Friday, March 14, 2008

My 24 hours with the Legendary Disney Imagineers!

I've been wanting to sit down and write down my memories from the Doombuggies event for several weeks now. I had hit an all time high from that event, only to hit an all time low the next day when we got back to find that Sam had lost his job of 14 years! Needless to say, its been a rough couple of weeks, but we will be fine. Sam had been looking for a change for quite awhile and the Universe just gave him a little shove! :)

Back to good times...

Many months ago, during the planning stages of the event, I volunteered to transport the Imagineers to our swinging wake. I never thought in a million years that it would actually happen, but sure enough, as the days crept closer and closer to the event and plans were being solidified, I was contacted to fulfill my intention to transport! I couldn't believe it. It took a couple of days for me to accept that I was going to be driving X Atencio and his lovely wife to the event - that they would be in my car! In my mind, I envisioned picking up our guests, making simple pleasantries and driving the rest of the way in awkward silence. And that would have been just fine - because X Atencio, the man who wrote Grim Grinning Ghost and the script to the Haunted Mansion, the man who wrote Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirates Life For Me and the script to Pirates of the Caribbean, was going to be in my car! My CAR! I still haven't let my kids sit in those seats, yet! ;p

When my husband and I arrived at X's house, we were greeted by X himself! I couldn't feel my hand as I reached out to shake his. I was in such a daze. After loading the luggage, and making sure all hands, arms, legs and feet were safely inside the vehicle, we were on our way. To my total surprise, a conversation started about our kids and their grandkids and the perquisites of parenthood. But then it happened.. We let it slip that Sam and I are uber fans of Haunted Mansion. Mrs. X started talking about the Haunted Mansion and X's role in creating the Best. Ride. Ever. When Mrs. X realized that we were huge fans of the ride, she looked over to X and said, "Oh X, you'll have to show them the tombstone in the backyard when we get home." My jaw hit the steering wheel, but I was able to compose myself before they had a chance to notice the super dork driving the car.

Mrs. X had a funny story to share about the tombstone. When she and X married almost 20 years ago, the soon to be Mrs. X hadn't shared with her friends all the details about X's history with the Happy Haunts, including the displaced tombstone given to X after a remodel of the queue. You can imagine her friends' surprise as they entered the backyard for the wedding reception to find a rather large tombstone placed among the petunias in the flower bed. The maid of honor approached Mrs. X, asking if she knew what she was getting into, marrying this guy who had his former wife buried in the backyard!

Our trip to the Disneyland Resort was filled with stories from both X and Mrs. X, making our trip better than we ever imagined. Turns out X and his wife are just really nice, down-to-earth people, and were grateful for the transportation and our company! By the time we arrived at the Grand California hotel, I felt like we were old friends. We didn't think it could get any better, but shortly after arriving, we were invited to join X, Harriet Burns, Blaine Gibson, and Bob Gurr for a mixer at the Napa Rose, hosted by David O'Neal of Extinct Attractions. It was the perfect opportunity for me and Sam to meet Harriet and Blaine, since we had, just days before, been asked to drive them, along with X and his wife, home from the event!

Blaine Gibson, X and Mrs. X, at the Napa Rose mixer

Even though we both brought our cameras, both Sam and I were in too much awe to remember to use them. We managed a very few shots.. of which I'll share more when I continue the story tomorrow. 


Biblioadonis aka George said...


Best. Blogpost. Ever.

I would suggest you visit our blog and vote for which Imagineer you want to spend the day with...but you already got that wish!