Saturday, October 22, 2011

It’s my bag!

I just returned from a fabulous trip to Disneyland and Club 33 this week and my nitpicky brain picked up on something that I had not thought about in a good while- bags.

Show of hands! Who misses bag individuality in the park? I sure do! I will let my Disney dork flag wave and admit that I actually do keep most of my Disneyland shopping bags (because I keep everything from that place), but I will say that I’m not a fan of them. I was especially disappointed that even Club 33 doesn’t have their own merchandise bag; they have their own tissue paper, but not bag.

Normally, I preach the need for the flow and cohesion of storytelling in the park, but this is one time where I do not like it. I would really love to see some specialty, land-specific bags back. Granted, some of the individual bags came from the lessee establishments, but I feel that it would really create more of a realistic experience, especially to Main Street. It might also subconsciously divide Disneyland up so that it didn’t all feel like one large shopping experience. While we’re on the topic, I would also like the return of land-specific merchandise. But, that’s another blog entry.

To refresh everyone’s memories of merchandise bags of the past, I stumbled on this wonderful Disneyland Flickr Pool and found the following artifacts of consumerism (unless otherwise credited), before it all went to one design around 1990 for the 35th anniversary. Great stuff!

My personal favorite, circa late 70s-80s. I actually made stationery out of this. Word files look a lot more fun now! Photo credit.

It just makes your purchase from the Art Corner a little more special! :)

Bags from the 1970s. Photo credit.

Original bag from the 1950s. Love the atomic styling of it!

This is also one of my favorites! Look at the charm!!

Yep, they had their own, too! Photo credit.


Small wonder what decade this represents!

The individuality spilled out into the Disneyland Hotel, too!

This is also a great bag! I can only assume that perhaps it contained a little something from the One-of-a-Kind shop?

The styling on this bag is great. I love the red accents!

For your psychedelic purchase. Photo credit.

This bag is also from the 60’s. Be sure to enlarge it so you can see the wonderful line drawings. Photo credit.

Looks to me like 2 delicious churros would fit in here! Great piece from the 1970s.

And, just for fun, because I found it in my travels, a bag from the 1964 World’s Fair. Photo credit.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Disneyland Maps in High Rez!

Do check out all of the extremely high resolution goodness of some vintage Disneyland maps! 1962, 1964, 1976, 1983, and 2000.

One thing’s for sure… it’ll make you wish that Edison Square and Liberty Street had been built. I still think they’re tremendous editions that would be wonderful in the park today.

Have a look!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Disney Cottages

I found this interesting little article that I thought to share. It’s about the eight Disney-leased cottages in Los Feliz. Something you don’t hear about very often.

“…this property is significant in the history of Hollywood. When Disney's artists lived here in the 1930s, they produced the world's first full-length animated feature, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," using these buildings as models for the dwarfs' cottage.”

For more photos, check out this Flickr stream.


Aren’t they charming? :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Enchanted Tiki Shakers

“Mon ami! I am always ready, as you say, to put on the…” flavor!

Tiki Front

Yes, though quite difficult to work into a nice table setting (but fantastic for an outdoor summer barbeque), these little tiki gods of flavor are just about as nifty as they come. They don’t represent any of the main tikis out on the lanai of the Enchanted Tiki Room, though they look like they could very well be related. I suppose the gods of salt and pepper weren’t as worthy as the gods of wind, rain, and earth balancing. But here at the Sacred Tree, we think they’re just as important! After all, what is a good mirepoix without them?

Tiki Back

In actuality, they appear to be replicas of Easter Island Moai, which were carved out of stone. Here they are painted to look somewhat like weathered bamboo or wood, which is a very nice effect that ties in a bit more with the tikis of the attraction,

Made of a fairly hard ceramic and glazed to oblivion, these shiny little gods are like a little mid-century time capsule, in my opinion; very late 50s –mid 60s. Early Gilligan, I will call it. Tiki Top

On the back, in a fine tiki font reads “Disneyland” so that you may better explain their presence between the plates of chicken and mashed potatoes.

On top, there is a convenient “P” or “S”, so you don’t get confused in the act of spicing, since the gods are identical.  On the bottom is one of the familiar old “Disneyland” production marks. Oddly enough, not in the common green color of the period.

Tiki Bottom

I think they’re a fantastic piece of Disneyland merchandise history, and absolutely nothing you would see nowadays. I very much wish odd little pieces like these were still for sale in the parks. I miss Adventureland stores being well stocked with odd artisan pieces from other countries. It made the land feel so special and very realistic. No shots or bug repellant required!!

“Farewell, and aloha to you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Friend Ferdy

I love Ferdinand. Truly. It is one of my all time favorite stories and Disney shorts. It’s simple and beautiful and reminds us all to be in the moment, to be at peace, and to be grateful for all that surrounds us. It is pure, effective, simple, unaffected storytelling in its best form, in my opinion. It’s one of those ideal finds that appeals just as much to adults as it does to children. The perfect Walt discovery.

In honor of that perfect discovery, here is my perfect discovery: Meet Ferdy.

Ferdy sits atop my desk, totally clashing with its Queen Anne style, but I don’t care and neither does he. He is forever gazing at me quite happily with his floral offering, reminding me to take breaks from whatever I’m working on, and to be present and mindful. He also encourages other more enjoyable activities, especially while I pay bills. I always follow him up on his sage advice!



Ferdy dates back to the release of “Ferdinand the Bull” (1938), and is in excellent condition for his age. He has a few cracks in his paint, but otherwise he’s still a dapper fellow. His tail is made of a bunching of satiny type string connected to his backside, which I keep away from bees at all times.

The flower he holds in his mouth is made of pink plastic and is still holding up nicely after all these years. Isn’t he a charmer!?

I’m throwing in his film debut just because it’s a good thing to watch. It’s his gift to you! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Storybook Land in Paint

Pretend you are sailing past the Snow White area of Storybook Land. This is what you would see, more or less, back in 1958 or thereabouts. It’s my newest painting, the second in what is now the Storybook Land Series. It is also the second in my 2011 year of Disney paintings. Have a look! Comments much appreciated… especially the positive ones! hehe!

"Dwarfs' Cottage", by Devyn Samara 2011

“Dwarfs’ Cottage, Storybook Land”, oil on canvas 6” x 8”, by Devyn Samara 2011.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Riding Disneyland History

This past weekend (April 30) I attended the 2011 Pacific Coast Railroad Roundup at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, just north of San Luis Obispo in Santa Margarita, California. The annual event, to benefit the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum, was supposed to be held for one day only, as per usual, but an extra day was added on May 1 to accommodate the demand.

I have been meaning to make this event for years, but my schedule has never allowed it until this year. Having never been to the Santa Margarita Ranch, I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful, natural surroundings and minimal structures on the land.

Driving over a wooden bridge with a flowing stream underneath , I followed the path down to a large historic barn and train loading area. There I was greeted by two original, beautiful, yellow Retlaw 1 Disneyland passenger cars.

Though three of the four coaches (built in 1955 at the Walt Disney Studios) are in need of a good restoration, (coach 105 Painted Desert has been restored) they are still so charming and their paint colors are still bold in the bright sunlight, which is surprising since they were retired in the mid 1960’s. (The Pacific Coast Railroad plans on restoring the other three cars, so I have been told.) Incidentally, there seems to be some confusion on the official retiring of these cars. I have seen 1958, mid 60s, and 1974. I’m not clear on which is correct, but those at the event were saying mid 60s, so for now, I’ll go with that.

Four engines were pulling the various coaches on Saturday, all with an interesting history:

 The No. 1 “Caroline”, named after the Railroad owner’s granddaughter, is a 5/8 scale replica 1860s 4-4-0 built by Disney Imagineer Bob Harpur of Wilmington, California in 1968. Its former residence was in Astroworld in Houston, Texas. This engine was not running at the time I arrived, but was visible on the train ride around the ranch.




 The No. 4 “Deanna” of the Sanstone Crag Loop Line, an 0-4-2T built by Baldwin in 1891 for the Kaiwiki Sugar Co. in Ookala, Hawaii was pulling a charming passenger train. This beautiful engine was shiny, bold, and stunning! In my opinion, perfect for a back yard railroad, Ward Kimball style! Which, I might add, I totally want now!!


The No. 3 “Melodia” was built as an 0-6-2T by H.K. Porter in 1897. It was purchased by the Barker & LePine Sugar Cane Co. of LaFourche Crossing, Louisiana. After her retirement in 1953, she was rebuilt in 1964 as a 2-6-2 and worked in several amusement parks. This day she was hauling two of the four Disneyland cars: the 102 Navajo Chief and the 105 Painted Desert.


The No. 2 “Roger Linn”, the most famous locomotive on the Pacific Coast roster, is a 1922 Vulcan 2-4-0 and was featured in the series “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman”. It was originally a quarry engine in Lehigh, Illinois until1960.  The “Roger Linn”, a jet black engine which reminded me of a less fancy E.P. Ripley, was pulling Disneyland coach 104 Land of Pueblos that I rode in, and I was literally so excited to get in the coach, that I did not take any shots of the exterior of the engine, but I got some nice interior shots, which you’ll see below.

I boarded my Land of Pueblos coach and was very pleased to see that so much has remained of the interior of the coach.


Running along the top of the coach are beautiful panels of etched glass which are still in tact and lovely.

The wood in the interior was still in quite good condition, save for some water damage here and there and worn flooring.  

The painted  peachy pink flourishes have faded out some, but are still visible and very beautiful.

The lighting I found especially lovely and in great condition. The speaker, which no doubt narrated the guests’ tour around Disneyland on opening day and beyond was looking superior as well.

Seating in the coach reminded me of the yellow school buses I used to ride as a small child, only shorter. I am assuming these are original, but if they are not and somebody knows better than I do, please let me know. The seats ran down the length of the coach, but near the door they were placed lengthwise as such:

Even behind the doors at both ends! No waste of space was permitted, evidently!

I got some weird kick out of the windows, which to me felt so authentic. They were a bit like an old school bus only not- I wasn’t in fear of chopping off a digit as I was on a school bus. They push upwards, and the latches were great.

Here are some interior shots of the “Roger Linn”. I loved seeing them dump the coal inside and stoke the flames. Great stuff!! And check out that woodwork!! Completely gorgeous inside!

Overall, the trip around the ranch was incredible. I noticed a very large difference in riding that coach as compared with the cars currently at Disneyland. There was a feeling of total authenticity about these cars that isn’t present now. I understand the current cars are better to view the sights and diorama, but I truly felt like I had been transported to the past while I rode the Land of Pueblos. I felt really privileged to experience the ride on open land, as well. There was something about the natural environment, the distinct smell of the smoke coming from the engine, and the sound of the whistle (I could have bottled that!) that was so wonderful. It seemed like I could have been anywhere in 18whatever, traveling to some new and distant location. I felt like Clara on the train in the third Back to the Future film (not hanging off of it, no)! It was a remarkable experience that I would recommend to anyone who has the capability of attending next year.

Here are some final photos to end our little tour…

Here is the fourth car, 103, which has been renamed. I would assume the original lettering reading Rocky Mountains still resides under the plaque that reads “Mary Frances”. I like how it kept the look of the original Disneyland signage. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” right?

Here is the back of coach 105 Painted Desert down the tracks.

Here is the back of Land of Pueblos and a side shot as well. You can make out the “Roger Linn” a bit, too.

In addition to the main railroads, the event had a barbecue, a brewery truck from Central Coast Brewing, wine from a local winery, and much railroad paraphernalia. What I really found fascinating was the inside of the Asistencia Barn, which was built in 1780 by the Chumash Indians  and was part of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and the first stone and mortar building in California. It served as a place of worship when padres from the Mission San Luis Obispo  came to visit. It looks like this down the entire length of the barn on both sides.

I thought this little train was adorable! I don’t know if it was for sale, but I could do with this for starters!

I bought a pin from these two, who were just adorable all dressed up in their gear. Do note how Disney their nametags look.

For those interested in more info on the Roundup and the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum, here is an excerpt from their literature:

Proceeds from the Railroad Roundup will benefit the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum's efforts to refurbish its museum building in San Luis Obispo's historic railroad district. Museum members have been working for over a decade with The City of San Luis Obispo to refurbish the new museum home in the historic Southern Pacific freight house which is just south of San Luis Obispo's Amtrak Station. Plans are being made for the museum to be open on a regular schedule by the middle of 2012. The interior of the Museum is nearing completion and will open for a "sneak preview" for the first time for numerous activities during the Central Coast Railroad Festival on October 6-10, 2011.

I hope you all enjoyed our little trip! If you’re interested in riding these, you might want to hop on over to this link. There is an upcoming event hosted by the Carolwood Foundation this month that will also take place at the Santa Margarita Ranch with the 4 Disneyland cars plus the Retlaw 1 Combine which was the first car in the line of coaches on the Disneyland Railroad. It is the first time they have been together in over 35 years.