Before I begin this new article for the New Year, I want to say I hope all had a safe and Merry Christmas and likewise a Happy New Year. There are many exciting additions coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World…The new Star Wars areas, and of course, the much anticipated “Avatar Land” slated to open soon in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Of course, on the other side of the coin, we usually lose something to gain something, and in this case, the last year of the Osborn Spectacle of Dancing Lights was seen today, January 3rd, 2016. But we all must remember that Walt never meant his park to be a Museum. He always wanted new and fresh venues for his guests. With that said, knowing Disney’s history of excellence and entertainment, we are assured of many years of magic ahead!
I wanted to start out the New Year with a recap of the Disneyana Fan Clubs (World Chapter Branch) 2015 Christmas Party. But this is not just your regular run-of-the-mill Christmas Party; this was a DISNEY Christmas Party! For any fan of Walt’s legacy, the club is the perfect place to be, and 2015’s party is the perfect example of why. This year’s party theme was a “Retro Look at Disney”. It’s hard to believe that 60 years ago on July 17th, 1955 Disneyland Park opened in California. We decided to wear some old “Retro” ugly sweaters to mark this historic date. But ugly sweaters aside, what made this Christmas party truly “Magical” was the trio of guests who attended. We had non other than Margaret Kerry, the original model for Tinker Bell, Disney Legends Tom Nabbe, the original Disneyland “Tom Sawyer” and William “Sully” Sullivan who did everything from Jungle Cruise skipper and eventually projects including the ’64 World’s Fair, EPCOT, Disneyland Paris and retiring as vice-president of the Magic Kingdom in Orlando.
This year we had our affair at the Celebration Golf Club’s Windmill Restaurant. Before I go an ounce further, let me say that the food was amazing! The menu included Salad, herb grilled chicken breast, smoked pork tenderloin, redskin potatoes, pole beans with almonds, assorted desserts and drinks and a cash bar for beer, wine or soda. Before the start of the evening, our club president Adria Smith took to the podium and thanked all who attended and gave a quick rundown of events to come. Our club is a non-profit organization and we are currently supporting the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program at the Florida Hospital. During our bi-monthly meetings and at our numerous events throughout the year, we hold silent and live auctions, with of course, mainly Disney memorabilia items! These items are donated by the generosity of our many sponsors and club members. One hundred percent of our proceeds go directly to support this program. To date, we have raised $22,000.00 for the program.
Adria then called up Dr. Steven Brint of Central Florida Gastroenterology. Dr. Brint has been our sponsor for the last five years and his generosity has helped the club reach many of its goals. She awarded Dr. Brint the “Partners Statue” from the club to acknowledge our “Partnership” so to speak. After the presentation, the list of Disney luminaries was announced. Margaret Kerry, who was the actual model for Tinker Bell. In 1953 while Disney was producing the animated feature film “Peter Pan” Margaret did much pantomime the motions that the animated Tink would do in the film. In addition, the original “Tom Sawyer” of Disneyland Tom Nabbe and Sully Sullivan, both Disney Legends were in attendance to speak to the members and sign their books. We then had our live auction with the opportunity to acquire some really nice Disneyana items, again, all the proceeds earmarked for the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program. However before any kind of frivolity began, we sat down to one delicious Christmas meal; and a chance to walk around and talk to fellow members and catch up.
For anyone who has not seen or listened to Margaret Kerry speak, truly must make it a point. She has a persona and storytelling prose second to none! For over an hour, we sat enthralled as we were treated to a slide show of her time as Tink’s model and a chance to listen to her stories about working and talking with Walt, and her impressions working at the Disney Company. She is funny and witty and has the energy to go on forever! Margaret then took the time to answer questions, and later on, took many pictures with our members.
In addition to Margaret Kerry, we had another opportunity to speak to two Disney Legends, Bill “Sully” Sullivan and Tom Nabbe. As time goes by, talking to people that worked with Walt personally and spoke with him is getting harder and harder. It is these people that can tell stories and remember conversations with Walt that are not in any history book or movie reel. It was wonderful to talk to these men and get a chance ask about Walt and the early days of Disneyland. In addition, both men had books about their careers at Disney for sale and signing.
It was a very memorable way to finish out the year 2015, and a chance to reflect on that year, and become geared up for the coming years at Disney. And that is what the Disneyana Fan Club is all about. A chance to get together with like-minded fans, share stories and memories of Walt Disney and his gift to us all. If interested in joining our chapter or any other chapter (You can be a member of as many as you like), contact the club at… World Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club, P.O. bot 470116 Celebration, Florida, 34747-0116. Or visit http://disneyanaworldchapter.com for more information. The club celebrated its 28th anniversary in July, 2105. Meeting are bi-monthly, we have many amazing outings and chances to meet many Disney celebrities! Enjoy the pics of the event and get a bird’s eye view of some of the fun!