Don’t miss out on my Retirement Disneyland Book Sale. After 38 years of working for various government agencies, I have officially retired from full time work on Saturday, November 14th, 2020. To celebrate, I am putting both of my books on sale for the holiday season. Just go to SUDBOOKS and enter the coupon code r38 at checkout. You’ll receive a 38% discount on all books purchased now through January 1st, 2021. My full color photo books of Disneyland are a great way to relive your memories to create ones. Want to learn more about my books? Please check out my Seen, Un-Seen Disneyland and More Seen, Un-Seen Disneyland book reviews and then be sure to take advantage of this Retirement Disneyland Book Sale.
I created my page to discuss my love of all things Disney, Walt Disney, and probably the most positive character ever created, Mickey Mouse. It is not meant for political talk or hatred. I strongly encourage everyone to vote and be involved with your political views. I will defend your right to do so. There are plenty of pages to do that, but please not here. The question, SHOULD DISNEYLAND AND THE OTHER AMUSEMENT PARKS OPEN OR REMAIN CLOSED? is meant to provoke thought and not hatred.
I created this post to open a positive dialog about the Parks being closed. If you think the pandemic is too bad to reopen, please say so. If you think a great and diverse state like California with all its talent should be able to come up with a workable path forward, say so. But I will not let this turn into a name calling, personal attack discussion. Thank you and I now return you to your regularly scheduled post:
Sadly the Governor announced today that none of California’s amusement parks would be opening anytime soon. This came as a shock to the amusement park industry as he had been set to release guidelines last week and they had been working with the state to come up with workable guidelines.
The following is a post I shared on another account last week regarding the question, SHOULD DISNEYLAND AND THE OTHER AMUSEMENT PARKS OPEN OR REMAIN CLOSED?:
“I will leave it up to people to vote their minds and soles. I’m not into politics and I think ads, movies stars, and people telling me how to vote is ridiculous. This isn’t the 50s, 60’s, or 70’s when we bought a certain cereal because Roy Rogers told us to.
My question is this. Florida is one of the worst states for COVID, yet they came up with guidelines and WDW and Universal have both opened with zero reported cases. Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Paris Disneyland have all opened under their respective government guidelines with no cases. Most are currently allowing expansion of guests. Even Aulani is currently in the process of opening, being in the most restrictive state.
So why can’t one of the most innovative states come up with guidelines to get not Disneyland, Universal, Knotts Berry Farm, Legoland, etc up and running, but thousand and thousands of people back to work (maybe a million with support businesses like hotels, restaurants, airlines…)?
We need to be cautious and move prudently, but we need to keep moving forward. If we have to take a step back in order to move forward 3, that is still moving forward. Picture reposted from Hollywood Reporter. “
I started running January of 1977 when my best friend talked me into signing up for Track & Field. We were going to run the hurdles. I loved the hurdles and I soon began running in the 440 and 1 mile relays. The hurdlers always had a friendly rivalry with the distance runners on who had the harder event. We always were begging the coach to let us hurdlers run a distance race, but he would not. The coach didn’t want us tired for our events. One meet late in my junior year, we were so far ahead in points, it didn’t mater how we did in the high hurdles. We saw our chance, and the coach let us run. I didn’t win, but I pulled out a 4:50 mile. The next week, I was surprised to see that I was listed for the mile and not the high hurdles. I wasn’t very good at the highs, but wait, what? Yep, I was signed up and I ran a 4:55. The final week of the season, I was signed up again, and this time I ran a 5:00. I was slowly getting worse, but I also was not training for distance. I was still practicing for hurdles and relays.
That summer, the Cross Country coach talked a former student into trying to convince me to try out for the Cross Country team in my senior year. Was he crazy? I was a hurdler. I was finally convinced to try and we had an awesome team that year. I ran most of the year as Junior Varsity (JV), but both the JV and Varsity team were pretty close in talent. The coach would swap us for about 1/3 of the races to rest the varsity team and so they didn’t use up all their points for races. Both teams received Varsity letters that year as we all earned enough qualifying points to Letter. The last quarter of the season I was moved up to Varsity when one of the Varsity members was injured. For track that year, I still ran low hurdles, but ran distance races instead of relays. Most of my distance friends had run marathons, but I never had any desire to run one. Those things could kill you. The longest I ever ran was 10 miles.
After graduating from High School, I continued to run local races, but did not run college track. My school had great Cross Country and Track & Field teams. I also wanted to concentrate on school. College was not the same as high school. You really had to work there. My running eventually began to peter out. I would run for a while, then not run for a while. When I started work, I began running to stay in shape for work. This was on again, off again running. In 1987 I started running regular. but even this eventually just became a daily chore. Get up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home and clean the house, make dinner, run…
But I was running. Then in 2011, my wife, a none runner, announced that she and a friend of hers was going to run the Disneyland Half Marathon. Was she crazy? They trained and they did it. I went to support them and to take pictures. The race was amazing. So many people dressed up as their favorite characters and there were some truly amazing costumes. It looked like so much fun, was so well organized, and they couldn’t stop talking about all the cool stuff Disneyland had done to “Plus” the event. They got these amazing, really heavy metal medals. Right then I decided that I was going to run one too. I started training for the 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon. I could do this. I ran 10 miles before, and this was only 3.1 miles more. Of course, I had run that ten miler 31 years before.
I was way out of running shape. Ok so I did have a shape, but you wouldn’t correlate it with a runner. I trained, stopped, started, got hurt, but eventually I made it to the starting line. Would I be able to finish? I wasn’t the runner I use to be. My ideas about how to run were old. Sure the core was still the same. But look at how many people were there just to have fun. So many were dressed in amazing costumes. I wasn’t sure how some of them would finish the race in their costumes. I started the race and was amazed at all of the wonderful things Disneyland did to make the race special. After running about 4 miles through the Parks and seeing so many characters and other amazing things, we hit the streets. Wait, what, we are already 4 miles into the race?
Now I was seeing amazing crowds, high school marching bands, Cheer leaders, Cosplayers, and even a car show. We went through Angel Stadium and the crowds cheered for us. I even saw myself on the Jumbotron. After exiting the stadium, I noticed a lot of people cheering for a Russ. They kept yelling for him to keep going, you’re almost to the finish line. There was only about 3.5 miles to go. I was wondering who this other Russ was until I realized one of the people was looking straight at me. How did this person know my name. I’ll say I was just tired, but I think it was just a brain “f*rt”. Ah, they print your first name on your bid, duh. I was really having to push myself.
The crowds were still yelling. other runners were encouraging me to keep going, almost there. Does it seem like you are always “almost there”? But then, there is was. The finish line. Old skills kicked in and I dug deep. I kicked it in as I had been taught all those years ago. I crossed the finish line with a 2:39:54 time. Really? I ran a 12:12 minutes per mile pace? And there were the medal people. A nice lady came up to me and placed that medal on my neck. It was even heavier than my wife’s medal had felt the previous year. It felt great. I had finished my first Half Marathon, and I was hooked. Sure I was sore and pretty much couldn’t walk for the next 3 days (just kidding, but I was majorly sore). I was proud to wear my medal around the Park that day. So cool to hear so many people’s medals clacking as they walked around the Parks, and I had one too.
Since that Day, I have run several more Run Disney races including 12 more Half Marathons, two 10k’s, 2 Virtual half Marathons, and 9 Virtual 5K races. My races include running at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I have run all of the Star Wars Light Side and Dark Side Half Marathons. I was on track to be a legacy runner for both the Light Side and Dark Side Star Wars Half Marathons. You have to run every race in a series and get the title after the 5th year. At Disneyland, they would post the names of all of the legacy runners. One more Dark Side and I will be a Legacy runner. They discontinued all of the races at Disneyland due to construction. There is no word yet whether they will start the races again after the construction is completed. If they do start them again, I’m not sure if they are counting the virtual races towards the Star Wars Legacy, will pick up where they left off, or have to start over again. But I will be there if they start running at Disneyland again.
My next Run Disney race is the Star Wars Light Side virtual race that they are running to get people moving and have a little fun. It is also the race that allows you to get the Kessel Run medal if you also run the Rivals Half marathon (formerly Dark Side). My next race at a Park is next April 2020 for the Star Wars Rivals Half Marathon. With the break due to no Disneyland races, I have really been working on updating my knowledge of running. Adjusting my diet, losing weight, learning how to properly use gels during races, how to train better, and to actually be training without injury. I really would like to get a 2 hour race next April. I know if I work hard and put my mind to it, I can do it. My times have been improving. As part of this prep, I started the My Disney Races Facebook and Instagram accounts.
I also truly hope as things start to settle back down at Disneyland, that they bring back the Half Marathons. I know there are political and operational consideration that must be addressed before the races can start again. But I know all of us Disneyland Half Marathon runners want our races back. I love the races at Walt Disney World, but that is such a long trip. It’s nice to be able to pop down on Friday and go home Monday, and still get to spend a lot of time at the Parks. I still don’t have a desire to do a full marathon, and not much motivation to run other Halfs, but I love Disney races and as long as Disney puts them on and I am capable to running them, I will be there.
It is with a very sad and heavy heart that I report the passing of former Walt Disney Imagineer Marty Sklar.
My thoughts on the passing of Legendary Disney Imagineer Marty Sklar
I first met Marty Sklar at a special eventput on by the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet in 2012. At the time, I had a rough draft of my first book. Mr. Sklar was very inspirational and is part of the reason I pressed ahead and now not only have that book in print, but a second book in print and a third in the works.
I had the good fortune to see him talk several times and even got to have a brief private conversation with him twice.
He is not without his controversies, but he was a good man. He brought much joy to countless numbers of people, including me and my family. He took Walt Disney’s founding principles and never wavered from them. They were successful for Walt, and he continued with that success. I have signed copies of both of Mr. Sklar’s books and will always cherish them and their great words of advise.
I can’t claim to have personally known him, but I have benefited from his writings, presentations, and personal words of advise.
Thank you Marty,
Russell D Flores
Here are some links reporting on Marty Sklar’s passing:
How to enjoy the Disney Parks more and see those details?
Disney as “Seen” thru Russ’ Lens.
By Russell Flores
How to enjoy the Disney Parks more and see those details?
I get a lot of questions along the lines of, how do you find / see all of these details or how can I enjoy the Disney Parks more. The quick answer is obviously, you need to stop and smell the roses. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” That’s the real trick to finding Disneyland’s many details. That’s all there is too it. Thanks for reading this post. What? You want something a little more specific? Ok, I’ve still got a little space Lynn and Laura let me have. Here is what I do to apply this principle.
First of all, I literally stop and look around. I look up, I look down, but most of all I look backwards. Especially in lines. The Imagineers know most people look in the direction of the line’s movement, so they will put some of their best stuff behind you. Sometimes things peek my interests right off the bat. Other times, I look at something and think, is there something here and just take a picture I can look at more later. I will use this techniques in areas such as queues where you can’t stop for long periods of time to just look at something. I will then look at it later and do research to see if there is something there. I did this with the Mule Engine in the Thunder Mountain queue. I looked at them every time I went and took several pictures. Then one day I found the answer I was looking for. I learned that the one in the queue and one behind Thunder Mountain were used in the movie Hot Lead, Cold Feet staring Don Knotts.
Another way to find these hidden secrets is to do research before you go. Read books or cruise pages on the internet. Shameless plug, my Seen Un-Seen Disneyland book series would be great for this. There are many great books out there. Books by Jeff Kurtti, Jeff Heimbuch, Dave Smith, Sam Gennawey, Kevin Yee, Tim O’Day, Jason Surrell, Bob Gurr, Jeff Baham, Lynn Barron and Ken Pellamn, Joshua Shaffer, and The Disney Imagineers just to name a few.
Be careful though, especially with the internet. The internet is self feeding, so one person posts something, another copies it, and before you know it, it is on several sites and everyone is taking it as the truth. You see this a lot with “quotes” from Walt Disney. Another is the spike behind Sleeping Beauty’s Castle being the center of the park. This is a classic example of such a Disney Urban Legend. There is also the clock on the back side of the castle being set to the time of Walt Disney’s death. This one is quickly dismissed by looking at the clock and then looking at Walt Disney’s obituary. I’m not saying be a total negative nelly, just be aware while cruising the internet. Use multiple resources like an internet source and a book.
Another great way to learn about many Un-Seen treasures is by listening to podcasts such as The Sweep Spot, Dis-Geek, Mousetalgia, Communicore Weekly, Dis-Unplugged, Skywalking Through Neverland, and many, many others. Find one or more that are entertaining and/or informative. Listen to them while driving to and from work like I do, while working, or even while exercising. These shows can be very fun, entertaining and informative.
The last source I’ll write about is looking at DVD’s / Blu Rays and videos. Especially the ones of people who worked on the various projects. You’d be surprised how many videos of the great imagineers exist such as Tony Baxter, Rolly Crump, Bob Gurr and many more are out there. Many have books too. Check out the bonus material on Disney DVDs / Blu Rays. As Jeff Kurtti said on one of my posts, “Did no one watch the Walt Disney Treasures DVDs I produced?” Documentaries such as Waking Sleeping Beauty by Don Hahn can be great for finding details. These are a great series with a lot of great information. They are a must for the true Disney fan. Also check YouTube.
There are additional ways to get information such as attending Disney related events, emailing Dave Smith at Ask Dave, Talking with Imagineers you have the opportunity to meet, or fellow fans. And don’t think I’m just talking about Disneyland. You can find these Un-Seen treasures at all the parks and even the Walt Disney Studios. I find great joy in finding and sharing these hidden treasures that Walt Disney and his imagineers add to make the Park that special place we call Disneyland.
I hope these suggestions help you find new ways to enjoy the Disney Parks more. If you have suggestions or comments, please fell free to post your comments.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a few blog posts for The Sweep Spot web page. I recently found them and decided to report them here. So here is the first of four post I wrote.
I’ve been toying with YouTube and posting some short videos. Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/user/rdf444
Seen Un-Seen Disneyland Online Store
I am so proud to announce the Grand Re-Opening of the Seen Un-Seen Disneyland Online Store. You can now order autographed copies of my books directly from me.
These books are full color books with no duplication between the two. They will show you hundreds of the wonderful details that the Walt Disney Imagineers (WDI) have added to help make Disneyland the special place that it is.
Seen, Un-Seen Disneyland documents and highlights the many obscure and unique details that are built within Walt Disney’s Disneyland. With over 325 full-color images, Russell Flores brings to life—and to sight—the many wonders that Disney Imagineers have thoughtfully placed inside the Magic Kingdom. Stories, trivia, and over a dozen quizzes are part of this unique and first-of-its-kind book. Learn about things that visitors often see but not notice when visiting Disneyland. This book will make all subsequent visits to Disneyland that much more magical and inviting.
More Seen-Un-Seen Disneyland is ALL NEW material (No duplication) with over 590 new, Full Color Photographs covering more of the wonderful details at Disneyland. There is no duplication of the first book and it is about 1 1/2 times the size of the first book. This book contains such topics as: Tributes to former attractions and Cast Members, Urban Legends, Landscaping, Names, Disneyland Railroad, Haunted Mansion, and many more… There are 268 pages, 597 pictures, 321 end notes, 16 quizzes, and over 165 references.
These books will come direct from the author, Russell Flores, and are autographed and can be personalized upon request.
And to celebrate my new store, I will be selling Seen Un-Seen Disneyland for $11 ($8.95 savings) and More Seen Un-Seen Disney for $12 ($9.95 savings) Until midnight St. Patrick’s day (PST). Be sure to check out my store and to share the link with fellow Disney fans.
That’s right, I’ve finally finished my second book covering more of the wonderful details that the Walt Disney Imagineers have added to the Park. This book due to be released July 17th bring 266 more pages containing 582 full color photographs, 313 end notes, 16 quizzes and over 165 references. Don’t miss out on our special pre-sale offer. Just sent us an email at email@example.com asking to be placed on our waiting list. The email will only be used for this special offer to be sent out once we are ready to ship. This is not a commitment to buy, only a request to receive our special offer.
Disney Parks Blog just posted that Mad T Party is to return May 22nd as part of the kick off celebrations for Disneyland 60th anniversary. Check out the whole story here at Disney Parks Blog.