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Ruminations: Your "One" Disney Favorite Winners!

Ruminations: Your "One" Disney Favorite Winners!

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Well, you folks don't make a choice easy, do you?

But, when I posed the question last week of "If you were only allowed to keep one of your Disney treasures, what single item would you choose?" I was confident that you would come through with both interesting and unique choices. Boy, was I right!

The one thing shared by the entries was a personal connection. In my opinion, such a connection is a key reason why Disney has experienced such success over the years. The ability to connect with an audience is something many companies strive for but never achieve. Disney has managed to do so with most, if not all of its product lines at one time or another.

One such success was television. Walt Disney saw that it had a power to connect directly with the audience in their own homes in a way. Radio had a similar power, but the major motion picture studios saw television as a competitor. Walt didn't agree, but saw this new medium as a great accomplice to keep the public interested in the Disney products. Disneyland especially benefited from this as nothing else before it. From that first glimpse into what Walt and the Imagineers had planned for Anaheim, right up to the live broadcast on Opening Day and beyond, television brought us to Disneyland and vice-versa.

So it is interesting that the first winner among the entries - for the most unique item -- comes with a direct connection to those days when Walt came into our homes every Sunday night:

From Barbarabee --

Re: The "One Thing"

"Ahh...this is pretty easy, but it would be so hard to see all the other wonderful items go away! We have one of the "prop books" from Wonderful World of Disney, it's "The Big Cats"... touched by Walt's hands in front of TV cameras, which makes it wonderful and irreplaceable in itself and gives it provenance.

It reminds me of all those years growing up watching the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday evenings eating popcorn with my brothers out of a big red metal bowl. The bittersweet enjoyment of my most favorite TV show in the world, and the reminder that it was bedtime after it was over and back to school the next morning.

And, it gave me a peek "behind the scenes" when I discovered that the cover and the few pages that are opened during the introduction to the show are hand painted with fantastic illustrations, and it's not a real book!"

Well, those moments when Walt came on to introduce the evening's show are some of the most classic. It was as if he was talking to each one of us individually, sharing his interest in the story we were about to see, just like those earliest days of the animated feature, when he would tell his version of a story to the animators working on a project. Yes, the television moments may have been scripted and prepared, but they still remain favorites of many viewers today.

For the best reason why an item is so special, this one stands out. Rivalries between brothers and sisters are the stuff of legend in many families and this one is no exception:

From Capntarpals --

Re: My True Disney Treasure:

"I thought about how to answer this question for about a good, oh, I don't know...six seconds. I then, it came to me. The item in question would have to be my sister's pink EPCOT cap, with the EPCOT logo and Figment on it. The cap is MIA as of 2005, but it would have been lost much earlier than that if not for me. Here's the story:

Imagine the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom. Tom Sawyer's island. It was probably around 1986 or '87. My sister, wearing her newly purchased pink EPCOT cap, was enjoying a playful afternoon with her family on one of the docks overlooking Liberty Square. Now, we as kids, loved Tom Sawyer's Island, with it's forts, caves, and barrel bridges. My mom simply liked to sit at Aunt Polly's while we all ran rampant across the island. On our way back to the river raft landing, we all stopped at the aforementioned dock. We were sightseeing after all; myself, my mom, younger brother, and my little sister.

My sister always had a reputation of being a clutz, spilling every drink...tripping over every twig. Well, my brother and I went to the water's edge, and leaned over the railing, both looking into the brown water. My sister, who was maybe six years old at the time and wanting to emulate her older brother's behavior, followed suit. Wouldn't you know it, her trademark clumsiness kicked in: Her hat jumped off her head, and fell into the murky, brown water.

My mom somewhat panicked. As she saw it, ten bucks or so just took a swim. Still in disbelief that the hat even fell off my sister's head in the first place, I watched as the pink slowly turned darker as the water started to seep into the fabric of the hat, dragging it down slowly. In the midst of the turmoil, my brother had the presence of mind to run and find a stick. He tried to retreive the hat, but all he managed to do was hasten it's slow dive into the water, pushing it further downward. I then grabbed the stick from him, almost completely unaware of anything but the hat. With much physical effort and frantic hollering, I managed to lift the now waterlogged hat from the water...all to the sound of raucous applause! I looked up. The Mark Twain riverboat, filled to capacity, had witnessed the entire incident while passing by the dock. Shocked out of my usual pre-teen shyness, I managed a quick wave and a bow to the fine folks onboard the riverboat, who had shared my victory with me.

To this day, it's the first thing that pops into my mind whenever I see that riverboat, and I still hear the applause...and my little sister's, "Thank you, Chris." "

Walt Disney often mentioned how he wanted Disneyland to be a place for the entire family to enjoy and to do so together. In the moment so well presented above, we see how what easily could have been a very sad incident for one little sister, was instead a "victory" shared with a boatload of guests. It isn't hard to imagine a smile on Walt's face if he had seen it happen.

So, thanks to everyone who shared their favorites with us on the Jim Hill Media Message Boards! Feel free to stop by and share your own memories or stories with us any time!

And for Barbarabee and Capntarpals, please drop me a note, and I'll fill you in on the all of the details of the special reward I have in store for both of you for letting us share those treasures with you!

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