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This is going to seem kind of counter-intuitive. But if
you're in the Orlando area this weekend and want a genuinely memorable
Mouse-related experience, don't go to a Disney theme park.
Instead - on Saturday evening - make your way over to the
Holiday Inn at Downtown Disney. Where - starting at 6 p.m. - you can then take
sit on a meeting of the World Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club.
A WDW cast member preps perennials backstage at the Resort's treefarm. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
"Why would I want to do that?," you ask. Because the special
guest speaker at this month's meeting will be Wayne McGonigal, the owner of
Horticultural Ideas. Which is this "Garden Personality" company which
specializes in small-scale residential landscape work in the greater Orlando
"And why would I be interested in listening to Mr. McGonigal
speak?," you query. Because Wayne moved to O-Town from St. Louis back in 1989
to pursue a horticultural career with the Mouse. And over the past 20+ years,
he moved up swiftly through the ranks. Going from working at the Land Pavilion
at Epcot to becoming Gardner in the Parks. These days, Mr. McGonigal is a
part-time facilitator at the Disney Institute, where he has worked since 1995.
So - obviously - Wayne is a guy who really knows his history
when it comes to the more horticultural aspects of the Walt Disney World
Resort. And he's expected to share some of those stories as part of Saturday
Photo by David Roark. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
More to the point, even though this World Chapter meeting is
being held just a week or so before Halloween, look for McGonigal to talk about
what it takes to get Walt Disney World ready for the holidays. With a
particular emphasis being placed on the huge role that WDW's Horicultural
department plays in getting the Disney theme parks decorated for Christmas.
Now please keep in mind that registration for this gathering
of Disneyana Fan Club members begins at 6 p.m. (with club members expected to
pay a $4 entrance fee for this meeting, while non-members will be an $8 door
fee). And once this meeting gets underway at 6:45 p.m. that the evening's
entertainment will include a live auction of Disney collectibles.
If you're staying at Walt Disney World and are worried about
how you might get to this month's gathering of World Chapter members ... Not to worry. Again, it's being held at the
Holiday Inn at Downtown Disney (which is located at 1805 Hotel Plaza Boulevard
in Lake Buena Vista, FL). Which means that you can use WDW's own transportation
system as a way to get to this hotel. Better yet, this Disneyana Fan Club event
is expected to wrap up by 9:30 p.m. Which means that it won't eat into too much
of your precious WDW vacation time.
Copyright Ayefour Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved
On the other hand, if you're a Disney World history buff who
is down at the Resort this weekend and actually do have access to a car ... Well,
you may want to consider driving off-property on Sunday afternoon and then
heading over to Winter Park.
Why For? Because this Sunday afternoon in the Community Room of the Winter Park
Public Library, noted Disney historians Jim Korkis and Greg Ehrbar will be
holding court. To be specific, the
authors of "The Vault of Walt: Unofficial, Unauthorized, Uncenosred Disney Stories Ever Told" and "Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records
" will be sharing stories about the early, early days of Walt
And given that it's rumored that both Jim & Greg will be
digging down deep in their personal archives to unearth some special
audio-visual treasures ... Well, you don't want to miss out on this special
off-site celebration of the 40th anniversary of the opening of the
Vacation Kingdom of the World (which - for all of you Disney trivia buffs out
there - was the way that Walt Disney Productions executives tried to describe
WDW to the world in the late 1960s / early 1970s. That because Walt Disney
World was so much more than just a Disneyland-style theme park, Mouse House
managers felt that the place needed a catchphrase that more accurately described
what this place was really all about. Hence the moniker "The Vacation Kingdom
of the World." And just to make sure that people actually knew where Disney
World was being built, Disney executives used to insist that the WDW logo had a flag sticking out of it which read
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
Anyway ... Greg & Jim's presentation is slated to run from
2 - 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 23rd at the Winter Park Public
Library. Which is located at 460 E. New England Avenue in Winter Park, FL. For
further information on this historical talk and/or to register in advance for
this event, please call 407-623-3279. Admission is free.
So there you have it. If you're a Disney World history buff and/or
horticultural fan, there's a talk that's sure to suit your interests being held
in and around the Orlando area this weekend.