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As you watch Mickey's Soundsational Parade roll through
Disneyland Park, this feeling of Disney déjà-vu is bound to come over you.
By that I mean: While this is obviously a brand-new parade
with a look, style and sound all its own, there are just enough elements here
that harken back to great Disney theme park parades of the past (EX: "America
on Parade," which was this stylized celebration of the country's bicentennial
that ran at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 1975 & 1976) that
watching a performance of Mickey's Soundsational Parade has a pseudo-nostalgic
Original paper model for the lead float in "America on Parade." CopyrightDisney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
Which - believe it or not - is just the feel that Kevin
Kidney & Jody Daily were going for when they initially took on this
assignment back during the Summer of 2009. Speaking earlier this month at the
Disneyana Fan Club's annual convention, Kevin walked event attendees through
their design process. As these two tackled their biggest project to date.
"Steve Davison (i.e. Vice President for Parades and
Spectaculars at Walt Disney Imagineering) came to Jody & I and told us that
he had this idea for a parade based on Disney music. He wanted something that could
effortlessly blend the old & the new, the music of 'Snow White' with songs
from Disney's more contemporary films like 'The Princess and The Frog' and 'Tangled,'
" Kevin explained. "Plus he wanted something that - while it referenced the
classic Disneyland parades of the past - wasn't the usual collection of giant
fiber glass floats rolling by."
The Disney Princess unit in Mickey's Soundsational Paradefeatures Snow White, Briar Rose from "Sleeping Beauty,"Cinderella, Belle from "Beauty & the Beast" as well as the newest Disney Princess, Rapunzel from "Tangled." Photo by Shelly Valladolid
"And why did Davison reach out to Kidney & Daily?," you
ask. Well, it wasn't just because Kevin had been a float designer on Disneyland's
Party Gras parade, The Lion King Celebration, The World According to Goofy
parade, The Hercules Victory parade and the Mulan parade. Or because Jody had
recently designed the Pixar Play Parade for Disney California Adventure theme
park. But - rather - because of Kevin's talent with paper sculpture.
"This is something that I started doing when I was back in
high school, back when I was designing sets for the school plays and had no
money," Kidney recalled. "Steve loved the paper sculptures that I do. And since
he wanted something lighter, more lyrical for Disneyland's new parade ... Well,
we looked at some of the parades of the past, took Steve's paper sculpture idea
and then came up with a look for Soundsational."
Walt Disney and Mary Blair in the model shop at WED in early 1964. Please notethe sculpted paper model of a set from "it's a small world" on that worktabledirectly behind Walt & Mary. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.All rights reserved
Just so you know, though: Paper sculptures / paper models
have played a crucial role in the development of new rides, shows and
attractions for the Disney Parks & Resorts for nearly six decades now. And
in some cases (EX: Mary Blair's distinctive design work on "it's a small world"),
the paper model was thought to be so charming & evocative that this
cut-out-of-paper look then heavily influenced the final art direction of that particular
Anyway ... Getting back to Mickey's Soundsational Parade now ...
Getting the balance of elements just right here - deciding which parts of the
floats should be done dimensionally while determining which characters &
elements lent themselves to 2D treatment (more importantly, how would these
two dimensional characters would then move) - meant months of hard work / trial
and error for Kevin & Jody. When Kidney often putting in long hours at his
kitchen table, using Exacto knives and really strong glue to create detailed paper
models of proposed floats for Mickey's Soundsational Parade.
Some of the paper sculptures that Kevin Kidney built while developing the look of Mickey's Soundsational Parade. Photo by Paul Schnebelen
One of the very first models that Kevin built for this
parade was the Mickey Mouse drum. That was one of those elements that Steve
insisted be in Soundsational. That - as a callback to all of those Disneyland parades
from the 1960s where Mickey rolled through the Park, beating on a 10 ½ foot-tall
base drum - that Soundsational had to feature a Mickey Mouse drum unit. Only
this time around, Mickey was going to be traveling with a drumline. More
importantly, that - for his appearance in Mickey's Soundsational Parade - that
this parade character really had to be able to play the drums.
Well, Kevin & Jody figured out how to make that concept
work. Also taking into account the number of times that Southern California residents
will be returning to Disneyland over the projected three-year-run of Mickey's
Soundsational Parade, they created highly-detailed parade floats which had all
sorts of cool design elements. So that - depending on which side of the street
you were standing on - you could then see something new each time you watched
The Canary Sisters from Disney's 1953 "Adventures in Music" animated short, "Toot, Plunk, Whistle and Boom." Photo by Shelly Valladolid
"We've placed all sorts of obscure Disney characters on
these floats. Professor Owl and the Canary Sisters from 'Toot, Plunk, Whistle and Boom,' Evinrude from 'The Rescuers
' and the
Aracuan Bird from "The Three Caballeros,' " Kidney continued. "And speaking of 'Three
Caballeros,' we've got José Carioca and Panchito back in a Disneyland parade
for the first time since 1990. Which is when these characters appeared in the
Party Gras parade. So that was a huge win for us."
And speaking of huge ... from Rapunzel's 31-foot-tall tower in
the middle of the Disney Princess float to that enormous Penn-Farthing bicycle
that the Fox Hunter from "Mary Poppins" is pedaling out in front of this parade's
finale unit, Kevin & Jody have never worked on anything as large as Mickey's
Soundsational Parade. Though that may soon change, given that their next
assignment appears to be Tokyo Disneyland's 30th anniversary parade.
Photo by Shelly Valladolid
"That's actually why Jody couldn't be here today. He's in
Japan having meetings with the Tokyo Disneyland people about this new parade
for 2013," Kidney explained. "We're actually kind of freaking out right now because
those meetings have been going so well. So far, they've said 'Yes' to
everything that we've proposed. So we've now got to figure out how we're
actually going to build this thing."
And if going straight from the debut of Mickey's
Soundsational Parade back in May to designing a brand-new parade for Tokyo
Disneyland weren't keeping these two busy enough, Kevin & Jody also have
their Disney-themed collectibles business. In fact, they'll be down at Walt
Disney World on October 1st to unveil some new items that Kidney
& Daily have just created to commemorate that Resort's 40th
Kevin Kidney holds up a prototype of that Mary Blair / Contemporary Resort ceramic-tile-mural vase which he and Jody Daily designed, which will go on sale at the DisneyanaShop in WDW's Disneyana Shop on October 1st. Photo by Paul Schnebelen
"We'll be doing a signing at the Disneyana Shop on Main Street,
U.S.A. We've got a ceramic vase which recreates that tile mural that Mary Blair
designed for the Contemporary Hotel," Kevin continued. "We've also done some
dinnerware, four plates that feature artwork from the old Preview Center guide
map, a set of tin signs that duplicate those silk-screened poster for the
Tropical Serenade, The Haunted Mansion and the Monorail plus a ceramic
recreation of a WDW beverage cup from the 1970s."
But all of that stuff was off in the future somewhere. As
Kidney wrapped up his Mickey's Soundsational Parade presentation for this year's
Disneyana Fan Club's annual convention, he was asked what his favorite memory
of this particular project was.
Photo by Shelly Valladolid
"I think that that would be the day that the
Bert-and-Mary-Poppins carousel horse bicycles arrived from Michael Curry's
studio up in Oregon. Once we took the bubble wrap off of those things and the
bikes we so beautiful ... Well, you had to ride them," Kevin remembered. "Everyone
who worked on this project took turns riding them around backstage. For a while
there, those Mary Poppins carousel horse bicycles were the most popular rides
Special thanks to Paul Schnebelen & Bob Welbaum of the Disneyana Fan Club for
providing much of the material necessary to complete today's JHM article.
this would of been great article say when the parade debuted a couple months ago. Way 2 stay updated Jim
I didn't mind the wait at all and was fascinated to learn that Kevin had done work on other classic parades. Had no idea!