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The Fabulous Disney Babe
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by Michelle Smith (archives)
February 28, 2003
Michelle has news on her theme park class and a rumor about the third theme park.

I'm still trying to get past that first sentence thing. Maybe it's a mental block.

I finally got the call from Learning Tree University - I got final approval for the theme park history class. The first class will run Saturday, April 19 from 9 am until noon, the second April 26, the third May 3 and a tour of Disneyland (yes, the Fabulous Tour) on May 10. The cost for the class will be $99.00, and admission to Disneyland is not included. The classroom is located at LTU's Costa Mesa campus.

Registration begins sometime around the second week in March - I'll post details as soon as I get them.  Registration will be by phone, fax or snail mail. The textbook will be Disneyland The Nickel Tour by Bruce Gordon and David Mumford. I know many of you have it all ready, but for those of you who don't, special pricing on the book may be available. I'll let you know.

One thing they did ask for: A catchy name for the class. Here's what they came up with:

The Mystery and Magic of Theme Parks: A Sneak Peak Behind the Scenes at Disneyland
From the Evolution to Jubilation - A Day at Disneyland and the Evolution of Theme Parks
A Magical Mystery Tour of Theme Parks and a Day at Disneyland

I think my readers can do better. Can you Name That Class? If you can, you get a free Fabulous Tour and a nice little present from me.

  •  •

I got a call from someone very sweet and pretty trustworthy, asking if I'd heard anything about the rumors for the latest plans for the strawberry field. There's been talk of what Disney's planning to do with that property since before they even owned it - in fact, the children of the original owner wrote a letter saying that they would never, ever sell to Disney because of the way Disney treated their father. Time passed, relations between the two parties improved, and the property was bought by Disney. A third theme park was discussed for the area, as was a water park. An All-Stars type resort was rumored for both that area and for the Pinocchio lot behind the Paradise Pier hotel. But this one I hadn't heard, and, while not proven to me, really sounds cool: a golf course. Wait! Wait! Remember, what is one of the things that makes Walt Disney World a world-class destination resort? The spectacular golf courses. My dad spent a good 40 years in the golf business, and I've seen and, occasionally, played courses all over the place, mostly Hawaii. If they can do a Tom Fazio/Pete Dye course like Eagle Pines and Osprey Ridge at WDW, I'd order myself a new set of clubs tomorrow. Disney gives **great** golf. It would complete the Disneyland Resort as a destination entity as well - parks, hotels, themed pools, shopping and dining district, tennis, spa and golf. Le sigh. Le heavenly sigh. Disney Golf.

And if the economy bounces back to as great as it was in the 80s, my pal pointed out, they could level it and build another theme park pretty easily. I've poked around and haven't found anything else, so this could just be a lovely pipe dream. I hope not.

  •  •

There's an interesting lecture coming to the LA Conservancy if you're a history/architecture buff. Welton Beckett, whose firm designed Disney's Polynesian and Contemporary Resorts, as well as the GE Progressland pavilion for the New York World's Fair, will be the subject of what promises to be a fascinating presentation in Los Angeles next week:

(from www.laconservancy.org)
Built by Becket: A Centennial Celebration
By Chris Nichols, Modern Committee Outreach Chair On the evening of Tuesday, March 4, 2003 the Los Angeles Conservancy's Modern Committee will present a salute to the legendary Los Angeles architecture firm Welton Becket & Associates and its founder Welton Becket. The firm's indelible mark on the Los Angeles landscape includes such icons as Capitol Records, the Music Center, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Bullock's Pasadena, the Beverly Hilton and Century City. These buildings helped form the architectural and social identity for the booming young city of Los Angeles in the Mid-Century era.This once-in-a-lifetime centennial event, to be held at Becket's landmark 1963 Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, reunites members of the firm's original staff, including Capitol Records designer Lou Naidorf, with contemporary critics and historians who will put the Becket legacy into perspective. Alan Hess, author of Googie and Viva Las Vegas, will explore the Becket firms' lasting impact on Southern California. "Welton Becket's greatest buildings are as much a part of Los Angeles as Christopher Wren's are of London. They cannot be divided from the way we see or think of L.A." says Hess. Rare memorabilia from the Becket family archive and vintage films will also be on display for one night only. Welton Becket was born in Seattle, Washington in 1902. He received an architecture degree from the University of Washington in 1927 and also studied at the famed Ecole des Beaux Arts. In 1929 Becket began his architectural career as a draftsman at a small Los Angeles firm, and in 1933 he formed a partnership with his Washington classmate Walter Wurdeman. In 1935, Wurdeman and Becket created their first great L.A. landmark, the Pan Pacific Auditorium. Throughout the following decades Wurdeman and Becket, and the successor film Welton Becket and Associates turned out many world-famous Los Angeles icons as well as numerous important structures around the world. At the time of Becket's death in 1969, Welton Becket and Associates was the largest architectural office in the world.Included in the ticket price is an illustrated booklet featuring a self-guided driving tour of over twenty Becket buildings in greater Los Angeles. The following Saturday, March 8, the Modern Committee will present a docent-led tour of several of these classic buildings including the pristine 1964 Music Center Complex downtown and the lavish interiors of the recently refurbished Bullock's (Now Macy's) Pasadena.Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Tickets include the March 4 lecture and film screening, the booklet and the March 8 tour. The March 4 event begins at 7:30 p.m. and the hours for the March 8 tour are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets sell out fast – order early to avoid disappointment!
To order tickets please complete the form below and send it with a self-addressed stamped envelope and a check (payable to the Los Angeles Conservancy) or your credit card authorization to:
Los Angeles Conservancy
523 W. 6th Street, Suite 826
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Or, you may fax your order (credit card only) to 213-623-3909

I hope to see you there!


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-- Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith can be reached using the Talkback form below or by emailing her at DscveryBay@aol.com.

The Fabulous Disney Babe's column is posted every Friday and whenever else she has something to say. For more on Michelle's background, see her first column. She also offers The Fabulous Tour: Disneyland Secrets and Stories. Click here for more information.

The opinions expressed by our Michelle Smith, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.

-- Posted February 28, 2003