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Toon Tuesday: Undercover (Parking) at Disney Studio

Toon Tuesday: Undercover (Parking) at Disney Studio

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Once upon a time there were no parking structures on the Walt Disney Studio lot. The under and above ground parking facilities we take for granted today were once non-existent. Disney staffers either parked in available space on the lot or sought street parking. Of course, there were fewer cars in those days so it really wasn't an issue.

If you were a Disney big shot back in the day you had shed parking. And, what is that, you ask? Well, if you're as old as I am, you'll remember that the Walt Disney Studio once had "Shed Parking." That is, you were able to park your vehicle in a covered space. No more worries about the hot summer sun beating down on your new paint job or getting soaked in a winter rain while trying to unlock your car. Everyone knew if you had shed parking it was pretty good sign you were probably a Disney VIP.

This view looks out onto the area where Disney's Shed Parking used to
be. A good deal of it is still used for parking, but the coveted shed
parking spaces are long gone. Walt Disney would enter the lot
here and make his way down this studio street.

Naturally, Walt Disney parked his car under the shed as did many other Disney bosses. Walt's space was near the second gate as you entered the studio lot. The Old Maestro's vehicle was clearly in view as you made your way into the studio for a day's work. Those of us who worked in story paid particular attention as we entered the lot. If Disney's car was parked, we braced ourselves for a possible visit from the boss.

Before long, many Disney veterans began to covet a space under the prestigious shed. There was even a sign up sheet for those eager to enter this parking lottery. As you can already imagine, getting a parking space under the shed was no easy matter. It usually meant a Disney veteran had either retired or passed on. Even then, one had to pass a rigorous set of qualifications when a space became available.

And, that leads me to a cocky Disney artist who shall remain nameless. For years, this guy had eagerly sought a shed parking space. He had logged many years with the Disney Company and over time had risen in the ranks. I forget his title, but today it would be designated by the stupid yellow stripe on the Disney ID badge that announces to everyone, you're "important." Because his name was on the Shed Parking sign up sheet he was slowly making his way up the list. His parking space was only a few names away, and it looked like the coveted shed parking space would soon be his. On occasion he walked down the Disney hallway boasting about the parking space that would soon be his. His instincts were correct because not long after that the parking space on the main Disney studio lot became his.

The Zorro Parking Structure replaced the much loved Zorro movie set
on the studio back lot. I still miss the Zorro set.

Of course, life is not fair because there were other things going on at the studio that was about to change my friend's parking plans as well as Walt Disney Productions forever. A battle for the company had just ended with Disney CEO, Ron Miller being replaced by  Frank Wells and Michael Eisner. We all gathered on the studio back lot for an afternoon meeting with our new bosses. Naturally, our new leaders wanted all of us to know how great things were going to be from now on. Well, I guess they were right in some ways. The Disney artist was delighted as he pulled his car into his new shed parking space. Finally he was living the dream.

Not long after our backlot meeting Michael Eisner and Frank Wells could be seen walking around the studio lot. They had big plans and many changes were forthcoming. They began their renovation of Disney by getting rid of - you guessed it - shed parking.

Today, the Walt Disney Studio can boast several large parking structures, and if you're lucky you'll probably be able to find a parking space should you visit the lot. However, the cocky Disney artist never realized his dream of parking with the "big boys." His was another Disney dream. A dream that never came true.

The Frank G Wells Building has underground parking. I suppose all this
is much more efficient, but I sure miss the Disney back lot.

Did you enjoy today's parking-related piece? If so, please be aware that this Disney Legend has several books on the market that talk about the many amazing & amusing adventures that Mr. Norman has had during the 40+ years he's worked in the animation industry.

Floyd's most recent effort - "'Disk Drive: Animated Humor in the Digital Age" - is available for purchase through blurb.com. While Mr. Norman's original collection of cartoons and stories -- "Faster! Cheaper! The Flip Side of the Art of Animation" - is still for sale over at John Cawley's Cataroo.

And if you still haven't had your fill of Floyd ... Well, then feel free to move on over to Mr. Fun. Which is where Mr. Norman posts his musings when he's not writing for JHM.

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