The Fabulous Disney Babe
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This is the third article in our series on the 2002 Walt Disney Art Classics Convention. The previous are article the April 24th Forever Magical which focuses on the Studio Tour and the April 25th Pictorial of the 3-day event with more than 100 pictures. Today's article is a personal look at the convention by Michelle Smith. Pictures of several of the things she mentions can be found in the Pictorial.
I picked up Alice after school Friday and drove her down to my sister's for a fun weekend with the aunties, being spoiled, staying up late, playing Gamecube and petting the cats. I checked in to the Marriott when I got back to Anaheim, and checked in with Rebekah to tell her I was going to be very late. A quick cab ride later, I found myself at the Grand Californian Hotel. Sam McKim was standing by the door all by himself, so I asked if I could help him out. "I'm just waiting for Tim," he said, and suddenly Tim O'Day was there, larger than life and grinning. "You're just in time!" he said. "You're about to see a big surprise!" I found a good spot near the stage, and Rebekah met me with my Convention Crate. Oh man. I love those things. I had a Disneyland one from a couple of years back ("Disneyland is the heart of the fun, in the warm California sun..") but Alice, at age 2, had decorated it with permanent green marker, so it went away. Sniff. It was the perfect combination of two things I love: Agricultural Label Art and Disney.
This crate was short and wide, like a winter citrus crate you see in specialty stores like Trader Joe's, but had the Convention logo woodburned on the side. Inside were my credential, which was a logo hangtag with a white ribbon at the bottom, which read "Guest", and on the lanyard from which it hung was a beautiful Jiminy Cricket. Jiminy is the Fabulous Disney Dad's favorite character, so I'll be able to visit him often. There was also a way-cool Aloha shirt (and honey, I know my Aloha shirts, having spent my formative years in the Aloha State) and an information packet.
Time for the big surprise..and it was wonderful. Dean Jones, whom I'd adored in Disney movies since childhood, popped into the hall via the door immediately to my right. I'm still a little new at using my Mavica, and keep forgetting about the one-second delay. I got a great shot of the door. Dean shared some stories about Walt and some of the times they had butted heads, which was interesting to hear. He also talked about the time Walt had shown his parents around, showing them the Pirates plans and figures being constructed. The entire room seemed to breathe a jealous "ohhh". "And you know," he finished, "for the rest of their lives they talked about that time when they met Walt."
He started to leave the stage, but was stopped, as they had a surprise for him as well: a WDCC Herbie, doing a wheelie. He was very pleased, and posed for photos with it. But that wasn't all: David looked on the list of conventioneers and found the person who had registered as number 53. He was called up to the stage and presented with his own Herbie.
After a break, the three good fairies from Sleeping Beauty, Flora, Fauna and Merriweather, took to the stage and magically conjured the voice of Princess Aurora/Briar Rose, Mary Costa. They discussed the best method of destroying the molds for the retired good fairies pieces, and Mary said that she really wasn't into smashing things, so the three good fairies cast a spell and turned the molds into a beautiful bouquet of red flowers. Later, they reappeared to say that Maleficent so disliked the flowers that she ended up blowing them up, and that anyone who wanted a piece of the smashed molds would get them as they exited the room. Also handed out was a box of Marceline's chocolate mint meltaways with a goodnight note from the Fairies. The food and company were excellent, and the entertainment exactly right to titillate the collectors and Disney fans into wondering what was to come next.
The next morning would be two seminars (For my Yellow group, Sam McKim, then Tony Baxter, then lunch, then the painting class), so after a nice get-together at the Napa Rose, I went back to my hotel to get a good night's sleep.
At 2:40 A.M., I heard familiar music. My alarm, I thought, and grabbed my Mickey Mouse alarm clock and turned it off. The ringing continued. I tried and tried and was banging the alarm clock against the bedside table when the noise stopped and I realized it wasn't my alarm clock, which, fortunately, wasn't damaged, but rather my phone. My sister - something was wrong with Alice. I called back; Alice is allergic to cats but if she takes her allergy inhaler, she's usually okay. This wasn't usually - she had had an asthma attack. On my way out to San Diego I gave Rebekah a call to explain the sitch and was told not to worry about work. I arrived at my sister's house at about 3:45 A.M., where she and Alice were sitting out in the car so that the cat dander in the house wouldn't affect her any longer. Alice was breathing normally, so I bundled her up and put her in the car, thanking my sister for her quick thinking.
We arrived back at the hotel at 5:30 A.M., and I cuddled her to sleep, then picked up my poor Mickey Mouse alarm clock and turned it off.