Epcot 2017 Eat to the Beat Concert Lineup!

Finally the full schedule for Epcot’s annual Eat to the Beat concert series is here!

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Every fall during Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, hit makers from the 80’s to the early 2000’s rock the stage at the American Gardens Theater, and this year is no different! From August 31st through November 13th you have a chance to see some amazing musicians put on a killer show, and where better to do that than Walt Disney World!?

Here’s the full lineup for this year:

August 31st-September 1st: Delta Rae
September 2nd-3rd: The Hooters
September 4th-5th: Baha Men
September 6th-7th: Fuel
September 8th-10th: Starship featuring Mickey Thomas
September 11th-12th: Lauren Alaina
September 13th-15th: Plain White T’s
September 16th-17th: Sister Hazel
September 18th-20th: Air Supply
September 21st-22nd: David Cook
September 23rd-24th: Everclear
September 28th-29th: 38 Special
September 30th-October 1st: Mark Wills
October 2nd-3rd: American Authors
October 4th-5th: Christopher Cross
October 6th-8th: Devon Allman
October 9th-11th: Dennis DeYoung: The Music of STYX
October 12th-13th: Taylor Dane
October 14th-15th: Jeffrey Osbourne
October 16th-17th: Postmodern Jukebox
October 18th-20th: 10,000 Maniacs
October 21st-22nd: Toad the Wet Sprocket
October 23rd-24th: Kenny G
October 25th-26th: Billy Ocean
October 27th-29th: Tiffany
October 30th-November 1st: Hanson
November 2nd-3rd: Blue October
November 4th-5th: Living Colour
November 6th-8th: Boyz II Men
November 9th-11th: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
November 12th-13th: Squeeze

Admission to these concerts is free with your Epcot ticket and concerts run three times a day, at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.

Who are you most excited to see this year? We’re always excited for Hanson!

If you still need to book your vacation package for this years Food & Wine Festival and Eat to the Beat concert series, contact me today for an always free, no obligations quote! Let me take all of the planning and stress away so you can fully enjoy your Walt Disney World Vacation! Send an email to KimLookingGlassTravel@gmail.com with your details today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking in Walt Disney’s Footsteps. Part 2 of a 2 part series.

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The Santa Fe Train Depot, built in 1913, now housing the Walt Disney Hometown Museum.

When Walt Disney arrived in Marceline, Missouri in 1906, he arrived at the Santa Fe Train Depot. Then, it was just a two story, wooden building that eventually perished in a fire. Today, the Walt Disney Hometown Museum is housed inside the depot, rebuilt in 1913. Up until 1989 this building was used as a crew change stop for the Railroad, and until 1997 it was still used as an unmanned stop for an Amtrak line. With Marceline situated in between Chicago and Kansas City, it’s still a very busy through way for trains, one every 11 minutes to be exact, but none of them stop in this little town anymore.

The building sat empty for 23 years, the town of Marceline trying for several years to raise the money to buy it before railroad executives had their way and tore it down. It seemed like the buildings fate was sealed, until one day four local donors made it possible for the town to purchase the building.

Shortly before that happened, Kaye Malins, who has lived in Marceline her whole life, got a call from Ted Beecher, the son of Walt’s sister, Ruth Disney Beecher. Sadly, Ruth had passed away, but she had some things she wanted Marceline to have.

Kaye went to Oregon, armed only with an empty suitcase, expecting to bring back some trinkets and things to open a little display with. She was floored when she arrived and saw that Walt’s sister had saved nearly everything she’d ever owned.

A few weeks later, Kaye returned to Marceline with over 3,000 items! With the collection she’d amassed and with the building now being owned in Marceline, her wish of opening up a museum dedicated to Walt’s time in the town could finally come true.

In 2001, The Walt Disney Hometown Museum opened in Marceline, Missouri.

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The Walt Disney Hometown Museum

You may be wondering why Kaye wanted so much to open this museum. Her relationship with Walt Disney isn’t limited to living in the same sleepy town.

In 1956, Walt and Roy Disney, along with their wives, Lillian and Edna, returned to Marceline for the dedication of the Walt Disney Municipal Park and Swimming Pool. The town didn’t really want them to stay in the Hotel Allen, because it didn’t have any air conditioning and it was a hot July day, so Rush and Inez Johnson, Kaye’s parents, offered up their home as lodging for the family. Walt and Lillian spent the night in Kaye’s room, she was eight years old at the time. The family kept up a friendship with Walt until he passed away eleven years later.

Today, Kaye is a founder and director of the Walt Disney Hometown Museum and Inez gives guided tours and volunteers at the museum.

I don’t want to give too much away, I recommend people go and see this amazingly well done museum whenever they have a chance, but I wanted to show a few things that I found interesting to see.

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These flags were given to the Walt Disney Elementary School in Marceline in 1960 by Walt himself. They flew there for a short time, making it the only place in the world outside of Disneyland that had the authorization and pleasure to fly them. Our wonderful tour guide, Brenda, told us a cute story about how someone had asked once how on earth they’d preserved these flags so well, they showed none of the damage of a flag being folded up for years as one would expect. Well, she was the secretary at Walt Disney Elementary School for years and she had kept them nicely rolled up in a Walmart bag in her desk.

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This drafting table was used by Walt and his longtime friend and business partner, Ub Iwerks when they worked together at the Pesman-Rubin Ad Agency in Kansas City, Missouri.

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This isn’t just any vintage television showing clips from the ABC broadcast of Disneyland’s opening day in 1955.

Walt’s grandson, Ted, had this TV in his barn. The way he tells it, Walt had invited Ruth and her family to come to California to attend the opening day of Disneyland, but Ruth didn’t really like crowds all that much, so instead, Walt sent the family some money to purchase a TV so they could watch along with 70 million other people as Disneyland opened for the first time. The results of that opening day are a story for another time. The TV stayed with the family until Kaye Malins found it and Ted asked her if she wanted it. It now lives in the museum, showing clips of the same program Ruth and Ted had watched on it all those years before.

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On the second floor of the museum is a sprawling miniature sized model of Disneyland. When you visit the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, you have a guide for your first two rooms, they fill you with information and cute and funny stories, and then they allow you to explore and discover the museum on your own time. I’m a huge fan of this type of museum and that kind of learning and viewing experience. When I left the museum I wanted to know more about this model, so I did what we all do when we are hungry for more information about something, I googled it.

Every September Marcline puts on a festival called Toonfest, a festival celebrating those in the world of animation and cartoons. In 2006 a man named Dave Varner attended Toonfest, while he was there he spoke about his concerns that this model of Disneyland he had been working on for forty years would never find a permanent home for people to view it and enjoy it. He offered it to the museum and of course they graciously accepted. In 2009 Dale passed away, and at that time he was still working on and adding to this amazing piece of art.

 

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My favorite piece in the museum is this original car from Disneyland’s Midget Autopia.

Midget Autopia opened in Disneyland in 1957, joining the Junior Autopia next to The Storybookland Canal Boats in Fantasyland and the Tomorrowland Autopia. Midget Autopia was a tamer version of it’s predecessors, built only for the smaller children at Disneyland. Despite it’s status as a fan favorite attraction, it only lived in Disneyland for nine years. In April of 1966 the decision to get rid of the attraction to make room for a larger path for It’s a Small World. The track was paved over and the cars and structures were removed from the park.

But, that wasn’t the end. The same year, Walt Disney donated Midget Autopia to the town of Marceline. He gave them 10 cars, 603 feet of track and all of the bells and whistles that came with it. It was installed in Walt Disney Municipal Park where the children of Marceline got to enjoy it. It was and still remains the only attraction that has ever left Disneyland and operated elsewhere.

Walt had plans to attend the dedication ceremony for Midget Autopia’s opening in Marceline, but just days before he was supposed to arrive, he sent his friend Rush Johnson a letter. Unfortunately Walt was ill with a cough he just couldn’t get rid of and he wouldn’t be able to make it, but he promised to come as soon as he was well.

Unfortunately that day never came. Three months later, on December 15th, 1966, Walt Disney passed away.

In 1977 Midget Autopia fell victim to aging and disrepair. It proved too difficult and expensive for the town to maintain and it was disbanded. Marceline has plans to bring Autopia back to their town in the future. When that happens I will be one of the first in line to witness it.

 

 

The dedicated group of volunteers who keep the Walt Disney Hometown Museum running are surely a special bunch. They deserve praise and thanks for their hard work maintaining the past so those of the future can learn about it and experience it. Thank you, Kaye Malins and co. for preserving these wonderful things for Disney fans like myself.

You can visit the museum Tuesday through Sunday between April 1st and October 31st. Admission is only $10 for adults, $5 for children 6-12, and children 6 and under are free.

 

 

Once we left Marceline, we thought we were on the road to Tulsa. And then I remembered Laugh-o-Gram Studio in Kansas City, so off we went.

The short story is that Walt Disney decided it was time to open his own animation studio. He borrowed money from five backers and rented five offices on the second floor of a brick building at 1127 East 31st Street in Kansas City, Missouri. He even hired eleven of his own employees, including long time friend Ub Iwerks. He even decided at one point to stop paying rent on his apartment and was living right there in his studio.

He incorporated and started doing business at Laugh-o-Gram Studios in May of 1922. Walt and his team made two feature films and several animated and live-action shorts in this studio, it was looking to be Walt’s first great success!

Until it wasn’t. By the Summer of 1923 Walt and Laugh-o-Gram Studios was bankrupt. In August of that year Walt packed up, bought himself a one way train ticket to Los Angeles, and the rest is history.

Today Laugh-o-Gram Studios is a boarded up building that some very talented artists have taken their talent to to place homages to animation and to Walt Disney. Thank You Walt Disney, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to saving the building and turning it into a museum of sorts is working hard every day to raise the money to bring this building that is so important in the story of Disney back to life. The building was saved by a generous donation by the Disney Family Foundation and while it’s looking like it might take a while, the future is bright for Walt Disney’s first professional working studio.

Laugh-o-Gram Studios at 1127 East 31st Street in Kansas City

Laugh-o-Gram Studios at 1127 East 31st Street in Kansas City

 

The last stop on our journey with Walt was to a little brown house down a side street in Kansas City.

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Walt and his family moved to this house when they left Marceline and they stayed there until 1917. It’s a private residence now, but the woman who owns the house embraces it’s past and welcomes anyone who wants to stop by and take a look at where Walt spent a handful of his childhood years. Some days you’ll even catch her sitting out on her front porch, waiting for the next person who is going to drive by and snap a few pictures, so she can share a chat with them.

This time in Kansas City wasn’t the best time for Walt, but he made the best of it. Him and Ruth would go to Electric Park, where it’s thought Walt got his very first ideas for Disneyland. A family always on the move, Elias moved his family back to Chicago in 1917 where Walt took classes at the Chicago Art Institute.

 

Sharing this journey with other like minded people was something I intended from the moment I started planning it. Thank you for reading along with me, and I hope anyone who spent their childhoods with Walt Disney like I did can someday take this journey themselves, it was honestly one of the best experiences of my life.

Walking in Walt Disney’s Footsteps. Part 1 of a 2 part series.

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For as long as I can remember I’ve had a dream of visiting the boyhood hometown of my personal American hero, Walt Disney. I was sure it was one of those things that would always just be a thought, an idea, something to talk about but never really follow through on. I had read extensively on the small town, home to only just over 2,000 people as of 2014, and fell in love with their embrace of the man who was so touched by the place that he carried it with him for the rest of his life.

About a year ago, some friends and I began planning a road trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma for an event that gets put on every year there and I realized that it wouldn’t take us too far out of our way to stop off in the quiet little town and check it out for a day.

For those who don’t know, Walt and his family moved from Chicago to Marceline, Missouri in April of 1906, when Walt was just four years old. While the family only stayed in Marceline for four years, moving to Kansas City after, Marceline had a large impact on Walt, who considered it his hometown. Walt was quoted in the Marceline News in 1938 as saying, “To tell the truth more things of importance happened to me in Marceline than have happened since—or are likely to in the future.”

This can be seen whenever you walk into any Disney Park around the world. That view of Main Street USA that we all know and love? That was modeled after Marceline, Missouri. Walt was so impressed upon and touched by this little town he only spent four years of his life in that he carried that into his work for the rest of his life.

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A view of the original Main Street USA

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A view of the original Main Street USA

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Main Street USA – Welcome to Marcline

There is a popular story about Walt Disney as a child, drawing all over his family home in tar. He thought that the drawings would wash off, little did he know, that wouldn’t be the case. Needless to say, his parents weren’t all too happy with him when they realized what he had done, but it shows that even as a child, Walt’s creative mind was strong.

The home the Disney family lived in for most of their time in Marceline is still there. It looks a little different today than it did in the early 1900’s and it is now a private residence, but it still stands in the same place it did then. For me, it was an experience to stand in front of the place where, as just a child, a man who went on to do such great things spent his days.

A spot that is considered a mecca for Disney fans to see is Walt’s Dreaming Tree and Barn.

As the story goes, when Elias Disney bought the 40 acre farm in Marceline, he expected his three older children to work it daily, while Walt’s job was to take care of his younger sister, Ruth. Well, Walt and Ruth would spend hours sitting under and playing around a large Cottonwood tree on their property. It is said that it’s here Walt dreamed up many of the ideas that would someday be given to the world by him. He sat and watched the wildlife around him, absorbing their actions and movements, daydreaming. He called this “belly botany” and these times were instrumental in his later creation of the Silly Symphony’s and Mickey Mouse cartoons.

Walt would always make time when he returned to Marceline to find his Dreaming Tree and sit under it, reflecting and remembering the good years he had spent there. It was a place he loved until the day he died.

Near Walt’s Dreaming Tree was another place he loved, his barn. As a child he had one of his first brushes with failure at this barn. Walt and Ruth decided to put on a circus of sorts for the neighborhood children. They planned and told everyone when to come, they charged everyone ten cents admission to enter. Well, once the kids were inside this Disney Circus they discovered that all Walt and Ruth had done was dress up some farm animals in doll clothes. Needless to say, the kids were disappointed, maybe a bit annoyed, and everyone wanted their money back. No way, was Walt and Ruth’s reaction, but their mother, Flora, insisted they refund every child who had paid. This experience granted Walt the wisdom of making sure that all of your customers leave happy, every time.

In 1949 Walt Disney released a film called “So Dear To My Heart.” This movie takes place around the same time Walt would have been growing up in Marceline, Missouri. The barn in that film was recreated completely to Walt’s recollection of the family barn.

Unfortunately neither of these structures are still standing in their original form. Finally succumbing to years of lightening strikes, inclement weather and disease, Walt’s Dreaming Tree was lost to us in May of 2015. But, it’s not really gone. In 2004 Walt’s grandson and some Disney Ambassadors took some saplings from the Dreaming Tree, took some soil from the Magic Kingdom and some water from the Rivers of America and planted The Son of the Dreaming Tree, right near where the original stood. That tree is thriving today.

As for the barn, in 2001, Marceline had a three day barn raising, where Walt’s barn was rebuilt on the family farm. People from all over the world come to step inside and leave Walt messages on the walls.

Standing in that field, knowing what a special place it was for Walt Disney was really special for me. More than a couple of times I felt a bit choked up with the emotion of knowing I was standing in the place where someone I consider a hero, a marvel and someone to look up to stood. Picturing him as a child, dressing animals up in doll clothes and painting on the family home, sitting under a giant tree and dreaming up the tales he would gift to us later in life gave me a feeling I can’t describe.

I highly suggest anyone who is a Disney fan to take this trip. Get in the car and map out a day or two to explore the place that made Walt Disney the man he was. My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to spend there.

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Up next: Learning more about Walt Disney at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, and checking out his first studio space in Kansas City.