Thursday, December 06, 2012

Dress Like Walt Day

Yesterday would have been Walt Disney’s 111th birthday. To celebrate, fans around the country decided to “Dress Like Walt” in honor of their patron saint. We chose to spend Walt’s birthday at Disneyland’s exclusive restaurant, Club 33, with fellow members of the Carolwood Foundation

Because Club 33 is so exclusive, we were asked to arrive a half-hour early so we could all enter together en mass. There was no way I could drive in rush hour traffic wearing a 1950s-style crinoline petticoat, so we cashed in some of our Starwood points and reserved a room at the Sheraton, where we changed into our retro clothes before heading to the park. We were the last couple on a very long line of some 100 Disney fans, all dressed in early- to mid-20th-century apparel. Quite a sight!

Tim in his titki shirt and 
me in my 1950s strappy party dress

We sat at a table with three other Carolwood members, one of whom had never been to Club 33. (This was our third time.) After everyone was settled and had ordered drinks, the hostess stopped by each table, directing us to a small room where an extensive buffet awaited. We helped ourselves to several varieties of salad, roast pork, chicken (me), vegetables, and various types of seafood (Tim). We returned later for dessert—mostly cookies, pie and an extremely popular chocolate fountain.

Everyone was encouraged to bring a small Disney-related gift that was then raffled off after dinner. We, along with several other people, brought nice trading pins, but there were also fabulous gifts, like free tours of Disneyland, tickets to the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, books, Disneyland maps, and one-of-a-kind artwork. We didn’t win a thing!

But we did get to talk to the guest of honor, Bob Gurr, who worked for Walt and designed the monorail, submarine and Autopia rides, among other things. I had been quite smitten by Bob at the Smoke Tree Ranch in January, so it was fun seeing him again.

Me and Bob

Plus Timmy

The holiday fireworks show started at 8:30PM, prompting us all to run out onto the balcony to watch. Amazingly, I didn't knock anyone over the balcony with my dress. I swear, I don’t know how women used to walk around in petticoats!

Sleeping Beauty's castle

After birthday cake, we bid our new friends adieu and joined a group that was leaving. The park was already closed for two hours, so we had to be escorted to the exit. Sleeping Beauty’s castle was still blazing in all its holiday glory, while music continued to play. And yet there we were, the only people in all of Disneyland! “This is eerie!” someone in the group whispered, and it was. But before we knew it, our escort was unlocking the front gate as we all (sadly) passed back into reality.

Christmas on Main St.

Happy birthday, Walt! Thanks for giving us the happiest place on earth!

No comments: