Richard Sherman Birthday Week: “Feed The Birds”

Early each day to the steps of Saint Paul’s

The little old bird woman comes

In her own special way to the people she calls

Come, buy my bags full of crumbs

Come feed the little birds, show them you care

And you’ll be glad if you do

Their young ones are hungry

Their nests are so bare

All it takes is tuppence from you

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,

Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag

“Feed the birds, ” that’s what she cries

While overhead, her birds fill the skies

All around the cathedral the saints and apostles

Look down as she sells her wares.

Although you can’t see it, you know they are smiling

Each time someone shows that he cares

Though her words are simple and few

Listen, listen, she’s calling to you

“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag

Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag

Though her words are simple and few

Listen, listen, she’s calling to you

“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag

Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag

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Richard Sherman Birthday Week: “Let’s Go Fly A Kite!”


With tuppence for paper and strings

You can have your own set of wings

With your feet on the ground

You’re a bird in a flight

With your fist holding tight

To the string of your kite

Oh, oh, oh!

Let’s go fly a kite

Up to the highest height!

Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring

Up through the atmosphere

Up where the air is clear

Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

When you send it flyin’ up there

All at once you’re lighter than air

You can dance on the breeze

Over ‘ouses and trees

With your first ‘olding tight 

To the string of your kite

Oh, oh, oh!

Let’s go fly a kite

Up to the highest height!

Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring

Up through the atmosphere

Up where the air is clear

Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

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DISNEYLAND Attraction #3: The DISNEYLAND Omnibus

When DISNEYLAND was being planned out, Walt Disney wanted to make everything as seemingly authentic as possible. He wanted guests to feel as though they had stepped into a real, though fanciful world. Main Street U.S.A was supposed to feel like a real street where the cast members that guests encountered actually lived. To add more authenticity to his street, he commissioned a fleet of vehicles to transport guests around the land. The highest capacity vehicle was the DISNEYLAND Omnibus.

Designed by Disney Legend Bob Gurr, the vehicles were supposed to add to the ambience of the main entrance into DISNEYLAND. One omnibus was built and installed in 1956, another one year later due to its popularity. When Florida’s Magic Kingdom park opened in 1971, its poor initial attendance led the company to scrap any plans for a bus fleet of its own. When the crowds finally started arriving, the park needed every attraction it could get, so many of DISNEYLAND’s vehicles were “loaned” to the Florida theme park.


While one of the omnibuses was returned to DISNEYLAND, one stayed behind at Florida’s Magic Kingdom Park. When Epcot Center opened in 1982, that omnibus was moved to that park after guests complained about how difficult it was to get around the World Showcase area. Sometime in the late 1980’s, the omnibus at Epcot was removed from daily operation, eventually getting use as a way to get the Disney characters to the various photo opportunities. The Original Omnibus is still in use at DISNEYLAND.


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DISNEYLAND Attraction #2: “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln”

The second attraction one might come across in DISNEYLAND is Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln. Located in the Main Street Opera House, the attraction features an animatronic Abraham Lincoln who presents a speech which consists of several historical speeches put together.

Prior to the park’s opening in 1955, the space was originally slated to be a theater where television productions could be filmed. Walt Disney had plans to create a weekly variety show hosted by Wally Boag that would be broadcast live from the DISNEYLAND Opera House. As the deadline for the grand opening approached and money tightened, those plans were scrapped. A temporary saw mill had been built on  the spot, so a fake exterior was built to hide it from inside the park. In 1965, the saw mill would be demolished to make way for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.


The attraction had been a sensation at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and was originally popular in DISNEYLAND. The staid attraction, however, soon saw diminished crowds. Lillian Disney, who assumed ownership of the attraction after Walt Disney’s death, decided to turn it into a tribute to Walt. His offices were moved into the exhibit and the film Walt Disney- An American Original began screening in Mr. Lincoln’s Theater.


An uproar ensued, with the Orange County Republican Committee demanding that Mr. Lincoln return. Lillian gave in and Mr. Lincoln returned as the finale to the Walt Disney Story. In 1982, Mrs. Disney sold the attraction to The Walt Disney Company, along with Walt Disney Imagineering, the DISNEYLAND Fire Station, the DISNEYLAND Railroad and the DISNEYLAND Monorail. In order to increase attendance, DISNEYLAND upgraded the animatronics in 1982. The upgrade wasn’t successful at increasing the attraction’s popularity and Mr. Lincoln was on the chopping block again in 1990. The company planned to open Muppetvision 3-D in the location, which created another uproar. Those plans were canceled. (Muppetvision 3-D would eventually open ten years later in Disney California Adventure.)


Mr. Lincoln truly has nine lives. No matter how sparsely attended the show might be, it appears to be the one attraction that will never go away. 




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Theme Park Thursdays: Attraction #1- The Disneyland Railroad

Often the first attraction encountered by visitors to Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom, The Disneyland Railroad was the first attraction mentioned fully planned out by Walt Disney. In fact, his first description of DISNEYLAND was that it “should look like nothing else in the world- and it will be surrounded by a train.”

The first two engines were built from scratch at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank and trucked down to DISNEYLAND. Since the trains were sponsored by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, The engines were named after founders of the Railroad- the C.K. Holliday and the E.P. Ripley. The trains were the personal property of Walt Disney; its workers his employees. His personal company rented the land from DISNEYLAND and the attraction was run as a separate corporate entity.


Eventually the two trains were overwhelmed by the massive crowds visiting DISNEYLAND each day. Walt Disney looked into building new trains, but fabricating new engines was deemed to be financially unfeasible. The company instead sought out older engines that could be refurbished for use at DISNEYLAND. The next two engines were named after then current AT&SF Railroad executives Fred Gurley and Ernest Marsh.


The trains would chug along as a DISNEYLAND tradition, eventually becoming owned by the theme park itself. A fifth engine was added in 2005, named after the Disney animator who inspired Walt Disney’s love of trains- Ward Kimball.




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Walt Wednesdays: The Midget Autopia in Marceline

One of the most successful attractions in DISNEYLAND was the Autopia, which allowed most riders to drive a car around Tomorrowland. Riders had to be a certain height, however, so smaller kids were often left out. Thus the park introduced the “Midget Autopia”, which permitted shorter kids the option to drive themselves around the park.

The goal was to take stress off the regular Autopia, shortening the lines by giving younger guests their own location. The opposite height restriction, however, meant that most of the regular Autopia riders couldn’t ride the Midget Autopia. It soon became apparent that the Midget Autopia wasn’t accomplishing its main goal, so the decision was made to upgrade the attraction to a regular Autopia. Walt Disney, remembering his beloved hometown of Marceline, gave the attraction to the town in 1966.

The grateful city built a park around the attraction, operating it for many years. While other DISNEYLAND attractions have been relocated to other Disney Theme Parks, this would be the only time an attraction would get located outside one of the company’s parks.




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Toontown Tuesdays: Gadget Hackwrench

Gadget Hackwrench was one of Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers, a smart character who could invent various contraptions out of whatever she found lying around.

The popular character was given her own attraction at DISNEYLAND’s Toontown when it opened in 1992. “Gadget’s Go-Coaster” was supposed to have been built by Ms. Hackwrench herself, a roller coaster made out of what looked like spare parts.


As the years went by, Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers left the airwaves and the company seemingly forgot about Gadget. Her DISNEYLAND attraction remains in operation despite the fact that many of its youngest riders have never heard of the character it was based on. Despite having an attraction based on her character, DISNEYLAND doesn’t even have her walking around the park. “Gadget’s Go-Coaster” is arguably the attraction featuring the most obscure Disney character at any Disney theme park.


 

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