2nd, I attended the special Members Night held at the Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio. The Museum closes at 6pm, and on this night Members got to mingle and enjoy the activities from 6:30-9:30pm. Aside from the galleries being open for all of us to enjoy, they had: food and drinks, a popcorn stand, a Coke-Float station, a caricature artist, and best of all, Rod Miller performing! I of course forgot my camera, but I did have my trusty iPhone.

Hangin' with Rod Miller

The food was really good, and after a little bit of member-mingling, I wandered through the galleries with my friend/Museum employee, Brian. Me, him and his brooch toured the entire place, and even partook in a miniature "scavenger hunt" for quiz answers.

Check out Brian's sweet brooch!

It’s still weird for me to interact with other people who love Disney so much. I grew up being the guy who got looked at sideways for “going to Disney all the time,” and who “owns way too many books about Walt Disney.” But based on some of the clothing I saw that night, there are actually people out there who are into it more than me! Well, Disney at least. Not Walt himself.

At one point I considered letting the caricature artist meticulously record all of my facial flaws, but the line was pretty long every time I passed it, so I never did get around to it.

Towards the end of the evening my friend Brian left, and I had mingled with a lot of the members, but hadn’t yet been able to sit next to Rod Miller. A seat opened up and I plopped down to enjoy his music and countless stories from nearly four decades of playing ragtime at the Coca Cola Corner on Main Street in Disneyland. One of the amazing things about Rod is he never uses sheet music. He just “uses his ear.” Although he arrived at Disneyland just after Walt passed, he heard several stories about the man himself and is always happy to share them. Rod is also happy to take requests, and much to my delight he performed, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” at my request. I doubt that those of you know me are surprised to hear that one! If you have a moment please check out the video I took with my iPhone. The speed in which he uses his hands is incredible!

I sat with Rod until the lights came on, which was our indication that the Museum staff was telling us, “You don’t have to go home, but you gotta get the heck outta here!” I went to shake Rod’s hand but instead he gave me a hug! He is such a warm and delightful man. And on my way out I stopped to chat with one of the volunteers who had looked awfully familiar to me. It took me a second, but then I realized it was one of Walt’s grandchildren! I had seen her during this presentation. It was Jenny, and it was such a pleasure to chat with her for those last few minutes of the evening. I know most of my regular readers don’t live in the Bay Area. But for those of you who are ever planning a trip out here, do not miss a chance to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum! If you ever need any advice on when to go/what to do/how to get there, definitely let me know.

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