When I was asking David Koenig when we were going to get the next installment in his MousePlanet column describing the first guided tours at Disneyland, he shared with me the great news that Cicely Rigdon is supposedly writing a book about her experiences.

Some Disney fans may know Cicely as the "Keeper of the Keys" to Walt's apartment above the firehouse on Disneyland's Main Street.

"When Disneyland first opened the Park, I made five attempts to get a job. The fifth time I was finally hired and I was so excited I came home and drove my car through the garage," she admitted.

She started as a part time ticket seller and then became a tour guide when that program started the following summer. She quickly became a Lead and then a supervisor and was instrumental in developing the Tour Guide program. Later, she became the Manager of the Disney Ambassador Program.

She not only was in charge of the tour guides at Disneyland but trained the Disney tour hostesses for the 1964 New York World's Fair and trained the tour guides for the Magic Kingdom in Florida when it opened in 1971.

"Try and imagine Mary Poppins. Very strict and proper but still nice," remembered one of her Magic Kingdom trainees.

She has a window on Main Street but is not yet a "Disney Legend" although the National Fantasy Fan Club has honored her in 1997 with their "Disney Legends" roster.

"I worked very hard to make the Tour Guide program successful. We had eleven different languages and one hundred and twenty tour guides during the summertime. We would sell as many as four thousand tickets on a given day," she shared with "Disney Magazine."

The girls would hide their cigarettes and makeup in those tall hats since they weren't allowed to carry purses. (At the Magic Kingdom in Florida, one African-American girl made the mistake of hiding a chocolate bar in her hat for a quick snack. In the Florida heat, it melted and dripped down her face prompting a young visitor to yell to his mother: "Mommy! That woman is melting!")

Those riding crops were the perfect device not only to point (before the two fingered or open handed point was required of cast members) but also helped politely keep at bay amorous gentlemen who got too close.

The new tour guides were assigned a "big sister" to help them and were expected to memorize verbatim an eleven page tour spiel. If they talked with another cast member while on tour, they were subject to reprimand because they were ignoring their guests.

So while we anxiously await Cicely's book (or at least another installment by David of early Disneyland tours), here is old article describing one of the Disneyland tours while Walt still walked the Park.

The following excerpt is from "Vacationland" magazine (Winter/Spring 1963 Vol. VII, No. 1) published by Disneyland with Walt Disney as the "honorary editor-in-chief" but Don Andersen as the actual editor:

"Tour Guide's Day"

The time: 9:30 a.m.
The place: Backstage, Disneyland
The setting: A lounge-type room. Lockers line one wall, mirrors on another. On the wall hangs a sign: "Smile, you're on television." Several attractive young women are making last-minute adjustments in hair styles, shoeshines, and hat straightening.

These are Disneyland Tour Guides, starting a typical day in the Magic Kingdom. They are preparing to go "on stage" to make your visit to Disneyland a never-to-be-forgotten one.

The time: 10:15 a.m.

The place: Tour Guide Headquarters, Town Square, Disneyland.

The setting: You have entered Disneyland, and with this being your first visit to the Magic Kingdom you decide that a personally conducted tour would be the best way to see everything in a limited amount of time. So you have purchased your Guided Tour Ticket and are now with a small group of other visitors who have also decided on a tour.

Enter guides: "Welcome to Disneyland...my name is Jan and I'll be your guide on your tour through the Magic Kingdom. We'll be visiting each of the four lands, ending our tour in Tomorrowland. If you have any questions about the Park along the way, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them for you. Now if you're all ready, we're first going to board the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad for an exciting trip encircling the entire Park."

And with that you're off on your tour of the Magic Kingdom. Your tour will last about two hours and during that time you will visit, as Jan said, each of the "lands", take a walk down Main Street, U.S.A., as it appeared around the turn of the century, and thrill to adventures on many of Disneyland's famous attractions.

Upon returning from your Park-encircling trip on board the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad (on which you see the world's longest diorama, the Grand Canyon at Disneyland) you journey up Main Street, pausing along the way to reminisce as you pass the Cinema, where six silent pictures are being shown continually. You also spot the apothecary, Swift's Market House, the Emporium, and all the other shops that Walt Disney and his artisans have re-created in authentic early 1900 fashion.

From Main Street, your tour heads toward Adventureland where you are told: "Although our smallest land, Adventureland is also one of the most exciting, with its exotic plants and flowers...the unique big game shooting gallery...and the crocodile-infested waters of the Jungle River Cruise.

"And now, new to Adventureland is the Swiss Family Treehouse, inspired by the Walt Disney motion picture 'Swiss Family Robinson'. Here you climb to adventure in the lofty branches of the treehouse getting a unique and exciting view of other parts of the Magic Kingdom."

(EDITOR'S NOTE FROM WADE: Unfortunately, the guides never shared with their tour, the real facts of the newly build Treehouse that towered more than seventy feet above a cascading stream. Those are the type of facts that would fascinate today's tour groups. Concrete "roots" penetrated forty-two feet into the earth and steel beams assisted with the stabilization. The exterior of the tree was covered with bark from more than two thousand manzanita trees brought to Disneyland to be grafted on the main branches. The broad branches spanned eighty feet in width with more than 300,000 green leaves of vinyl designed by Disney artists and each "chemically treated as a protection against weather and other hazards". The muskets, ship lanterns and other items actually once occupied a schooner or galleon and that was a genuine antique sewing chest that held the needles and threads. When the Treehouse was dedicated, Mr. Max Robbi, the Swiss Consul from Los Angeles presented Walt with a Swiss Flag that was raised high above the treehouse. You can glimpse the dedication ceremony on the extra features in the "Swiss Family Robinson" DVD that features John and Hayley Mills exploring the different levels.

Okay. That's enough with the asdditional trivia. Let's get to the original article, shall we?)

Your guide then takes you to Frontierland for a trip through Nature's Wonderland; across the Sleeping Beauty Castle drawbridge into Fantasyland, land of hopes and dreams and imagination and the mighty Matterhorn Mountain.

All along the way, Jan is keeping you well informed about happenings in Disneyland. You learn that the Park is a 20 year dream-come-true for Walt Disney. That it took exactly one year to build, but that it will never be completed, as Walt says "as long as there is imagination left in the world".

You learn that more than 32,000,000 visitors have been guests in Disneyland since opening day, that cars on the Disneyland Autopia travel 850,000 miles each year, and hundreds of other interesting and unusual facts about the Magic Kingdom.

If, by chance, your guide is unable to answer a question, she will do one of two things: 1) she'll try to find out the answer somewhere along the way or 2) she'll find out after you leave and send you the answer by mail.

Well, your tour is now approaching Tomorrowland and following a trip on the Disneyland-Alweg Monorail and the Submarines, Jan leaves you with these thoughts:

"Disneyland is dedicated to the dreams, the ideals, and the hard facts that have created America with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world. We sincerely hope that through your tour today you have shared in a part of this spirit."

Then you're off...to enjoy many of the free attractions and exhibits that you saw on your tour, to take an "extra" ride on an adventure of your choice (part of your ticket price), or to re-visit some of the attractions that you saw on your guided tour of the Magic Kingdom.

But what about Jan? Well, she's back at the lounge, combing her hair, or polishing her shoes, or chatting with the girls, or looking for the answer to one of your questions.

But she won't be gone long because after a quick break for lunch, she'll be back at Town Square, ready to meet and greet new visitors to this land of Magic Enchantment.

And as you think back on your tour of Disneyland, you not only remember Main Street, and Fantasyland and Adventureland, but also your Guide.

You recall her enthusiasm, her politeness, her knowledge of this fabulous place, and of course, her ever-present smile, that has in some way helped to make your stay in the Magic Kingdom one that will never be forgotten.