03 June 2011

Out and About: Meet Me at The Derby! II

Well, you waited 5 months for the breathtaking conclusion to my first post about the Brown Derby (link). Thanks, and welcome back! Today's post focuses on another "hidden" gem of the Derby which also has a connection to The Walt Disney Company and Walt Disney World.

If you aren't familiar with the caricature above, I don't blame you. While walking around the restaurant one day I noticed that two--the second one is still under investigation-- caricatures were clearly a clash of style when compared to the reproduced original celebrity caricatures of the '30s-'80s that decorate the Derby. I took note of the name and set out to find who this person was.

Turns out, it's Jess Rubio. Who? Exactly. For those of you not familiar with Jess, I'll let the Orlando Sentinel do the explaining...

RUBIO, JESS, of Windermere, FL, passed away on Friday, October 22, 2010, at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital in Orlando. He was 77 years old. Jess was born in Riverside, CA, to Mexican immigrants Manuel and Enriqueta Rubio. Jess served his country in the US Marine Corps and the United States Air Force before attending art school and becoming a professional artist. In 1962, he founded his own company of artists, Rubio Arts Corp., which still operates artist and balloon concessions at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, and at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL. He also received the prestigious Legend Award from the Disneyana Fan Club in the fall of 2008. (The full link can be seen here)

Outside the Derby is an artist that can draw you your very own caricature. Coincidence?

If you'd like to find Jess' caricature at the Derby, all you have to do is walk into the dinning room and continue walking straight and up the other set of stairs directly across from you. His caricature will be on the wall in front of you and a bit to the right. While you are looking for him, see if you can spot the other caricature of someone who is not a celebrity from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

21 January 2011

Out and About: Meet Me at The Derby!

One of the most delicious and elegantly themed restaurants at Walt Disney World is the Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios. While the original Brown Derby restaurants have a rich history of their own, the Florida counterpart also has some interesting tidbits scattered across the restaurant. Today's post focuses on the autograph book proudly displayed to Guests in the lobby of the Derby.

The Florida Brown Derby opened on May 1, 1989 along with the rest of the Disney-MGM Studios. To make sure the restaurant lived up to its name, the opening and early years were filled with visits from celebrities and Disney legends. The latter is what I want to share with all of you.

This is your view when you first enter the restaurant. The book is displayed under Plexiglas and showcases a different page everyday. The one on display in this photo is the book from 1989-circa 2000. There are two version of the Brown Derby autograph book and the second starts circa 2000-present.

The first version is supposedly on loan from the Walt Disney Archives for one year. An interesting tidbit about the second book (usually not on display) is that it contains autographs by Guests. One of the Magical Moments performed at the Derby was to have the family of the day sign an autograph book. Well, there was some confusion and the Guests were given the 2000-current celebrity autograph book to sign instead of the version intended for Magical Moments.

The following pages are from the 1989-circa 2000 book and contain only the folks who played a part in Disney history.

Dickie Jones, the voice of 'Pinocchio.'

Alice Davis, Imagineer.

Marc Davis, Imagineer (pg. 525). Marc is usually confused by Guests as having something to do with 'The Simpsons' since his caricature is similar to the show's style of animation.

Across the page from Marc (bottom) is Andrejas Deja, animator.

Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, animators.

Bill Justice, Imagineer and Animator (Page 421).

Starting in the middle, Wayne Allwine, former voice of Mickey Mouse, and Russi Taylor,voice of Minnie Mouse. I've forgotten who signed the top of the page.

Carl Barks, animator.

Dick Nunis, former executive vice president of Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Michael Eisner, former Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company.

Annette Funicello, former Mousketeer and Disney child star.

Many of the signatures in the original book have been identified and are labeled in a document that Guests of the Derby can view upon request. Unfortunately, not all of the signatures in the near 600 page book have been identified. Some were just too difficult to decipher.

Next time we meet, I'll share a story about another Disney great found in the Florida Brown Derby, but this one has a spot all to themselves.

01 September 2010

Electric and Mustard

The sweatshirt extravaganza continues! This mustard yellow sweatshirt is from the 1970s and features the brilliant original WDW logo in a simple and eye-catching fashion.

This is another design I'd like to see be brought back. With the success--in my opinion-- of the "new retro WDW" (link) shirt, Disney could have another great seller on its hands. I really like the contrast between the two colors and the way the logo jumps out at you.

The tag reads small and I believe it's a children's small. Two reasons why: there is no way I can fit into it and I've only seen pictures of kids wearing this sweater. I know there is a photo somewhere in my collection of a girl at Fort Wilderness wearing one.

WDW shirts from the 1970s are definitely hard to find and this particular one is the most common one I see on eBay. However, if you own a different shirt from that time period, please e-mail me with pictures and I will gladly post them.

31 August 2010

Gonna Make You Sweatshirt

If it's vintage clothes and EPCOT Center, it must be another one of my posts. This fabulous sweatshirt is another testament to great design and the brilliant person(s) who were in charge of parks merchandise in the 1980s. It uses the main entrance illustration that was prevalent during the opening and early years of EPCOT Center and serves as a reminder of how aesthetically beautiful the main entrance used to--and can still!--be.

I miss the raglan style and wish it would make a huge comeback. In case you are not familiar with raglan, it's a baseball style shirt with 3/4 length sleeves. Although this sweater has full sleeves, I will still classify it as such.

The tag reads large and I hope it means a child's large because I definitely can't fit into it.

29 August 2010


"It's my Friday!" is a common phrase amongst Cast Members which represents the day before their day(s) off. Having said it myself many times, I couldn't help but buy this pin. Not only do I think it's great that Disney has acknowledged this "every man" cry in pin form, but they've included a spinner feature which lets you change the day of the week featured in the calendar.

It's the little things like these that make Disney such a unique company to be a part of.

For more info about this pin, check out Pinpics (link)

28 August 2010


It has been an interesting year for Walt Disney World. What, with Captain EO returning, the Fantasyland expansion changing plans, and now this; the Peoplemover is back...kinda. While the name still contains a reference to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, you best believe it's comforting to have 1/2 of the original title back.

Released on July 1, 2010 and one month shy of the new name, this pin celebrates 35 years of the ingenious transportation system and is limited to a production run of 1000. The car Mickey is riding in can slide up and down--you could also say back and forth-- and the "35th anniversary" has a slight sparkle to it. There was another Peoplemover pin released in 2005 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the attraction and your pals Mickey and Minnie were riding it back then too. For more information on the 35th pin follow this link, and for more information on the 30th visit this link.

As with every pin related post, I use www.pinpics.com for reference.

21 August 2010

This Looks Familiar, Too!

Continuing in the tradition of my last post (link), here is another new shirt currently being sold at Walt Disney World. It looks very similar to the design of a shirt I own from the 1980s. However, claiming that this shirt is trying to replicate the overall look and feel of an older product is a bit of a stretch considering it uses such an iconic image. Still, it looks too much like something I own to go unnoticed by yours truly.

This is the shirt I own. It is from the 1980s and is as brilliant and appealing as it was back then. A few noticeable differences are the newer shirt is already designed to look old, the material is see-through and the colors are faded. Also, the newer shirt is made for girls, while mine--though probably made for men at the time-- could pass as a unisex.

Similar to the "new vintage" WDW t-shirt from last post, these Mickey Mouse shirts are sold in different colors. While they may not have the zest of my yellow shirt, I do think it's a good idea to appeal to more people and their taste in fashion.

I'd like to see this color paired with a Minnie Mouse design.

This shirt is one of many examples of the return to truly great Disney theme park merchandise. While I do have reservations about how thin the material is, I can't help being won over by its simplicity and use of a great design. Expect a couple more posts about new Disney t-shirts as there are quite a few winners currently on the market at WDW.