Two weeks ago on our Twitter feed I shared several tweet-sized stories, all beginning with "One time..". I was happy with the positive response so here I bring you many more memories from my creative and non-creative rolls at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
• One time I took a nap in the Jungle Cruise hut where the natives are dancing while waiting for some fellow artists.
• One time I played basketball inside the top level of the Matterhorn with some girls and a flat basketball.
• One time I found an old Adventureland Veranda menu board on an Adventureland rooftop and accidentally broke it in half while transporting it.
• One time some ladies in the office found the old wooden Mike Fink Keel boats entrance sign and didn't know what Mike Fink Keel Boats were so they gave the sign to me. I was beyond thrilled.
• One time I wrote my name up inside the tallest spire of Cinderella Castle with a Sharpie.
• One time in 1999 I snuck into Club 33 when Disneyland was doing a park-wide Y2K electricity test and got stuck in Club 33 alone in the dark.
• One time a General Manager at Walt Disney World told me Magic Kingdom's Pirates of the Caribbean was designed and built based on the movie.
• One time I spent the night in Magic Kingdom's underground command center during a hurricane and played with the remote control camera mounted on top of Cinderella Castle for hours. It has a very very powerful zoom.
• One time I ran into Michael Eisner by Magic Kingdom's Plaza Restaurant and the guy next to me pulled out a baseball for Eisner to sign which he did.
• One time I tied animatronic animals to poles for six hours as a hurricane approached.
• One time I free-hand embroidered names on Mickey ears for Erik Estrada and his wife after which she made Erik wear them.
• One time I free-hand embroidered names on Mickey ears for Paris Hilton and her friends. She told everyone to gather around to watch and said, "That's cool."
• One time I asked an art department at Epcot for a Dreamfinder head. They located the long-lost mold and made what was probably the last Dreamfinder head in 15 years.
• One time my pal Hoot Gibson and I drove Jungle Cruise boats around all morning before the park opened as part of our artist jobs.
• One time my boss dented my truck door with her car door while parking behind The Land and Imagination buildings at Epcot. She never paid to fix it.
• One time I spent the night on a couch in the big break room under Magic Kingdom's Main Street.
• One time I spent several winter nights in Disneyland's Katella Lot in a van I borrowed form my grandparents.
• One time I was kicked out of Indiana Jones at Disneyland for taking a photo while in line. For my troubles City Hall gave me two passes to any ride. Then the people at Indiana Jones rejected them.
• One time I was told to bring home and sort in my living room six large boxes of Horizons, Spaceship Earth, and World of Motion animatronic costumes and props.
• One time I was preparing to begin work in the Character Head Department fabricating and doing finish work on character heads but another job came up at the last minute.
• One time I interviewed a Walt Disney World marketing director for an article. I commented on a photo on his office wall that I had taken three years prior. He told me he had taken it.
• One time I carved and painted George Washington’s rubber hands for Hall of Presidents and patterned every detail after my own hands.
• One time I walked out on a "naming meeting" because all of the Art of Animation Resort-related names everyone was suggesting were so terrible.
• One time I watched a few industry-leading TV commercials at my desk to get ideas for Disney marketing materials and was yelled at by a marketing VP for "wasting time".
• One time I got in trouble for holding a small brain-storming session while riding the Walt Disney World Railroad because "riding a train is not work-related". Great ideas that came from the session but that didn't matter.
• One time a coworker and I were walking through Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland and my coworker tumbled down the entire first drop and cut himself in a dozen places and bled everywhere.
• One time I got paid to stay at The Polynesian for three days during a hurricane to prepare the resort and help guests throughout the storm. For our meals we got to take all the food we wanted from the Ohana kitchen.
• One time the Italy pavilion sent several trays of Italian food from Alfredo’s to our office at Epcot. No one ate any of it after the fist day so I ended up eating it for all three meals for days.
• One time, right out of high school, I was on my way to my merchandise shift in Disneyland's Critter Country when I decided to walk into a backstage Imagineering trailer. After leaving an Imagineer ran after me and asked for me to meet him at Imagineering in Glendale the next Monday where I was offered my first internship.
• One time, after college, I was sketching in an underground break room at Magic Kingdom and someone from a WDI art department stopped and asked if I'd interview right then over in a backstage trailer. I was offered a position that hour.
• One time I walked through the Jungle Cruise when its rivers where completely empty of water and about died of happiness.
• One time I walked up the backside of the Jungle Cruise African Veldt to photograph the backside of the rhino. Unexpectedly the boats had already started cruising by at which point I jumped in the bushes giving everyone in the nearest boat something else to laugh at.
• One time I foud a wonderful souvenir map of Magic Kingdom from the 1970s inside a Main Street wall.
• One time we were notified to stay clear of a certain Magic Kingdom Adventureland restroom early one morning because an alligator had climbed out of the Treehouse moat and entered the restroom.
• One time I met a girl who played Belle at the Beauty and the Beast show. I later took her to Magic Kingdom for our first date. We got married a year and a half later and are happily married with a little boy.
• One time I snuck into Disneyland's Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln after work late one night and found a naked Lincoln moving around with no audio playing.
• One time I walked through Disneyland's "it's a small world" after the park closed and suddenly all the children began to move with no audio playing.
• One time I walked through Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion and found an old Country Bear Jamboree dear head under the tracks.
• One time a cop pulled me over in the Team Disney parking lot across from Downtown Disney when suddenly a guy pulled up behind the cop yelling that something had happened across the street. Without saying anything the cop left and I didn't get the ticket he was writing.
• One time Alice Davis, famed Imagineer and wife of Marc Davis, came to my office. No one cared to visit with her for more than a few minutes so I giddily chatted with her for a couple of hours.
• One time I was told to escort Marty Sklar around Epcot "so he doesn't get lost". I informed my leader that Marty was a major player in designing the park's layout. My leader said, "Well he might not know where all the countries are."
• One time my Area Manager at Magic Kingdom called Adventureland and Frontierland "that jungle area over there" and "the western part over there."
• One time my Area Manager at Magic Kingdom placed two boxes of fresh popcorn in front of me while I was working on a special project for her. When I thanked her she said, "Oh these are both for me."
• One time my Area Manager at Magic Kingdom had "Happy 20th Anniversary" removed from a cake being presented to a lady about to retire because "It wouldn't be fair to the interns who don't get cakes when they leave the company."
• One time I had an idea to make something more efficient. My leader took me to a lady in an office who said, "Don't ever mention this again or you'll be terminated for insubordination." I said, "Making a suggestion is not insubordinate". My manager said to the lady, "He just gets a little too excited some times."
Pirates of the Caribbean Like You've Never Seen It
The Haunted Mansion Like You've Never Seen It
ABANDONED DISNEY: Country Bear- Max
Magic Kingdom Map Found in a Main Street Wall
Little Box of Treasures
Disney Management Apathy / Hockey Analogy