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Friday, April 10, 2009

Finding Disney in D.C.

You know you're a true "Disney geek" when you are touring the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC and run across two bits of Disney history and really get excited about it. Well that happened to yours truly yesterday while I was with my son's school group during a D.C. day trip.
As we began to tour the museum, we entered on the 2nd floor (from the National Mall) and saw the Star-Spangled Banner exhibit (I highly recommend it!). It is the ACTUAL flag that Francis Scott Key saw, inspiring him to write the song that would become our national anthem.

Anyway, as we moved up to the third floor on the west side, I saw something I didn't expect to see at a Smithsonian museum -- a piece of Disneyland!


This is a 1960's era ride vehicle from the Dumbo attraction at Disneyland. Below our favorite flying elephant is a display that reads:
"Dumbo Car, 1960's From the Disneyland Attraction"
"Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride began operating at Anaheim, California, soon after the park opened in summer 1955. Inspired by Disney's 1941 animated film, the ride featured ten steel-and-fiberglass baby elephant cars connected by spokes to a revolving hub; riders could control the height of their flight by moving a bar forward or backward. Although tame by comparison to other park attractions, the ride has always been extremely popular. Who, after all, could resist the promise of promotional posters in the park that proclaimed: "Elephants can fly, and so can you!"

A second display reads:
"Disneyland has always been more than a collection of rides and attractions. It is a place where Walt Disney repackaged his popular characters and stories into three-dimensional, real-life experiences. The park represents the blending of imagination, technology, and business sense that is American entertainment."

Seeing this one ride vehicle brought back WDW memories. But the trip down memory lane didn't stop there.

On the first floor there is a series of windows displaying different artifacts from history. I knew there was a C-3PO costume there that my son wanted to see. When I found that, what did I discover beside it but a true piece of Disney history:


This is an original Mouseketeer hat from the Mickey Mouse Club show. Below this hat, a display read:
"Walt Disney's The Mickey Mouse Club debuted on television in 1955 featuring skits, newsreels, music, and dance. Lonnie Burr, one of the original Mouseketeers, wore this cap for the televised reunion in 1980."

This was very cool to see. Granted, it's not one of the original hats, but an original Mickey Mouse Club cast member wore it for the reunion.

You never know where you might find a link to Disney, so always keep your eyes and your "ears" open!

2 comments:

Ben Ohmart said...

I'm very proud to have published Lonnie's new book, Confessions of an Accidental Mouseketeer. Yes it IS a good book!

MaryJo said...

I didn't see these artifacts last time I was at that Smithsonian museum. There is so much , it's not hard to believe that I missed it.
Were those rhinestones on the ears?
Thanks for sharing these. I will try to find them next time.

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