Friday, September 02, 2016

Sharon at Disneyland

This doesn't happen often, but when it does, I become very thankful and awed by how the internet brings us together. In this previously posted vintage photo from July 7, 1963, former Disneyland cast member Sharon recognized herself. She was also kind enough to allow me to do a little interview with her. Here are the stories that she graciously shared with me.

1. How did you come to work at Disneyland? I had just started at Fullerton JC and saw an ad there for a job as Alice in Wonderland. I interviewed and decided not to take the job as I didn't want to lighten my hair or work more than 30 hours a week. So they decided to train me as a tour guide since I had some ability in speaking French. I had some concerns about dealing with large groups on my own so I was finally hired as a ride operator.

2. Tell us about what you did as a cast member. I worked weekends, holidays and summers, primarily at the Rocket to the Moon and sometimes the Matterhorn. I would welcome people to the ride, usher them in and give a short speech about the coming adventure. I would thank them for coming afterwards, and usher them out.

3. As a female, were you aware of any different treatment than your male counterparts? I wasn't aware of any differential treatment. And I was a card carrying Teamster! Which is why, my husband tells me, he married me.

4. Did you have any sightings or interactions with Walt, or any other prominent people in the Disney organization? I modeled the new costume for Walt Disney and someone from McDonnell-Douglas when they took over sponsoring the ride. Also hosted the ride for the "Mouseketeers" show.

5. Did you have any interesting "back stage" experiences, special access, or see any "behind the scenes" goings on? One of my favorite pastimes was to go downstairs into the projection room where the two men who ran it were from the old days of Hollywood. They had great stories, and they made a mean grilled cheese sandwich upon occasion!

6. How about interactions with guests? Anything memorable? Anyone famous? I had to fill in one night at the Animation Exhibit and met singer Johnny Mathis. Such a nice guy. My favorite was when a group of French sailors came through and (not as shy as I was when I started!) I gave my speech in French...

7. Where did you take breaks/eat meals when you were working? We had a small break room for lunch...or I'd pop down to the projection room.

8. Did you have any favorite attractions that you liked to ride during this time period? My favorite ride was the Jungle Boat.

9. Any commentary on your outfit/headpiece? No one has ever seriously asked me that question! Certainly not when I had to wear it. I would have much preferred the jumpsuit that the "Captain" had. Our uniforms were in 2 pieces and we did complain that some midriff exposure happened when we moved, so an undershirt/tank top was added. Not only was it hot in the summer and cumbersome year round, there was no way I wanted to stroll around the Park on my break times. However, I came to like the antenna. Go figure.

One last note from Sharon: I had a really good experience at Disneyland. It was a good transition time to go from teenager to adult. I don't go to amusement parks but then, I've been to the best...

Thank you so much for bringing life to this image, Sharon!

More Rocket to the Moon vintage photos at my main website.

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Tay Bass said...

Wonderful interview and great picture! I enjoy hearing the stories of early Disneyland and this was a great one!

Fifthrider said...

That's great to link a picture and a person and stories. Thanks for sharing, Sharon and Dave.

Irene said...

What wonderful stories! So glad she follows your blog and saw herself and then reached out to you.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how the Internet can connect us after all these years. Great interview. As for a 'transition' job, based upon my experience, a few have stayed with Disney for their careers. One of my co-workers from 1970 will be retiring this month! KS

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story, thank you Sharon and Dave.


Sunday Night said...

Thank you Sharon. This is one of my favorite Disneyland pictures.